Note: At the time of writing, this post only discuses the six guides included in the special edition chest and one other. I am awaiting another to release from EB so when I get that, I’ll review it separately.
I tend not to use strategy guides. I’d rather just play through the game and figure out everything for myself, though on the odd occasion I get really stuck, I’ll just look online. However, I love that some games have high quality collector’s editions of their strategy guides available in addition to the mass-produced paperback guides. I deliberated for a long time about getting the collector’s edition chest with six Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition Strategy Guides, but in the end they were too tempting for me to pass up and I decided I’d rather spend the money and get them now instead of missing out and regretting it. I got mine from Book Depository for $198 (though I see they’ve now jacked up the price by about $15) and it arrived yesterday. So, here it is, in all its glory:
The ‘chest’ itself is made from some sort of cardboard but is still quite heavy thanks to the books it contains. When I opened it, I found a certificate of authenticity (looks like I got the fifteenth-last set to be produced) with a message from Eiji Aonuma, the producer and director of the Legend of Zelda series (unfortunately I can’t read Japanese so I don’t know what it says):
… and a beautiful gold bookmark:
That bookmark isn’t just cardboard, either; it’s a solid metallic laser-etched design, and it’s so nice I won’t use it as a bookmark for fear of losing it. Instead it will live in its little cover on the inside of the chest lid, safe and sound.
The A Link Between Worlds guide, which I bought separately, also arrived with a nice extra. Tucked under a sheet with a download code for a digital edition (a nice touch for those who want their guide on the go) was a beautiful lithograph, framed in black and with a gold Hyrule crest:
The frame is just sturdy cardboard, but still looks rather fetching.
The Majora’s Mask guide also came with something extra in the form of a sticker sheet. Characters included on the sheet range from Fierce Deity Link and Zora Link to the Skull Kid himself and that creepy hand that lives in the toilet in the Inn. I was disappointed Tingle wasn’t included but, then again, I’m one of those weird people who likes the strange little dude. The sticker backing is transparent so you won’t have to worry about a nasty white border around the character on whatever you decide to stick it to.
Finally, we come to the books themselves. The chest has a strap which allows the books to be lifted out easily, which is a good thing as you don’t want to damage them trying to dig them out.
The books themselves are gorgeous. The hardcovers have a leather-like texture with a gold border and Triforce design on the front (each has a different border that reflects on the game the book is based on) and the title along the spine. The outsides of the pages have gold leaf on them as well, making these feel like some old historical text.
The strategy guides included in the chest cover six Legend of Zelda games: Twilight Princess for the Wii (brown), Skyward Sword for the Wii (sky blue), Wind Waker HD for the Wii U (pale blue), Phantom Hourglass for the DS (navy blue), Spirit Tracks for the DS (emerald green) and Ocarina of Time 3D for the 3DS (purple). Purchased separately was the guide for A Link Between Worlds (light green). Below is a close-up of each book so you can see the individual border designs (I will add photos for the Majora’s Mask 3D guide when I have it). Click on any of the images for a closer look and a full-length image.
Now that all the gushing over how beautiful the books are on the outside is over with, I should probably talk about the contents of the books. The semi-glossy paper is of high quality and the borders in each of the books reflects the theme of the game they describe (similar to the gold borders on the covers).
The guides are thorough and very detailed; perfect for any completionist who fears missing items or secrets as they play through the game. Every part of the quest – from overworld objectives to dungeons – is broken down into small chunks, with accompanying screenshots as the book describes how to complete each section. Towards the back of each guide, there are lists of all collectibles and items (such as chests and heart containers) and their locations, so you can go through and find them easily if you’ve missed anything in your quest.
These books are a treasure for any Zelda fan to have in their collection, although they are becoming increasingly difficult (and expensive) to find. The best way to make sure you get your hands on them is to pre-order the collectors’ edition guides for each game as they become available (this is more for future Zelda games; for older guides, you’ll probably have to hope you get lucky on Book Depository or eBay or be willing to pay exorbitant prices).