Review by Osafune2

"An excellent way to catch up on Zelda's history"

I think the Legend of Zelda series is without a doubt the best games series ever made, but having only experienced it from A Link to the Past onwards I felt I was missing something. I wanted to play the old Zelda games and see what they were like, how they worked and how the series has changed, I also wanted a decent game to play of course. I could not find a NES for love nor money over here in little old England, but just as I was giving up on the idea Nintendo decided to release old NES titles on the GBA in the classic NES series. Needless to say, I nabbed a copy as soon as I could for £12, which is a little expensive for an age old game I will admit, but I am a massive fan of the Zelda series.

As you no doubt all know, the Legend of Zelda places you in the role of a small boy named Link, he is called this because he represents the link between you the gamer and the world the game takes place in. Link has been entrusted with a quest to restore the shattered Triforce of Wisdom and defeat the evil Ganon who has the peaceful land of Hyrule in his iron fist and rescue the Princess Zelda. Looking back the story isn't all that great because we have seen it repeated, or parts of it repeated many times throughout the Zelda series, but at the time it was one of the first games to feature a story and offer the gamer something more than attempting a high score.

In the controls compartment it makes the transition from the NES very well, or at least I assume it does never having played it on the NES but it controls easily and fluidly and the movement initiated by the D-pad is pretty sharp, allowing you to dodge enemy attacks quite well. And speaking of enemies, this game is so much harder than the subsequent games, I was killed quite a number of times simply traversing the many screens of Hyrule before I got to grips with the game, after a while I grew to enjoy this level of difficulty, makes a change from blasting threw unhurt.

The graphical department obviously is nothing special, being from the NES era, but they do retain a certain charm about them. The enemies are clearly distinguished and you will recognise enemies from the more recent Zelda games or at least the early stages of them. The graphics in the dungeons are bland and samey but as I have said before, you should expect that really. One thing I didn't expect however, was slowdown, I have never experienced slowdown on a Gameboy game, nor did I think it were possible being on a cartridge and not having to read a disc, got to be rather irritating, especially in the later dungeons.

The gameplay is very good, just as you would expect. It is all about exploration and exploring the world of hyrule is very fun indeed. The world of Hyrule is divided up into different screens of a large grid, so you can make grid references to remind yourself of a certain location, or at least I did. There are quite a few different environments, there are beach areas, forests, deserts and mountains and even a graveyard, all of which are fun to discover and explore. I liked the feeling of having to discover where to go, or where the next dungeon is, or at least I did at first. I must admit though, having no clues whatsoever as to the place you should go can be most frustrating, another thing is getting all the Hearts, there aren't many but some of them are found in caves and again there is no hint of a cracked wall or anything, I had to use a guide in order to obtain everything possible from this game on my second play through.

Also, in one or two dungeons you need to bomb walls, and this can be completely baffling, took me a long time to work out and had me very frustrated. But that aside, it is a brilliant game to play from start to finish. After you have finished the game incidentally, it isn't completely over, there is a second quest to complete, this contains rearranged puzzles and dungeons etc. Nice value for money, you can access this quest right away by naming your file "Zelda" if you want.

Now last, but not least, let us move to the music. I would give this a high score purely because of the Legend of Zelda theme which buzzes out of the speakers all the time you are on the overworld, it isn't the best quality but I love the music from Zelda games. The music in the dungeons is also good considering it was originally composed for basic hardware, creates a slight mood about them.

I was very glad I made the decision to purchase this game and I would advise any Zelda fan to do the same before they miss the chance to play the game that started a Legend.

Story - 7/10
Controls - 9/10
Graphics - 5/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Replay - 8/10

Final Score - 8/10, Buy it fool!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/06/06

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