The land of Hyrule was thrown into disarray when a powerful being named Ganon The Prince of Darkness, stole one of two artifacts of great power called The Triforce of Power. Princess Zelda who was the wielder of the second one called the Triforce of Wisdom, shattered it into 8 pieces and hid them throughout Hyrule in 8 dungeons. She was soon captured and imprisoned by Ganon. A young man named Link, armed with a wooden sword and shield, sets out on a quest to reclaim the 8 pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, in order to battle Ganon as his equal and save Princess Zelda. -summary
In 1986, Nintendo fans witnessed the birth of an instant classic, The Legend of Zelda. The video game was indeed ground-breaking for its time because of its original elements. Its popularity would soon grow, and over the years there would be many sequels, spin-offs, and all new adventures. Its influence would be seen in many role-playing and action/adventure games. Due to its popularity and classic status, the game would eventually be re-released for the Gameboy Advance as part of Nintendo's Classic NES Series line.
From here though, I'll skip the rest of its accolades and go into the game itself, simply because I do not believe a video game's status has anything to do with its quality. Personally, I think the game has a very dated feel to it, and can be boring at times, but I still find it to be fun, and it's a nice trip down memory lane.
The Legend of Zelda was definitely something else and I mean that in a good way. The game is an action/adventure title with role-playing elements. The style of the game features an overhead and flip screen view. The world is completely free roaming and although it's recommended to follow some type of order, the player really doesn't have to. I'll elaborate on this; the main goal is to locate the eight dungeons(referred to as Levels), navigate through them, and defeat the guardians of the Triforce; then locate the ninth dungeon for the final showdown. However, with the exception of the ninth(although it can be found early) the player doesn't have to find these in order. You can actually start on Level three, but the difficulty of your quest will be a lot easier if you find them in order.
The character begins with barely no weapons, and it's up to the player to upgrade his arsenal, by finding weapons, health power ups, and defeating boss characters. The world is vast and is completely open for the player to explore. This non-linear feel creates the perfect adventure that is packed with fierce enemies and puzzles. The player will find themselves occupied for hours searching for different items and levels. The levels contain maps and compasses that can be found, and there's also a world map.
The game isn't very difficult, but each level is slightly harder than the previous one. The actual world can have its hard moments though, because of the formidable enemies you will encounter during the quest. The items that are found such as arrows, bombs, candles, and ladders enhances the gameplay a great deal. These items all have their purposes and nothing is tossed out there for your basic window-dressing. The sword, shield, and armor can all be upgraded to dispose of enemies easier, block very powerful attacks, and take less damage. The game also includes money, in the form of rupees to buy items and even information. The game has a built in save option where you can save your progress. This feature really doesn't mean anything in the here and now, but at that time there weren't many, if any games that had a save feature. Either there were short cuts in the game, or there were passwords to get you to that level you died on. The Legend of Zelda truly made its mark in the videogame world.
Although the game can be fun, it does have its moments where I was bored. After awhile, I found the searching to be a bit redundant, because I would run into the same ol' enemies, and they would become easier to deal with. Also, there wasn't too much variety in the levels. I found the boss battles easy even when I was a kid, and now, I find them to be a piece of cake. This also includes the final battle.
The game perfoms quite well on the Gameboy Advance and the Nintendo DS. The controls are responsive and easy to get used to. The attack button uses the sword, and when the health bar is full, the sword will fire an energy attack. Accessing secondary weapons and items is just as easy. The player can select these items by going to the weapon select and choosing an item. The secondary weapons, such as bombs, candles, or magic rods, can be used alongside the main weapon. Other items such as ladders and rafts are used automatically by running into a location that triggers it. Additional items such as armor and the book of magic are automatic upgrades.
The graphics were good for their time, but are definitely dated by today's standards and kind of have a bland look. The wooden areas, mountains, graveyards, and labyrinths do have nice features that separates and keep them all from looking alike, with certain patterns that can create a maze-like feel. The character designs are plenty with many different creatures, and the boss characters can be very big when compared to the rest. The soundtrack really isn't vast, with only three main songs that accurately captures the mood of each of the three different settings; the main world, eight levels, and final level. The sound effects are also pretty good. The sword has a cool sound when it fires, plus the sound effects are very detailed with a clanging sound, when the shield is used to block projectiles.
Once the game has been completed, a second quest will begin with much harder levels, and items are moved around. This adds a great deal for the die hard completist, but I can't imagine myself doing both of them a second time. I finished both quest a while ago, and I haven't picked up the game since.
Gameboy Advance Version:
In this area, I can't exactly complain about anything. The game is an exact port over from the 1986 original. There isn't anything new here at all, but I don't think that was Nintendo's aim. I think their purpose was to re-release this classic for older fans who probably no longer own the original in gold cartridge form, and for younger fans who love the new Zelda games to enjoy, and see where the series came from. I'm all for checking out a series in its infancy, and I think those who have never played this classic should definitely give it a try. I also highly recommend the third sequel A Link to the Past. In closing, I thank Nintendo for reissuing this classic. Now they should dig deep into the vault and bring us The Guardian Legend.
Pros: -Nice adventure elements, puzzles, a grand landscape to explore
Cons: -Boss battles are too easy, somewhat tedious, has a dated feel
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Serious gamer and hardcore comic reader.
Currently in my Nintendo Wii U:
Currently … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Embark on a quest to find the Triforce, slay Ganon and save Princess Zelda in this enduring epic that single-handedly invented the adventure genre. It's part of the NES Classic Series of specially priced masterpieces!
Link's legendary first adventure, now portable!
Explore dungeons, solving baffling puzzles and defeating scores of menacing enemies
A quest bristling with secrets: Unlock dozens of hidden passages and caves
Weapons include swords, boomerangs, bombs and arrows
Collect rupees to buy swords, shields and other special items
Before she was captured by the Dark Lord, Ganon, Princess Zelda scattered the pieces of the Triforce across her beloved Hyrule. Link must reassemble the Triforce and defeat Ganon before he can free the princess.