Legend of Zelda (NES) Review

It’s hard to think of a more celebrated game franchise than the legend of Zelda, with the exception of Mario perhaps. As we all know, it got its start like most iconic Nintendo games, on the good old NES. To this day, it is considered a classic, and rightfully so.
31371 the legend of zelda nes screenshot the entrance to a labyrinths


Like most NES games at the time, the plot is very simple. You start by walking into a cave, getting a sword from an old man, then you’re off exploring the land of Hyrule, in all of its 8-bit glory. Your goal is to visit every dungeon in the land, collecting pieces of the Triforce, while finding new pieces of equipment such as bombs, and boomerangs to help you navigate and fight monsters. All so you can face the Evil Ganon, and save the princess Zelda (and of course, all of Hyrule while you’re at it.)

The gameplay is pretty standard for an NES game. You play with an overhead view, and move like you’re trapped in a grid. A button stabs enemies with your sword and B button uses whichever equipment you have selected. Enemies you kill often drop rupees, which can be used to purchase items such as potions, bombs, keys among other things. This would become a staple in Zelda games to come. Another key item is the heart container, which is obtained by killing dungeon bosses. Some of them can also be found in other areas of the map. These extend your life energy and like rupees, would remain in the series as essential items.
20090823 legend of zelda nes

Something that made Zelda an interesting, yet frustrating game was how cryptic it was. There was no internet back in the late 80s, so if you ever got stumped in the game, you’d either need a Nintendo Power subscription, or a friend who knew the game. Certain paths could only be opened if you dropped a bomb in the right place, or went in the right order of directions on a repeating area on the map. There was very little indicating what to do, but, you enjoyed the game so much that you’d be motivated to figure it out. Giving this game a save feature (which was new at the time) was a godsend for this reason. Before it, most games gave you a password to write down/memorize. It was usually long, and easy to screw up as it was a jumble of letters and numbers.

People will kill me if I don’t mention this, but the music is of course, great. The Zelda theme would be re used and remixed in the games to come. It would become the most iconic video game theme ever composed. I know I’ve used this word a couple of times now, (Iconic) but there’s no other way to describe it. Not just the music, the game in general. It’s the great grand daddy of adventure games. I hear a lot of people talk about games like Elders scrolls and fable, but do you think those games would exist today if it wasn’t for Zelda? Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the first action/adventure game of its type, but it was defiantly the most successful and (might as well say it again) iconic of it’s time. It definitely set the standard, and deserves it place as not only a classic, but one of the most important video games ever made.

9.6/10
gfs 29025 2 6 - legend of zelda (nes) review

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Comments

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  • 2

    Great review. I think I'll go play it again now lol.

    • Ertrov
    • November 15, 2011, 6:22 pm
    Reply
  • 2

    You forgot to mention that this is the only zelda game you can beat without the sword!

    OH SNAP!!!

    But to be fair, that pic I included at the end shows Link with no equips at all holding a Triforce shard, so it's implied...sort of...
    - CrazyJay November 16, 2011, 4:43 pm
    True... But still...
    - SuperPost November 16, 2011, 4:47 pm
    You still need it to beat Gannon though.
    - Ertrov November 20, 2011, 9:54 pm
    Reply
  • 1

    So glad I put this emulator on my PSP woot Zelda! piss on Links Awakening...side scroller garbage.

    Link's awakening isn't a side scroller. Are you thinking of Zelda 2?
    - CrazyJay November 16, 2011, 3:08 pm
    Reply
  • 1

    YA there ya go Adventures of Link muh bad.

    Reply
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