NES – #3 – The Legend of Zelda

History:

My real history with the Zelda franchise doesn’t really start until the N64 era. Still, I’ve rented this entry more than a couple times and have never made any real progress with it. Every time I play this game I get lost, then get bored. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve ever even been in a dungeon!

Expectations:

I recently tried to play Link to the Past and just couldn’t really get into it. I feel terrible for it, but it’s true. The original game is even worse in that regard. Still, I’m going to give it best effort, and plan on at least seeing a decent chunk of the game.


Day 1:

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I hope I remember to touch on this in my NES roundup, but part of playing through all these games almost feels like going on a scavenger hunt for key memories. “You jam bananas in your ears!” “I am error”, seeing Samus at the end of Metroid. It’s all great to hear about and read about, but actually seeing these bits of history in their original environment is special.

It’s dangerous to go alone… here’s a stick.

I explored 8-bit Hyrule (Am I in Hyrule?) for about 20 minutes before the inevitable frustration and boredom set in, at which point I grabbed a guide, leading me all over the field in search of hearths, rupees, better equipment and a magic candle. In doing this, I actually had a lot of fun!

Knowing where to go and what to see has helped my enjoyment of the game immensely, though I’ll likely ease up on the guide when it comes to dungeons, which I still haven’t encountered.

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Currently I’m at 198/250 rupees I need for the Blue Ring, which I’d really like to have before fighting the bigger bads. I managed to get myself killed in the field which made for a good stopping point for the night. Looking forward to picking it up again tonight though.


Day 2:

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Didn’t take too long to farm up the rest of the Rupees I needed for my Blue Ring, which incidentally turned me blue, and I was off to my first dungeon!

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The first dungeon was actually pretty fun, though not very challenging. Navigating through the dungeon, finding keys and other items, and eventually taking down the boss and claiming the Triforce piece all went very smoothly without the need of a guide.

Before I knew it I was tearing through dungeons, using new items to access heart pieces and generally just having a great time.

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Dodonga… I remember you being bigger…

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I lowered my camera quality to save on upload space… maybe not the best idea.

In any case, I found this dungeon entrance completely by chance, which was really cool, in addition to just being a really cool dungeon entrance in and of itself.

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Before I knew it I had blasted through almost the entire game… The Overworld was conquered and I had become geared to the teeth!

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I did need to use a map to navigate through Death Mountain, otherwise I doubt I would have had enough bombs to test every wall! Eventually, I reached Ganon…

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So what I was NOT expecting was that I’d be fighting an invisible boss! I ended up with about 5 hearts left before I finally got the final blow in, and had the opportunity to stick him with a magic arrow. Ganon is dead! The princess is saved!

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Conclusion:

I… really enjoyed playing through Zelda. Once I really got started I couldn’t put it down until the credits rolled. The world felt larger than it actually was, allowing me to feel like I was exploring while never really getting lost. The graphics were varied enough to be interesting and the music is timeless… sort of… As much as I love the Legend of Zelda score as a whole, that classic Overworld theme really started grating after a couple hours. Even still, the atmosphere created by the game was great, and it’s easy to see how incredible a game like this would have been at the time.

My biggest complaint about this game is how there’s no way I would have found half the things there were to find without a guide! At least, I think that’s true… In all actuality the dungeons did an okay job of gating you through content, often requiring an item found in one dungeon to access another. That said, there’s little stopping someone from accidentally finding an entrance to a later dungeon and getting rolled by the monsters inside. This can be disheartening. At the same time, it also makes the idea of speedrunning this game really interesting.

Another observation I couldn’t help but make about this game was the actual difficulty. While getting stuck or not knowing where to go next was a real possibility, Legend of Zelda never actually gets “hard”. So long as you have the right items and weapons, again almost requiring the use of a guide, slicing, shooting and bombing your way through dungeons can actually be fairly leisurely. This isn’t particularly a bad thing, as it helps to keep the game enjoyable and progressing.

I didn’t go back and play the alternate world after beating the game, but I think one day I will.

Liked:

– For an early NES title the graphics were decent and the sound and music were great.
– Seeing game concepts originating in this game that would become trends for all Zelda games moving forward was neat.
– Finding new items and weapons added a really strong sense of progression to the game. By the end I felt like a Hyrulian badass.
– Relaxed difficulty made dungeons flow smoothly, making them feel more exciting than like an obstacle.
– Game world felt like the perfect size, and game length felt just about perfect.

Disliked:

– Playing this game without a guide would probably be possible, but would have been an exercise in frustration.
– Difficulty could feel all over the place. One of the late game bosses was the same boss you fought in Dungeon 1!
– Darknuts.

Legend of Zelda

3 comments on “NES – #3 – The Legend of Zelda

  1. Pingback: Playthrough Analysis – 146 Games | 600 Games

  2. Pingback: Playthrough Analysis – 193 Games | 600 Games

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