This freaking game.
In this game you play as the titular Zelda, who is on a quest to save an unnamed Princess from the evil Ganon and his minions.
Lets start off with the good, because there are a lot of good things about this game. To begin with it is very much a challenge in many positive ways. I’m a sucker for variety of enemy types, and this game introduces you to several in the first minute of the game. Some hop out of water to attack you. Others fly at you over obstacles you yourself have to avoid. Then there are some knights that you can’t attack head on so have to find alternate ways of fighting them.
The combat is quite engaging. If you are at full health, your blade can fire off a magical blast that damages enemies from a distance. Before getting some of the special weapons later on this is your bread and butter attack. Hitting enemies from a distance will save you in so many situations. Being swarmed by a horde of enemies is a death sentence in many games, but in this one it happens to regularly that you can find yourself getting better and better at the game each time you carve your way out of the ambush.
There are a slew of dungeons you work your way through as well. Each dungeon has its own layout, tricks and traps with which they try to kill Zelda, our protagonist. There are two constants in each dungeon-a map and a compass. The compass allows you to find the end of the dungeon while the map will show you the entire layout. Both are very useful for obvious reasons.
Also in each dungeon is usually a special item of some sort. These items are generally used as weapons against the different enemies to varying degrees of efficiency. Bows, bombs, two different types of boomerangs, it gets pretty crazy. These weapons, when you get them, are the key to defeating the bosses and mini bosses that run amok in Hyrule Kingdom. It might not be against the boss you come against next, but rest assuring they WILL be useful.
The bosses were all really fun to fight too. Each dungeon has its own boss, and some dungeons even have previous bosses show up in a more difficult form as a mini boss. While that sounds more difficult it gives you a chance to really see how much you’ve progressed as Zelda, having gained more weapons and life since the last time you fought.
The music was good as well. The tune of the overland was enjoyable without being too grating on the nerves. I noticed the sound effects were all taken from Super Mario Brothers, but it didn’t really bother me too much. Games like this probably take a lot of resources, so utilizing sounds you’ve already got on hand isn’t that big of a deal to me.
Now for the bad, unfortunately. There is a real problem with narrative in this game. In that it is almost non-existent. I felt like most of the time Zelda was just wandering around and not doing much of anything. The dungeons are fairly spread out from one another and most of the time I would stumble upon them by accident.
You’re also never sure what the real quest is. The only bit of story telling in the beginning is an old man in a cave who tells you that travelling alone is dangerous before giving you a sword. In fact I was unaware Zelda was trying to save some nameless princess until a friend of mine told me about it.
While it is possible to upgrade your sword and your tunic into stronger forms to either deal or take more damage respectively, doing so generally requires you to decode some cryptic message from an old man you have to go WAY out of your way to find in a dungeon that you’re probably thinking more about finding the piece of Triforce anyway.
And the secrets. Oh my the secrets. On any given screen there will be a number of objects. Statues, trees, walls that are parts of a mountainside. And if you move one specific unmarked statue in a certain direction, or set one specific unmarked tree of the thirty on screen on fire, or place a bomb next to a certain unmarked spot on the wall then you will open up a hidden chamber that can give you anything ranging from money to near-crucial upgrades to your equipment. Its madness.
All of that said, I can’t deny this game has a charm to it. I find myself coming back to try again after failing a mere hour after putting it down and swearing it off forever. Yes, the hidden secrets are all nearly impossible to find, but that doesn’t stop me from looking. Yes, some of the enemies feel damn near invincible, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to take them on. There is a real fine line between impossible and amazing, but this game manages to cross the line into both territories in such a way that it makes you incapable of setting it down.
So how do i rate Zelda’s adventure? A rational 7 out of 10. It has a number of flaws, but the positives are in such an abundance that they overwhelmingly compensate for them. There ARE flaws though, and I would like to see improvements in those areas were they ever to make a sequel.