The Legend of Zelda series is something that has been with me, whether I knew it or not, for some time. After straying away from Nintendo products for so long, Zelda would be the one that would bring me back to purchase a Nintendo console after all those years. So when I heard about this book, a retrospect in a sense of the series, it definitely grabbed my interest and made me think of a question that I now ask you; you may know the series of The Legend of Zelda, but do you know The Legend of Zelda?
Being one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises, its fan base is one of the strongest and most loyal among gamers and followers. But with every game release, a cloud of mystery would sometimes become apparent. And while fans and followers of the Zelda series would attempt to fill in the holes in the stories or chronologically attempt to put the games stories in order, there was never a definitive way to place things without debate.
So in 2011, Hyrule Historia, a book that was meant to give a definitive history over The Legend of Zelda series was released in Japan. This book was to give THE history and timeline over the Zelda games that had become the subject of so much debate. The main problem for Western audiences was the fact that the book was mainly written in Japanese. So while it meant that it would be a nice item among Zelda and video game collectors, unless you could actually read it, most of the knowledge and information would be lost on the audience. Well a little more than a year later, Dark Horse and Nintendo have finally brought over the Hyrule Historia book to other locations. And if you or anyone has or had a small interest into the Zelda series, it would be best to get this book.
The book, now translated into English, comes with over 200 pages full of information spanning all the games (so far) in The Legend of Zelda series and more. You will see concept art of characters and environments, the different versions of Link, Zelda, Ganon and so forth, actual game screens, detailed maps of locations, full color pictures, game manual artwork and almost everything else meant to give information on your favorite game in the series. The book will go over each main game and give the history of events that are set into motion and just how at times it affects games later on in the series. Thankfully they have decided to skip the ill-fated CDi games and other lesser games such as Link’s Crossbow Training.
One of the main draws was also the official timeline giving a place where every game from the main series stands. I admit it was a bit of a shock to find that the original The Legend of Zelda (NES), one of my personal favorites if not my favorite video game of all time, is actually set in a timeline where the Hero from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time game was actually defeated by Ganon.
From forgotten enemies to boss characters that may have played a bigger role than what you think, and even including a Skyward Sword manga by Akira Himekawa. The detail of this book is outstanding and almost everything you ever wanted to know is represented here. Even contained are interviews with The Legend of Zelda Producers Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma.
The book itself is made solid and very nice. The pages are made of nice, durable paper and it has a green hard cover to protect the book. The lettering on the book has the logo and the Mark of the Goddess’ embossed in gold on the front, and letting all over the cover making them stand out. Even the spine of the book has a picture of the Master Sword making it sure to stand out among your other books. For those collectors’ there is even a rare, only 4000 printed, Limited Edition version with a faux brown cover to make it look like a book taken straight from Hyrule itself.
My only real complaint about the book is that around the first 60 pages, which almost translates to one-third of the book, focuses only the latest game Skyward Sword. While you get information about all the games, it really seems like Skyward Sword was almost the focus a little too much at times. While this isn’t a serious problem, it seems like it would have made more sense for this book to come out when the game was released. But seeing as this book was made originally in 2011, I could see why the focus was put there. Still I would have liked to have seen a bit more focus on the earlier games a bit.
Never the less, this book is fantastic. For the core Zelda fans meaning those interested in the lore and back history of Hyrule and the series, this book is a must buy. For fans of video games it would still be a buy. Or at least something to look at as very few game franchises ever gets something of this much love and interest. Whether it is the regular or rare Limited Edition version, my suggestion is to read or get a hold of this book in some way or another.
This review can also be found at ThreeTallNerds.com