NES: The Legend of Zelda

Genre: Action-Adventure

Release Date: August 22, 1987

Rating: 9.5/10

You play as Link, and it’s your job to collect all the pieces of the Triforce to gain the power to defeat Ganon and save Princess Zelda.

This is the beginning of one of the greatest game series of all time. Though it’s over thirty years old now, it’s still worth a playthrough if you haven’t already. For me, this was the first time I’ve actually gotten all the way through it, and mostly what I have to say is that it’s very hard and you should use the save feature if you play through on the Switch like I did.

This game is especially hard when you first start, but as you play a bit, get used to the somewhat clunky controls, defeat a few dungeons, and get better items, it gets a bit easier. However, the last dungeon is a giant maze with death around every corner, and even with a save feature this can become a lesson in frustration and I don’t know how anyone accomplished this without a map or a guide of some kind.

Outside of that, the sense of exploration and the challenge was a good pace for it’s time. I think it still holds up and most Zelda themes, such as the dungeons with a boss and a new item every time, the puzzles in order to get out of rooms or continue in the game, the part of the game where you get really stuck and have to look up what to do next or just give up, yup, it all starts here.

SCORING:

Playability: +3 of 4: Great if you have full hearts because you can just shoot at things from across the screen, but just trying to stab things with your sword can be a bit hard to master until you get used to it (and then it’s still common to miss what you’re aiming at)

Fun Factor: 3 of 3: Even when I was treading over ground I’d been over many times before in the game, I never felt bored as I learned different ways to do things or discovered new secrets or hidden passages as I kept going over things again

Story: 1 of 1: Though most of story is found in the game’s manual, which you have to look up online, the world is so well crafted you practically make up your own story as you discover new places and different dungeons

Sound: 1 of 1: The music will get stuck in your head and the SFX is the best you can get on the NES

Replay Value: 1 of 1: you’ll just keep coming back to find more

Graphics: 0.5 of 1: Though blockier than later titles on the NES, still some of the best for its time

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