The Legend of Zelda - Box Art Brawl
Image: Nintendo Life

It's Sunday and you know what that means. That's right, it's time for another edition of Box Art Brawl!

Last time saw a whopping five covers go head-to-head (to-head-to-head-to-head, we suppose) as we matched up the regional art for the SNES' Illusion of Gaia (or Illusion of Time for those of us in PAL regions). Despite all of those options, it was not a close one, as Japan walked away with a huge 59% victory over Europe's 25%, leaving the other three covers picking up the scraps.

This week, we are taking it way back to the beginning of one of Nintendo's most popular franchises as we pit three covers for The Legend of Zelda against each other. The OG title started life on the Famicom Disk System in Japan in 1986 before coming to the West in cartridge form the following year. We have decided to include this FDS original in the race too just to really flex those regional variants — hey, we never said that the vote would be easy!

Without further ado, let's dive into this week's contenders...

Be sure to cast your votes in the poll below; but first, let's check out the box art designs themselves.

Japan (FDS)

The Legend of Zelda - JP FDS
Image: Nintendo

Working our way through the releases chronologically, this Famicom Disk System release in Japan was the first time that the world laid eyes on Link — and what a sight it is! The Disk System cover has our hero kneeling down front and centre, with the landscape of Hyrule stretching out behind him. There's also the classic logo up top, showing a crumbling triangular piece of stone. Long before obsessions with timeline chronology, it's nice to see that Nintendo was laying the groundwork for a Hyrule in decline.

Europe / North America

The Legend of Zelda - NA / EU
Image: Nintendo

When the game came to the West in cartridge form a year later, the box art underwent a complete redo. Gone are the indicators of who the hero is and where the game takes place, here replaced by a block-beige background and the shield motif (with the cutout window to show the gold cartridge inside). It has a certain classic look these days, but compared to what the original had shown, this one really is rather boring.

Japan (Famicom)

The Legend of Zelda - JP Famicom
Image: Nintendo

It was a long time coming before the game got a Famicom cartridge release in Japan (1994, to be precise), but at least the box art kept much of the same detailed style that the original FDS version had. The image of kneeling Link still takes the limelight, but it is now surrounded by a classy forest green background. Also notice how the title has changed to have a "1" on the end — see, Nintendo has always loved retroactively sticking a number on rereleases...

Which region got the best Legend of Zelda box art?

Thanks for voting! We'll see you next time for another round of the Box Art Brawl.