Zelda Part 3: GC, DS, Wii and beyond.

*Side
note: After reading part 2 of 3 a friend of mine e-mailed me and said
that I left out a Zelda game that should have been mentioned, The
Minish Cap.  While it IS a game in the Zelda series, I chose to keep it
off of the list for the reason that I don’t think it makes a good
starter game for getting into the series.  Even though when you look at
the story line, Minish Cap PROBABLY happened before all of the other
game, I will argue that its "Start-off stance" is not so great because
the game is just one big amalgamate, a hodgepodge if you will, of
Zelda titles from the past.  There’s very little that sets it apart from
the others combined.*
 
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – GCN
This
part of the Zelda story line happens long after the events of most of
the Zelda games.  Link, now referred to as "the Legendary Hero", has
become a celebrated hero of the past.  When children (descendants of Link
in some way) reach a certain age, they are given an outfit that is a
replica of what The Legendary Hero wore. Confused?  Yeah, it gets that
way.  This Zelda game has many firsts for the series: 1 – It’s
Cell-Shaded, 2 – It’s Island/Boat Transport based, and 3 – Some of the
gameplay becomes "avoid-em-up" style at many points in the game.  Story
line breaks off a little from the Zelda tradition, but is still fairly
in-focus.  My opinion in one sentence: I’d play Ocarina of Time first,
then TRULY enjoy this game.
 
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass – DS
Basically
a sequel to The Wind Waker, story line shifts quite a bit, but there’s
really no difference in base of plot.  Find stuff, use stuff, save the
day.  What’s new here is the use of the Stylus in everything that you
do, from movement, to puzzle solving, to combat.  I have to say that the
stylus has an interesting learning curve, and is a lot of fun to use. 
You can even mark your maps, which is amazingly helpful.  My opinion in
one sentence: Great game for handhelds, would still try Link to the
Past port first (it will also play on your DS)
 

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – GCN and Wii
The
only difference between the two (GameCube and Wii versions) worth
mentioning is the fact that in the GC version, everything is a mirror
image of the Wii version (maps, scenery and all).  This is to preserve
the idea that Link is left-handed (kind of a lame reason). The Wii
version shows a right-handed Link, because of the control positioning
of the Wii-mote and Nunchuk.  Control is tight for both games, and
before Super Mario Galaxy came out, I would argue that this game pushed
the Wii’s capabilities more than any other.  Also new to this game is
the ability to become a wolf.  I won’t spoil how this happens, but it
does add a different (if sometimes annoying) new facet to the game.  My
opinion in one sentence: Another game you should wait to play
as Ocarina of Time should come first.
 
So
there’s your guide to the MANY Zelda games and how (when) I would
recommend they be played.  If you have any questions or comments, please
feel free to e-mail me.  All constructive feedback is more than welcomed.
 
I will also write a shorter article about the few spin-offs that Zelda characters have appeared in.