The original RPG / Adventure platform hybrid.
This was one of the first games I got for the NES. Though the graphics were not particularly good, even for the time, it was designed quite well and was / is highly addictive.
It plays like a cross between an overhead scrolling platform game and an RPG. Its not truly either but borrows from both genres. Its a unique formula that has been copied by many successful games.
The graphics on the Legend of Zelda show its 20 year old age. They are primitive, with repetitive sprites. Even compared to later NES games the graphics aren't very good.
The depth of the gameplay and the music more than make up for this.
The Bottom Line
Wondeful game. And there is a 16 bit version of it which is a hacked version of BSZelda that you can find on the internet. It lets you enjoy the game play of Zelda with well drawn graphics. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the SNES is also something you would probably like.
There are also some other games I'd recommend that are good knock-offs of Zelda: Crusader of Zenty for the Genesis, Golden Axe: Warrior for the Master System, Neutopia 1 and Neutopia 2.
Neutopia 1 and 2 are probably the best Zelda style games around next to A Link to the Past. In fact, I like them better.