No more games, no more pretense — this is our list of the top 25 Zelda items of all-time. Whether they were weapons or shields or utility items, these are the panel’s selections for the coolest or most useful inventory slots in the series. We’ll be counting down one by one until we reach the #1 pick on Jan. 31.
4) Bow – 8 votes, 400 points
Chris: The bow is one of the longest-tenured Zelda items, right up there with the bomb. Maybe its simplicity is the key — it’s a weapon you usually pick up early in the game, and shooting arrows is the perfect complement to Link’s swordplay. It’s even more stunning to consider that the bow has been in more games than, say, the Master Sword.
Some of my favorite moments in the series revolve around this item. Clearing out a village full of enemies like a Western and then watching cats take over? Yeah, that was legit. Shooting targets on horseback in Gerudo Valley? Probably the best minigame in Ocarina of Time. Stealing it from the shop owner and having him zap my dumb ass straight to hell? Fantastic.
If the bow only shot regular arrows, I think we would be bored with it by now. But even the simplest of tweaks, like elemental arrows or what is effectively a sniper scope, seem to be a breath of fresh air each time. It’s gotten to the point where it’s weird to imagine a Zelda title that DOESN’T feature the bow.
Joseph: This primitive, basic weapon is versatile. Need to shoot something? Use the bow. Need to solve a puzzle? Use the bow. Something not frozen when it should be? Bow. Every game seems to add something new. Regular arrows, light arrows, bomb arrows. Who knows what they will do next? I am happy they have kept a familiar weapon throughout most of the games. It makes puzzle solving a lot easier when you know why you cannot activate a certain switch and what you will need to do it.
Shaun: Look, America loves archery. It’s the new hotness right now. Look at Katniss. Bow. Look at Legolas. Look at him. Bow. Green Arrow. Bow. The new Lara Croft? Traded dual pistols for a bow.
Then we have Hipster Link, who was making the bow cool before the bow was cool. However, and this is especially true in the 3D iterations, there is a certain way you have to make Link shoot the bow to be cool, and that way is to make him a god damn arrow slinger. Shoot from the hip with targeting, every time. Never go first person. This way, you can parry left, then backflip, and still fire off two shots to down two goblins who didn’t even see it coming.
Link the archer will never not be cool, and from the trailers of the new Zelda that demonstrate Link backflipping off his horse and slowing down time to snipe hapless foes, it looks like it’s only going to get more awesome.
Michaela: Being able to sniper-shot enemies is one of my favorite things to do in the Zelda series. The bow is one of the easiest items to use whether you’re aiming manually or Z-targeting. Combine it with the different types of arrows it can shoot, and you have one of the most versatile items in the series.
Cary: About a year after the Twilight Princess was released, Nintendo came out with a “game” called Link’s Crossbow Training that was accompanied by the Wii Zapper, a peripheral that held the Wiimote and nunchuck in a stylized, white plastic “crossbow” formation. Still being enamored of the Wii’s novelty and being a horrible shot in Twilight Princess, getting the game and Zapper seemed like a good idea at the time. It wasn’t. Using the Zapper in both the crossbow training and Twilight Prince was fun…for about an hour. It didn’t help me become a bow and arrow master by any stretch of the imagination. But I still have that stupid Zapper. It’s such a dumb accessory to have to store, what with it’s odd shape and all, but I can’t get rid of it. I mean, it’s not hurting anyone in its storage box, but every time I have to retrieve something from our island of misfit game accessories, I have to move it out of the way, get what I need, and then place it back in the box. I always think “Why do I still have this silly thing? It’s not I’m gonna play Twilight Princ…”
Bow? What bow?
PREVIOUS TOP 25s: