Review by phoenix85044

"A connection to a time beforehand, but is it still a gem?"

Ah, the "classic" Zelda game, the game which all other Zelda games, even OoT, are compared to. It set the standard for so many things and truly created Hyrule as we know it. Still, as this game has aged, is it still the masterpiece or is it just another game in that new family gaming machine. More importantly, was it ever a masterpiece in the first place?

Graphics: The game looks nice. Even now, compared to some of games we saw on GBA and even a few on DS, the sprites are still smooth and detailed. Animation is slick and it still has that magical feeling we all remember. The only complaint was the dull color palette, but that was due more to cartridge limitations than anything else. Wonderful, even with the often complained about fat Link. 9/10

Sound and Music: The basis behind most all other Zelda games. Pretty much every game after has remixed some song from this game. The midi format, although old and dated, still sounds great. It may not be orchestrated, but we don't really need that, do we? 10/10

Story: Back then, the story was alright. Go find these treasures and people in these dungeons, then go beat the crap outta one ugly pig. Nowadays, it's bad. We just expect more story-wise. No character development at all. Still, there is that one plot twist. I will grade this harshly, but the plot for this game has little to no bearing with the overall score. Besides, since when did we play Zelda games for the story? 2/10

Controls: Very smooth and slick. 2D Zelda at its best, or close to the best. The handheld games certainly compete well in this category. Still, excellent controls, quick movement, good hit detection (although the beginning of Link's slash doesn't actually hit enemies, but you get used to that in two seconds), and responsiveness few games can match up to. To only real beef is that swimming is pretty unnatural and unresponsive in comparison to walking. 9/10

Inventory: It's huge. Very much so. It has all the classics and then creates some of its own. Hookshot, Ice/Fire Magic, battle-oriented Hammer, four Bottles, Flippers, Power Gauntlets, they all come from this game. And so much more. 10/10

Dungeon Design: And here is where I think people will start to not like my review. When this game first came out, the dungeons were pretty cool. They had small puzzles here and there and were mazes. That all seemed nice back then. Comparing it to current Zelda games, the dungeons barely muster up any dignity. The labyrinthine qualities that we all love in LoZ got toned down in this game, severely. Dungeons are much much smaller and many times easier to navigate through. LoZ dungeons had us stuck in them for hours. This game's dungeons can barely hold even newer gamers for one. Then, we have the puzzles. They're easy. Starting from Link's Awakening, Zelda games became much more puzzle-oriented. We saw masterpieces like Eagle's Tower, Forest Temple OoT, Stone Tower Temple, Jabu Jabu's Belly OoA, and so many others. Their puzzle motifs were wonderful, thoughtful, had us going in circles trying to figure out what to do. This game doesn't have that. We might light a few torches, push a block, lift a stone, but that is all there really is. Thus, with a combination of small and simplistic maze and terribly easy puzzles, the dungeons are nothing special and actually bad in retrospect. Of course, some dungeons are very good, such as Palace of Darkness and Ice Palace. Skull Woods definitely gets kudos for most innovative dungeon design ever, but nothing else stands out. Some dungeons like Turtle Rock are actually failures, being so linear with few puzzles and yet in place as one of the final dungeons. That's just a terrible way to finish a game, with bad dungeons. I cannot stress how much the dungeons are praised simply for being in the "classic" game, just like the Shadow Temple and Fire Temple from OoT. 3/10

Difficulty and Enemies: A nice refreshing feel from all the ridiculously easy games we have nowadays *coughTPcough*. Enemies move fairly swiftly, have contact damage, will attack you, and *shock* can actually inflict more than half a heart of damage per hit, sometimes up to six hearts. Bosses aren't overly difficult, as most are gimmicks to use the dungeon item, but they can still bite you pretty hard if you're careless *shakes fist at Moldorm and Blind*. The game is still easy, due to having four bottles, but it's good overall. 7/10

Fun Factor and Replay: There a few sidequests. Pick up the heart pieces (which started in this game), find all the items in the inventory, upgrade everything. Nothing all that time consuming, but decent enough. The main game is mostly dungeons, and, as you've read, I don't like the dungeons. Still, I was able to get past that part. Exploration in this game is very fun. Combined with fun fighting of enemies, smooth controls, and the giant inventory to make any enemy tremble in fear, the game is actually very very fun to play. For how much I've bashed this game, I still periodically sit down and play it because it seems to addictive. Ultimately, I think this is why people still play this game; it's just so enjoyable. Still, a few more sidequests wouldn't hurt. 9/10

Overall:
Graphics: 9/10
Sound and Music: 10/10
Story: 2/10
Controls: 9/10
Inventory: 10/10
Dungeon Design: 3/10
Difficulty and Enemies: 7/10
Fun Factor and Replay: 9/10

A straight average gives us roughly 7.4. Still, I feel that the most important aspects of a Zelda game are the controls, dungeons, and fun factor, as these are the very aspects which attracted so many people to the original Zelda. Averaging those three gives us exactly a 7/10, which is my final score.

Some readers may feel that this is a bit harsh for the classic. But, I am naturally a harsh grader and expect much from all my games (read my GC TP review). Still, a 7/10 for such an old game is a very good score. Back when this game was released, I probably would have give it a 9/10.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/07


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