There have been a lot of games in the Zelda franchise. Most of them have been pretty great. This however, is a review of the very first game in the series, which is still my favorite and is actually, still to this day, one of the greatest, if not the greatest video game of all-time.
It is a bird’s-eye-view game and 8-bit, as it came out on the original Nintendo way back in 1987 (1986 in Japan). It features Link and his quest to rescue Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon. To do so, he must acquire all the pieces of the mystical Triforce. Each piece is hidden away in a different dungeon and requires the player to have to beat a boss before collecting it.
Back in the summer of 1987 I was eight years-old. That didn’t stop my friend Kenny and I from dedicating our entire summer to conquering this epic game. At the time, this was the most epic interactive experience either of us had ever encountered. In fact, when we would get stumped, one of us would have to beg our parents to allow us to call the Nintendo Hotline at 99 cents per minute because strategy guides and the Internet did not exist at that time. After about three months, we stormed into the evil warlord Ganon’s throne room and cut him down – rescuing the princess and reuniting both Triforces (after having to reconstruct one of them throughout the game).
I have never had as much fun playing a video game as I did the first time I played through this masterpiece. Final Fantasy VII is a very close second though.
Maybe my interpretation of this game relies heavily on the deep feeling of nostalgia that I experience whenever I think about The Legend of Zelda. However, the fact of the matter is, no other game has had the ability to generate a sense of nostalgia as strongly as this one does. I still pick this game up and play through it once a year. It brings me back to that place and it still feels like a great adventure. The only difference now is that I can beat the game in two hours, as opposed to three months.
This game really showed the potential that the video game medium had. At the time, everything was quick and pretty much beatable within a half hour. This introduced gamers to what the future of gaming would bring. It was the first game that I know of that had the ability to save your progress. That alone, to my eight year-old mind, was pretty profound.
Pairs well with: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy.