One of the greatest franchises in video game history, second only to Mario on the NES, is the Legend of Zelda. The difference between Mario and Zelda, besides obvious gameplay differences, is that each Zelda game is completely different from the last. Whether the graphics or the overall feel of the game change each Zelda game has something new to offer its players. There were only two installments of the Zelda series on the NES, The Legend of Zelda (obviously), and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
Blasphemous as it is, I actually did not have a copy of the Legend of Zelda as a kid. It was one of the few games that I started in the middle of the series playing and backtracked to the beginning. The actual first Zelda game I ever played was the Ocarina of Time on the N64. I loved that game so much I was determined to own and play the game that started it all. Fortunately one of my best friends growing up had a copy of the game and sold it to me when we were in high school. When I put the game in after several cartridge blows, an epic logo appeared on the screen of my typical 90’s 19” TV accompanied by even more epic music. I was surprised to find a save option on an original NES game, which must have been ground-breaking in its time. Another cool feature of the original Zelda was the ability to swap weapons on the fly. This is most likely the cornerstone for many adventure games that exist to this day, including brand new titles such as Darksiders 2 which has been described as a cross between Zelda and God of War.
The second installment of the Zelda series, The Adventure of Link, has had mixed review from those I have spoken with. This was another game I did not have as a child but picked up an original copy rather recently at the local Play ‘N Trade store. I have to say I was disappointed in the game as compared to the first game. The music is so similar to the first game’s that it made me want to listen to that theme instead and mute the game. The traveling aspect was an improvement on the first game’s and was more comparable to that of the Gameboy game Pokémon. Battles and towns turned the game from an RPG view to a side-scroller more on the style of the Mario Bros. I personally was not a fan of this particular game, but that does not take away from its value or playability, it is just a difference of taste (please don’t kill me).
The Legend of Zelda went on to make many more games on literally every Nintendo platform in existence. It is one of my favorite game series of all time because of its puzzles, gameplay, and interesting storylines. Not to mention, the original over-world theme from the first game is my all-time favorite song from gaming and is severely underused in the series. These games are truly LEGENDary and have stood the test of TIME (I’m so punny). In all seriousness for a game that isn’t even named after the main character they are pretty epic. I mean come on, I can’t be the only one who thought Link’s name was Zelda back in the day. Speaking of games not named after the main character, next week I’ll be talking about one of my favorite NES games as a kid, Metroid.