The Legend of Zelda

    Game » consists of 18 releases. Released Feb 21, 1986

    A young boy explores a huge overworld filled with enemies and dungeons to find and rescue Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon.

    thetudedude's The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo Entertainment System) review

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    Worth More Than Its Weight In Gold.

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    The land of Hyrule was a peaceful place full of old hermits and pushy merchants living in caves until the evil Prince of Darkness Ganon came along and stole the Triforce of power while also imprisoning princess Zelda. Before she was captured, Zelda had the Triforce of wisdom broken up into 8 pieces to hide them from Ganon since his power would become unimaginable if he were to obtain both. Now it's up to Link to find the pieces that Zelda hid so that he can gain equal strength to Ganon and destroy him in order to save Hyrule and princess Zelda from a plundering reign of terror!

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    The Legend of Zelda is a world exploring and dungeon conquering adventure game where you take control of Link, the hero of Hyrule and search the land over for the 8 pieces of the Triforce that have been hidden away in various temples. Your main attack is your trusty sword which you'll get after entering the first cave you see but you can also obtain various items to help you in your quest such as bombs, fire-starting magical rods, boomerangs and a bow & arrows just to name a few. The world is completely open to Link right away so feel free to explore the land at your leisure in order to discover the location of the dungeons that contain the hidden Triforce pieces.

    Enemies can be found all over the world of Hyrule including heavily-armored knights, lion-headed centaurs and many more plus every dungeon includes a unique boss that must be defeated before collecting the Triforce piece that lies within. Though linearity is critical to progression, the pathway forward is not always clear and you'll have to use your wits in order to decipher the way to find all the necessary treasures in order to save Hyrule. Discover and obtain all 8 pieces of the Triforce that have been hidden away and meet your destiny on Death Mountain to destroy Ganon, rescue princess Zelda and save the land of Hyrule once and for all!

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    Critical Analysis-

    • Gameplay: 5/5 (I love it)
      The free-feeling nature of The Legend of Zelda combined with the extremely satisfying challenge overall make this one of the best gameplay experiences that you'll have on the NES. Without a doubt, there's plenty to do to keep you busy in the land of Hyrule but just to ensure that the replay value column is stamped with approval the creators made a more challenging second quest complete with a rearranged overworld, tougher enemies with new attacks and revamped/more difficult dungeons. Now that's quality assurance!
    • Controls: 5/5 (I love it)
      No real complaints at all in the control department as Link responds exactly as you need him to and tightly reacts to all of your commands with great execution. The impressive amount of different items that can be used feels great also and combines nicely with your sword attack to give Link a plentiful bag of tricks with which to thwart Ganon and his minions. Timing and patterns are the key and a game like this with great controls serve the patient players well who approach a room full of enemies with a strategy in mind instead of the impatient ones who barge in swinging their sword willy-nilly!
    • Music/Sound: 5/5 (I love it)
      I would dock points for a lack of variety in the music department but when it's this good and memorable I just can't bring myself to avoid the "hang 10" overall especially when additionally the sound effects are some of my favorites that I have encountered in video games. Right away the title screen theme gets me appropriately pumped then the overworld jams me out with the old faithful followed by the creepy and somehow never stale dungeon theme climaxing nicely with the intimidating Death Mountain theme in the final dungeon of the game. It's a killer score worthy of high praise alone but it also happens to be accompanied by some of the most memorable sound effects in the history of gaming such as the many different "hisses" and "roars" of the bosses in the game, faeries, the memorable Zelda jingle when you find a new treasure and much more.
    • Graphics: 4/5 (I like it)
      While I do love the sprites and colors of this very first trip into the world of Hyrule, the game dates itself with its lack of detail as many of the boards in the The Legend of Zelda contain some kind of redundancy (yay... another screen with bushes) which does cause it to fall back for me in the overall score. However there are way too many positives for these slants to bring the total down any lower as I like the distinctiveness of all the different characters and enemies in the game, the colors are bright and easy to look at and without a doubt extra points will be applied for looking this nice considering the release date (1986). It may not be perfect visually but it more than gets the job done and helped spark a generations worth of gamers into dissolving out of their boring normal world and escaping into the magical and dangerous land of Hyrule.
    • 'Tude Meter: MODERATE (Coolness not guaranteed)
      The 'Tude Meter peaks and valleys at many different intervals throughout the game and finds this one to be one of the more interesting specimens that it has encountered. On the one hand, the game is relatively "kiddie" with its safe premise and blatant lack of gore when using an obviously sharp sword but on the other hand, the dungeons rule and feel perfectly "crypt-like" while including a massive cast of 'tudey characters such as Darknut's, Lynel's and the badass Old Man who laughs at your futile attempts to stab him in the face and retaliates in kind with his twin pet campfires (no I'm not making that up)! Even with this (and many more examples of attitude to be found in the game) the 'Tude Meter nearly shuts off whenever faeries are around which would make it near-impossible for the reading to ever be in the max no matter how much was found elsewhere in the game.

    Final Verdict: 5/5 (Great game)

    There's simply no greater honor I can bestow onto this masterpiece other than to say that this is my favorite EVER NES game! With no time limits or predetermined paths to follow, The Legend of Zelda broke new and exciting ground in the video game world and provided gamers with an amazing introduction into the sword-slashing, treasure-finding, dungeon-plundering backdrop that would eventually become one of the most beloved franchises in the entire gaming universe. I still remember playing this with my next-door neighbor as a kid, adapting our young brains around this engrossing concept which required a much more thorough strategy than anything else that we could have imagined at the time, propelling our fun factor comprehension into the stratosphere! Further analyzation reveals a beyond-extensive list of pros for The Legend of Zelda - awesome gameplay, great controls, catchy music, interesting characters, a golden cartridge, compelling challenge that raises in tempo perfectly, multiple quests with new map layouts, etc. SHEESH, it almost seems criminal now to have charged a similar price with other titles that didn't even deliver a fraction of what this one did.

    Observing the downfalls of this luminous splendor requires a microscope since they're few and far between to say the least though I would say that The Legend Of Zelda is a bit too obscure at times when it comes to in-game direction (a common problem especially among early-release NES titles) virtually guaranteeing a spike in strategy guide sales. Beyond that, the graphics could be brought into question I suppose depending on perspective (I like them just fine but can understand if anyone else finds them too rudimentary) and most of the bosses peter out with ease after a grueling trek through the much more engaging and difficult dungeons themselves (especially Digdogger he's a total putz) but that's literally all these peering eyes can come up with after extensive combing. To put it bluntly - this is one of the single greatest video games you can ever play in your life... PERIOD harnessing as many positive tropes, good times and pleasant memories that can fit within one single cartridge. In other words... It's dangerous to not play The Legend of Zelda and experience the fruitful, 8-bit, bush-burning, Triforce-gathering, overhead viewpoint of Hyrule yourself so go now and play it if for some unbeknownst reason you haven't yet.

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    Parting Thoughts-

    • Pros-
      *Most free-feeling game on the NES
      *Controls handle beautifully
      *Multiple quests
    • Cons-
      *Simple graphics
      *A little too cryptic
      *Boss battles are somewhat forgettable

    The 'Tude Dude's Bottom Line-

    The unequivocal standard-bearer and pioneer of the action-rpg genre, The Legend Of Zelda will forever be my absolute favorite NES title of all time combining rewarding gameplay, memorable aesthetics and unrestrained freedom in a beautiful orchestra of virtual harmony.

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    Thanks for reading!

    Push It To The Edge-Have More Fun!
    Push It To The Edge-Have More Fun!

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