Nintendo Entertainment Sys.
US : December 1, 1988
Japan : January 14, 1987
Europe : September 26, 1988
US : June 4, 2007
Japan : January 23, 2007
Europe : Februrary 7, 2007
Australia : Februrary 9, 2007
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : Nintendo
Director : Shigeru Miyamoto
Genre : Action, Adventure
Platform : Nintendo Entertainment System
Other Platforms : Wii (Virtual Console), Game Boy Advance, GameCube (Collectors Edition), 3DS (Virtual Console)
Game Type : 1 megabit cartridge
Mode : Single Player
Memory : 22 blocks (Wii)
Other : Internal battery for saves
Wii Points : 500 Points
ESRB : E (Everyone)
PEGI : 7+
OFLC : G
The Adventure of Link may be different from all the other Legend of Zelda games, but that gives it an allure of its own. Its combat system, statistics-based levels and overall cohesiveness make it a great game, while the enormous world, mysterious storyline, detailed labyrinths and epic music assure its place as an excellent Zelda game.
As long as you’ve picked up a full copy with the manual (or still have your original one from back in the late-80’s) you’ll be given an opportunity to explore the game’s storyline. The plot may not be overly complex compared to any real book, but for a videogame of its time it isn’t bad.
It begins with Impa, eternal nursemaid to the Princess Zelda, telling link the legend of Princess Zelda the first. Her father had ruled Hyrule with the Triforce into his old age. When he saw the beginning of what looked to be the end of his life, he told his daughter, Zelda, of the Triforce’s secrets.
When the king died, his son inherited the kingdom of Hyrule, but because of the Triforce’s magics could only claim a portion of the golden relic. This did not please him at all, and he went searching for the secrets to the other two portions. Eventually, a magician came forward and told the prince what he knew: that the former king had told Zelda about the Triforce before he had died. Both questioned her about it, but she would divulge nothing. Angry, the magician cast a sleeping spell on Princess Zelda before the prince had a chance to stop him—a spell costing that magician the remainder of his life.
Grieving over the recent loss of his father and now his sister, he placed Zelda in the North Castle where she had slept since. Also in her memory, he ordered that every female born into the royal family be named Zelda.
To wake Princess Zelda the first and settle this great injustice, Link needed the power of the Triforce. But as he would learn, the secrets of the Triforce were hidden away in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death. To enter, he would need to set six crystals in six palaces to remove the seal.
After you’ve thoroughly read the manual, you’re free to enter the world of Hyrule. If you’ve played the first game in the series, you may be a bit startled at first. In the action areas, towns, and other certain areas, Link is seen from the side instead of the top, completely changing the style of play. When Link moves outside these areas, it goes to the top-down view that we’re used to: but the map is much bigger. Each square Link walks across is supposed to represent a significant area: fairly large towns are contained in just one block. If you’re willing to move past the initial shock, you’ll find that this system works quite well.
In this side-scrolling mode, Link can run, jump, block, cast spells, attack to either side both high and low (shooting blasts from his sword when at full life, of course), perform up and down thrusts, and attack in the air. The enemies perform any variation of these same attacks, plus many more: like the Octoroks shooting rocks from their mouths or the Daira who either swing or throw axes at you.
Once he’s found his way out of the action areas, Link is free to explore the world of Hyrule—unless, of course, the evil creatures of the world discover him. In this regard it has many elements of a role-playing game: as Link roams the countryside, enemies randomly appear on the map. They move around in search of Link, who has a chance to evade them. Once they encounter Link in the same square, he is forced to battle them in the side-view action area: and the type of area in the battle depends on what type of area Link was found in.
Not only do monsters stop Link, often the diverse terrain does so. In certain narrow valleys, large roadblocks can stop him: to pass these he’ll need some sort of tool. Caverns require a candle; later on in his adventure he’ll make use of a raft, and he’ll eventually need some special boots. Fittingly, swamps and forests slow him down, and different areas like graveyards and deserts present Link with many different enemies.
This diverse terrain is not all bad, though. He has some help along the way. Scattered throughout Hyrule are several towns: most of which provide Link with health and magic healing services, the teachings of wise men; and in some, training from great warriors. Often all of the above will help Link either in his journey towards or while searching inside each of the six Labyrinths.
The journey up to the Labyrinths presents Link with one difficulty, but inside them is a different one entirely. He makes enemies with many different creatures - including the undead, is forced to travel down rickety elevators, and sometimes has to cross dilapidated bridges over pools of lava. Nearing the end of each, guarding the statues where he must place one of the six crystals is a powerful guardian: the first of which is a nine-foot tall half horse/half man creature with a suit of armor covering all but its head.
Link finds victory in this battle with the horse-head and all that he attempts, putting a great adventure together and making a game that cannot be missed. There’s no denying that the elements described here come together perfectly for a stellar NES game, very fitting of the dubious honor of a Legend of Zelda game.