The Legend of Zelda

aka: A Lenda de Zelda, Adventure, Adventure Mario, TLOZ, Zelda no Densetsu, ゼルダの伝説
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(prices updated 9/28 9:02 PM )

Description official descriptions

In one of the darkest times in the Kingdom of Hyrule, a young, pointy-eared boy named Link takes on an epic quest to restore the fragmented Triforce of Wisdom and save the Princess Zelda from the clutches of the evil, power-hungry Ganon.

The Legend of Zelda marks the first title of the Zelda series. Players must make their way through the various forests, graveyards, plains, and deserts of the Overworld to find the secret entrances of the eight dungeons in an attempt to piece together the broken Triforce. Once all pieces are joined, Link will be able to gain entry to Death Mountain, home of Ganon, and prison of Princess Zelda.

The game is drawn in a top-down perspective. Link begins his quest in the Overworld, which features forests, mountains and lakes and is divided into several screens. Link can explore the Overworld freely, though when he enters a screen, he will encounter several enemies. He can attack them with his sword. If Link is at full health, he can toss his sword to attack enemies from afar, but when he is hurt, even slightly, he can only fight in melee range.

Link's health is represented by hearts; initially he can have a maximum of three hearts, but as he progresses in the game, he will find heart containers that increase his maximum health. The enemies are varied - some attack from up close, some shoot projectiles. When killed, they often leave behind an item - a heart to restore energy, rupees that function as money (and can be used to buy stuff in various shops in the Overworld), or bombs which can be picked up and set down to attack enemies or destroy some walls. Some items function as weapons or armor, while others are used to solve puzzles. When enemies are killed, they stay dead and will not re-appear once the screen is entered again.

To find the Triforce pieces, Link must explore dungeons. Once he finds an entrance to the dungeon and goes in, he must explore the rooms, fight enemies and collect keys until he finds the boss monster he must defeat. He will then be able to pick up a Triforce piece and gain a permanent health increase. Once he does so, however, all the monsters in the Overworld come back to life.

If Link dies on his quest, he can continue it; he will go back to his start position in the Overworld (or the entrance to a dungeon), but with the items he managed to collect so far. When Link finishes his quest, the player can choose to play the "second quest", which is essentially a harder version of the game.

The Legend of Zelda is known for several factors that were advanced at the time: a continuous world that could be freely explored, power-ups that would permanently enhance the main character's abilities, and a battery back-up save feature that allowed players to retain their progress instead of having to start over. The gameplay balanced out frequent action sequences with discovery, secrets, and exploration.


  • ゼルダの伝説1 - Japanese Famicom Cartridge spelling
  • 젤다의 전설 - Korean spelling

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Credits (NES version)

7 People

Executive Producer
Sound Composer



Average score: 85% (based on 61 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 283 ratings with 15 reviews)

A necessary NES gaming experience.

The Good
My personal favorite feature in this game was the music. The Overworld (main) theme was great, and the dungeon theme and the one for Ganon's castle were some of Kondo's (Koji Kondo) finest, and first, at that! This game set up a foundation for one of the best game series in all time. It was also the first game that I ever saw where one could be eaten by peanut butter sandwiches. (like-like's) This game featured some Japanese-to-English translation errors that are simply hilarious. An example: in the intro, it goes through all of the items in the game. A certain group of the items has a short text about who they belonged to before. If I remember right it says: "ITEMS THAT ONCE GANON". (please forgive the all caps, that's the way they did it on the NES...) Also, "LET'S PLAY MONEY-MAKING GAME". Truly classic. The Hidden content is also very well done, and the second quest option is quite a cool addition.

The Bad
Difficulty. This is a hard game, and that is one thing that I think Most NES games can testify to. It definitely takes mastery. Also the graphics were somewhat lacking in terms of colors, although it does add some perhaps unintentional humor when certain things have to turn Red or Blue when you get a new tunic. (sigh) such is the nature of the 16-color palette.

The Bottom Line
Go to theZelda Classic homepage now! Oh, it's also a very good game, an enjoyable game. Experience true nostalgia today! (with the above link) or, go to <a href=""

this lot on ebay.

NES · by J. David Taylor (27) · 2003

The one that started it all still has value today

The Good
It's amazing how many mainstays of the Zelda franchise originated with this game. From the enemies to the overall structure, it seems that the creators of The Legend of Zelda created a long-lasting formula from the outset.

Boss battles were interesting and not too difficult or unfair unlike so many other games of the time. While not a requirement, the game rewarded exploration and adventure.

In-game music was good if not varied. Similar tracks played at similar times throughout the game, but what was there was good.

The Bad
Playing the game today, the game's graphics are not the best but if you're into retro gaming, it's always interesting to see the choices made graphics-wise. There's a little frame rate lag when too much stuff is going on on-screen.

The game re-uses some dungeon bosses more than once. I don't know why, it seems like they should have come up with unique bosses per dungeon. But maybe it was a memory limitation or something like that.

The dungeons themselves are a little bit too similar. There's not enough variety in the layout of the dungeons, so things kind of blur together.

The Bottom Line
The Legend of Zelda is a classic retro game. It started one of the best video game franchises of all time. It had exploration, adventure and a new and interesting perspective on video games. I wouldn't say the graphics are timeless but if you are a retro gaming fan, you will enjoy your time with this one.

NES · by John Murphy (10) · 2022

One of the best games for NES

The Good
The game features many cool things: a large world, a good selection of weapons, a variety of enemies to fight, and fairly large dungeons with cool bosses.

I remember spending a large amount of time in front of the TV playing this game. It came with a map, so that was helpful in navigating in the game.

Pretty much this game is a "old man's game." By that I mean most of the us who played this game as a young child are currently in the 20s and early 30s. So when we play this game, we sort of put a smile on our face and remember the days when we were playing this game.

The Bad
The only issue was that you spent a lot of time wondering around since it was a tad bit hard to determine where you are going since the world was fairly large.

The Bottom Line
We have a semi-generational gap between current gamers and gamers who were around to play NES games. It would be truly a great thing if a modern gamer can take this game and appreciate all the fine qualities of the game without taking into context of the graphics and limited freedom compared to games in the last 5-10 years.

NES · by Daniel Allen (13) · 2007

[ View all 15 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Legend of Zelda tribute on MTV Daniel Saner (3467) Mar 14th, 2011
Super-epic orchestral take on Zelda music J. P. Gray (115) Jun 2nd, 2008
RPG Controversy SharkD (424) Oct 31st, 2007


1001 Video Games

The NES version of The Legend of Zelda appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The Legend of Zelda was popular enough to have a TV cartoon based on it in the late 1980s-early 1990s. It was part of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, and aired only on Fridays during its original run in the US.


The Legend of Zelda was the first NES cartridge was released with a shiny gold colored plating, breaking away from the usual gray color.


The Legend of Zelda was popular enough to have a breakfast cereal based on the game called the "Nintendo Cereal System" and was co-packaged with Super Mario Bros. cereal. The sweetened corn bits were in the shape of Link, Link's shield, boomerang, key, and a heart.

Character names

  • Link was named as such because of Shigeru Miyamoto's desire to "link" the player and the character together.
  • Zelda was named as such when Miyamoto learned that F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife was named Zelda. Feeling that the name was appropriate, the princess was named Zelda.

Famicom Disk System

In Japan, The Legend of Zelda was the first original game released for the Famicom Disk System add-on, being the only launch title not previously released on cartridge. The Japanese cartridge version was not released until 1994, and was the very last first-party Famicom release. As there had been three sequels produced in the meantime, the cartridge version was titled The Legend of Zelda 1 to avoid


In the United States, The Legend of Zelda was the first NES cartridge to include a battery-backed save feature.


The instruction manual says that Pols Voice -- an enemy in the game that looked like a ghost with large rabbit ears -- "hates loud noises", although the flute item has no effect on it. This text actually refers to a microphone which was built into the Famicom's controller, but was not included in the NES; blowing or shouting into the microphone killed these creatures.


As of 2004, The Legend of Zelda has sold eight million units.

Version differences

A modified version of the game, complete with updated graphics, a smaller overworld, and completely different dungeons was released in 1995 for the Satellaview, the Super Famicom's (Japanese Super Nintendo) Japanese-only satellite-based add-on.

Called BS Zelda (the 'BS' standing for Broadcast Satellaview), several sources from Japan allude to this as being intended as a "third quest", much like the second quest accessed via the secret code.

When the game was 'rebroadcast' in 1996, Nintendo changed the map layout again. This revision apparently had a smaller broadcast audience than before, and is known only as "~map2~". This second map could again be thought of as a "fourth quest". Additionally, Link was replaced by the Satellaview mascots: A boy who wore a backwards baseball cap, and a girl who had red hair.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #10 (Readers' Top 10 Games of All Time)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #13 (Best 100 Games of All Time)
    • February 2006 (Issue #200) - #5 on the "Greatest Games of Their Time" list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #1 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
    • October 2004 (Issue #138) - One of the "Top 25 Most Influential Games of All Time"
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #10 Top Game of All Time
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2016 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Information also contributed by 雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido-, Big John WV, Captain Canuck, Guy Chapman, Indra was here, Maw, ModestMr.Green, Son of Kyuss and vedder

Related Games

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Released 2011 on Wii, 2016 on Wii U, 2021 on Nintendo Switch
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Released 1991 on SNES, 2006 on Wii, 2014 on Wii U...
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Released 1998 on Nintendo 64, 2007 on Wii, 2015 on Wii U
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Released 2006 on Wii, GameCube, 2016 on Wii U
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Released 2002 on GameCube, 2013 on Wii U
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
Released 2015 on Nintendo 3DS
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
Released 2015 on Nintendo 3DS
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Released 2007 on Nintendo DS, 2015 on Wii U
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Released 2009 on Nintendo DS, 2015 on Wii U

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by NetDanzr.

Nintendo 3DS added by ResidentHazard. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Game Boy Advance, Wii added by Guy Chapman. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. NES added by Servo.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Jeanne, Guy Chapman, chirinea, Exodia85, NH, Alaka, monkeyislandgirl, samsam12, Zaibatsu, Patrick Bregger, sgtcook, Thomas Thompson, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), FatherJack, firefang9212, SoMuchChaotix.

Game added February 24th, 2001. Last modified September 1st, 2023.