Legend of Zelda (NES) Review


Released in 1987, Legend of Zelda was a huge hit and the start of the long running Zelda franchise for Nintendo. Sporting a huge map, dungeons, various enemies, and many secrets, people flocked to this title. It was also a surprise to many when a harder 2nd quest was revealed after finishing the game! Link would need his sword and many items to traverse the obstacles in his way and get the pieces of the Triforce to defeat Ganon and save princess Zelda.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND: The graphics for Link and your enemies are quite blocky, but seeing how this was made in 1987 it’s understandable. Developers started pulling out more curved shapes late in the NES’ life cycle anyway. All the enemies look and move great and have their own AI and attacks including the bosses. Some flickering and slow down in rooms with a lot of enemies like Blue Darknuts or the rooms with Wizzrobes but it’s nothing game breaking. Landscapes all look like they’re supposed to: rocks, trees, waterfalls, etc. The landscape looks beautiful and will make you want to keep exploring the overworld and dungeons to see what’s next!

Little did any of us know how iconic tracks like the Zelda title screen or overworld themes would be back in the 1980s. All the music tracks for Zelda 1 still hold up now and iconic enough that soon as you hear the first beats you’ll want to whistle along.

PLAY CONTROL: Play control is quite easy, one button for your sword, the other for your extra items. Some items like the raft or ladder work automatically, others you’ll need to activate of course. really not much to say about it.

CHALLENGE: Zelda 1 was one of the first games for the NES that demanded you explore everywhere and try pushing, bombing and burning parts of the landscape to find secrets. You’ll need to explore everywhere to find the dungeons and navigate through them, finding gear, new weapons and more Life Containers. have fun with the Lost Woods! Some secrets will be shops with items cheaper, some will be free money, extra medicine shops (I like how there’s one in both quests near Death Mountain) or some will be old men charging you money for blowing up his front door. Finding the right weapon or gear to progress will be trial and error and that’s perfectly ok since the game’s rewards will make loosing lives trying to go somewhere worth it. Most gear you find in dungeons will be needed in the next one and you’ll need everything for Death Mountain. Fighting Ganon in both quests is a matter of rng, which I’m not too fond of since a bad Ganon fight can drain your life and medicine fast and ruin your way.

The Second Quest is a whole new beast! Take what you learned in the first and keep doing that everywhere! new secrets can be found using your gear and exploring like hidden doorways with the Whistle! The layouts of the dungeons is more maze-like as well and like before, gear you find will be needed later. Even more sinister in the Second Quest are the invisible walls which need you to push on them to see if you can go through them, sometimes they might only be one way! Worse are the Red and Blue bubbles. Normally you lose your sword for a few seconds getting hit by one. Not anymore! Red Bubbles will take your sword permanently unless you hit a Blue Bubble (or use medicine)! Again the game rewards exploration and you’ll need everything the game teaches you for Death Mountain. Ganon again is another fight based on rng.

Do I recommend Zelda 1? Absolutely! Be sure to take the time to explore and you’ll fall in love with this title!


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