"A legend is reborn!"

Shiqeru Miyamoto, famous for Donkey Kong and a ton of other games, famous for making Nintendo a household name, goes to sleep one night in 1987 and wakes up with one huge vision in his brain. The vision is named "The Legend of Zelda" and released to stores...and a true legend is born. A legend that has over TEN sequels and still more coming, a legend that has games that hold/held the records for "Most Anticipated Game" and "Greatest Game of All Time", a legend that has a fanbase all over the world...it all started from this one NES game.

Now, that famous NES game is back on the GBA for a new generation...but does it live up to it's name?

Graphics:
8-bit goodness...sort of.

I'd like to note that when I say these games are exact ports, I mean that these games are exact ports....all the 8-bit goodness of the original Zelda game is here in most of it's glory.

Most of it, anyway. For some reason, this game manages to look WORSE than it's NES counterpart, although the GBA is FOUR TIMES more powerful than the NES. The reason is because, to make this as exact of a port as possible, the game is literally the GBA emulating NES hardware. For obvious reasons, this means that the graphics will be stretched a bit, as well as slightly off in both collision detection and colors. Also, when many enemies are on the screen, it will slow down A LOT.

All that aside, it's still one hell of a good-looking game for one that was on the NES all those years ago, still sporting a lot of colors and an absolutely stunning world. For the NES, those were awesome graphics.

Overall, this is graphically WORSE than the original NES game because Nintendo is lazy, but still looks awesome for an NES game. 75/100

Sound:
In all it's...glory?

Don't misread that, as the original NES Zelda had amazing music and sounds for it's time, some that pushed the original to it's limit. As this is still the GBA emulating NES hardware though, it won't sound even close to as good. It still sounds awesome, but it doesn't sound as good as the original NES version. 90/100

Story:
Who the hell played these games for their stories then, anyways?

We all know the basic Zelda stories, don't we?

Bla, bla, bla, Zelda, bla, bla, bla, Triforce, bla, bla, bla, Ganon kidnap Zelda, bla, bla, bla, Link save day, bla, bla, bla, party, yay.

Same here, Zelda breaks up the triforce, Ganon kidnaps her, Link saves the day, and they all throw a party. Yay.

So, the story isn't that good, but who the hell played games for their story in 1987 anyways? For that reason alone, this will not count towards the final score. Besides, it was original then. N/A

Gameplay:
This is what people played games for.

Ah, the good old days of video gaming, when people actually played video games for their gameplay, and not for their graphical power, as the NES and Atari barely had graphics at all. The same holds true here, as the gameplay is better than most, if not all, games that are out today.

In LOZ, you explore a huge world map and try to find the dungeons where the Triforce pieces are hidden. Along the way, enemies will attack you and you will attack them with weapons you find in the dungeons. First of all, the world map is HUGE, bigger than most of the Zelda games to date. It's also like a really big maze, and since you have no map, you'll find yourself completely lost. Fighting the enemies with your weapons is an absolute blast, as the enemies actually seem realistic and actually seem smart. For the NES, the AI is really good. Dungeons are spread out and placed in hard to find areas, and those areas are usually guarded by loads of enemies.

The actual dungeons boast incredible level design, mind-boggling puzzles and huge bosses, and are surely to make you die quite a few times. Exploring the maze-like dungeons and finding treasure and items while fighting enemies is still as fun as it used to be.

I could go on and on and on about the gameplay, but I'm sure you've all played Zelda before. At least I hope so, as the gameplay from the first game is similar to the gameplay used in all the games that followed it. Luckily, the gameplay of the NES version of Zelda is perfectly ported into this GBA version, with no changes at all. Every bug, glitch, and thing is exactly where you remember it. 100/100

Length and Difficulty:
Again, what people played games for.

This game, which already boasted great sound, graphics, and gameplay, also boasted one long, hard game. The game, with it's challenging enemies, huge maze-like world, and puzzle-rific dungeons, will last you quite a long time for an NES game. Not only that, but there's also the unlockable 2nd Quest, which you can get by either entering ZELDA (all caps) as your name on the title screen, or defeating the game once. The 2nd Quest doubles the game's length, and this game will last you a long, long time. 100/100

Controls:
It's an NES game, silly.

And as we all (should) know, the NES controllers only had 4 buttons... Start, Select, A and B. It's not that hard to figure out what does what, it's the same controls in all of the other Game Boy Zelda games.

Unfortunately, the controls do not always respond correctly. 85/100

-----------
And... RECAP!

Pros and Cons:
+ It's a Zelda game.
+ For the NES, awesome graphics.
+ For the NES, awesome sounds and music.
+ Incredible gameplay, NES or not.
+ Simple controls.
+ One hell of a long game.
- Fuzzy, stretched out graphics.
- Sounds are off.
- Severe slowdown.
- Controls can be unresponsive.

Final Scores:
Graphics: 8-bit goodness...sort of. 75/100
Sound: In all it's...glory? 90/100
Gameplay: This is what people played games for. 100/100
Length and Difficulty: Again, what people played games for. 100/100
Controls: It's an NES game, silly. 85/100

FINAL VERDICT:
A decent port of one of the greatest games of all time. 90/100

Buy, Rent, or Stab with Magic Sword:
Buy this game or I'll personally hunt you down and stab you with the Magic Sword.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/03/04


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