By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
- Spoiler Alert
- Publication Date: June 19, 2018
The best part of owning a physical copy of The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia is in reading how all the lore from the video games ties together by being able to flip back and forth to the references to other sections. This work sadly does not include Breath of the Wild because it was originally published in Japan last year, at the same time the game made its release. It’s safe to assume an addendum will happen. In the meantime, for fans of the games prior, there are 332 pages of goodness to digest. It completes the Goddess Collection—Hyrule Historia and Art & Artifacts. If the Tri-Force symbol needs its centre to be filled, a fourth volume is inevitable.
The original publishers, Nintendo and Dark Horse Comics know what the fans want and are supplying lots of content to sate many an enthusiast. From concept art to packaging to world-building, this book is very comprehensive and ideal for collectors to know what they are missing! The entries read like one of Oxford University Press‘ Handbook of World Mythology series. The information is easy to follow. To see how creatures like the Moblin are drawn from this game’s 8 bit glory days to high resolution is a sweet touch. Not everyone has played this game since it’s initial release. The Legend of Zelda is a 32-year-old property.
From “Traditions & History” (outlining a complete list of characters, places and species) to “Geography & Nature” (maps, flora and fauna), the list does not end there. It examines life and Culture. It covers everything people want to know about Master Sword but was afraid to ask. Even to know where all the games fit in are listed in proper order. When Ocarina of Time splintered history somewhat, even this detail is outlined. The chart makes sense, and it makes understanding where all the storylines fit in better than understanding Doc Brown’s explanation to Marty on what he did in Back to the Future trilogy.
Of particular interest is an explanation of why Link’s outfit varies. Spoiler alert for those unfamiliar with the many games: the outfits grant this hero different abilities. From resistance to fire or the ability to breathe underwater, these details are known for those who have played a lot of Zelda games.
Just as equally fascinating is the chapter on the origin of evil. Hyrule is an idyllic world and how this hate manifested is explained: “Demons crawled up, led by the powerful Demise, carrying with them an evil in direct opposition to everything the goddesses had created.” The Three Goddesses who created this realm fought against it and Hylia sealed the demoness away but knew the barrier would not stay forever.
Some readers can go to a fan-made Wikipedia to get the same information. An authorised work has a lot more content and is easier to navigate than clicking and waiting for those graphically heavy pages to load. A bonus DVD/CD-ROM would make this encyclopedia perfect. This add is not necessary, but I also love watching video snippets explaining aspects of this universe than always reading about it. Nintendo’s Youtube Channel does have videos explaining the development of the latest entry, and at least this particular online content fills in the gap.