The Legend of Zelda is one of gaming’s oldest and most beloved franchises. The fact that it’s still going strong after nearly 30 years is a testament to its fun and creativity. But when The Wind Waker was released on the Gamecube in 2003, longtime fans were taken aback; the fantastic medieval realm of Hyrule had been replaced with a seemingly endless ocean. The massive fields were replaced with islands. Epona, Link’s trusty steed from Ocarina of Time, was replaced by a small sailboat. The creepy, foreboding atmosphere of Majora’s Mask was replaced with a bright, cheery cel-shaded world.
Yeah, it was different.
But it wasn’t bad, though. The Wind Waker had a style all its own; the combat was more fast-paced, there was a huge world map to explore, and Nintendo demonstrated just how gorgeous cel-shading could really be. It also had one of the most memorable and awesome final bosses in not only the Zelda franchise, but in all of gaming. The shift in tone is also reflected in the game’s soundtrack; Dragon Roost Island is just one several amazing instrumentally-based songs in Zelda’s repertoire. Just try listening to the Great Sea Theme without imagining yourself at the bow of a ship, the wind in your face, waves crashing beneath, and a horizon that never ends…
If you want more Wind Waker, you can find the full OST here.
Good gaming, good music.