Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Action-Adventure Mega Review: The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda was an action-adventure game that takes what had been done right in the genre before and adds enough new elements to set the standard going forward.

The Famicom Disk System received The Legend of Zelda first, followed by the Nintendo Entertainment System version, then the Famicom proper. The NES and Famicom version has fewer instruments, however, the music survived intact when brought over, as the music is fantastic, is memorable, and is still being used in motifs in the current games in the series. The other change is that the NES didn't have a microphone, so a microphone trick to defeat an enemy doesn't work in the later NES and Famicom versions. The secret way to beat the enemy changes depending on the version played but can be beaten using a sword without knowing the secret.

The story is about a legendary hero known as Link who has to save the princess of Hyrule, Zelda, from the evil Ganon. He does this by collecting all of the shards of a golden triangle object of great power known as the Triforce of Wisdom. The triforce pieces are guarded by bosses in dungeons spread throughout the land of Hyrule. The dungeons can be visited directly in some cases, while they have a puzzle that needs to be solved in another. Alongside a triforce piece, each dungeon also has a treasure hidden inside that will give Link new items such as a raft that can travel across the water in spots where docks are present or a ladder that can go over gaps. These items, as well as items purchased in shops with rupees which are sometimes dropped by enemies or found in caves, can be used to get into dungeons and traverse those dungeons once inside.

The ways to discover the dungeons range from simple exploration to keeping an eye open for areas that can be used with items, to using cryptic words spoken by the townsfolk as clues on what to do next. The overworld and dungeons are full of interesting, odd, and colorful enemies. If Link has a full heart bar, which increases by collecting heart pieces, the sword lets out a beam that can kill enemies from a distance. This helps to give an advantage in battle. The game is tough, sometimes even if you know enemy patterns, so saving and loading using emulators such as the Virtual Console or the NES emulator that is available with a Nintendo Switch Online membership is my recommended way to experience this classic.

The Legend of Zelda set the bar for two-dimensional games in the series, from the overhead perspective to dungeons, items, and enemies. It has since been surpassed by later games that make the game more intuitive, so it is not as impressive as it once was. However, as a torchbearer for the action-adventure genre, it is absolutely worth playing at least once.

Final Verdict:
3½ out of 5

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