The First Companion Character Link Has In Any Of The Legend Of Zelda Games Is?
Over the years, the hero of the Legend of Zelda franchise, Link, has had a variety of companions—including a Twili from the twilight world (Midna in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess), a sailor who travels with Link in search of treasure (Linebeck in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass), and even a renowned Minish craftsman who has been cursed into the form of a green bird-like hat (Ezlo, in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap).
The most notable of all Link’s companions, however, is Navi—a tiny glowing fairy. Not only was Navi Link’s very first companion, appearing in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but she’s also perhaps the most polarizing companion, as both a result of being first and the way in which the character was written into the game.
Within the context of the game, the Great Deku Tree assigns Link a fairy companion because, as a non-Kokiri living in the enchanted Kokiri Forest, he has no fairy to call his own. Not only does Navi serve as a plot device that ties into the storyline, but practically, Navi also functions as both a tutorial driver (you learn much about how to play the game by following Navi’s lead in the very beginning), a dispenser of clues (Navi gives Link tips throughout the game), and as a focusing tool (when you get ranged weapons, you then use Navi to target enemies).
The inclusion of both a companion and the introduction of a more heavy handed tutorial hand-holding like methodology was a significant departure from previous games in the franchise. Earlier games like The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link had no tutorial system to speak of, and later games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening had very minor guided skill building in the beginning. Although The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as one of the best Zelda-franchise games, the hand-holding combined with Navi’s chattiness—mention the name “Navi” to a franchise fan and they’ll likely immediately and reflexively yell “Hey! Listen!” in imitation of the chatty fairy—led many players to dislike Link’s first companion.
Image courtesy of Nintendo of America.