Top 10 Legend of Zelda Items / Weapons
Every time Link opens a "big chest", players gather around to see what the magical item of the day is going to be. It's become a hallowed tradition for both hardcore and casual fans alike, and any Zelda fan forum is bound to explode in "What is your favorite item?" "What weapon is the best?" For without the unsung heroes of the item and the weapon, Link would be just another elf-wannabe standing around going "Well! Looks like it's gonna rain death and destruction!"
Swords, bows, bombs, chutes and ladders - these are the items and weapons that have defined and innovated the gameplay and storylines of The Legend of Zelda franchise.
If there is one iconic item in the series, it's the sword. Specifically, the Master Sword, but any sword will do. It's not a Zelda game until the first sword is found, even if it's a little wooden catastrophe or half the size of an adult's arm. Whether you upgrade it eventually or trade it in, the sword is the classic image from the Legend of Zelda.
And let's face it - half the drama of the series wouldn't even exist without the fabled Master Sword, the Blade of Evil's Bane. Its story and origins have changed drastically since the days of "and then some magical old guys made it" to "and then some goddess was like 'yo, go get this thing''", but its iconic imagery remains mostly unchanged nonetheless. In fact, the Master Sword's craftmanship is so well known in the fandom, that when the first promo picture for "Skyward Sword" came out, nearly everyone instantly recognized Fi as a human-like incarnation of the Master Sword. Also, it kinda controls time. Not something to be screwed with.
2. Bow and Arrow
If you can't have a sword, you get a bow. And with the coming of the bow and arrow in the Zelda series, so came more puzzles (arrows through eyes, anyone?) and mini-games. One of the first weapon innovators to come along after the sword, the bow and arrow had its humble origins as a single button push and now enrages players all across the world as they try to figure the darn thing out with the blasted Wiimote. Of course, there's little to improve upon, but in Twilight Princess the Hawkeye was introduced to increase visibility. And rage. I can't be the only one who spent more than an hour trying to get that mini-game done.
The bow and arrow ranks high because of its classic medieval feel and its placement in the series. It doesn't get number one because (hey swords are cool) you have to keep an ample supply of arrows on hand. And if you've ever thrown a controller across the room because a boss slammed you because you ran out of arrows, well...
When you're not hacking, slashing, or flinging little pointy things at random eyes above doors, you're probably blowing crap up. Bombs were responsible for half the "wtf?" in the very first Zelda game when you had no idea what wall you needed to blow to progress in the game - this was the era before cracks in the wall, rumble packs, and other various clues going off just like a bomb. And although there is only so much you can do with a bomb, the developers have been doing quite the job of revamping the bomb's design and abilities. Used to be you bought a bag, bought some bombs, and placed them. Then they evolved into throwing! (Wasn't that fun?) By that time bombs were revealed to be "flowers". (lol biology.) Soon bombs were "Bombchu" mice that could weasel their way around for extra fun. And lately now you can roll bombs, because Wii Law dictates all weapons be made as frustrating as possible. (Let's not talk about how long I hung around certain volcanic areas feeling my blood pressure explode like a bomb.)
A Zelda game without bombs is like...a Zelda game without bombs. They're so in the background but their absence would be definitely noted. And without bombs, the Age of the Dodongo would dawn, and we can't have that.
Like the weapons before it, the Boomerang (and its various incarnations) has appeared in almost every Zelda game, including the first. Its main use is to collect items and take down airborne enemies, sometimes many at a time. It doesn't need replenishing and has the extra function of stunning certain enemies. When you run out of arrows and bombs and the enemy is just too strong for close sword combat, the boomerang makes a great replacement to either stun said enemy or to attack from afar. The boomerang got its real love starting in the 3D games when it was possible to target a trajectory for every throw and to even solve certain puzzles.
The boomerang usually appears early in the game and in some instances is associated with younger incarnations of Link. It's a fun, colorful (and sometimes, like the Gale Boomerang, just downright beautiful) weapon that looks like it could double as a cheesy toy for when the bad guys are dead and gone. Maybe. Somebody's head would probably eventually come off.
The hookshot (and its descendents, the Clawshot and the Grappling Hook, included here) has been making water-themed temples just a little easier to deal with since the early days of "A Link to the Past". Good thing, too, because fandom declared a long time ago that water-themed anything is pretty awful. But as one of the only weapons to function underwater throughout the series, the hookshot serves as a boomerang and a (self-replenishing) arrow in one. It can grab items and kill enemies (or stun, in some instances) without even getting rusty. But let's not overlook the real appeal of the hookshot - pulling Link from rooftop to rooftop in Kakariko Village. I like to believe that this was what the developers had in mind when they originally designed the hookshot.
The only thing more infuriating than hunting down all 50,000 heart pieces in a game is hunting down bottles, which are arguably more important than said many heart pieces. Bottles can mean the difference between literal life and death for Link when nearing the end of a pivotal fight - potions, fairies (aw yeah capturing sentient creatures), ghosts, pumpkin soup, milk, first born children, whatever. The more bottles you have, the more likely you are to survive that frustratingly hard fight scene.
Which makes bottle hunting so important to begin with. Sometimes it's as easy as buying a liquid with "freebies" off somebody, sometimes it requires winning a contest, and sometimes it requires Jupiter lining up with Venus during an annular eclipse. Regardless, most of us aren't satisfied until we get every bottle possible. Which reminds me, the fourth bottle in "Ocarina of Time" is the one item in that whole game I've yet to get, because of the dang poe near the entrance to Gerudo Valley and my crappy archery. (See above.)
Instruments have played (pun not intended) a huge part in the literal legend of Zelda. Since the days of the recorder warping Link and charming monsters, the big question has always been, "What's next?" While instruments such as the recorders, the whistles, the harps, the pipes, and even a full band of instruments in "Link's Awakening" have captured our imaginations, it's the ocarina that has come to define instrumentation in The Legend of Zelda. In the old NES and SNES days it was about pushing a button - with the 64 came actually playing the instrument as various buttons stood in for various notes. This was a literal game changer to the series. Not only did the ocarina become a beloved icon of an entire franchise, it also innovated a key component of Zelda storytelling and gameplay. The ocarina also represents the hey-day of great instrument gameplay, because the Wii brought oh so wonderful wiimote whiplash for an hour just to play one song, and the howls of rage of players all over the world attempting to play the DS Spirit Pipes with touchy mics won't be forgotten soon.
Another innovation spurred by the Nintendo 64 era was the mask. It became such a huge and well-received element that an entire game was made about masks. Masks masks masks. From their original incarnation as a side story element in "Ocarina of Time" to controlling the entire universe of "Majora's Mask", the mask is one of the most unforgettable items in Zelda history. Masks also completely change gameplay when put into good use: they can give Link extra speed, make things explode if he's low on bombs (for a price), or even make him undetectable to other enemies! And, of course, later on masks allow Link to change into completely different species and obtain their abilities.
The "downside" to masks is that sometimes they're a pain to get or, in the case of "interesting" 64 rendering, they're downright creepy. Oh, and they can be intrinsically evil. Ben says "Hi."
9. Ball & Chain
It's a freakin' ball and chain!
Oh, okay. I suppose I'll elaborate. We've seen enemies wield these things for years, and finally, in "Twilight Princess", we were granted the great privilege of flinging one around ourselves! Maybe I'm one of the only ones who thought this was just so finackin' awesome, but there's nothing like swinging a ball and chain around at a bunch of stalfos and bokoblins and watching them crumble like the puny (undead?) mortals they are. Hey, it makes sense.
Still don't believe me? Watch this video of the dang thing in action.
Behold, the last item on this list and the most glorious of them all: the ladder. Now, what is so fantastic about the ladder? What isn't fantastic about the ladder?! Even though it only appeared in the original "Legend of Zelda", it played its part well. It was even an official dungeon item! The ladder is so badass it can withstand water, pits, and even burning lava. Lava! A wooden ladder that combats lava! Genius! It's also a smart ladder and goes into auto-use without you even having to equip it. Of course the ladder was easily replaced in later games what with all the items above here, but...I dream of the day when we get a ladder again and can somehow defeat Ganon with it. (I mean, you can with a dang fishing pole and bug catching net, so....)
We've seen some great and nostalgic items and weapons here, and I'm sure you've got an opinion or two to share. So what's your favorite item? Was anything forgotten here? Want to make a case for Roc's Cape? Feel free to join in the discussion below in the comments!
Before you leave, however, let's briefly contemplate how life once was for our great hero in the ages before Hammerspace. You know, when real heroes carried their stuff.