Zelda 30th Anniversary | Top 15 Items

By Az Elias 23.02.2016 6

A Legend of Zelda game would not be complete without a plethora of items for the hero to equip and use throughout his adventure. Where Link manages to keep all that gear on him is a mystery, but every single one has its importance, whether it's being able to explore new parts of the land, defeat tricky bosses, or simply to enjoy recreational activities when a break from fighting evil is in order. There is plenty to choose from, with each game subsequently introducing new and innovative items, but which are the best ones? The Cubed3 team picks our top 15.

Fishing Rod

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Saving the world is hard work, so when the going gets tough, there's nothing like a spot of fishing to conserve some energy whilst taking in the rays. The introduction of the fishing rod in Link's Awakening may have only served to deliver a brief, yet fun, mini-game, but it later spawned what felt like an entire game in itself at Lake Hylia's Fishing Pond in Ocarina of Time. Trying to catch the biggest fish and the legendary Hyrule Loach kept many an avid player up for hours. Some still haven't managed to catch that slippery thing…

Twilight Princess took the concept to another level entirely, as the rod itself became an usable item anywhere in the field, letting Link fish in more than just a dedicated pond, and the addition of new lure types to equip allowed a degree of strategy in attempting to catch different fish. There is more to the fishing rod than meets the eye, however, as it seems to have an almost hypnotic effect on the Dark Lord Ganondorf himself…
- Az

Ball and Chain

The idea of a "Ball and Chain" is usually negative, but not in this series. Ironically found in Snowpeak Ruins, the Ball and Chain gives Link the ability to destroy ice, and packs a punch, in general - but at a cost.

Wailing the Ball and Chain means Link is greatly slowed by the item's weight, and players must take this into account when wielding the hefty weapon, infusing strategy into an otherwise mundane piece of equipment.
- David

Bow-Wow

Bow-Wow might seem a strange choice for an item. It's only used once in one game - Link's Awakening. It's really only there to open up one dungeon. In fact, it's barely an item at all. Why does it deserve a place in this list, then?

Because it's awesome. It's a vicious destructive beast you get to take for a walk, constantly attacking everything around you. It's both empowering, yet also somewhat scary, given what's being controlled. Perhaps more significantly, Bow-Wow is also a great example of narrative and gameplay working as one. This isn't an item on a pedestal for Link to pick up and use in spots clearly designed for that item. This is just a creature he takes for a walk... and as a side effect, it helps open up new areas by eating what's in his way. More like this, please!
- Thomas

Roc's Feather

Series hero Link has always been a fairly athletic chap, running through grass, climbing up mountains and sailing across the world, but one of his shortcomings over the years would perhaps be his inability to jump at will in most of the Zelda games. The top-down Zelda tales on Game Boy were designed with a handful of holes in the ground that proved a cumbersome obstacle. Link would simply fall to his demise briefly, and then respawn to attempt it once again.

In Link's Awakening, however, there was a solution - Roc's Feather, an item that allows Link to be unconfined from the benefits of gravity and jump across single holes. Our hero could combine the feather with running shoes, like the Pegasus Boots, to leap over a handful of holes with ease. The dynamic changed the way you would approach Zelda puzzles, with the jumping mechanic becoming key in quite a few moments in the game and the Oracle series.
- Jorge

Lens of Truth

One of the non-combat items in the series, the Lens of Truth shows hidden passageways and enemies at the cost of magic. Coming from the Bottom of the Well in Ocarina of Time, an air of mystery surrounds the item, which is meant to show the hidden world underlying Hyrule.

Those who once believed that the Triforce was hidden away somewhere in Ocarina of Time will likely recall scouring every inch of the game with the lens, and while it was a fruitless search, it's one that sticks out in many players' minds.
- David

Ocarina

There couldn't be a Legend of Zelda items feature without mentioning the musical focus throughout the series. From harps to drums, guitars to Howling Stones, there has been a tradition of granting the Hero with a little melody or two to play. The key instrument that's been ingrained into the series mark-up has to be the ocarina, a mystical item that has the potential to alter the landscape and the flow of time itself.

The ocarina has appeared in a handful of Zelda titles in some form, but the most prominent appearance has to be in Ocarina of Time, where it became so intrinsically woven into the plot, that it had the honour of sitting prominently in the game's title. Here, Link can use it to solve various puzzles, change the time of day and even warp across the land in a similar way to A Link to the Past. The time mechanic becomes even stronger in Majora's Mask, where the Ocarina of Time can speed up or even slow down time to a halt; a useful feature when there's only three days left to survive!
- Jorge

Fire Rod

There are many great Rods out there - Rod Stewart, Rodney from Only Fools and Horses, for instance - but special mention has to go to the Fire Rod. No, this is not some medical terminology for that burning sensation some poor folk get down below... Instead, it is one of the most useful tools in the world of The Legend of Zelda, with hero Link able to bring light to a darkened room, cinch enemies, and even melt ice. There are rumours of Link using the Fire Rod with a marshmallow-filled stick, but they are unsubstantiated, and, of course, he refutes it vehemently. After all, he has a reputation to keep up!

All joking aside, Link loves to vary things up, and has been seen not only sporting a Rod of the Fire variety, but an Ice, Magic, Sand, and even Tornado Rod. As long as he has something firm in his hands, he's always a happy chappy...
- Adam

Bow

Another of Link's longest-running inventory items, the bow and arrow had an interesting mechanic in the first game: the bow lasts forever, but arrows do not, costing one Rupee each. This was long before the times of cutting fields of grass and finding money aplenty, so players had to think before firing off an arrow, as the cost could quickly add up. Given the item's range and damage output, it was often worth it - except, of course, when the arrow misses.

These days, Link has Fire, Ice, and Light arrows at his disposal, and the bow and arrow have even become somewhat of Princess Zelda's signature weapon, with the Light Arrow being her Final Smash in the Smash Bros. series and her weapon of choice to put Ganondorf in his place during The Wind Waker's grand finale.
- David

Hammer

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Little known to most people, the beauty of the Megaton Hammer is best seen in Ocarina of Time's Water Temple, where Link can pound Dark Link into a pulp without fear of repercussion: Dark Link has no defences against it, and doesn't evidently have one himself.

The hammer debuted in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link as one of very few ways to interact with the world map, allowing players to take shortcuts, find optional items, and knock down entire swathes of forests, but it's perhaps best known for its usage in A Link to the Past, where, in addition to opening up parts of the world to further exploration, it also crippled otherwise invulnerable enemies. Of course, it's hard to say "No" to another game of Whac-A-Mole with Volvagia, too.
- Aria

Spinner

The Zelda games, structurally, are Metroidvanias, with many of the items thus specifically designed to let the player get to previously inaccessible areas of the landscape. With so many games in the series, and so many of the more obvious forms of locomotion covered, the designers must constantly ask the question of how to achieve this. What new obstacles should Link have to overcome, and what new device should help him overcome it?

The Spinner is possibly the strangest answer to that question. Leap on top of a strange cog-like spinning top that then locks into various rails about the landscape. Grind around the rails to reach new locations, occasionally switching from rail to rail at critical moments. It's ridiculous, with the rails explicitly something set up for the player with little in-universe reason to exist, yet it is fun. It's truly unique. And at the end of the day, it will put a smile on your face - when you're not pulling your hair out, that is.
- Thomas

Master Sword

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Narsil, Excalibur, a glowing blue lightsaber; there are many blades that have left their mark in the history of fantasy and video games throughout the years. One of the most recognisable and iconic weapons out there has to be the Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda series.

The recurring blade was originally forged by the goddess Hylia and went by a more divine name in Skyward Sword: the Goddess Sword. Bathed in the energy of three Sacred Flames that are scattered across the land of Hyrule, the Master Sword is a pretty strong beast; one that can repel evil and defeat the power-hungry Ganondorf. The origins and tales of this particular weapon have been distorted throughout the Zelda timeline, but its intentions and the "chosen" user have remained consistent - a hero who has slugged it out through great trials that test courage, wisdom and power.

Perhaps the most memorable moment for the Master Sword would be its role in Ocarina of Time, where its power is used as a key to allow Link to travel through time.
- Jorge

Mirror Shield

Similar to Perseus defeating Medusa in Greek mythology, the Mirror Shield allows for more than just outright defence of attacks and projectiles. Although in some games it does block strong laser beams that otherwise shoot right through Link, can turn beams of its own back on enemies, and destroys undead monsters in certain variations, its most unique feature is the ability to reflect light sources onto other areas of a room.

This mechanic paved the way for a host of brain-teasing puzzles, as reflecting light to destroy statues and activate switches became central themes of a number of dungeons. Furthermore, it plays a key role in one of the most fun boss battles featuring a particular pair of witches in Ocarina of Time, absorbing and blasting back charged fire and ice energy with powerful effect.
- Az

Boomerang

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Present in the series since the first title, the boomerang has always come back to Link. Initially a weapon wielded by his enemies, Link eventually gets his own boomerang, which allows him to stun baddies, as well as fetch items - something not often seen in the NES days.

The boomerang has seen many upgrades, with the first being a boost to range in The Legend of Zelda, going all the way up to the Gale Boomerang, which adds the power of wind to help Link put the spin on his enemies or control certain fans. Sure, the mechanics aren't exactly realistic, but targeting a series of enemies or environment pieces and watching the boomerang do its thing will always be fun.
- David

Double Clawshots

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Most players probably had a similar reaction upon opening up the chest containing the Longshot in Ocarina of Time: "Wow! It's the Hookshot, but better!" The same and more can be said of the Double Clawshots. Not only can Link reach new areas with two of the grapplers, but elements of platforming and puzzling are immediately added to the mix.

While they lack the fun of the swinging mechanic found in The Wind Waker's Grappling Hook - at least, so far - the Double Clawshots bring a sense of power and wonder in their own right, and will hopefully become a series staple moving forward.
- David

Bombchu

Across the entire series, range has been an important factor. From the boomerangs and arrows of the first game, up through the Hookshot in A Link to the Past, the Zelda games have always existed in a world that forces players to think beyond a limited radius around their player character.

The Bombchu in Ocarina of Time took this concept to a new level. Being the first 3D Zelda game, it was probably a no-brainer to include the classic boomerang and bow and arrow, but where those items can simply be thrown across space, the Bombchu forces players to strategise, taking into account walls and surfaces. It adds a puzzle element to the three-dimensional item usage space, and the games in which it appears are all better off for it. And, when all else fails, it can blow up enemies and cracked walls just like the classic bombs across the series.
- David

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Comments

The Spinner is my favourite Zelda item ever. Though... I always wished you could just use it to ride around anywhere, sort of like a skateboard. I'd always try and ride it around Hyrule, but it only moves a bit and then comes to halt each time.

Double Hookshots are also amazing! Twilight Princess introduced some of the best Zelda items ever.

TP really did introduce some of my fave items. Spinner, ball and chain, and double clawshots are all great, and fishing was taken to a new level, too.                   

Big fan of the Master sword Myself. After I found that my life changed. It was amazing !

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Lots of memories wandering the Lost Woods in LttP and throwing those fake Master Swords around lol.

The Spinner is my favourite Zelda item ever. Though... I always wished you could just use it to ride around anywhere, sort of like a skateboard.

Super Legend of Zelda Racing DX confirmed for NX! Smilie

In terms of items my faves definitely are Bombchu, Mirror Shield, the Beetle 

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Reminds me, with the Hammer, it also demonstates just how insanely cool the OoT game engine was:
1. Destroy a signpost
2. Whack the ground 
Note the pieces jump up (as you would expect in real life) - but this has to be coded. The engine knows to make those bits jump.
Also; Signpost pieces float.

This sort of game physics is still better then most games today.

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