Zelda’s Most Memorable Side Quests
The Legend of Zelda franchise by Nintendo is a series beloved by many. It is known for it’s exploration, puzzle-solving, princess-saving, and sword-fighting. But for me, one of the most fascinating and exciting parts are the side quests. They make the game — and characters — feel that much more genuine. Hyrule would be nothing but a land mass void of character without its helpless citizens in need of the hero’s aid.
Ocarina of Time: Epona
Anyone who has ever played Ocarina of Time knows the majestic scene where Epona jumps over the Lon Lon Ranch wall. Link must race Ingo for Epona, the horse he was planning on giving to Ganondorf. In order to ride her (she’s a tad shy), you need to know Epona’s Song, which Malon will teach you as child Link. If you win, Ingo will panic and lock the gate so Link cannot leave, and the only way out is to jump over the wall or fence on Epona’s back. You can complete the game without her, but who wants to travel the vast land of Hyrule without Link’s most trusty steed?
Majora’s Mask: A Testament of Love
This is by far one of the best side quests in the entire franchise; a timeless love story, and a tragedy even Shakespeare would weep to. If you don’t know already, Anju and Kafei are two lovers in clock town. The skull kid — with the power of Majora’s Mask — cursed Kafei and transformed him into a child shortly before their wedding day. Ashamed of his new state, Kafei hid himself from everyone, including his lover. Worried about what may have happened to him, Anju requests Link’s help to find her beloved so they can reunite. Link must partake in a long sequence of events — lasting all 3 days — to bring them back together.
On the night that they do meet again, it is only shortly before the moon crashes into Termina. They exchange the Sun and Moon Mask as a wedding ceremony ritual, which merge together to create the Couple’s Mask, and die in each other’s arms.
I’m not crying, you are.
Twilight Princess: Malo Mart
This baby could give even the best businesswoman a run for her money. But as usual, Malo needs Link’s help to achieve his dream of opening an armor shop in castle town. It’s all pretty straightforward; repair a bridge, throw some hot spring water on a Goron, and before long you’ll be able to buy a magic armor suit for 598 rupees. This suit will take rupees from you instead of hearts, which, although useful in the final boss fight, you will most certainly end up broke. But hey, that’s better than dead, right?
Breath of the Wild: The White Stallion and the Giant Horse
Never before in a Zelda game has Link been able to ride Ganondorf’s infamous horse or the royal family’s horse (or rather, their horse’s descendants).. until now. It’s difficult enough to tame a wild horse let alone a legendary horse, but the effort is well worth it to be able to ride on horseback in the largest open world the Zelda franchise has ever seen.
Majora’s Mask: An Unwelcome Guest
Adults should really listen to children more often; Romani tried to warn her older sister Cremia that aliens were coming to steal their cows, but only Link took her seriously. The aliens come to Romani Ranch — as predicted — in the dead of night, and Link has to shoot the unwelcome guests to save the cows from being beamed up to God knows where. If you succeed in fighting them off until morning (tip: use the Inverted Song of Time), you’ll receive a bottle full of milk.
Link can then be offered a job to escort Cremia to Clock Town with a milk delivery. If the milk makes it there despite the Gorman brothers trying to rob them, you will be rewarded with Romani’s Mask, which gives you access to the Latte Milk Bar for some Chateu Romani.
Skyward Sword: Pumpkin Landing
What better way is there to take a break from saving Hyrule than by using your Loftwing to fly to a floating island and ordering a steaming bowl of pumpkin soup? That is, until Link knocks the restaurant chandelier on the ground, shattering it to pieces. The owner of the Lumpy Pumpkin — now furious — wants you to make it up to him by running errands. Link must deliver some Hot Pumpkin Soup to a commander of the knight academy and carry a stack of pumpkins from the patch to the shed. Lastly, Link needs to provide entertainment to the customers by playing his harp for them.
Warning: They are a tough crowd.
Breath of the Wild: From the Ground Up
Link gets to assist in building a new town from scratch by request of Hudson, one of the three construction workers working in Hateno Village. Link not only helps to provide supplies, but he also recruits vendors (with names ending in ‘son’) from the different races scattered across Hyrule: The Goron, Grayson, to open a gem shop, the Gerudo, Rhondson, to open an armor shop, the Rito, Fyson, to open an arrow shop, and the Zora, Kapson, to open a clothing shop.
Once you’ve found all the merchants, Hudson will announce his wedding, and request that you find some more guests to attend it. After inviting his former colleagues, Bolson and Karson, the wedding ceremony will commence; the first wedding ceremony in Tarry Town.
Wind Waker: Mila’s Path to Justice
Mila is one of the girls Link helps rescue from the Forbidden Fortress. She can then be found on Windfall island, wearing rags and acting suspicious. If Link follows her in the night — keeping a safe distance — he will find her trying to break into Zunari’s shop safe in search of rupees.
When Link confronts her, she explains to him that her and her family were once rich, until a giant bird took her to the Fortress. Her parents spent all their money trying to save her and they are now completely broke. She reveals that she is struggling with being poor, and had become desperate.
Eventually she thanks Link for intervening, stopping her from becoming “a common thief,” and for allowing her to speak openly. She repays him with an empty bottle (one of the most valuable items you can have in a Zelda game), and wishes her soul could be as beautiful as the tiny glass.
Ocarina of time: Biggoron Sword
The quest to acquire the Biggoron sword is a long and dreary one, but it is filled with unique things that are always fun to see in the items menu. Some of my favourites include a cucco egg (that silly Talon is always sleeping), the blue cucco, the weird mushroom (I always wished I could eat it), and the world’s finest eye drops.
When finished this game of ‘Hyrule scavenger hunt,’ you get to talk to a GIANT Goron — Biggoron — who will reward your effort with a sword you probably won’t use often.
Majora’s Mask: Bomber’s Secret Society of Justice
Link is an unusual child, standing out from among his peers (remember Mido in Kokiri Forest?). In Clock Town, however, he is given the rare opportunity of joining a club with other young boys his age. Once he is a member (which can be achieved by winning a game of hide-and-seek), Link is granted access to the Astral Observatory and given a Bomber’s Notebook; a very useful tool to keep track of all the residents he encounters in Termina.
Breath of the Wild: Shrines
Finally we have one of the most tedious side quests in the Zelda series: completing all 120 shrines. You need to finish shrines to get Spirit Orbs to increase your health and stamina, which is crucial in the game if you want to live long enough to defeat a Lynol (which, in my opinion, are more dangerous than Ganondorf himself). Completing all 120 shrines is optional, however, but you will be rewarded for doing so with a side quest to acquire the Tunic, Trousers, and Cap of the Wild.
Shrines are new to the Zelda series and consist of individual puzzles or battles. When finished one, Link speaks to a monk who has been supposedly waiting for him — the promised hero — for many years.