Both Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild are two of the most revolutionary games in The Legend of Zelda series. One is the first title to bring the franchise into the third dimension, while the other boldly reinvents it to be an open-world adventure with virtually no limits. One thing that all Zelda games share in common is a final showdown against an evil force, and that force almost always takes shape in the form of the evil Ganon. These fights are the culmination of each Zelda game’s adventure, requiring players to put all of their skills and equipment to use in a final test of their ability. Pitting Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the battle of “best final boss fight” essentially sees us comparing two of the best encounters in the entire series.
Ocarina of Time features a climactic encounter against both Ganondorf and his true demon form as Ganon, mirroring the player’s previous fight against Phantom Ganon in the Forest Temple. Similarly, the ultimate showdown against Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild shares plenty in common with the four encounters within each of the Divine Beasts. Both Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Zelda: Breath of the Wild train the player for the final encounter earlier in the game, but in no way do these preview fights lessen the eventual tension of the battle with the final boss. All that’s left now is to see which Zelda game features the better of two of the series’ best encounters with its iconic recurring villain.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Side-by-Side Comparison
Despite both being 3D entries in The Legend of Zelda series, Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild couldn’t be more different. Ocarina of Time is the first 3D game in the series and establishes the formula that every subsequent 3D Zelda game follows. Conversely, Breath of the Wild is an intentional departure from Ocarina of Time‘s formula. Whereas Ocarina of Time is a faithful translation of the original Zelda games’ structure and gameplay into a full-3D world, Breath of the Wild is a much more modern-feeling open-world adventure game that affords the player even more freedom than the original Legend of Zelda. Interestingly, players can make a beeline straight for Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild, neglecting the entire game in the process.
|Zelda: Ocarina of Time
|Zelda: Breath of the Wild
|Review Aggregate Score
|14.04 million units
|32.85 million units
|Number of Dungeons
|Number of Forms Ganon Takes
|Number of Preview Fights
|Can Tackle Boss at Any Time
|Receive Help from Zelda
Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild: 5 Must-Know Facts
Here are 5 must-know facts about the final battle against Ganon in Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild:
- Though both Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild‘s versions of Ganon take multiple forms in the final fight, Ocarina of Time‘s fight is split between Ganondorf (Ganon’s human form) and his true demonic beast form as Ganon. Calamity Ganon’s two forms are one reminiscent of the Blight Ganons inhabiting the Divine Beasts and a massive beast form.
- Both Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild offer satisfying conclusions to their adventures following the final fight against Ganon, but Breath of the Wild‘s lack of a definitive narrative makes it pale in comparison to Ocarina of Time‘s execution of its ending.
- In terms of the impact of each Ganon fight on the Zelda series canon, Breath of the Wild essentially ends up being inconsequential since it immediately leads into the events of Tears of the Kingdom (which, interestingly, has a much better final fight against Ganon). Ocarina of Time, though, impacts the entire franchise’s timeline.
- It almost goes without saying that the final boss fight against Ganon is an important factor in fan perception of any Zelda game. Ocarina of Time holds half the sales of Breath of the Wild but is the highest-rated game of all-time, while Breath of the Wild is the best-selling title in the Zelda series by a longshot.
- In both Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild‘s Ganon fights, Princess Zelda assists from afar by either giving Link Light Arrows to use against the villain or firing them herself. Since Ocarina of Time, Princess Zelda plays a pivotal role in almost every Zelda game’s final battle.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Ganondorf and Ganon or Calamity Ganon
Skyward Sword establishes that each version of Link, Zelda, and Ganon that appear throughout the series are different reincarnations of the same spirits — the Hero, the Goddess Hylia, and the Demon King Demise. As a result, each Ganon that players face off against is a variation of the same evil force that is eternally trying to wrest control of the Triforce. Ocarina of Time is the first game in the series to introduce Ganon’s human form, Ganondorf, who is the leader of the desert-dwelling Gerudo tribe. Conversely, Breath of the Wild introduces its version of Ganon as the malignant spirit Calamity Ganon, who is neither really human nor beast. Instead, Calamity Ganon is an evil force that takes multiple forms, including 4 lesser forms calling themselves Blight Ganon that Link clears from each of the Divine Beasts.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Satisfying Conclusion
While Breath of the Wild has a regular ending and a secret ending for players who uncover all of Link’s lost memories, its events lead directly into Tears of the Kingdom, where Calamity Ganon is still waiting to destroy Hyrule. Essentially, Link’s mission is only partially done after defeating Breath of the Wild‘s Calamity Ganon and ending the game. Ocarina of Time, though, has a more fully developed narrative and storyline that comes to a satisfying conclusion following the climactic battle against Ganondorf and the beast Ganon. Not only that, the result of that battle has consequences that carry throughout the entire franchise, with three branching timelines in which every other Zelda game takes place depending on the outcome.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Importance to the Timeline
Speaking of the outcome of the Ganon fight, Link’s victory against or defeat at the hands of Ganon in Ocarina of Time has far-reaching implications. If Link suffers defeat, Hyrule falls into ruin and the “Hero is Defeated” timeline begins, which sparks the “Era of Decline” in which A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II take place. If Link wins, though, there are two branching realities depending on if he returns the Master Sword to the Temple of Time. Returning the sword also returns Link to being a child, while retaining the sword sees Link remain an adult, with different games featuring in each of those “Victory” timelines. Comparatively, Breath of the Wild‘s Ganon fight has practically no impact on the timeline.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time vs Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Fan Perception and Sales
There’s no denying that Breath of the Wild is one of the best Zelda games in the history of the franchise, and its critical reception and commercial sales only serve to support that fact. However, for all the game’s greatness, there are several fans that consider the game’s final battle against Calamity Ganon to be a bit underwhelming in comparison to the grand adventure that players have along the way. As the saying goes — it’s about the journey, not the destination. Ocarina of Time, while having less than half the total sales of Breath of the Wild, is the highest-rated game of all-time and often referenced as one of the most important games ever made. The final climactic battle against Ganon and satisfying conclusion to the game are an important part of that reputation.
The Zelda franchise is chock-full of incredible boss fights, and each game’s climactic final boss fight against Ganon are all memorable in their own unique way. While personal favorites would be The Wind Waker‘s samurai-style showdown or Tears of the Kingdom‘s absolutely incredible showcase of the game’s myriad systems in a tense fight against the demon king, Ocarina of Time‘s excellent two-phase battle against Ganon is also high-up on the list. Breath of the Wild is one of the best Zelda games as a whole, but its final fight against Ganon is somewhat of a let-down considering how incredible and varied the path is to get there. Thanks to its narrative importance not just to its source material but the franchise as a whole, and for its nostaligic value and fun mechanics, Ocarina of Time‘s Ganon fight reigns supreme.