The Legend of Zelda (universe)
The Legend of Zelda universe (ゼルダの伝説, The Legend of Zelda) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's long-running and famous The Legend of Zelda game series. It is a series of fantasy action-adventure titles produced by Nintendo throughout the company's history. It is widely considered one of the most influential video game franchises ever created, and has earned a spot as one of the company's flagship franchises alongside such notable series as Mario and Pokémon, with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time being the best-reviewed game of all time by certain sources. It has had over fifteen official titles which together have sold over 60 million units, making it the 7th best-selling video game series ever. As a result, it is heavily featured in the Super Smash Bros. series, with five separate characters playable in both Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4: The main hero Link, his Young Link (Melee) and Toon Link (Brawl and SSB4) incarnations, the titular Princess Zelda, her alternate ninja-like guise Sheik, and series villain Ganondorf.
In 1986, the development team of game designer Shigeru Miyamoto worked concurrently on two equally ambitious projects for the recently released Famicom/NES: Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. The team made a conscious effort to conceptually separate the two titles; while Mario was a linear platformer, Miyamoto wanted Zelda to feel like an open adventure that forced the player to think about what they should do next, and also to convey the idea of a game "world" that could be explored at one's leisure. Miyamoto drew his inspiration from his experiences around Kyoto in his early life, where he explored nearby fields, woods, and caves and realized the feeling that could be instilled by going on such an "adventure". Meanwhile, Miyamoto designed the player character, Link, as a coming of age motif for players to identify with; Link begins the game as an ordinary boy, but is strengthened by his quest until he triumphs over a great, evil force. Further revolutionary features of the title were a replay mode that, very unusually for the time, contained an entirely new set of more difficult levels - the "Second Quest" - and the first-ever instance of password-free progress-saving in any cartridge-based system or game, made possible by battery-powered RAM.
The Legend of Zelda, released in the Americas in August of 1987, was an all-time bestseller for Nintendo, and much like Super Mario Bros. before it, it often appears on the highest spots in game publications' listings of the greatest games on the NES. It is often considered a spiritual forerunner of the RPG genre, more specifically the action RPG genre, despite lacking key RPG mechanics such as experience points, and is largely responsible for a surge of RPGs that focus on real-time action combat as well as puzzles. It was the spawning point for one of Nintendo's longest-running and most popular video game franchises, which as of 2013 has released over fifteen "primary" installments and several spin-offs. The now well-known "Zelda-style" Action RPG formula is central to almost all of the main series, which in some ways is ironic because the first Zelda sequel ever released, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, was the only game to feature a considerably different style of gameplay: a side-scrolling platformer with JPRG elements.
At least two other releases in the main series were arguably revolutionary in their own right. The third game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Super Nintendo in early April 1992, advanced many of the conventions introduced by the original game's formula to resemble what a modern-day top-down Zelda-style game traditionally features, with refined combat, item-usage, puzzle-filled dungeon aspects, and more detail to the archetypal story. It is widely considered today to be one of the greatest video games ever released, and the many Zelda games that make use of this top-down style are typically relegated to Nintendo handhelds. However, even more momentous was the late-1998 release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64, which seamlessly converted the Zelda formula into a fully realized and detailed three-dimensional world presented in the third person, and introduced what has since become common elements in 3D action-adventure games: a target-lock system to orient the player-character towards specific enemies and circle strafe around them in combat situations in areas with a freely rotatable camera, and context-sensitive buttons. On its initial release, it received perfect review scores from the majority of video game publications that reviewed it, and it sold over seven million copies worldwide. Like A Link to the Past for the top-down 2D perspective, Ocarina of Time introduced to the series the 3D-style of gameplay regularly used by console-based Zelda releases, which typically are the "biggest" releases in the series.
It is customary for at least one main Zelda title to be released over the lifespan of a given Nintendo console or handheld. Many of these adhere by default to a realistic, comparatively "adult" aesthetic, starting with Ocarina of Time and including titles as recent as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; however, in early 2003, a radically different "younger" alternative look and style was introduced into the series with the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube. This introduces a heavily cartoon-stylized, cel-shaded design and graphical style both to Link and the rest of his world, and this exact "Toon Link" design and aesthetic is reused in several subsequent releases on Nintendo handhelds, all of which are separate from the games featuring the "adult" aesthetic. Given the nearly-Mario-scale importance and relevance the Zelda franchise has had both to Nintendo and to the industry as a whole, it is unfailingly one of the first franchises confirmed for a starring role in each game in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games. Later games in the Smash Bros. series have featured content from both the realistic and the cartoon Zelda styles.
Each of the Zelda games, for the most part, are self-contained variations on the same basic "legend": In a fantasy land named Hyrule, which had been created by a trio of goddesses that subsequently left behind embodiments of themselves and/or their power in a three-triangle artifact called the Triforce, a great evil - most often a demonic being named Ganon, or alternatively a powerful humanoid sorceror named Ganondorf, depending on the game - threatens the land, and the only hope is for a young boy or man garbed in green, Link, in cooperation with a princess named Zelda, to go on an adventurous quest across Hyrule to smite the evil, most often with a blessed blade in an altar named the Master Sword. There is almost always some sort of variation to a given installment's narrative that ties both into the story and the gameplay; in some games there is a parallel world that Link must explore, while the world may be mostly covered in ocean in other games. Link himself may undertake his quest under a different set of circumstances each game, such as in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess when he can transform into a wolf and receive assistance from an imp-like creature named Midna, or The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap where a talking hat he acquires allows him to shrink and grow back in size at will. Even Zelda's backstory, role, and relevance can vary between games, such as whether she is a classic damsel-in-distress or a capable ally of Link, but very rarely is any sort of romance between her and Link even implied.
Besides instances where some games are direct sequels and continuations to each other, there is usually no relevance in continuity between any of the seemingly independent portrayals of Hyrule. But this did not stop fans from speculating wildly on how all of the titles could be ordered in a chronological timeline that assumes Hyrule in all of these games is, in fact, the same world in different stages of its history, and that the reappearances of Link and related characters represent different individuals that are unwitting reincarnations of eras and Links from the past. But due to contradictions between games that arise when trying to place them all in a linear timeline, estimates were made that the Zelda chronology branched off into separate directions. On the 25th anniversary of the franchise, Nintendo posted an official timeline for the series that affirmed that there were, in fact, three separate timeline branches, and explained which games belong to which branch. The official ordering of The Legend of Zelda series is explained below:
The most recently released game in the Zelda series is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where a Link awakens after a 100-year slumber and is tasked with exploring a post-apocalyptic Hyrule and protecting it from the return of Ganon, now a mindless abomination known as "the Calamity Ganon". Serving as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch and the swan song for the Wii U, the game has been noted and critically lauded for returning to the very open-ended, non-linear structure of the original The Legend of Zelda and introducing more elements of realism and interaction. Currently, its timeline placement is unknown.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the most recent Zelda game at the time of the release of Super Smash Bros., and certainly the most popular and notable at the time because of its 3D nature on the Nintendo 64, so it was very easy to feature Zelda content from this chronology and dimension into the N64 fighter. The Zelda universe contains one fighter, stage, and item.
Despite the fact that Majora's Mask was released before Melee, most of the Zelda content in this game is once again based on Ocarina of Time. The Legend of Zelda franchise gained massive amount of new content, including four brand new characters (Thus setting a new record for the most characters from the same universe being introduced in the same game. This record is still held by the Zelda series today). This makes the Zelda franchise tied with the Mario franchise for having the most amount of playable characters, being five.
Full Trophy List
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
As a base franchise for the Smash Bros. series, representation from The Legend of Zelda came as expected to be featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. However, one newcomer is featured and the four Zelda series veterans now have updated designs to match their incarnations in the more recent installment, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the Zelda characters take up the third column.
It is the only Melee stage to receive a new song: a remix of the Great Palace theme from Zelda II.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
The Legend of Zelda universe is also represented in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. For the first time in the series, no new playable The Legend of Zelda characters are introduced.
Mii Fighter Costumes
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (The Legend of Zelda series)
Five new items have been added having specialty in The Legend of Zelda series, along with three returning ones.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Main article: The Legend of Zelda
Link, the hero of the game and the entire series, is a playable character in all 4 SSB titles. Also, Princess Zelda and Ganondorf, who was also in this game, became playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Brawl, and SSB4. Various artworks for the game are findable in Brawl's sticker collection. In addition, the enemies Octorok and Like Like first appeared in this game. The game is also available as a playable masterpiece in Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Boomerang, the Hero's Bow and the Bombs originated in this game. They are all used by Link, Young Link and Toon Link. The Heart Container, which originated in this game, appears in all the Super Smash Bros. games. Beast Ganon, Ganondorf's Final Smash, is Ganondorf's original form, under the name Ganon, which first appeared in this game.
Despite the fact that most players consider Zelda II to be the "black sheep" of The Legend of Zelda series, the Super Smash Bros. series features a relatively large amount of Zelda II content. This is due to the fact that like Super Smash Bros., Zelda II features platformer-style jumping and attacking gameplay; it is, in fact, the only game in The Legend of Zelda series that can be considered a platformer.
Some of Link's moves in the Super Smash Bros. series originated in this game, such as his down aerial and up aerial. The Temple stage, which appears in both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, is derived from the palaces in this game, although no location in Hyrule is truly similar to the Temple stage. The primary music for the Temple stage in both Melee and Brawl, as well as one of its known alternate themes in Brawl, is taken from this game. The Underground Maze level in Melee's Adventure Mode is similar to the palaces in Zelda II and plays the aforementioned primary theme from the Temple stage. Event 18: Link's Adventure is based on this game, as Link is forced to fight Dark Link on the Temple stage. This is very reminiscent of Zelda II's final boss battle against Shadow Link. The name of the Event match also references the game.
In Brawl, Link's black costume is Dark Link, who debuted in this game, although he appears as he did in a cutscene from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as opposed to his completely black form. However, Dark Link's original completely black look is seen in the Event match, Dark Link Duel, which is very similar to the aforementioned Event match in Melee, although Dark Link is fought on the Bridge of Eldin stage as opposed to the Temple stage, despite the fact that Temple returns as a Melee Stage.
The Spin Attack, useable by Link and Toon Link, originated in this game.
One of the trophies in Melee, Marin, is a character from this game. Uniquely, this is the only Zelda series trophy that does not depict a character from the games from which the fighters come (namely, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask in Melee, and The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess in Brawl). Also, the Tal Tal Heights music track that plays on Pirate Ship and Skyloft comes from this game.
Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
All songs apart from Gerudo Valley are remixed.
Music: All the music from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has been taken directly from it with no changes.
In this game, Link is able to collect various figurines of characters and locations, similar to trophies in the Smash Bros. series. While figurines appeared in The Wind Waker first, in The Minish Cap they are collected almost exactly as trophies are in Melee's Lottery (increasing payment amount to increase odds of getting a new one). The only difference is that instead of using the game's normal currency, Rupees, Link uses Mysterious Shells.
Link, Zelda and Ganondorf's Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4 designs are based on their Twilight Princess appearance.
Link's weapons have been updated to their Twilight Princess incarnations, such as his Gale Boomerang and his Clawshot. His old Bow has been replaced by the Hero's Bow, and the speed and range of its arrows has been noticeably increased. Link's up taunt is a reference to his animation where he sheathes his sword.
Ganondorf's moveset remains largely unaltered from Melee, albeit with new, improved animations - arguably the most significant change to his moveset is his new side special move, Flame Choke, which originates from this game. The fact that Ganondorf's moveset remains generally the same greatly contradicts his Twilight Princess appearance, as he fought almost exclusively with a sword in that game, with only the occasional elbow jab or swift kick (said kick is in fact Ganondorf's new side tilt in Brawl). He does, however, show off the sword with which he fights in Twilight Princess in his down taunt. Masahiro Sakurai made mention of the criticism that Ganondorf receives from fans over the disuse of the blade on the Smash Bros. DOJO!!. He eventually uses his blade as a customizable move for Warlock Punch.
The Bridge of Eldin stage is from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and is the first stage in the Super Smash Bros. series to be pulled directly from a game. King Bulbin appears after some time, sometimes followed by a Bulblin, and he can destroy the middle section of the bridge. The warp portal that brings the bridge piece back is also derived from Twilight Princess.
Music from Twilight Princess appears on the Bridge of Eldin stage. These tracks are:
In Brawl, the Heart Container item has been updated to match their appearance in Twilight Princess, and the design of Deku Nuts, one of the items introduced in Brawl, is also taken from the game.
Trophies based on characters or events from Twilight Princess include:
Stickers based on character, items, and artwork from Twilight Princess include:
The Phantom, who debuted in this game, serves as Zelda's down special move in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. It also appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
Stages: The Spirit Train stage in the Nintendo 3DS version originates from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Zelda using Phantoms is a reference to how she was able to posses them in the game, and her down special move in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U takes the Phantom design from this game.
Stages: Skyloft, a stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Enemies: Ghirahim appears as an assist trophy.
The Hyrule and Lorule themes as well as Yuga's Hyrule Castle battle theme were included as bonus songs in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
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