If there is one thing that helped Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda franchise remain one of the most enduring and beloved series of all-time, it’s consistency. There aren’t many series that have put so few feet wrong in well over 30 years, which is a testament to the quality poured into each and every release.
Oh sure, there’s been a few missteps along the way, including 1993’s Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Sword of Gamelon, as well as the 2017 Switch entry Breath of the Wild (I kid, I kid…calm down), but nine times out of ten, you can always expect Nintendo to knock it outta the park, thanks to the protective nature and reverence with which it treats its home-grown IPs.
But it wasn’t always so. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Nintendo of America was definitely more lenient with the sharing of its franchises, licensing out golden geese such as Super Mario Bros. with a far more carefree attitude. For the most part, this proved unwise, resulting in sub-standard entertainment that failed to capture the essence of the source material – Super Mario Bros. The Movie, anyone?
Of all of these ventures, none is more notorious than the short-lived Legend of Zelda animated series, which attempted to capitalize on the success of NES releases The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link. Handed to DIC Enterprises (“DEEEK!”), The Legend of Zelda was an attempt to take Hyrule’s inhabitants out of the video game realm and into the lucrative, backwards-baseball-cap world of ’80s kids’ TV.The resulting show would contribute to Nintendo re-evaluating its attitude toward licensing. Forever.