Summer Gaming Challenge #2 – The Legend of Zelda

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Quick Info on The Legend of Zelda:
Console  – Nintendo Entertainment System (also released on various systems’ Virtual Consoles and the GBA)
Release Year – 1986
Metacritic Score – 86 (This score is based on the GBA re-release of LoZ)
Time it took to beat – 5h16m

Another game down, and it didn’t take as long to get through as I thought!  The Legend of Zelda is the oldest game I’m playing on this year’s challenge… heck, it came out before I was even born.  I am fond of the Zelda games, so playing the original seemed like a given.  Of course, I knew that the first game would probably be quite unpolished compared to most entries (it’s… the first game, after all), so I was really quite worried that I wouldn’t really have fun.

Surprisingly though, I really liked my time with The Legend of Zelda.  In the end, it’s still a fair amount like the other 2D entries, just a bit more vague.  But, then again, I may have ‘cheated’, as some hardcore gamers may put it.  I realized relatively quickly that I’d probably have a ton of trouble trying to complete LoZ blind, so I decided to use a walkthrough to see me through to the end.  It was a really good choice, in my opinion–I was able to see everything Zelda has to offer, without the incredible frustration I probably would have felt trying to figure out how to get to the dungeons or finding 250 rupees for a ring that I wouldn’t have known the use of on my own.  Some might argue that the exploration aspect is a key element of Zelda games… and I agree, but since the original title is older and a bit archaic in multiple ways, I decided it best to save my own sanity.

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Finding the various items that aren’t in the dungeons themselves is what I feel is the hardest part of Zelda… because not only do you have to find where to buy the Blue Ring (which halves damage), the Monster Bait (which you need in a random room of a late dungeon), or whatever else, but you also have to realize their actual use and importance.  In the days of instruction manuals, this of course was detailed in informative pages… but who is going to crack a digital manual in this day and age?

Of course, the lack of physical manuals also lead to another small problem… you don’t have an easy to access map.  Wandering around the overworld of Hyrule at first is confusing and frankly a pain–while I eventually learned some of the paths I’d often take, without a nice jpeg map I would have probably had a bit of trouble doing anything other than following the exact words of the walkthrough… and that wouldn’t have been fun!  I only really followed the guide word for word during the final dungeon, due to its complexity, so being forced to follow that the whole time would have dampened my mood a bit.

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Other than these oddities though, the original Zelda is quite similar to subsequent games.  You explore dungeons to get the pieces of the Triforce, then go and save the princess and save the say.  Honestly I felt the overall difficulty of the game got easier as it went… when I started getting more hearts and a better sword, my survival chances shot up quite.  I think the hardest dungeon of the game was Dungeon 6, with a ton of enemies that hit hard and fast.  7 and 8 were quite a bit easier, and while the final dungeon was gigantic, it can be fairly easy to navigate once you figure out the tricks… not to mention that Ganon was a joke of a battle.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda ended up being quite alright.  My experience is probably colored a bit because I used a guide, but while it’s a little outdated in some aspects, this NES original was worth the playthrough, if no other reason to see the series’ roots.  It’s still a good game, as long as you’re ready to deal with some of the old-school troubles lack a lack of direction and cryptic messages.


So, update time!  I had planned to start Metal Gear Solid after Zelda… but then I managed to lose my Vita charger.  Again.  So instead, I put Radiant Historia into my 3DS and started working on that.  Radiant Historia is a title I’ve started a few years back… and I loved it, but I got stuck on a tough boss and never felt like grinding.  However, I’m finally going to get Rosch up in level and kick that annoying boss’s ass.

I also started Earthbound… I didn’t get too far yet, just beat the first boss.  I don’t have any thoughts on it yet, to be honest.  I’m keeping an open mind though.

I may play Kirby’s Adventure if I get too overwhelmed with playing RPGs… but right now it doesn’t seem to affect me too much.  I do really, really want to focus on Radiant Historia for now, at least.  Earthbound may take a backseat for a while… we’ll see.

That’s all for now!  :)

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