The Legend of Zelda is one of the highest regarded long-running franchises ever. With some of the highest-rated games of all time, the series has produced some of the greatest gaming moments that defined generations. With all that said, however, things would be a lot less impactful without a good soundtrack to back it up. Thankfully, The Legend of Zelda — with the help of one of the greatest composers in our lifetime, Koji Kondo — has consistently had some of the most effective musical scores in the industry.
With two new games in the franchise in 2019 — Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening —there's a lot of music to eat up and look back on. We want to do the latter today and rank our favorite tunes in the series. So, without further ado, here is Legend Of Zelda: 9 Best Songs In The Series, Ranked.
9 Gerudo Valley- Legend Of Zelda: 25th Anniversary CD
OK, since this version of the song is technically not in the video game series — it was released on the special 25th anniversary CD that came included in Skyward Sword — it would be disingenuous to put this song on the list and not reference the best version of it. Originally intended to conjure up feelings of mysticism and hot desert days, this iteration is much grander.
Starting with the violins, the intensity picks up before the brass section kicks in with the memorable hook of the song. The Gerudo Valley song has always been a fan favorite, but it wasn't until this moment that it got the recognition it deserves.
8 Forest Temple- Ocarina of Time
The Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time is interesting in that, while your primary goal is to solve puzzles and beat the boss of the area, the way players go about it is vastly different than any dungeon before it in both the game and previous titles. The idea is, upon entering the temple, there are poes each carrying a fire Link needs to unlock a bigger portion of the temple. With these spooky undertones, there needed to be a song to help convey that feeling.
The result is something that sounds spiritual, and grand while evoking feelings of exploration. Beginning with percussion fading in and out, the stringed instruments slowly enter increasing in intensity, as the vocals hit. This is really one of the more underrated songs in the franchise, but it's impactful and compliments the temple in the best possible way.
7 Dragon Roost Island- Wind Waker
Wind Waker took what 3D Zelda games did right, and took it in another direction. Ditching the pseudo-realistic aesthetic of the original games, it adopted a more cartoonish-look. Not only that, but it ditched the traditional medieval setting of the previous titles, taking place on a series of islands instead. To complement this aesthetic, we were treated to the Dragon Roost Island song.
With more stringed instruments, backed by what sounds like claps or snaps, and a pan flute for the melody, this song is one of the most iconic in the game. It really fits the island feel, and it doesn't feel out of place in the Zelda franchise despite that change in direction.
6 Ballad Of The Goddess- Skyward Sword
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword may be a little controversial in terms of fan reception, but one thing no one can deny is that it had one heck of a soundtrack. Case and point, "Ballad of the Goddess". In many ways, this song captures the same feeling of grandeur as the franchises main theme, while sounding completely different.
With a complete orchestra behind it — Skyward Sword was the first in the franchise to do so — the song is actually "Zelda's Lullaby" played in reverse. Yet, despite that tidbit of information, it sounds completely new and unique.
5 Dark World Dungeon - A Link To The Past
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past doesn't get nearly enough credit for its amazing soundtrack. Maybe that's partly attributed to the relatively underwhelming sound system in the retro console, however, "Dark World Dungeon" proves sometimes you don't need all the bells and whistles to put together a fantastic song.
The dungeon theme sets the tone right away, jumping into a frantic melody while lower keyed horns play in the background. It's almost as if the song wants players to know they should speed through the area, but there is danger around every corner.
4 Hidden Village - Twilight Princess
Of all the music in the Legend of Zelda franchise, "Hidden Village" feels the most out of place. Instead of the traditional "orchestral sounding" songs that instill feelings of high-fantasy adventure in the middle ages, "Hidden Village" sounds straight out of an American Western movie. With a guitar and whistling handling the melody, there appears to be a slight tinge of digeridoo before a flute chimes-in signifying a transition to a more Mexican flavor featuring some trumpet sounds.
This is a mix of a bunch of different flavors, and while it doesn't fit in with what we expect from the series, it's special.
3 Main Menu - Cadence Of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda took one of the best parts of the Zelda franchise and built a game around it — music. Yet, unlike other titles, it was able to stray away from tradition and offer something a little more modern. The result is this fantastic chill-hop-inspired remix of the main menu song from Ocarina of Time along with Zelda's Lullaby.
Fans of the Zelda series may not be used to the kind of gameplay mechanics that come with Crypt of the NecroDancer, and therefore may be put off. Yet, for those who genuinely love the music from the series, this title is full of gems just like this — just don't expect them to be nearly as good as this.
2 Song Of Storms - Ocarina Of Time
Ocarina of Time may be full of iconic tracks, but "Song of Storms" may be the most recognizable original tune from the game. Given to Link as an adult by the owner of a windmill in Kakkoriko Village, the song actually creates a pretty interesting paradox as payers must travel back in time to play the song to the man as a child. Meaning, in some weird way, Link taught himself the song.
Anyway, with a mix of various wind-instruments, the tune has a special ring to it that makes it incredibly unique, while also loop perfectly without becoming too annoying.
1 Legend of Zelda Main Theme - Almost Any Zelda Game
While The Legend of Zelda series is known for its music, it's defined by one song. Written by Koji Kondo for the original title in the series, this song has been updated in almost every sequel. As iconic as the franchise that it spawned from, this song, which was pretty monophonic originally, features an entire orchestra. Screaming adventure throughout every note, there's something about this song that gets the blood flowing.
It's hard to imagine this franchise without this song, and in a way, it's one of the most important in gaming history. Regardless of the era you grew up in, there's a version you hold near and dear to your heart, so we won't nail down one specific iteration this time — though we do love the Hyrule Warriors version — so for this final entry, we'll let you imagine which one resonates most with you.