The Legend of Zelda

Video Description

Ganon has attacked the land of Hyrule in search of the Triforce, and has taken princess Zelda captive. It's up to Link to stop Ganon and recover the Triforce.

The very first Zelda game, and one I never played until now. I wanted to go back and see where it all began. I am using a mod to play it. The Legend of Zelda Redux adds a lot of quality of life improvements such as:

  • More detailed map
  • Save manually (instead of needing to die or use a second controller)
  • Retranslation
  • Faster text
  • Breakable walls are visible
  • 999 max rupees instead of 255
  • Sprite changes to match official artwork
  • Arrows to use for the bow instead of rupees
  • Different dungeon music
  • Pols Voice can be destroyed with the flute
  • Much more

I also considered playing with the Remastered Texture Pack, but decided against it since it’s so different, including the music, and I’ve never played the original. So, I wanted to keep it as close as possible while adding improvements. There is also another version of the game for the Satellaview (an add-on for the SNES to download games and other media through Japanese satellite broadcasts), called BS Zelda no Densetsu and released exclusively in Japan.

This game was played using the NES emulator Mesen, in RetroArch.

My Rating:


In the land of Hyrule, the legend of the Triforce was handed down from generation to generation. These golden triangles possessed mystical powers. One day, Ganon attacked the village and stole the Triforce of Power, hoping to sent the world into darkness. Zelda immediately split up the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and hid them thought the land, and sent her nursemaid, Impa, out to find a man who could destroy Ganon. However, Ganon imprisoned the princess and sent troops after Impa. A young man named Link showed up and saved Impa when she was cornered. Link then set out to find the shards of the Triforce of Wisdom and defeat Ganon to save Princess Zelda.

After he gathers all eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, he is strong enough to take on Ganon. Upon defeating him with the silver arrows, Link saves Princess Zelda and peace is returned to the land of Hyrule.


Control link in the 2D land of Hyrule, exploring around, fighting enemies, and going through dungeons to recover pieces of the Triforce. He starts with nothing, but is quickly granted the sword by a nearby cave. He can use the sword to attack, and when his health is full, he can shoot beams from the sword. He only starts with three hearts, but can find heart containers to increase his health, to a maximum of 16 hearts. He also has rupees to purchase items, keys to open doors in dungeons, and bombs to open up various passages.

The secret passages in the vanilla version of the game are very hard to find since there is no indication anything is there. Inside some of these secrets areas in the overworld include shops, free rupees, and old men who are pissed you destroyed their door and will charge you by taking away your rupees.

Within each dungeon, Link will find a map, which displays the entire map of the current dungeon, and compass, which will mark the location of the Triforce on the map. Keys that are found in the dungeon are often dropped after defeating all enemies in some rooms. Keys can also be taken out of the current dungeons to be used in other dungeons. Within each dungeon is a boss and defeating it will give Link a heart container and grant access to a piece of the Triforce.

Link can also find potions to heal his health. Blue is a one time use, while red can be used twice. He can also upgrade his sword (if he has enough heart containers) to a more powerful white sword, or magical sword. His shield can also be upgraded to a magical shield to block more projectiles. His shield is used automatically and is not an actual item to equip.

There are various items Link can find (often within dungeons) to make additional progress. These items include:

  • Bait (Food) – Attracts enemies to where it’s placed. Can be used unlimited times. Also is mandatory to complete a dungeon where an enemy is blocking the path.
  • Boomerang / Magical Boomerang – Stuns or kills enemies. The magical one goes across the entire screen.
  • Bomb – Can be used to destroy walls and damage enemies.
  • Bow (+ Arrow / Silver Arrow) – Can be shot at a distance and damage enemies (requires arrows in mod, or rupees in original). Silver arrow is used to defeat Ganon.
  • Blue Candle / Red Candle – Can be used to burn bushes, revealing secret areas. Can also light up dark rooms in dungeons. The blue one can only be used once per screen, while the red can be used unlimited times.
  • Blue Tunic (Blue Ring) / Red Tunic (Red Ring) – Reduces damage Link takes by half, or by 1/4 for the red variety.
  • Power Bracelet – Can be used to move certain blocks that reveal shortcut warp staircases scattered around the overworld. Also used in second quest to reveal some dungeons.
  • Flute (Recorder) – Used to defeat a boss, reveal a dungeon, and as a fast travel warp to each dungeon entrance. Used in second quest to reveal many secrets.
  • Raft – Used to cross large bodies of water.
  • Stepladder – Used to cross small gaps of water.
  • Magical Rod / Book of Magic – Shoots a beam that can harm enemies from a distance and does not require Link to have full health. When upgraded with the Book of Magic, it acts like a downgrade since it can now shoot fire that is weaker than the beam. It makes the candle obsolete.
  • Lion Key (Magical Key) – Acts as a master key and grants Link unlimited keys essentially.

When you beat the game, or input your name as ‘Zelda,’ you can access a second quest which puts items and dungeons in new locations, ramps up the difficulty, and makes this very different from the normal first quest. Some items, such as the flute, can be used in many areas to open secret passages. Additionally, the power bracelet is used to access many hidden areas besides just warp points. Overall it’s a different challenge since some dungeons are shorter to go in, fight the boss, and leave, but if you want the item, you’ll have to search and find hidden walls.


The graphics by today’s standards are not that impressive. Back in the day I’m sure they were, but the color pallet is lacking, colors are not attractive, and the world looks relatively boring. However, it’s the reason I used the original style instead of the new HD texture pack since I wanted to experience what the original offered.

Sound / Music

The music in the original Legend of Zelda game is so memorable that I can hear the tracks in my head prior to me actually ever playing the game. I knew the songs well and they define the game. Just thinking about the music will bring back memories for those who have played the game, and for those like me, will bring nostalgia despite never even playing it. With the mod, it changes the dungeon music, while keeping it relatively the same. It’s a nice addition.


Game Info

The Legend of Zelda (Cover)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: February 21, 1986
Platforms: NES / Famicom
Published: (updated: )


About the Author

Asphodel Gaming
Asphodel Gaming
I am a streamer and game reviewer that enjoys older games (PS1, PS2, PSP, Genesis, Dreamcast, Game Boy, N64, GameCube, and more), and indie games.
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