Monday, April 4, 2011

The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1986)

John Marine | 4/04/2011 03:44:00 AM | | |
Some games and series withstand the test of time. The Legend of Zelda is one of them as this game was packaged in a golden NES cartridge. A star was born in 1986 when this game was released. It chronicled the story of a young lad named Link, whose goal is to save Princess Zelda from the clutches of Ganondorf (or just Ganon). Many more games in the series would come along including both 2D and 3D versions of this classic franchise. Link would even be featured in other titles including as a playable character in the Gamecube version of Soul Calibur 2. It all began, however, with this one title. And the rest, as they say, is history.

This blog post is both a review and a look back at The Legend of Zelda for the NES.

--- The Legend of Zelda at a Glance ---
The Legend of Zelda
^ from: - The Legend of Zelda box. Inside this box is a golden NES cartridge housing a game that is even more golden.

"It's dangerous to go alone! Take this."
Armed with a small shield and a wooden sword, you begin your quest to save Princess Zelda from Ganon. You must traverse your way around Hyrule to collect all eight pieces of the Triforce. When all eight pieces of Triforce have been collected and assembled, the road to Ganon's castle will open. The pieces of Triforce are hidden in eight dungeons guarded by eight fierce bosses. A number of items will help make your quest just a bit easier. Two more swords can be obtained, some extra items will help you to take less damage from enemy attacks, and a lot of Heart Containers can also help you live longer.

Press "A" to attack with your sword and "B" to use your inventory items. Start pulls up the Inventory menu. Select pauses the game. If you run out of health, the game will end. You may either continue (back to start if in the Overworld; back to the start of the dungeon if in a dungeon), retry, or end the game.

The first thing you might want to do is head straight to the first dungeon on its own island (but accessible by a bridge. That is, unless you want to pick up some items by destroying monsters along the way. You might be fortunate and pick up your first item that can be picked up- bombs. I say this can be your first inventory item because you don't need to buy bombs to obtain them. Simply defeating enemies can earn you bombs if any enemy drops these when defeated. If you are a more adept gamer, try to pick up an unecessary edge by trying to get two Heart Containers followed by acquiring the White Sword. You'll definitely have the firepower advantage early on.

--- Playing "The Legend of Zelda" ---
This big section contains loads of hints as well as a basic overview of this game.


Here is a look at the many items that will help you along the way:

* Boomerang - the item can be thrown, and it comes back to you. Weak enemies can be defeated easily with this. Some stronger enemies' progress will be stunned upon being hit with this. You can even collect items from far away using the boomerang. A Magical Boomerang that travels further can be obtained later in the game.

* Bomb - bombs can be used for a variety of purposes. Its best offensive use is in delivering massive damage to enemies in a set area. Bombs can also be used to blow open holes and access other parts of dungeons. Some bosses only can be defeated (or defeated easily) with bombs. You have a maximum of eight bombs, but you can hold more bombs later.

* Bow - a bow will allow you to shoot arrows. You need to purchase arrows to use the bow. Be careful using the bow if you're saving money because each bow takes away one rupee.

* Candle - use the candle to lighten dark rooms in dungeons and burn bushes. It can also be used to attack enemies. You can buy one from certain stores. A Blue Candle can be used only once in one area or room. However, if you find the Red Candle, you can use the candle multiple times.

* Recorder - play a song using this instrument. It serves multiple purposes in the overworld and in dungeons.

* Food - this is not food for you; it's food for certain monsters. If you feed certain monsters food, paths to the rest of dungeons will be accessible. Have some on hand because you'll never know in what dungeons will have a hungry monster. They won't eat you or anything if you don't feed them- they just want to be fed.

* Letter - once you receive this, give this to an old woman who, in return, will offer you...

* Medicine - drink medicine to recover all of your energy. It is best to have medicine available to stay alive longer. Blue medicine recovers all of your energy once. Red medicine allows you to recover your energy twice. It is recommended to get red medicine for the best possible chance of staying alive in your quest. Medicine serves a secondary purpose later in the game.

* Magic Wand - the Magic Wand delivers a powerful straight-shooting magic attack at enemies. If you have a certain item, you can use fire magic with it, which makes it just as effective as a candle.

* Rupee - the currency of Hyrule. A glowing rupee gives you one rupee, and a blue one gives you five rupees. Use these to buy items in the game. The most you can have is 255 rupees.

* Heart - recovers one unit of health.

* Heart Container - extends your health by adding one unit. Eight of these can be obtained by beating the bosses in each dungeon. The others can be found around Hyrule.

* Key - unlocks lockable doors. Many keys can be earned simply by defeating monsters in dungeons or clearing a dungeon room of monsters. These can only be obtained at stores and in dungeons.

* Stopwatch - you will not be damaged, and you can freely attack enemies as they stand still. Its power wears off when you enter another room.

* Fairy - when collected, recovers multiple units of health. Fairies can be collected by defeating enemies or can be accessed by fairy pools. When at a fairy pool, Link's health is recovered to full.

* Triforce - collect all eight to access Ganon's dungeon.

Here are other items:
* Magic Shield - a much larger shield that allows you to dodge strong magical attacks.

* Raft - at certain docks, access islands only passable by water. There are only two of these in the entire game to be concerned with.

* Ladder - you can cross over watery passes with this.

* Ring - by collecting a ring, you turn a different color and take less damage from enemy attacks. The Blue Ring costs a lot of money, but halves enemy attack damage. The Red Ring can be found in a dungeon and cuts the damage to three-quarters damage.

* Master Key - rather than carry a set of keys, find this key that opens any and all locked doors in dungeons.

* Power Bracelet - allows you to push boulders and stronger structures to access more locations.

* Magic Book - using this will allow you to access fire magic with the Magic Wand.

* Map - once you find the map, you have a better idea of what the dungeon looks like.

* Compass - the compass lets you know in what room the dungeon's boss resides. It is indicated by a blinking square with the room map.

Here are the other two weapons:
* White Sword - the White Sword delivers greater damage to enemies. You can use acquire this sword if you have five units of health.

* Magical Sword - the most powerful weapon in the game. It delivers the most sword damage.

Gameplay Basics.

Your main goal is to access all eight dungeons and recover all eight pieces of Triforce. Doing that requires you to use a variety of items to access levels. The only straightforward dungeon to reach is the first one. You might have to touch a statue to access an underground passage. Some dungeons may be accessible only after blowing open a hole through something. Some are accessible by burning bushes. A dungeon may only be accessible by using a raft, playing music through the Recorder, or solving a certain puzzle.

Various Bits of Advice.

When you access certain areas by using bombs or burning shrubs, you may get some extra bonuses. Some sections feature extra bonuses. You can pick up some extra money by simply accepting little offers from monsters. You can get either 10 rupees, 30 rupees, or even 100 rupees. Some annoying people will even take money away from you just because you opened the door to them. You may even find Money Making games where you can earn as many as 50 rupees (or lose as many as 40 rupees). If you come across someone who will only talk when you pay them, make sure you pick the one on the far right to let that person speak. Find as many secret passages and caves as you can to access various stores. Once you have the Power Bracelet and access certain underground trails, you will be better able to access different parts of Hyrule easier.

In dungeons, you must use all of your skill to clear them effectively. You can acquire items by defeating all monsters in a certain room. Some doors will only open after beating all enemies in a room. Some doors may only open after you push a certain wall. There are no clues available, but some walls can be exploded to reveal different paths. It is a process of trial and error to find secret paths in dungeons. Be wary of some doors that only open in one direction. You will need to find another way around if you find yourself in a room that has no other way to get out. If you clear a room of monsters (or if none are present), you can push certain blocks to access certain underground passages. These passages can lead to items or passageways to different parts of the dungeon. A room that has a block in the center of it is a definite hint that you need to clear the room of monsters (usually a lot of them) before pushing that block to access the passageway or opening a door. If you touch a bubble in a dungeon room, you will not take damage, but you will not be able to use your sword temporarily. One last hint- it is best to have a candle for the dark rooms so you can see the room that you are in.

Here is the only bit of advice I can truly share without spoling the game too much. Ganon's dungeon is on the top row of the map- accessible by blowing a hole through rock. Remember that you must have all eight pieces of Triforce before entering Ganon's lair.

Those are just some basic hints for you all.

The Two Quests.

When you play The Legend of Zelda, you will be playing this game twice. There are two different quests. You play the first one where everything is fairly straightforward. The Second Quest, however, is much more difficult. Also, most of the items you were able to find in the First Quest are in different places for the Second Quest. Also in the Second Quest, there are certain points where you will either have to exchange 100 rupees or give up one of your Heart Containers to advance.

In the Second Quest, there are red and blue bubbles (rather than the glowing bubbles). A red bubble takes away your sword-swining ability completely. To regain sword strength, you must either touch a blue bubble or use your medicine. Also in the Second Quest, you may find walls that allow you to go through them to access certain areas. Some have only one way through while some only let you go through only one way.

One piece of advice I'll give- Ganon's dungeon in the Second Quest is in the very top-left of the Overworld map. There is a way to instantly play the Second Quest without even playing through the first one, but avoid doing this unless you REALLY want to beat the game.

The Monsters.

This is just a brief assortment of monsters. I don't know exact names of the monsters, but I will describe some of them to you.

* an octopus creature that shoots rocks
* a fish creature that shoots fireballs
* a huge creature that fires arrows at you
* statues that, when touched, gives life to monsters. They either move slow or move fast.
* ghosts that rule the graveyard. If a tombstone is touched, more ghosts are spawned. If multiple ghosts are in one area, the one that moves in cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) will clear the area of all ghosts.
* horse-like creatures that fire the same sword energy that Link does when Link is at full health.

* bats.
* skeleton monsters. In the 2nd Quest, they fire sword energy.
* boomerang-throwing beasts.
* hands that come out of walls. If Link is caught by one, it will take him back to the entrance to the dungeon. Defeat all of these hands in the room to advance.
* big heads that look like rabbits that bounce around.
* intestine-like creatures that move around. If caught by it, and if Link has a Magic Shield, it will eat Link's shield, bringing it back to a small shield.
* very strong knights that can only be attacked from behind (without needing bombs)
* wizards that teleport and fire magical energy. Orange wizards are stationary, and blue wizards move freely through rooms.

* a four-headed monster that moves around randomly. A well-placed bomb will destroy it quickly.
* a chain of fireballs that can be attacked and defeated.
* a fast-moving caterpillar-like creature.
* an eye creature that has multiple things surrounding it. When the surrounding matter is destroyed, the eye creature itself can be attacked.

* a dragon-like boss that fires a spread of fireballs. The weakpoint is its head.
* a triceratops-like boss that can only be beaten by feeding it bombs.
* an arachnid-type boss that has one big eye that fires fireballs, which is its weakness. That eye can only be damaged by a certain weapon.
* a boss that looks like a cog gear with an eye in the center.
* a dragon-like boss with multiple necks and heads. Is defeated when all heads have been removed. Heads that are removed go around the room firing fireballs.
* Ganon himself. You think I'm foolish enough to give you any hints here? You're on your own!

--- Review of "The Legend of Zelda" ---
The Legend of Zelda is a timeless classic. I can tell you that I have enjoyed beating this game multiple times. Each time is just a hark back to when games were simple. The gameplay is solid for a game of its time. This game was really one of the first true role playing games in gaming. You explore dungeons, acquire items, battle monsters, and solve puzzles. This was one of the first true RPGs before many other series took the RPG to brand-new levels and unfathomable new heights. You could also say that it was an RPG where you started small before you can power yourself up to take on bigger and badder enemies- a REAL key element to future RPGs.

It is a must-play game if you have an NES (or if you have this on the Wii's Virtual Console). See how this franchise all began by playing this total classic. See what made Link a star. Disney has their princesses. See what made Princess Zelda stand out as a princess among the Nintendo princesses. It was the determination of Link that made him as one of the iconic heroes in gaming. It was the music of Koji Kondo that supplied the classic and epic tunes. This is no doubt a must-play game if you consider yourself any historian or true gaming fan. Play if it you haven't already.

--- Video Preview of "The Legend of Zelda" ---
You are looking at history here. THIS is what this game is like in all of its 1986 glory, courtesy of my YouTube friend, NESGuide:

Takes you back, doesn't it? I was only three years old when this game was released in 1986.

If some had to say there was a worst game in the Zelda franchise, many would argue that The Legend of Zelda's sequel, "The Adventures of Link" is perhaps the worst in the Zelda franchise. Many others would say that some of the CD-i Link games are some of the worst Zelda games, but they were not made by Nintendo. Regardless, this game made Link a star.

So do you have a Nintendo Entertainment System (that still works)? Get this game on Amazon here:

^ "The Legend of Zelda" for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

If you don't have an NES but want to buy one, visit "Old School Gaming Consoles" on John's Shop Space to shop for some old-school gaming consoles on Amazon.(including the NES).

Thank you for reading!

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