Best way to play The Legend of Zelda (NES)

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#1 Posted by bondfish (145 posts) -

I have always wanted to try and actually play the original Legend of Zelda on NES. I'll pick it up walk around and ultimately have no idea where to go lose patient and then turn the game off after a few minutes. Are there any ways to play this game without a normal walkthrough? What I would like to get out of it is not to get "spoiled" on the game, but also get a sense of what it was like to play it when it first came out. Is the correct way just looking up old Nintendo Power magazines and looking at the tips and tricks for the game. I am just over thinking the game and it is actually easier to figure out what to do and where to go. Any help and tips would be appreciated. Thought it was an interesting topic, since you can actually look up a walk through now a days.

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#2 Edited by redwing42 (550 posts) -

Find a scan of the original instruction manual and read that. Replacementdocs.com has one, and I'm sure it is available elsewhere. The original Zelda game was released back when the manual was a vital part of understanding and playing the game, and there is a walkthrough up through the first dungeon as well as some hints for further dungeons provided.

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#3 Edited by nutter (2296 posts) -

I think I put up with it when Zelda was a new release as it was so fresh feeling. The idea of having no direction was new to me, so I just played.

I’d play for a bit, pass the controller to my friend, one day we’d discover that item x could be used to open some crazy secret. As a 7-8 year old kid, it was fucking amazing at the time.

We started with a rental copy, no manual. The landscape was different back then, so we settled in and figured it out.

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#4 Edited by simpricity (2 posts) -

The game originally came with a map as well as the manual. The map has a lot of info that's super useful for starting off. It even has the locations of the first few dungeons. I played the game around 2013 and I would have given up without the map and the manual. I'm sure you can find both online.

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#5 Posted by BisonHero (11604 posts) -

I contend that the the last 4 or so dungeons are pretty difficult to find/trigger unless you look up a guide or Nintendo Power or whatever that explains how they can be found. Also, finding some of the hidden shops on the world map is quite important since you can buy things to reduce damage taken and the game is incredibly difficult if you play later parts of the game without these items.

I think it made sense if you played it as a young person with months to spend on one game, just exploring everywhere until you find everything, but the in-game tips are wildly insufficient because they’re like 4 words long, and sometimes poorly translated. I used a walk through extensively when I finally finished it in like, 2008 or something.

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#6 Edited by D_W (1862 posts) -

This is an interesting discussion to me because I was thinking about attempting to do a sort of remake of the original LoZ in Game Maker Studio. I just wanted a fun project to sharpen up my programming where I won't have to do all the graphics, etc. Though I'd probably modernize/add some accessibility options to it, and wouldn't try to capture all the weird glitches and exploits folks have discovered.

But yeah, when I played it again (about 5 or 6 years ago) after not playing since the mid-90's I found I didn't need much of a guide outside of very specific things. The game DOES tell you about most it's secrets, but usually you have to buy multiple hints from random people you find in caves and even then they're pretty vague. Looking up a scan of the manual isn't a bad idea though. It has some really rad art.

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#7 Posted by rocketblast0063 (324 posts) -

@d_w said:

But yeah, when I played it again (about 5 or 6 years ago) after not playing since the mid-90's I found I didn't need much of a guide outside of very specific things. The game DOES tell you about most it's secrets, but usually you have to buy multiple hints from random people you find in caves and even then they're pretty vague. Looking up a scan of the manual isn't a bad idea though. It has some really rad art.

I agree with this. Get a map or the original manual at most.
If exploring makes you lose patience and you turning the game off after a few minutes, Zelda is not the game for you. Play something else I say.

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#8 Posted by bondfish (145 posts) -

@rocketblast0063: Thanks for the tips guys! just saw the manual and the map and makes things so much easier than walking around not know where to go. Also pretty neat of them to include it and a starting point.

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#9 Posted by SeriuzBiznus (164 posts) -

I played on the NES Classic and having those save states was critical to me getting through the surprisingly challenging game! Also, don't be afraid to use a guide if you get stuck or want an extra heart container to take on a boss. It can be fun running completely blind, but not to the point where frustration takes away from your enjoyment!

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#10 Posted by bondfish (145 posts) -

I did beat it this past weekend had a great time playing, but man that game is flawed when you failed a dungeon and have to reset without full health, leave the dungeon, heal up and come back. and i understand that you can clear rooms if you stay but its just annoying. Also had to look up a guide for the path of the last dungeon no need to waste time bombing random walls. With the map and the manual i did manage to find all the dungeons and swords by myself though so its not as rough as i thought

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#11 Posted by rocketblast0063 (324 posts) -

@bondfish said:

... With the map and the manual i did manage to find all the dungeons and swords by myself though so its not as rough as i thought...

Good job! Did you ever try and pick the Magical Sword (graveyard) without any luck?

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#12 Posted by BisonHero (11604 posts) -

@bondfish said:

I did beat it this past weekend had a great time playing, but man that game is flawed when you failed a dungeon and have to reset without full health, leave the dungeon, heal up and come back. and i understand that you can clear rooms if you stay but its just annoying.

Yeah, this pretty much plagued NES-era game design. Like, hey, wouldn't it be fun if every time you die and respawn, you start with next to no health and have to grind for hearts for 5 solid minutes until the stupid enemies drop enough health to get you back to full? This was also a pretty significant barrier to me trying to go back and have any fun at all playing NES Metroid. It's just so tedious to get health.

Also, I'm not 100% sure, but I think some of NES Zelda's dungeons contain enemies that just don't drop hearts (not all enemy types do), so in some cases there's like 1-2 dungeons where you can't even regain health mid-dungeon, which by all later Zelda standards is absolutely fucked.

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#13 Edited by redwing42 (550 posts) -

@bondfish said:

I did beat it this past weekend had a great time playing, but man that game is flawed when you failed a dungeon and have to reset without full health, leave the dungeon, heal up and come back. and i understand that you can clear rooms if you stay but its just annoying.

Yeah, this pretty much plagued NES-era game design. Like, hey, wouldn't it be fun if every time you die and respawn, you start with next to no health and have to grind for hearts for 5 solid minutes until the stupid enemies drop enough health to get you back to full? This was also a pretty significant barrier to me trying to go back and have any fun at all playing NES Metroid. It's just so tedious to get health.

Also, I'm not 100% sure, but I think some of NES Zelda's dungeons contain enemies that just don't drop hearts (not all enemy types do), so in some cases there's like 1-2 dungeons where you can't even regain health mid-dungeon, which by all later Zelda standards is absolutely fucked.

Potions and fairy lakes. Not as convenient as starting with full health, but there is usually one or the other within a few screens of every dungeon.

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#14 Posted by wollywoo (303 posts) -

Make liberal use of save states. Spend time running around and burn random trees / bomb random rock walls. but if you get stuck / lost read the instruction manual and look at its map, or a walkthrough if you're really flummoxed. If you find yourself dying save up to max rupees and look up where to get the blue ring. It's not actually a hard game, just very opaque.