I’ve been wanting to play the first Zelda game for a while and I did, but just got around 50% of the game, but about a couple weeks ago, I was thinking about this game. Could I do it? Could I finish it before the review date? So I tried to do it. It’s now February the 1st…and I did it…with the help of some maps, the only way to do it. The Legend of Zelda series is epic, one of the most beloved series in gaming history. The adventures are awesome, the lore is great, the timeline is a complete mess, it’s such a great series and so, in celebration of 30 years of Zelda, I will take a look at the first 4 Zelda games, starting with…
The Legend of Zelda (ゼルダの伝説 Zeruda no Densetsu), subtitled The Hyrule Fantasy, developed and published by Nintendo and was released in 1986 for the Famicom Disk System before getting an NES release in 1987 for America and Europe. It eventually got a normal Famicom release in Japan released in 1994 of all years. The game was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka and made a series that is much beloved by everyone.
Set in the land of Hyrule, Ganon, the Prince of Darkness is invading the land (Satan was away for a while so Ganon’s was probably the temporary Prince of Darkness). He also stolen the Triforce of Power, which is a part of a magical artefact that has great strength. Princess Zelda of Hyrule decides to split her Triforce of Wisdom to avoid Ganon from easily getting it himself. And then she’s kidnapped and her nursemaid Impa is tasked into finding a hero to sort out the chaos. She manages to find Link after saving her and he’s the chosen one that will save the kingdom.
So this game has elements of action, adventure, and role-playing all wrapped into one. Now keep in mind this game did well in the US even though RPGs weren’t too popular at the time, though it doesn’t exactly feel like an RPG too much so I guess it got away with it. The game is set in a birds-view, giving you more immersive adventure for the time. You play as Link as you explore the land, fighting enemies, collecting heart pieces to increase your health. You go to dungeons, fight more enemies, find more items to help you progress, beat the easy bosses in said dungeon and collect 8 pieces of the Triforce before going to Death Mountain and defeat Ganon and rescue Princess Zelda.
Oh, and this game is also known as SECRETS: THE GAME. This game is riddled with many secrets, but whilst Castlevania II was cryptic enough, you’ll have no idea where to go or what to truly do. But to get through the game, YOU WILL NEED A MAP. I used one and it’s the sole reason why I was able to progress all the way through this game. When I tried to play it for the first time year ago without a map, I ended up getting lost, I just wondered about the place until I died.
The objective of the game is to go find dungeons and collect pieces of the Triforce in which you need to defeat Ganon and rescue the princess, each dungeon has puzzles to solve and a boss in each of them to defeat. Some dungeons are quite simple to beat, while others are a little secretive but as long as you have the right items you can beat the dungeons easily and collect the Triforce. But they can be hard anyway, especially when it comes to the enemies, the Darknuts, Bubbles and Wizzrobes can go do one. Darknuts have to be defeated from behind but their movements are random, bubbles are sparkly balls that go all over the place in 4 directions and Wizzrobes, shoot their magic at you with the blue ones being the absolute worse as they quickly move about. It gets harder when some of these enemies, especially the ones I’ve mentioned are combined in one room.
The graphics and level design I think are great and near enough memorable and I can see something timeless about it, though some gamers of a new generation will immediately be put off by everything it has to offer. The soundtrack may be lacking but what we got, especially the Overworld music, is so wonderful in terms of the NES, a true classic that has been either remixed by you, the fans and even Nintendo has done some stuff with it, especially using it in nearly all the games in the series.
Overall, it’s a great game…but you need a map, but it’s not like Castlevania II where you need a whole walkthrough to figure out how to even move let alone where to go, you just need a map of the Overworld, where the dungeons are and you can simply figure out what to do in the dungeons yourself. Despite this, it’s still a classic, it’s still an adventurous game where you’re the young boy venturing out into the world full of monsters and other strange creatures; but without a map, it can turn many a younger gamer off.
But funny how despite being an RPG-type game, it still managed to do well, probably because you were actually doing something. It also has a great inspiration, based on Miyamoto’s childhood, going to the forest and exploring everything it has to offer, getting lost and figuring out where to go and what to do. It’s a shame though that many children don’t have that sense of freedom and were stuck playing a game based on Miyamoto’s freedom as a child. Thanks Nintendo for the sweet, sweet irony!
You can get it on the Family Computer Disk System, Nintendo Entertainment System, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Virtual Console (Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U).
As always in Timeless review, it gets a respectable 5/5, it may be dated by today’s standards, but it’s a game that spawned a list of the best of what the series has to offer and so it’s deemed a true classic.