RETRO WEEKEND: The Legend of Zelda
From Plumbers to Elves. On this RETRO WEEKEND we’ll be reviewing a classic game we all know and love The Legend of Zelda!
Created by mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, it was first released in 1986 on the Famicoms disk system in Japan as a launch title for the peripheral under the name Zeruda no Densetsu meaning “The Hyrule Fantasy”. The US version was launched a year and a half later in 1987 on the Nintendo Entertainment System and given the name we all know it by, The Legend of Zelda. It was a instant success in the US selling over 6.5 million copies and being the first NES title aside from Super Mario Bros. to sell one million copies!
Now the story for the game was a very simple one. Basically it is set in the land of Hyrule where the evil Prince of Darkness Ganon has taken Princess Zelda captive and you the great hero Link, must find the eight pieces of the powerful Triforce that’s locked away in eight dungeons in order to defeat the evil Ganon and restore peace back to the land.
Being a kid back then in 1987 and owning the actual cart was pretty exciting because all copies of Zelda were printed on a shiny gold cartridge! Now seeing that first hand was really something to see because it stood out from the normal old grey looking cartridges. It was actually the only series on the NES to have gold cartridges and owning it was like having a treasure in your hands. Nintendo even cut out a hole on each box to show you like “Yeaaaaaa look at this sweet piece of gaming gold, now go tell your mom to buy it. NOW!!!”
|Peek-a-Boo I see you.|
Right off the bat playing this game was a complete change from the normal run and gun games like Mario and Contra, instead I actually had to think what to do next. They just start the game in a field standing there with your little shield wondering “ok what the hell is going on?” The games design changed the way we normally looked at games by adding in elements from action games, adventure games, role-playing and puzzle games all wrapped up in one. It basically gave players the ability to instead of just going from one point and beating the game you had different options to achieve that goal. Miyamoto really wanted to push the bar with this game and get kids out of the same old platform and have them utilizing there brains more in order to progress through the game! This led to an incredible gaming experience and paved the way for more complex games that you see today,
|Always accept swords from random old men.|
The Legend of Zelda involved many many hours of game play which kept you glued to the television, including difficult puzzles, riddles, and 9 ridiculously challenging dungeons. And what made the game even harder was that you needed certain items to complete certain tasks to enter certain dungeons and to even beat certain bosses. But as tough as the game was, you were given many items to help you on the way such as, powerful swords, shields, bombs, a boomerang and even magic! Now if you say “well that wasn’t tough enough for me” the game then hit you with another surprise called the ‘Second Quest‘! Which was achieved after playing through the game once. The game was more difficult and to make matters worse all the dungeons and placement of items were all switched up on you! Talk about a mind fuck!
|Now who was Ganon really working for?|
Now being the great game that it is, of course it had it’s deal of controversy in the past. Now the people designing the layout of each dungeon decided to make each one easily recognizable for the player to navigate, such as a eagle, lions head or a snake. But the third labyrinth which appears to be the form of a Swastika! Now before anyone goes and starts calling Nintendo a bunch of Nazis, its actually a “Manji” which is a Buddhist symbol for good fortune. Surprisingly enough there weren’t to many complaints regarding the symbol and was left in the game.
In conclusion The legend of Zelda is considered an industry leader and has set the bar for the role-playing genre. Though it’s simple game-play is different from what we see in usual RPG’s. Those elements and design actually helped lay way to how games are designed today! It even helped start the well known magazine “Nintendo Power”. The Legend of Zelda spawned many sequels and spin-offs and remains one of Nintendo’s most popular series. Even with its simple plot and game-play it’s very hard to forget that classic Over world theme and distinctive “secret found” jingle!
If you haven’t played this game yet I definitely recommend you go out and get a copy of The Legend of Zelda, even if this isn’t your style of game play I guarantee you’ll get hooked! Thanks for reading and keep a look out for my next review.
Enjoy the sweet sounds of the NES!
Source: Zeldapedia, Wikipedia