These items were oh-so-close to sneaking into the main list, but they never generated enough support to crack our top 25. There are still some cool choices in here, though, and like we usually do, we’re posting some short comments about each of them as we make our way to the legit 25.
26) Hylian Shield – 2 votes
Shaun: While there have definitely been cooler shields introduced (MIRROR), the Hylian Shield is the iconic one that the series is most associated with, behind maybe the the Master Sword. Simple yet effective, it has become a mainstay of LInk’s arsenal across the series.
Chris: I always preferred to get the Hylian Shield out of the Graveyard rather than paying for it at the store. Not only was that method more cost-efficient, but it felt like taking a memento from a great Hylian soldier from before my time. As Shaun mentioned, it has become emblematic of the series, especially when you consider the Triforce and Hylian Crest emblazoned on its surface. Unfortunately, it came up one spot short.
27) Phantom Sword – 1 vote
Chris: Even though it looks like the Master Sword at first glance, the Phantom Sword is cooler in a way because you can eventually use it to CONTROL TIME. We’re not talking “shove it into a pedestal and become a child again” control — we’re talking SNEAK BEHIND YOUR ENEMIES AND MURDER THEM OUTSIDE THE FABRIC OF TIME. So that’s kind of a big deal.
Shaun: It’s a Master Sword pretender, but like Chris said, its abilities are pretty cool. Ultimately, I want a Master Sword that looks like the Razor Sword, hits like the Biggoron’s Sword, and has abilities like the Phantom Sword. And also makes Link sandwiches and vaporizes chickens.
28) Bomb – 4 votes
Shaun: A staple! I’m surprised it’s not higher, but then again, I didn’t have it super high myself. At this point, bombs are kind of pedestrian, and most valuable in their ability to reveal secret rooms and pathways. But Ocarina of Time and its reliance on bomb flowers kinda ruined me for all time.
Chris: The Zelda series consistently tries to make bombs cooler — Water Bombs, Remote Bombs, the Blast Mask (okay, I liked that one). The problem is that they’re still just bombs. Not a bad item by any means, just one whose use has been played out by now, seeing as they’ve been around since the original game.
29) Bombchu – 4 votes
Chris: From a gameplay perspective, I never really used these mobile bombs with whiskers as they were intended. I spent most of my time using them for mischief and minigames. Hey you, random Clock Town citizen: ENJOY THIS DEATH FROM AFAR. Then I could sneak off without being discovered. The Bombchus never killed anyone, and Cuccos still knew it was me somehow, but I loved this item anyway.
Shaun: Using bombchus for puzzles was surprisingly satisfying, especially when you land that perfect throw. Shame they never really got used for much of anything.
30) Roc’s Feather – 4 votes
Shaun: On one hand, the Roc’s Feather always opens up a whole gamut of options in the games where it’s used. Then again, it’s an item that allows Link to do what he should be able to do to begin with. So…30 seems about right.
Chris: It’s actually weird to go through a game with the Roc’s Feather and then back to a traditional Zelda setting — the switch to only being able to jump down ledges is jarring. I spent most of my time spamming this item so that Link was doing sick flips everywhere he went. Then again, I spent most of Baldur’s Gate jumping merrily through towns too. I think there might be something wrong with me.
31) The Wind Waker – 4 votes
Chris: It’s a conductor’s baton! Woahhhhhhhhhhhhh! I actually really liked the Wind Waker. It’s not that different from the Ocarina of Time in its range of functions, but I enjoyed having to hold the control stick in certain directions to weird time signatures like 6/4. It’s also fun to just bust it out and start waving Toon Link’s arms in spastic, random motions.
Shaun: It’s definitely more engaging than the Ocarina of Time, but…where did the sound come from? I’m just imagining Link conducting NOTHING in the middle of town and mothers averting their eyes of their children from the crazy man who thinks he’s a conductor.
32) Biggoron’s Sword – 2 votes
Shaun: The BIggoron Sword made it higher on this list than the Razor Sword? Bulls***. The BIggoron Sword is cool and all, but with all its power, the inability to use it with a shield always meant a no go for me. Not when the Mirror Shield was so badass.
Chris: Losing shield use was annoying, but the dealbreaker for me was the ludicrous sidequest to collect all the items. You’d think that someone might be willing to cut Link a little slack, what with him SAVING THE WORLD and all, but no. The only exception to that is Biggoron himself, who is 900 feet tall and has eye discomfort — he’d probably kill Link if he didn’t play along.
33) Razor Sword – 1 vote
Chris: An undeniably cool-looking blade that might be the least useful sword in the series. You only got a limited number of uses out of the Razor Sword, which is sort of like downloading the free version of an app and getting a mouthful of pop-up ads after you’ve exhausted the trial. I upgraded this thing to the Gilded Sword as fast as humanly possible.
Shaun: So much wasted potential. One of the coolest looking blades in the series, the blade suffers from limited use, but also being made obsolete fairly quickly. I’d love to see a game in the future where the Master Sword can be augmented, because the Razor Sword is definitely the model I would take.
34) Red Mail – 1 vote
Shaun: I’m a sucker for items that change Link’s appearance, but unlike many of the alternate tunics, this one actually confers a defensive bonus to Link. Too much good stuff. Now I just need a purple tunic that doubles defense and I can die happy.
Chris: True and sad story: I almost missed this in Link Between Worlds, even though I knew it existed from playing LttP. I almost went through the last part of the final dungeon before saying “Hey, wait a second…” Even though the Red Mail takes us away from iconically green Link, I was happy for the trade if it meant taking more hits.
35) Hawkeye – 1 vote
Chris: I think I’m supposed to like this item, but I can’t say I do. Being able to extend your line of sight with the bow is handy — it kinda makes Link into a sniper. I’d imagine it’s really useful in the Hidden Village section of the game, with its badass music. But I spent my time in that section walking through the center of town like Clint Eastwood, shooting bitches as I went — there was no time for scopes.
Shaun: I just never really valued being a sniper in Zelda. Maybe that’s my own problem, but I’ve always found it much more fun and epic to “shoot from the hip,” especially if I can throw a god damn back flip in before the release.
36) Red Ring – 2 votes
Shaun: I’m surprised more rings didn’t make this list, but then again, I would say the original Legend of Zelda, and the Oracle games, are probably some of the least played titles on this list (despite being very good). Still, a ring that doubles my attack? Always yes.
Chris: Or, back in the original, increase your defense even further. In either case, passive stat boosts are my joints, so I’m on board. I’m not saying that I want full-blown MMORPG equipment stats in my Zelda game, but…a few more items like this might be nice.
37) Magic Mirror – 2 votes
Chris: So on one hand, this is one of the most vital items in the series. Without it, Link would have been trapped in the Dark World forever — or at least until he found the Triforce. Still, I can’t say that I ever thought to myself, “Wow, the Magic Mirror is so cooooooooool!” Different strokes, I guess.
Shaun: Same thing with the Ocarina of Time though, I’m sure people voted for what it represents rather than what it actually is. Still, you’re not wrong. All I can think about every time Link looks at it is “CRAZY OLD MAURICE.” Beauty and the Beast. Shut up.
38) Magical Key – 2 votes
Shaun: Part of me yearns for the return of the Magical Key, which unlocks any locked door, even though it would break any Zelda game ever made. Perhaps include it as a weird new game plus bonus?
Chris: Not a bad idea. Finding small keys for regular doors is nice and all, but in a New Game + setting, being able to crack them with ease (while still having to find the Big/Boss Key) seems like a good idea. The Magical Key is fun, but it’s not hard to imagine why we haven’t seen it since.
39) Whirlwind – 1 vote
Chris: Like the Grappling Hook below, the Whirlwind is another item that screams versatility. So many options, so little time. My only complaint? Blowing into the microphone is a little too gimmicky for my tastes. Conceptually, it seems like it would add to the experience, but it just ends up making me look weird in public. That goes for you too, Phoenix Wright fingerprint dust.
Shaun: Ditto. Much like blowing into the DS to play the flute in Spirit Tracks, some attempts at immersion should just be left on the drawing board. Cool item, bad execution.
40) Cane of Somaria – 1 vote
Shaun: For a cane that allows you to create blocks, the Cane of Somaria is surprisingly versatile, and enables you to be really creative if you’re savvy enough.
Chris: On the surface, this seems lame. It makes a block. Woo hoo. But then you hit the button a second time, and your block explodes into fiery bolts of death! Also, when you really think about it, being able to generate blocks in the Zelda world is EXTREMELY useful, considering all the puzzles on which it could be used.
41) Ice Arrows – 3 votes
Chris: The Ice Arrows were an afterthought in Ocarina of Time. You didn’t need to go through the dungeon in the Gerudo Fortress to complete the game, so the arrows were optional. But once Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker started to use more of the possibilities — freezing enemies, creating platforms, etc. — then I was on board.
Shaun: Ice again! For the sheer badassery of the ice arrows, I love that they’re this high on the list, but I hope future games build more utility into them. Like Chris mentioned, they are on the way, but I wanted to see them much more heavily integrated into puzzles and gameplay, rather just simply another way to kill enemies.
42) Stone Mask – 1 vote
Shaun: I always enjoy items that allow you to mess with the game and the status quo, and the Stone Mask is a great example of that.
Chris: I spent way more time than I should have in the Pirate Fortress in Majora’s Mask. First of all, the music was fantastic. But I was more interested in messing with the Gerudo guards. The Stone Mask makes you invisible to people, after all, so I could stroll right up to one of the guards and knock her out with ease. The fact that the mask looks ridiculous and doesn’t make any sense is actually a plus in my book.
43) Flute/Recorder/Ocarina of Wind – 1 vote
Chris: Similar items that all serve to conveniently warp you to various places. I love that the Recorder uses the same little music theme as the whistle from Super Mario Bros. 3, and then the Ocarina of Wind from Minish Cap brings it back too. The Flute has an especially sad sidestory to go with it.
Shaun: Casual fans might think music was integrated heavily in Ocarina of Time, but Link has been musically inclined for much longer than that. He’s so talented! But unlike the real world, Link’s music grants him magical powers, other than the ability to go unappreciated and starve to death while strangers flip him nickels on the street corner.
44) Grappling Hook – 2 votes
Shaun: While it unfortunately gets made to be mostly obsolete due to the hookshot, the grapple hook was still a breath of fresh air for Zelda items in the series. Part gap-overcome, part whip, part lasso, the grapple hook had a ton of utility, and represents that Zelda is at its best when it gives you a bunch of different options through one item, rather than barely an option through a bunch of different items (cough*TwilightPrincess*cough).
Chris: Exactly right. The Wind Waker version already offered plenty of options, between hunting for treasure on the open seas and stealing items from confused enemies (although don’t ask me how the hell that worked). Then it got steroids in Phantom Hourglass and could be used to deflect projectiles and help with crossing gaps. A great, versatile item. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have had this on my own list.
45) Farore’s Wind – 1 vote
Chris: I don’t think I ever used Farore’s Wind. I mean, maybe once to see what it did, and then…nope. You know where I SHOULD have used Farore’s Wind? in the goddamn Water Temple. In every room. Underwater, above water, in Ganondorf’s mouth, didn’t matter. Should’ve made more warp points.
Shaun: If you don’t have a lot of time to play Ocarina of Time, I could see Farore’s Wind being seriously useful. But if you forego food and sleep and marathon it like me, you’re probably beating dungeons in one shot anyway.
46) Gibdo Mask – 1 vote
Shaun: Besides being creepy as f***, the Gibdo mask is notable because it allows Link to walk among the ReDeads, which, depending on your bravery, could be a very important thing.
Chris: I imagine that certain Zelda players had to love this item, because the ReDeads are the creepiest goddamn thing in history. 13-year-old me freaked the hell out when he had to get close to those in the adult Link’s Hyrule Castle Town, and one of them jumping on my face was quite the startle. So…yeah, I can see it.
47) Nayru’s Love – 2 votes
Chris: I admit, back when I was a dumb babby teenager and I was still getting good at video games, I totally used this in the final fight against Ganon. That gave me the peace of mind to know I wouldn’t get slaughtered for as long as my magic meter held out — which meant more time to smash his stupid tail with the Megaton Hammer.
Shaun: Yeah, I abused this as well, mainly in the desert with the worms that kept coming out of the sand. I watched Tremors recently, and I wasn’t about things that came out from under your feet to kill you. Still, I love how Zelda games are so good about handling difficulty within the game without preset levels. Have a ton of skill and want a huge challenge? Don’t pick up Heart Containers! Suck at games? Here’s an invincibility spell.
48) Kafei’s Mask – 1 vote
Shaun: I like what this item represents, but I’d like it more if it was actually useful in some way. I spent three days saving this couple, and as they lay together waiting to die, they give me this pointless mask that makes Link look like a cartoon version of the Crow?
Chris: The importance of Kafei’s Mask is what it represents — one of the longest and most involved sidequests in Zelda history. (You could argue that the Couple’s Mask does the same thing, but I prefer the creepiness of Kafei’s version.) The Skull Kid’s meddling has broken an engagement and turned a man into a boy, and Link has to bust his ass to make things right. Several touching moments, some interesting smaller details, and a final race against the clock all contribute to a chilling finale.
49) Fire Arrows – 2 votes
Chris: Arrows that light people on fire. That’s cool. What I always enjoyed was the Ocarina of Time version, though, when you obtained them by going to Lake Hylia and SHOOTING AN ARROW INTO THE SUN. I don’t know how that makes any sense and I don’t particularly care, because it was fun anyway.
Shaun: Light torches on fire. Light debris on fire. Light chickens on fire. FIRE FIRE FIRE. The fire arrows are some of the most fun I’ve had with a Zelda game. Let that say what it will about me.
50) Fairy – 1 vote
Shaun: I’m all about these little guys. It’s always important to me, especially in Zelda games with death counters, to not die. Having a Fairy in a bottle is instrumental to this plan.
Chris: Of course, that wasn’t always the case — back in the earlier games, if you used a Fairy, that still counted as a death. Which raises the question: is Link actually dead in those few seconds between falling down and being revived? Did the doctor call the time of death? Is he getting brain damage from that span of inactivity? This is far more serious than I ever thought.
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