Review by AWing Pilot
"A true Legend of our time."
The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System
Released in 1987 The Legend of Zelda was the first video game that showed that the industry had staying power. Unlike other games of it's time you couldn't just pick this one up for ten minutes at a time; instead it kept you engaged with great exploration and role-playing elements. You never wanted to put it down. It's also worth noting that this game broke technology grounds with its included battery pack for a saved game feature. This is the game that spawned numerous remakes on multiple platforms and ended up being Nintendo's most popular character for older gamers.
The best ever seen at the time of release. Vivid creature's liter the maps each with there own unique style of attacks and animation. Link himself also animates well but his character model tweaks a tad when moving. Environments in them selves are adequate but tend to look a little sparse and blend together with each other. You seen on mountain you've seen them all. There are eight castles all together but they suffer from a cut out appearance where the only differences you see are the colors of the walls. The enemies also suffer from this aliment but for the time of this games release this was the best there was. A small clipping and frame-rate issue arises when there are more then two characters on screen causing the graphics to have a ghost appearance. This all leads to the game slowing down but considering LoZ wrote the technology it's not to hard to judge Overall the graphics are very good.
The sound in LoZ was ground breaking for its time in the sense that everything had it own sound. Arrows bounce of shields and creatures dig out from underground. Links sound repertoire features a sword slashing sound both for when he can shoot power and with out. The most memorable sounds in LoZ include the injury sound and that unforgettable flute song that has been featured in many games since. Music consists of two tunes; one for the map which is the now world famous Zelda theme and one song for castles and caves which features a dark sound for mood. In the recent ports of LoZ on the modern consoles the sound hasn't held up well tending to sound flat but for the releases it was good.
Not much here in lines of a set story. You play as a young boy of the age of 12 named Link in a world called Hyrule. Princess Zelda of Hyrule has been kidnapped by the evil Gannon so he can get his hands on the Tri-force; a relic of immense power. Zelda has dispatched the Tri-Force into eight pieces and hide them through out the land. Your mission is to collect the pieces and save the girl. As you travel Hyrule you battle many enemies and plunder hidden caves for treasure. Sure it's been done to death since '87 but for its time this was amazing story telling that is only adequate into days times. Good stuff though.
The game-play was both innovative and deep. As you traverse Hyrule you fight numerous monsters and plunder caves and castles; both hidden and visible. Enemies drop gems called rupees that can be used to upgrade or buy new equipment. The game features the usual range of fantasy weapons including swords, shield and bows. The main quest has you heading in and out of eight unique castles where there are three main things to do. First you find the castles hidden treasure like a step ladder or a magical boomerang then you defeat the castle boss which range in dragons to dinosaurs that throw fireballs and final you collect the castles tri-force piece. Collect all eight pieces and the tri-force is complete which opens up the last castle and your fight with Gannon to save the Princess Zelda. This was and still is very engaging. Awesome game-play.
Another place LoZ was revolutionary was in the control department. Direction pad controls Link and he handles well. Select was used as pause and start brings up your menu where you assign buttons to your loot. Instead of giving you a controls scheme that you would have to get used to LoZ allowed you to set all the treasure and items you find to either button on the NES pad. No problems here.
The Legend of Zelda was a game unlike any seen in 1987 and went on to sell more then half a million copies and helped push Nintendo into mainstream culture. Sure the game hasn't aged well but its still a testament to good programming and a reminder of where adventure games came from. The first in a genre still remains one of the best. This game deserves its title as a true Legend.
Overall score: 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/10/05
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