The video game series “The Legend of Zelda” should not only be known to die-hard gamers - after all, the individual titles are considered popular representatives of adventure role-playing games around the world. Because even fans can lose track of the mass of Zelda games, Tokyopop has now launched the third volume of the compendium trilogy for “The Legend of Zelda”. The work, which is around 320 pages long, is more than just a fan service.


Everything about (almost) all Zelda titles

“The Legend of Zelda” has developed into one of the most popular video game brands worldwide over the past few decades - and Nintendo has been able to steadily increase its fan base accordingly. The Japanese publisher succeeded in doing this not only through well-implemented games, but also with a strong focus on merchandise products. Fans are particularly impressed by the encyclopedias that Tokyopop wanted or brought to market in the German version as a trilogy: the third volume was recently published. The originals, on the other hand, come from Dark Horse Books. The theme is “The Zelda of Zelda Encyclopedia”, this time the more general book title, a tour through the world of Link and Co.

A lot can be found in the new compedium: including concept drawings. Photo: André Volkmann
A lot can be found in the new compedium: including concept drawings. Photo: André Volkmann

After “Hyrule Historia” and “Art and Artifacts”, the third volume appears as the end of the trilogy. Fans had to wait a long time for the current title - but it was worth it. On a whopping 328 pages, gamers and Zelda fans can find everything about “their” franchise, at least almost, because the archive closes with “A Link beween Worlds” from 2013. As a bonus, there is information on numerous guest appearances of the characters in other video games as well as impressions of international advertising appearances of the green-clad hero.

Over 1.000 images

Above all else, a reference work should be one thing: comprehensive. And it is precisely with its scope that the new Zelda compendium scores. On more than 320 pages, fans will find more than 1.000 images of everything that the Zelda universe has to offer in terms of objects and monsters. The evolution of the monsters should be particularly interesting for many readers: every opponent, no matter how unimportant, is shown in several of its pixel variants, each supplemented by a few brief explanations. This is especially exciting because the development is clearly demonstrated, and the many colorful pixel images also awaken memories of your own excursions with the charismatic rescuer Link. The “The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia” is actually to be understood as such. There is information from the worlds to the individual characters and villains to items of armor or potions.

The princess has always been recognizable. Photo: André Volkmann
The princess has always been recognizable. Photo: André Volkmann

Browsing through the compendium is like taking a trip back in time - for many adult fans, back in time to childhood. The first page is dedicated to the peoples and minions, especially interesting for everyone who wants to deal intensively with the story of “The Legend of Zelda”. However, it is also worth taking a look for all those who have not been with Link and Zelda for around 30 years, because the “database” in the second half of the volume lists and explains countless alphabetically arranged items from the various game titles. Finally, the monsters, along with their dungeons and game environments, find their place in the blue tome with the stylish cover.

Real fans read between the lines

One can rightly claim that after “Hyrule Historia” and “Art and Artifacts” another volume is not absolutely necessary, after all readers get more than enough information about “The Legend of Zelda” in the first two reference works. The special orientation of the “blue ribbon” - or in the deluxe edition based on the gold cartridge of the NES version - also offers non-fans an added value again. Real fans read between the lines anyway in order to use chronological lists and detailed explanations to determine the remaining information that was previously missing in their knowledge base.

The numerous concept drawings are particularly interesting. Photo: André Volkmann
The numerous concept drawings are particularly interesting. Photo: André Volkmann

On the 328 pages - the format is slightly larger than DIN A4 - every fan will find their personal highlight, including translation tables or comments from the developers. The layout of “The Legend of Zelda - Encyclopedia” corresponds to that of its predecessor - that can also be said in terms of quality. The individual book pages are attractively designed and contain a lot of graphic accessories to draw the viewer's eye to them. It is not uncommon to find yourself searching through the small pictures for additional details.

What fans won't find between the lines, even after an intensive search, is information about Zelda - Breath of the Wild, a title that is one of the best in the entire video game series. This is particularly surprising because the release date is far behind that of “Breath of the Wild”. Information is only available in the form of a final interview with Eiji Aonuma, who has been involved in a leading role in the popular series since “The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask”. The timeline of this volume to enrich content from “Breath of the Wild” would have made a lot of sense. On the technical side, there is hardly any criticism, at most the cover, which is prone to scratches.

Images for The Legend of Zelda - Encyclopedia

Infobox

Softcover: 328 pages
Publisher: Tokyopop / Dark Horse Books
Language: German
ISBN: 978-3842049574
Genre: Compendium (video games)
Year of publication: 2019
Cost: 29,99 Euro

Summary

After the two successful previous volumes, expectations were high. All the better that Tokyopop did not disappoint fans with the German version of “The Legend of Zelda - Encyclopedia”. Starting with the historical records, the editors have arranged the content in a meaningful way - in the spirit of a reference work. Searching through the book for information or simply immersing yourself in the Zelda Universe is equally fun. Long-time fans benefit from the content to a particularly high degree, after all, behind the Zelda series there is not only an evolution in video game development, but also in many cases a personal story of the player himself. Hands up: Who can still remember how laboriously he spent his pocket money? scraped together to buy the legendary “golden cassette” of the NES version?

Far too seldom are there such compendia on popular video game series - especially in this quality. Book volumes like “The Legend of Zelda - Encyclopedia” contribute directly to the fact that video games can be perceived as a cultural asset. Many people outside the industry are seldom aware of the decades of history that are hidden behind many a title. “The Legend of Zelda” stands for adventure, creativity and interwoven scraps of history. The encyclopedia revolves around all of this, mostly in more detail than one would initially assume. Particularly impressive are the countless monster images, which illustrate the ongoing technical development in the field of video games to the reader. As charming as old “pixel arts” may be, modern graphics often add extra depth to adventure games.

Instead of a uniform - and then mostly boring - structure, the makers of the compendium rely on an appealing and varied page design. Again and again the illustrations and scraps of text loosen up the reading pleasure. There is really a lot to read this time - a major point of criticism of the “Hyrule Historia”, which is more like an art book, has thus been eliminated. The new “blue ribbon” has real added value for fans and non-fans due to its high information content. In terms of price, the book volume can even be described as rather inexpensive with costs of 29,99 euros.

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