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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (42055)
Written on  :  May 19, 2012
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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Adventuring at its best

The Good

The Legend of Zelda was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. It is an action-adventure game viewed from a top-down perspective, and it was the first of its kind. The game was only available for the NES, so having owned a Commodore 64 meant that I had to miss out on how great this game was when it was released.

There is one thing that I really love about this game, and that is exploration. The ultimate goal is to recover each piece of the Triforce of Wisdom, which Princess Zelda broke into fragments when she was kidnapped by Ganon. As Link, you go exploring forests, mountains, graveyards, and the like fending off Ganon's henchman and obtaining items that will help you on your quest. By killing certain monsters, you get a certain number of Rupies, which you can use to buy equipment such as potions, weapons, shields, and whatever items are required later in the game.

Hyrule is divided into two parts. The Overworld is where you spend the majority of the game, and it is here that you are free to explore the sights, obtain equipment and discover many secrets along the way. The underworld mainly consists of dungeons, where you have to retrieve one part of the Triforce. The dungeons themselves are laid out nicely, and by getting the map somewhere within you can see what shape they form. Level Five, for instance, looks like a lizard. There is a certain strategy in defeating certain bosses, and you will see the same ones in later dungeons.

The graphics are great, and the animations of the different monsters are smooth. The screen is laid out nicely, with the top half reserved for the map and several stats, and you will be referring to it more often than not. I like how the inventory appears, appearing from the top of the screen and moving into the center. All your special attacks appear as icons and laid out nicely next to each other. You don't need to press a button on the gamepad to get it into the special attack box. As soon as you move the cursor over it, it is automatically selected, ready to use.

A lot of music is brilliantly composed, but the one most memorable can be heard as you walk around the Overworld. A few sound effects, like the throwing of Link's sword and defeating a monster, sounds excellent. Also, letting the player know when a boss is nearby - with a "roar" sound - is a stroke of genius. (You even hear him when you access your inventory.)

Opening up the box reveals a huge map of Hyrule that players need to refer to if they don't want to get lost. The map goes beyond an A4 sheet, so virtually impossible to photocopy it without great difficulty. It also includes an instruction booklet the game asks you to refer to after you read the brief summary. The booklet is also quite colorful and is worth reading more than once.

One of the other things I like about Zelda is that it can be replayed over and over again, and it is a game that you won't get tired of playing, because you can discover new things that you previously missed. Once you defeat Ganon and rescued Zelda, you have the option of playing “The Second Quest”, basically the same game but the locations are slightly different and the difficulty goes up a notch.

Unlike most NES games that I played so far, Zeldauses a save game feature, which allows players to save their progress rather than start over. This feature is advanced for its time. Another advanced feature is the use of power-ups that enhance the player's abilities.

The Bad

Some reviewers here states that The Legend of Zelda is very difficult, and allow me to provide an example of this. On the very first screen you start on, you go into this cave to get a sword that you can shoot beams out of. But this only applies if you have full health. Come into contact with the monster, and you lose that ability, with the gaming forcing you to come up close to the monster and strike him with the sword, meaning that it is more likely that you lose more health by doing so. Also, you can spend rubies on new weapons or upgrades to existing weapons, but not one of these more advanced weapons is effective on the most powerful monsters.

The Bottom Line

The Legend of Zelda received special treatment over others as not only did it include a huge map and a colorful instruction booklet, but it also came with a gold cartridge. The game has everything that I like - exploration, fantasy, combat, and replayability. Most of Zelda is either spent exploring every inch of Hyrule, going in caves and buying stuff or upgrading weapons, or entering a series of dungeons and stealing one of the Triforce pieces back. The game gets more difficult as you progress, and the music and sound effects are nice to listen to. I am looking forward to playing the next Zelda game, whatever it is called.