Wednesday 15 January 2014

The Legend of Zelda Review (NES)

Welcome to Hyrule, A land in crisis. A nasty evil pig called Ganon who hopes to get his hands on the ‘Triforce of Wisdom’ has kidnapped Princess Zelda. Luckily for us though Zelda managed to smash the Triforce into eight pieces. In steps Link, to find the pieces and restore order to the kingdom. So begins the legendary tale of a young warrior that lead to some of the greatest moments in gaming history for many years to come. Can the age-old NES version stand up to the test of time? Of course it can.

Perspective wise the game is set out from a top down point of view and takes the approach of presenting us with singular screens of action that slide into another when Link moves through an exit. An approach that proved so successful that Nintendo employs it in all the Zelda games pre N64. 

Graphically, the game is fairly plain, but this is the NES we're talking about. What is important is that Link, along with all the monsters are coloured and defined clearly with simple animations thrown in for good measure. Not exactly ground-breaking, even for the NES. But it does the job. 

Where the game excels is in the gameplay department, filled with fairly simple puzzles and the odd spark of outstanding genius. Zelda is both brilliantly executed and stunningly addictive. A remarkable achievement considering the game came out in 1986. Emphasis is set very much on exploration, where finding the eight dungeons can be as tricky as completing them. 

The game follows a fairly straightforward course, You find the dungeon, complete it and find an object hidden somewhere within it. Then find the place where this object can be used, which in turn leads you to the next dungeon. This collect and explore approach works excellently. It also means that players are never dumped into an impossibly hard situation without the right equipment to deal with it and this shows excellent foresight on the developer’s part. 

What makes the game even more excellent is the replay value within the shiny gold cartridge. Once the game is completed the first time round the game takes you on another adventure. Basically, what happens is that all the entrances to the dungeons, and all the magical objects in Hyrule are moved around meaning you have to start your search all over again. A nice addition to an already excellent piece of gaming history. 

Obviously, The Legend of Zelda can't stand up against the more recent games in the series in terms of looks but there is still a solid game here. It's now one of the weaker adventures but all things are realtive. However, it is still a classic example of what a great game should be. Everyone should try to experience it as it shows all the hallmarks of what the series developed into. Definitely worth searching around Ebay for, Zelda is a little gem that holds many fond memories, even if it is surpassed by later instalments. 

Overall 7/10

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