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 worldwide. Because even fans can lose track of the mass of Zelda games, Tokyopop has now brought the third volume of the compendia trilogy to "The Legend of Zelda" onto the market. The 320-page work is more than just 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 also been able to steadily expand its fan base accordingly. The Japanese publisher succeeded not only with well-implemented games, but also with a strong focus on merchandise products. Fans are particularly impressed by the encyclopedias that Tokyopop wanted to launch or has launched 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 Zelda of Zelda Encyclopedia", the more general title of the book this time, is a round trip 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 conclusion 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 will 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 about numerous guest appearances by the characters in other video games as well as impressions of international advertising appearances of the green-robed hero.

Over 1.000 images

A reference book should be one thing above all: comprehensive. And it is precisely with its scope that the new Zelda compendium scores. On over 320 pages, fans will find more than 1.000 illustrations of everything the Zelda universe has to offer in terms of objects and monsters. The evolution of the monsters should be of particular interest to many readers: every opponent, no matter how minor, is shown in several of its pixel variants, each supplemented by a few short explanations. This is particularly exciting because the development is clearly shown, and the many colorful pixel images also bring back memories of your own trips with the charismatic rescuer Link. The "The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia" is actually so to understand. There is information from the worlds to the individual characters and villains to armor items 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 a journey into the past – for many adult fans, back to their childhood. The first pages are dedicated to the races and henchmen, of particular interest to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the history of "The Legend of Zelda". However, a look is also worthwhile 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 objects from the various game titles. Finally, the monsters, including their dungeons and game environments, find their place in the blue tome with the chic 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 are presented with more than enough information about "The Legend of Zelda" in the first two reference works. The special focus on the "blue band" - or in the deluxe edition based on the golden cartridge of the NES version - also offers non-fans added value again. Real fans read between the lines anyway in order to use chronological listings and detailed explanations to determine the remaining information that they have been missing from their knowledge.

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 predecessors - 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 for one to catch oneself combing through the small images for additional details.

What fans can't find between the lines, no matter how hard they search, is information about Zelda - Breath of the Wild, one of the best titles in the entire video game franchise. This is particularly surprising because the release date is far behind that of "Breath of the Wild". At best, there is information in the form of a concluding interview with Eiji Aonuma, who has held a leading position in the popular series since "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask". The timeline of this volume to add content from "Breath of the Wild" would have made a lot of sense. There is hardly any criticism on the technical side, at most the cover, which is prone to scratches.

Images for The Legend of Zelda - Encyclopedia


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


Expectations were high after the two successful previous volumes. All the better that Tokyopop fans did not disappoint 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 book. Browsing the book for information or just mindlessly immersing yourself in the Zelda universe is equally enjoyable. However, long-time fans benefit from the content to a particular extent, after all, behind the Zelda series is not only an evolution of video game development, but also often a personal story of the player himself. Hands up: who can still remember how he laboriously spent his pocket money scraped together to buy the NES version's legendary "Gold Cassette Tape"?

Compendiums of this kind on popular video game series are far too rare - especially in this quality. Books like The Legend of Zelda - Encyclopedia contribute directly to video games being perceived as cultural assets. Because many people who are not familiar with the industry are seldom aware of the decades of history behind many a title. "The Legend of Zelda" stands for adventure, creativity and interwoven fragments of history. The encyclopedia is also about all of this, mostly in more detail than one would initially expect. Particularly impressive are the countless illustrations of monsters, which explain to the reader the ongoing technical developments in the field of video games. As charming as old "pixel art" may be, modern graphics often add an extra depth to adventure games.

Instead of a uniform - and then usually boring - structure, the makers of the compendium rely on an appealing and varied page design. Again and again, the illustrations and fragments 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 designed as an art book, has 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 cheap at EUR 29,99.