Replaying this game right now—last time I played it was a year ago—and every time I come back to it I'm blown away by how good it is. It’s almost better every time I play it.
It's been said a million times what a great world this game has, but I really don't think the game gets enough credit for how fun and interesting and challenging its combat is, despite being so simple. And then because its moment-to-moment gameplay is so fun and challenging, all of the mysteries throughout the world have huge gameplay-changing consequences.
As much as I love Ocarina of Time, finding your fourth bottle in that game isn't that big of a deal—but uncovering a secret in NES Zelda can really change how you play the game. And the way you uncover those secrets isn't nearly as obtuse as people who “traded secrets on the playground with their friends” back in the 80s like to claim. Sure, there are a couple heart containers that you'd probably never find without the cheats section of Nintendo Power, but for the most part the locations of every single dungeon entrance and major upgrade are hinted at.
It's crazy how thirty years later this is still one of the most elegantly-designed, well-thought-out games out there in terms of every single element—whether it’s an item or an enemy or a piece of the environment—having multiple implications all the while being really fun to play.
Hopefully the upcoming Wii U Zelda can capture that too!
Yup. It's the best game ever. There's countless posts on this site where I discuss how great the combat is, particularly when it gets really twitchy in the more difficult dungeon rooms. People who say that Link to the Past improved on it in every way never seem to take that into account. Combat really hasn't been as good in the series since.
My favorite game of my favorite series! I'm always up for discussion on the original Legend of Zelda.
One of my favorite things about this game is how many different ways you can play it. My most recent run-through was a "reverse order" one where I'd only beat the bosses of the dungeons in reverse order (and only go "out" of order to grab a needed item from another dungeon). And the swordless run is a classic. Next time around, I might try avoiding every heart container if possible.
I feel like of all the video games to play while running a marathon, the original Zelda would be particularly nauseating. At least if you did Super Mario Bros you'd both be running ahead in a straight path.
@kriswright When charitable folks like T-Bun offer up an easy punch line, I'm the first one on the scene. Your legitimate comedic skill is no match for my opportunistic punctuality.
Maybe I'm getting senile, but I could have sworn we had a discussion thread for this game already... EDIT: Oh, I'm thinking of this thread. Oh hey, and my 3DS Notes map is still there! Man, good times.
Maybe someday when my backlog is finished and I'm really really bored, I'll play through this game again. Maybe even the second quest. I didn't play it until it was already 25 years old, but it was still pretty special.
This has always been one of my fave NES games and I still like it today. It took a long time to finally figure this out, it was fun to discover the secrets of the world and it took years to finally beat it. And then when I went to start a new game, I had one of my biggest gaming surprises when I discovered the dungeons were different! Yes, I know the line after the credits says something about a second quest, but I either didn't read it, or didn't expect the actual levels to change, since the "second quest" in SMB1 just changes enemies and not levels. I discovered just about everything in both quests on my own, except for two heart containers in the second quest. I never did figure out those two. I ended up looking them up a couple years back, and they're two where you have to use the recorder to reveal them. That's pretty random.
If I never played this when I was younger then I get the feeling I wouldn't like it today. The mechanics have just progressed so much since then that it would be hard to adjust to them if I didn't already know the game. That said, it's interesting how the design of the games has also changed a lot since this first game, such as being more linear and the enemies aren't as tough. But I've still really enjoyed the later Zelda games so I can't say that I would want them to be different, but at the same time I wouldn't mind seeing a new Zelda game take some cues from this one.
Some things I like in this game that I'd like to see in a new one: -Even if they can't be completed, I like how nearly every dungeon is accessible from the start. I don't think they all need to be accessible, but it's nice if more than one is accessible at a time. LttP sort of allowed this in the Dark World part. -Money actually matters and isn't too easy to get. There are good items to buy with money. -Different shops have different prices on items, this feels more like a real economy instead of every shop charging the same price. -A second, more difficult quest, though I understand the difficulty in doing this in a modern game since they don't really use "tilesets."
I really like that aspect, too. Best Play Control in the series, I feel. And the Link to the Past combat -- who ISN'T holding a charge constantly or overusing the spin attack when they're available? Grabbing that White Sword way back when opens up a whole new world.
Recently finished this for the first time ever. (Grew up a Sega kid. Sue me!) As everybody has mentioned, what a hell of a game! I spent overall about 15 hours playing, and enjoyed it a ton. Now, I did put it down for a while after butting my head against the 6th dungeon before I was quite ready enough, but I came back and shifted priorities.
While I did manage most of the game without help, I did break on a few parts I found myself stuck on (grumble grumble). I suppose I might have eventually stumbled on some of the solutions eventually, but I lacked the patience to try. Oh well. I will say this, though. I think this game is considerably more obtuse than Metroid. That game's main fault is its lack of a map, but it's not really all that difficult to keep track of that yourself, and it controls as brilliantly as this game does.
No intention of trying the second quest yet, but I'm sure I'll get to it. For now, I'm several hours in to Zelda II. So far, so good.