The Legend of Zelda

October 30th, 2005 at 3:19 pm by Archaic Sage

The Legend of Zelda, what does this name conjure up in your mind? Link? Zelda? Nintendo? A great game? A bad game? Or is it the franchise that you think of? Do you think of all of the many great games that been released across the two decade time-span? Does Ocarina of Time come before any other Zelda thought for you? If so, then you are not alone. Many people across the Zelda community think of this when they are trying to define what this is. However, this is not what I’m here to discuss.

No sir!

The Legend of Zelda, the very first Zelda game. In recent times it’s been overlooked, a little too much if you ask me. The Legend of Zelda may not have the best graphics in the world. The game may lack any castle, main village, hell, any village at all, standard NPCs. However, this is not a reason to pass the game up at all.

The Legend of Zelda is where it all started, and it’s going to be where it all finishes as well. Many of you may know that I have a real love for this game, just as I do for the Gizmondo, but that’s another story. Those of you who don’t you’ll soon find out why!

I joined Zelda when Ocarina of Time came out; I was a fan of Nintendo, because of Ocarina of Time. Before this point in 1998, I was a Sega fan. I had grown up on Sonic, Ecco and other brilliant Sega games. Yet, when I first played Ocarina of Time, I was blown away. There has never been another moment like that for me, save one. It took a long time for me to get over my love for Ocarina of Time, maybe I never will do. Although this does not negate the fact that when I first played The Legend of Zelda, the feeling of love came back to me.

The simplistic gameplay is a joy for me. There may be little plot to the game, aside from kill the evil ones. However, it’s still clear that it’s a Zelda game. It’s the first. You’ve got all of your enemies from Ocarina of Time; in fact, there are more enemies than in Ocarina of Time, such as Zola. You wonder around the overworld and see the graphics that you saw in the screen before you and think that the game is poor. However, when you get out of that mindset you realise how much of a good game it really is.

The Legend of Zelda is a lot harder than a lot of the modern Zelda games, significantly harder than Ocarina of Time. It’s a lot shorter, which is why it can be speed run by people like TSA in like 30 minutes. This does not mean that it’s not hard. Just to get to the first temple, Level 1, you’ve got to meet seven types of enemy. Seven! Many of them appearing on the same screen at the same time. You also need to kill each of these enemies so that you can supply yourself with arrows later on in the game, as your arrows are directly deducted from your overall rubie count.

Alone, this made me feel that The Legend of Zelda is a great game. But then we get to some of the enemies. Seeing Gohma in her first, crab like form, is amazing. This game may be second to last in most people’s timelines, but it’s sure easy to see the evolution of each main, recurring boss.

The Legend of Zelda, for me, is full of nostalgia. It’s full of what we should be focusing on. Creating quality games, to the best of our graphical, hardware and gaming abilities to date. Not any of this crap that we’re getting like Four Swords. But real games. Games that actually take time to master, games that are still played twenty years into the future. Not a mish-mash of games and reused sound clips.

If you’ve never played the game, get it in any way you can. Via the NES Classics collection, via the Collector’s Edition or via the first NES cartridge game. You’ll then see why I believe that this game is truly some of the best, and overlooked gaming of today.

Filed under Editorials, Legend of Zelda

Follow This Entry | Read Other Posts by Archaic Sage

32 Messages from the Gossip Stones about “The Legend of Zelda”


    Hear, hear! You, sir, have hit the nailon the head with this one! The Legend of Zelda is, in my opinion, the best of all the games, and you are right as to why. They made the best game they possibly could. Not just the best graphically, and not just the best mechanics, and not just the best story, but THE BEST! Altogether, they put in everything they could. And that’s what they need to do with TP - they need to try, not to make the best Zelda game, but to make THE BEST game they possibly can, and then it WILL be Zelda!

    Actually if you want more of a challenge, try playing it on the gamecube, I think it may be due to the different controller… It just seems harder to me!

    LoZ is a great game, not the first I played, but I still want to complete the thing :D I’ve been challenged and I shan’t back down! :)

    • 3. JC says:

    The Legend of Zelda is like the game that tells me “This game is for the best of the best.” Survival of the fittest. It’s hard to stay alive in that game. But all other Zelda games have roots to this game. No matter what anyone says. It’s a great game. I have only the CE version, but it’s still great. I love trying to find all the secrets and get all the enemies out of the way and remebering the map. It’s all really hard, but insanely fun.

    My first zelda game was oot and I didn’t play loz for a long time after and i have to say I would not think of zelda the way I do now if it was the first zelda I played. I hated loz when I first played it but after playing other nes games i grew to like loz and now I think it’s one of the best nes games on nes as well as the mario games. But still I think that it all started with oot it got a lot more people into zelda than loz did including me.

    Ocarina of Time was a game that defined a generation. The only reason the majority of people online find that Ocarina of Time is the best is because the majority of Zelda fans online are under 20. The Legend of Zelda turns 20 next year, as it was released in Japan in 1986. Most people who played the game when it first came out would be in their 30s these days. Which is the only reason why Ocarina of Time is the game for us. It’s the generation difference.

    The Legend of Zelda started it all, it got the series it’s name. It may not look like much in comparison to modern games, hell, even compared to SNES games. But it’s far superior to many of the games that are out there today. Play Superman 64. That’s a game that’s not even a touch on a game that’s ten years it’s elder.

    Quote: Not any of this crap that we’re getting like Four Swords. But real games.

    I must say that I do not agree with that statement whatsoever. Four swords was one of the best of the Zelda games, simply for being brilliantly different. A sub-standard game by itself, maybe. But when played with two or three others, it’s one of the most enjoyable four player games out there.

    The Legend of Zelda could actually afford to be hard unlike most of the other non-NES games. Both Legend of Zelda and Adventure of Link really didn’t have significant in-game plotlines. The plots were, aside from an opening screen of information and the game manual text, virtually without backstory inside the game proper. You had the goal and a set number of things that had to be done to achieve this goal. Once you got into Link to the Past, the plotline of the game started to bring in a huge dynamic. You could pull the manual and opening story and watch it unfold slowly as you worked progressively through the game. Because of that, people are more easily going to fall for the game because of the personal tie Link shares with the player, and that drives up the desire to finish the game, to see what will happen in the end. Because this desire is higher, the game has to be… hmm… more conquerable. If it can’t be conquered by many, then that will just frustrate people with the game. This is one of the big reasons why Zelda has become easier with time; it’s now expected that players can reach the endgame sequence because the urge to find completion in the plot is a driving force.

    • 8. TSA says:

    The reason The Legend of Zelda is so short is because of two variables:

    1. The game is primitive, two-dimensional gameplay and the time to travel across distance is very small in comparison to technically superior games like A Link to the Past, or the 3D juggernauts.

    2. The game lacks any form of in-game storyline development, such as lengthy cut scenes or text boxes. All games from A Link to the Past on had these. The Adventure of Link had text boxes, that’s why it is longer than The Legend of Zelda, even though there are fewer dungeons in Zelda II. Zelda II is also longer because of the more complex gameplay and longer distances to travel.

    So in short, by today’s standards, The Legend of Zelda is extremely simplistic in its gameplay, and the progression speed is very quick if you know what to do.

    I started out with a link to the past and didn’t play loz for a long time. But then i was at a birthday party at one of my old schoolmates house and he had loz on NES. I played it of course but i was disappointed and thought it was boring! Later i played Aol and had the same reaction. So i moved on with my life until CE
    which featured both of the games! I decided to play them and give them a chance (i barely reached the first dungeon on loz at that party) Loz absorbed me. Once i knew where everything was and didn’t get lost anymore the game was fantastic! I played it and before i knew it i had beaten it! Then i had started with a little “sneak peak” at Aol and once i got into that game i was absorbed once again. This game took me almost a year to beat but i did it. So i beat both of the games and i love them and i still play them. All you out there give them a chance and don’t be like after 10 min: ugh this game is crap look at the graphics and Aol is too difficult and it sucks or whatever you might say! GIVE THEM A CHANCE DAMMIT!!!!

    Quote: I must say that I do not agree with that statement whatsoever. Four swords was one of the best of the Zelda games, simply for being brilliantly different. A sub-standard game by itself, maybe. But when played with two or three others, it’s one of the most enjoyable four player games out there.

    Four Swords is nothing but a cheap rip from other games. It’s ported music, sprites and in some respects themes from other games. In the second or third ‘level’, when you have to go up the ladder X amount of times, this is ripped from LoZ when you have to go up the set of stairs to get into Temple 4 (I think, I don’t remember the temple numbers well). It may be enjoyable with other players; however, it is not a game. It’s a filler.

    @The Missing Link

    You may be able to become more attached to ALttP (and I’m not negating it’s excellence, it often beats OoT in my favourites list). However, you can get the sense of self achievement of finding the levels for yourself in LoZ if you don’t use guides. It’s not the easiest of games to find Temples if you don’t know where you’re going, especially in the mazes toward the east.

    The Legend of Zelda used all of resources, AoL may have been better in plot, it didn’t have that magic that LoZ had, and I enjoyed AoL to a degree. The game had a lot more levels, as TSA pointed out, the game seemed shorter, as there was no character development. It doesn’t stop it being enjoyable for those who just want a good game to play. Many games need to take a leaf out of this book. Maximise temples, and self-discovery. Although, I admit, games do need a storyline today. I wouldn’t be impressed if the other Zelda games didn’t have them.

    yes i also think A link to the past is better then Oot.
    About FS i enjoyed playing through it ONCE then it got kinda boring. I noticed that rip from Loz where you had to walk up and up to get to temple 5 (yup temple 5 i am a geek sue me)
    so i kinda got through it in a matter of seconds.
    Aol doesn’t feel like a zelda game but yet i does it’s kinda hard to explain but i love the high difficulty in it (by the way my first play through on loz: 146 deaths or something:D) because you feel like a master when you beat it!
    I am afraid i prefer A link to the past over Loz and aol but that doesn’t mean i don’t like them plus it’s because that was my first zelda (hehe my brother used to play it so i snuck up at night to watch) i still have a snes and the original and i always get so nostalgic and of course do get that with loz too.
    Anyway i write too much probably cause i’m tired hehe.

    I’m not saying that Legend of Zelda was a worthless game; on the contrary, it’s great precisely for the reasons you mentioned. It’s just that to craft a game with the difficulty of Legend of Zelda in 2006 or for the next several years to come (and possibly ever) would be an impossible feat due strictly to the fanbase that it has accumulated.

    I’d rather see them add some sort of real difficulty though. Something unexpected. They managed to pull of Wind Waker, granted it did alienate a large portion of the fanbase; however, I’m sure it could cope with a hard game.

    I completed LoZ for the first time 2 years ago on the CE. Beating a game like that, or AoL for that matter, has given me far more satisfaction than any of the recent Zelda offerings (from OoT onwards) and it’s weird, because for both of those games you don’t get fancy endings or plots, you just beat it. It’s the challenge that makes these games what they are - great games. I’m not saying Oot or WW or MM aren’t great games - they are, but in a different way.

    I’ve only beaten LoZ once, but I enjoyed the game very much. With its difficulty, you get that triumphant feeling after defeating Ganon (who wasn’t that hard) and listening to the catchy end credit song, seeing Link and Zelda stand together holding the Triforces of Power and Wisdom.

    LOZ was a great game. It introduced an entirely new genre of games that still remains nameless. Many games since have tried to copy that game- and every zelda since. Nintendo has always led the pack in terms of innovation, and new ways to make games fun. Zelda is the best possible example.

    I have played through LOZ, and it was, without a doubt harder than ocarina. Much harder. I fully recognize it for it’s greatness, especially considering the limitations of the NES. But, that dosn’t make it better than modern zeldas, just more difficult. I would however put it on the same level. Ocarina was a groundbreaking title. It expanded on all the elements tthat had made previous zeldas so great, and added more still. Although the story itself wasn’t great, the way they told it was superb. Every ze;da is great in it’s own way. If only other companies would hold to the sort of standards that Nintendo does.

    I agree with The Missing Link, the Legend of Zelda has a weird feel to it, when you start you get slapped into a field and it’s like being lost in the zoo, no one tells you where to go or what to do or why your even there…….You just go…..Same with Adventure of Link, the games don’t make much sense unless your remember that leaving the title screen alone causes a descrption screen come on…..But in Ocarina of Time they constantily tell you what’s going on and what you must do. In Link to the Past I think what’s lacking in the game is character…Link meets a bunch of people, but none of them seem important for the game play, but in Ocarina of Time most the people you meet are important and required to complete the game.

    You know, I’ve played through both OoT and TLoZ many times, and I must say, while they are my two favorite Zelda games, I have never gotten such a rush at the ending of OoT, even on my first time seeing it, as I still do to this day at hearing the music kick in during the end credits of TLoZ. Just an observation.

    I love LoZ… and yet I can’t shake off the feeling that a lot of people who swear on it also have an intimidating “supperiority aura” because of how they assert their beliefs with such conviction. I don’t know what it is about it, but people who tend to have that aura (not necessarily LoZ fans) somehow prevent themselves from having leniency in their experiences with other games (same series or no), and they tend to tell off others for theirs (regardless of how gently or inadvertently). I’ve seen this done with people who play games like Halo, Counter-Strike, Devil May Cry, and a number of other unforgiving games that make most of the other games out there look like tame puppies. It’s just a thought… but is it because of an overwhelming sense of pride and bias? That feeling of “knowing” what is good and what “we should have?” …I don’t “know”… Maybe it’s just me? =\

    Largely, it’s a sort of anger, most of us don’t even know it’s there, which wells up in us when we play games that COULD be as good as, or even better than, a game made 20 years ago, and yet aren’t. We don’t like TLoZ because it is our personal preference, the way I enjoy steak-cut fries over regular ones, we like it because it actually has definitive aspects which are better than new games. That’s a horrible thing, for a 20 year old game to be actually, definably, demonstrably BETTER than games which take several years, and millions of dollars, to make. It’s like if today’s computers cost 100 times what a computer did in th 50s, and ran half as well. We just want Nintendo (and all those other companies) to make games that have that certain something which games like TLoZ had, and modern games don’t. And it’s not nostalgia. If they made a Zelda game today which was like the original in the ways that matter, it would be far superior to TLoZ. But alas, I fear that shall never come to pass, for video game makers have forgotten how to make a great game. For too long, they’ve been interested in making “cool” games, and they’ve lost sight of what makes a game good.

    So yes, we sometimes come across as haughty, or “superior”, but it isn’t because we’re arrogant, or angry with other gamers. It’s because we are angry with the industry itself, and most times have no idea where this anger of ours should be directed.

    I agree Archaic Sage, I own and have completed all the Zelda games (I even have the bonus games on GameCube) and I have to agree that even though the original Zelda game is quite poor in the graphics department it can still hold its own, and if ANYONE considers themselves to be a TRUE Zelda gamer then you MUST complete the original, my first computer was a Sega Megadrive when I was a young nipper (well 10 years old) and computer games was something I did in my spare time and didnt take seriously, that is untill I traded my Megadrive for a Snes and played Link to the Past for the first time and upon watching the coo intro about the Seven Wise Men and Agahnim capturing the seven maidens I was hooked, I was addicted like a drug addict and I had to have MORE, and more I had and even now I still get that childish feeling of excitement every time I hear about a new Zelda Game wether it be on GBA, DS or Cube

    But each Zelda game is good for their own special reasons.

    Because developers now have the technology to put high depth plots in their games, they don’t need to put in high difficulty to keep the players busy.

    I agree with with you! The original game is by far what I feel zelda is all about. Put aside all this “when does this happen in the story line” talk, it still is a cornerstone of Zelda. I have played Zelda for the first time back in 1988 (I am dating my self here :) ), and at that time there were not to many games tha had this type of game play. I mean come on.. you start out with no direction, no dialog to tell you what to do, and no guideance on the next step. You are completly on your own. Today, you have game makers telling you what you have to do next via story line, and it tends to shorten the games play time in my opinion. What ever happen to the thrill of figuring out where the heck to go next by trial and error? It makes you have to enjoy the game for quite a long time. The original Zelda gave you that. That was its best quality.


    Indeed. The original was all about exploration and adventure. The new games can have that, and don’t need to be “difficult” for that to happen. In Ocarina of Time, there are stunning visuals, a great storyline, and excellent gameplay (okay, I HATE the camera, but that’s my beef), but very little exploration. Most of the time, you know where to go, and what to do. The same with Wind Waker (although it was a bit better in the exploration department, the ocean made exploration very, very BORING). In my opinion, the perfect modern Zelda game would be a very large world, full of secrets, and caves, and surprises, almost none of which are necessary to complete the storyline. I mean, look at TLoZ. Most of the secrets are completely unnecessary to find. Sure, they make the game easier, but they aren’t necessary to find. With OoT, you had to find pretty much every item in the game, and they all had very specific purposes. The perfect Zelda game would be open-ended. The happiest moment I’ve had playing a non-TLoZ Zelda game was when I found that small island at the far edge of the map in TWW, solved the puzzle, and had no idea how to get that chest. Zelda games need to be all about that.

    Go play TLoZ, and get every item in the game. Get every Heart-container, open every bombable wall and burnable bush. Then, watch a speed run. Your game will have taken many hours, while the speed run will be about 25 minutes. The reason? The storyline is the smallest part of the game. Now, imagine that witha modern Zelda game. Completing the plotline takes you, say, 5 hours. But then, if you choose to deviate from the pre-set storyline, and go off exploring, your game can take days, weeks, even months to finish, simply because there was so much else for you to do! The fishing game in OoT was one of people’s favorite things to do. It has nothing to do with the storyline. That’s where the magic lies: in the other stuff. Sure, Zelda is about saving the princess, or the world, or whatever, but what makes it fun is that you are a curious, adventurous boy named Link, who doesn’t just run for the castle to defeat the enemy. WHat he does, is he goes on an adventure.

    Try looking at The Lord of the Rings. If they had just gathered up an army, distracted Sauron, and had some eagles fly the ring in to the mountain, kamikaze-style, it would have been over fairly quick. The fun of the story is what happens on the way. Like John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. Zelda isn’t fun because of the story, it’s fun because of what happens outside of the story. The excitement of finding a new shield, the wonder of a magic book, whose purpose may not be clear. It’s the adventure of walking into a cave, sword in hand, and not knowing what awaits you within.

    If it were all about the story, it’d be a book. If it were all about the graphics, it’d be a movie. It’s not. It’s a game, and games are about fun.

    Don’t give me wrong, I think all the modern Zelda games are great, challenging, and fun. I also agree the story line of modern games make the game a lot more enjoyable. I guess I had a little old man syndrome where I rant and rave about “Back in my day…” :) So, back in my day we didn’t need Navi to tell us where to go. :) Sorry coulden’t resist. :) I know I would like to tell Navi where to go.. um *cough*. Nevermind. ;)


    The pinnicle of the 80/90’s. I always get this nostalgic feeling when playing Zelda OoT and down. As for the more newer games, meh. They somewhat lost their spark, but still make good games. I like fantasy and a medieval times kind of feel. The vast world and freedom comes to my mind too.

    The wind waker is quite good, and it is 2nd on my favorites. Ooa and Majora’s Mask have got to be first. Let’s see, minish cap, 4th, Alttp, 3rd… I really hated Aol cause I can’t kill the stupid helmet head!!! And actually, I think the AI system is better in the newer games, despite the odd graphics. FFA is okay I guess, but I didn’t like all the repeats, and the traps were getting old, fast. The Wind Waker though? Totally different story. I feel Ganondorf is one of the best sword fighters (Dark Link lovers, don’t kill me, please) and he is the only one I’ve actually swordfighted with. The first time was okay, I beat him up fast. 2nd, 3rd? I couldn’t disengage and he kept whacking me. Of course, the 5th time I didn’t see Zelda, she shot me in 3rd stage, oh joy…

    I actually have to agree. You sometimes gotta press R(hold shield up) when fighting TWW Ganondorf.

    i don’t hate this game, but i just didn’t enjoy it as much as the others. my first zelda game i played was actually alttp. as a matter of fact, that was the first video game i played period(yes i know i was a deprived child. The reason that i didn’t like loz as much was that it was almost melancholy.

    Melancholy…perfect word for TLoZ. In fact, that’s probably the thing I always loved most about it as a child. It wasn’t funny, or childish. It didn’t have fairy-wannabes named Tingle. It was so serious. You could actually feel that what you were doing was IMPORTANT. You weren’t playing the game because it was fun (it was, but that’s beside the point), you were playing it because if you didn’t, Ganon would kill the princess, and get the Triforce! It was about a kid taking on the weight of the world, and it did it all with almost no dialogue. Man, it felt great to finally beat that giant pig.

    Though many believe Wind Waker to be too easy, but its actually where i started in this amazing world of swords and magic. In fact if it wasn’t for Wind Waker i wouldn’t be writing this. But after i got a strange, tingling sensation after playing Wind Waker i wanted more. So i played Ocarina of time on the bonus disk i hadn’t touched - again the magic flowed. By this time i had become a true Nintendo fan. After Ocarina of time i was hungry for more. Mario and Metroid were good but i needed some Zelda action. So i bought other Zelda games. And played them like i had never played a game before, particularly Minish Cap. So, one ton of button mashing and a hole load of being stuck later i’m here, a loyal Zelda fan, with more know-how than Gannodorf himself. To any new-comers who read this there is no other game like Zelda. May it live well and thrive.

    • 32. eloc says:

    hear hear! The New Games are kinda easy. we like the old games (sorry NINTY NUTTER,) ive been wanting to see more of them!