Just finished a playthrough of The Legend of Zelda on NES

#1
I do want to give props for the feeling of adventure of exploration the game still delivers, as well as the sublime music, but the game progression being based on many walls that need to have holes blown out of them with bombs in insane!

There are no indicators, it's purely trial and error and the only way to beat it (without a guide) is to buy and rebuy an absurd amount of bombs and bomb the hell out of every wall you see!



Still, for its time it's a remarkable achievement and every new item/ability found is a joy. Also still has that wonderful hard as balls NES factor to it.
 

wondermega

Junior Member
#2
Yes the game seems rather crazy for it.. between bombing every wall, burning every Bush, moving every tomb stone. Keep in mind that at the time it was designed, there was the thought that you'd play the game, then go to school and talk about your experiences with your friends and share tips.. "Bomb this wall when you get to X screen, burn the third bush in the bottom row of Y screen.." Sounds a little ludicrous, and if you didn't have any friends with the game you were kinda screwed (hey, there was always the hint line!) But Nintendo did include a generous tip guide to help out, plus there were a couple precious maps available in the popular-at-the-time Nintendo Power magazine and such. Anyway it was not too difficult, just took kind of a really long time.. but in those days there had honestly never been a game at all like this before. It was absolutely captivating, like nothing else. The crazy design totally worked!
 
Last edited:
#4
The game was very trial and error for sure, but finding those secrets were much of the appeal as well. Games today would just show you where to bomb, which honestly is less fun. I'm sure there is a middle ground, but not many games have managed to find it yet surprisingly.
 
#5
I do want to give props for the feeling of adventure of exploration the game still delivers, as well as the sublime music, but the game progression being based on many walls that need to have holes blown out of them with bombs in insane!

There are no indicators, it's purely trial and error and the only way to beat it (without a guide) is to buy and rebuy an absurd amount of bombs and bomb the hell out of every wall you see!
And that's not even mentioning the completely random trees in the forest that have secrets that you have to burn...especially bad when you have the basic torch and have to leave the screen and come back every time you use it. And, yes, even when I was a kid, I still had the huge map I got from Nintendo Power. No way would I have beat it on my own, especially the Master Quest where stuff is even more obscure.

But this is also kind of a product of the era...a lot of games weren't made with the goal of making sure everyone could beat it. Many games were just made for challenge and only the best would get to the end of a lot of games, especially without cheating. Kind of a far cry from today where every game is made for any player to beat it and games hold your hand throughout.

With that said, you've gotta try the Master Quest.
 
#6
Not many games provide the sense of really finding secrets. The last ones I can think of are Skyrim and Morrowind.
Dark Souls/Bloodborne do as well. There's entire large areas you can miss throughout the whole playthrough. Heck, I think roughly 30% of Bloodborne's world was optional/missable (Cainhurst, Nightmare Frontier, Hemwick, Upper Cathedral Ward/Orphanage) so if a player put little to no effort in exploring they'd probably think the game is much shorter than it actually is.
 
#7
Dark Souls/Bloodborne do as well. There's entire large areas you can miss throughout the whole playthrough. Heck, I think roughly 30% of Bloodborne's world was optional/missable (Cainhurst, Nightmare Frontier, Hemwick, Upper Cathedral Ward/Orphanage) so if a player put little to no effort in exploring they'd probably think the game is much shorter than it actually is.
These are not secrets.
 
#8
I completely agree with the difficulty of randomly finding things in the original Zelda. This is one of the reasons, for me, it doesn't hold up as well today. It's still a fantastic, ground-breaking game, but there was no way of determining where those hidden things were - and that detracts from the overall experience if you're not using a guide of some sort.

For a completionist like me it's just not as fun to need a guide to collect everything, but short of memorization it's basically required in Zelda. Well, that or brute-forcing via bombing / burning absolutely everything ... but that's not terribly enjoyable.
 
#10
A classic. I think it's also the first game that has a ng+ option with rearranged items. Still, I prefer The Adventures of Link over this. Man, I wish Nintendo would do a full blown remake ala RE2 with that one.
 
#12
a lot of games weren't made with the goal of making sure everyone could beat it. Many games were just made for challenge and only the best would get to the end of a lot of games, especially without cheating. Kind of a far cry from today where every game is made for any player to beat it and games hold your hand throughout.
Yeah, this was the time when videogames were supposed to beat the player and not other way around.

Imagine if Rubik's Cube was designed in a way that everyone can finish it. I have never finished more than one or two sides of it and I have accepted it has stumped me - and I love it for that.
 
#14
These are not secrets.
You have to explore quite a bit to uncover most of these areas, Hemwick is pretty hard to miss, true, but the others are all not that hard to miss in a playthrough especially Upper Cathedral Ward/Orphanage. I'm really curious how these don't qualify as some sort of secret. Heck, while Bloodborne doesn't have fake walls in it aside from the Chalice Dungeons, Dark Souls games do and there are a few areas hidden behind them. I refuse to accept that those don't count as secrets.
 
#15
And now, on to Zelda II, the best game in the series.

And in Zelda II, you don't have to burn random trees or bomb random walls.

By the way, did you manage to get to the screen in the upper-right corner of the map OP ? :)
You can also try the second quest. What a great game.
 
Last edited:
#16
Yes the game seems rather crazy for it.. between bombing every wall, burning every Bush, moving every tomb stone. Keep in mind that at the time it was designed, there was the thought that you'd play the game, then go to school and talk about your experiences with your friends and share tips.. "Bomb this wall when you get to X screen, burn the third bush in the bottom row of Y screen.." Sounds a little ludicrous, and if you didn't have any friends with the game you were kinda screwed (hey, there was always the hint line!) But Nintendo did include a generous tip guide to help out, plus there were a couple precious maps available in the popular-at-the-time Nintendo Power magazine and such. Anyway it was not too difficult, just took kind of a really long time.. but in those days there had honestly never been a game at all like this before. It was absolutely captivating, like nothing else. The crazy design totally worked!
I remember these days fondly! the tops was getting a phone call at home from a friends dad asking for help.
 
#17
As a kid I loved trading rice krispie squares and other stuff at lunch with other kids for tips on the game. It really was a different time before the internet when we had to rely on each other for information and false rumours circulated like mad.

I still love LoZ but definitely can see how it would be hard to jump into now without having played it back in the day. But one of my favourite things in BotW was how they got back to hiding some of the shrines in clever areas that needed to be bombed. There's a few shrines on the side of cliffs that are so well hidden, really brought back the feeling of the original.
 
#18
By the way, did you manage to get to the screen in the upper-right corner of the map OP ? :)
Yes, that place is a gold mine!

It really was a different time before the internet when we had to rely on each other for information and false rumours circulated like mad.
I remember one we believed was that if you played Mario Bros. level 4-1 on a big screen tv you would enter a haunted mansion.

None of us had or even knew what a big screen tv was, probably anything over 27" :ROFLMAO:
 
#19
There are no indicators, it's purely trial and error
This was gaming in those days pretty much.
I played this as a kid when it came out (I'm 41 so i was 9 at the time). I didn't have a NES till years later but I lived in this huge apartment building with a bunch of other families and I was luckily good friends with 3 brothers who had a NES and a bunch of games. I used to spend hours at their house on games like Zelda and Metroid, Castlevania. The fondest memories.

Anyway, when Zelda came out we were all just captured by it. There were so many secrets and hidden things to find. One of us would play and we'd all sit there suggesting things to try in order to proceed in the game. No internet, Nintendo Power magazine and word of mouth from other kids at school was all we had. (No one I knew used the tips hotline, it was expensive and they kept you on hold most of the time. Most kids would do one long call, and after parents saw the cost of that call on the phone bill believe me there were yelled at and forbidden, lol) It was a magical time because there were all these gaming "legends" floating around school with no verifiable proof on YouTube you could go look up. Also at this time we weren't flooded with videogames left and right so anytime someone got a new cartridge (we called them tapes or cartridges not games) you wanted to squeeze every ounce of entertainment you could out of it. (Being a kid with no responsibilities helped, NES was basically a babysitter for a lot of my friends growing up)

Looking back now it's easy to call a lot of the NES gameplay "filler" or "busywork" and "unfair", but at the time all of that just extended the gameplay and instead of complaining about it the majority of us as kids just adapted to it, and got better (faster reflexes, knowing how to cheat the game engine etc) for it.

I really wish I could share the actual emotions I had playing these games back then.. I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything. Truly magical experiences.
 
#20
Pretend you are back in in the 80s and all your friends are playing it. Pretend you are talking about the game every day at recess and the secrets you found. That was the beauty of the time and the game.
My cousins’ uncles friend has this on the neogeo. I played on it I swear man.
 
Last edited:
#21
This was my first serious video game, after Super Mario Bros, and I had zero help from anyone at any point... but I booted it up each day, learned something new or found some secret, and kept going until one day I defeated Ganon. Given that I didn't even have the vocabulary of "dungeon / boss fight / key item / etc" yet, it was an incredible experience, like a little miniature world inside the TV that had its own logic and secrets. It's hard to recreate that now.
 
#22
I played through it again not too long ago and didn't find the bombing/burning too much of a hassle. Of course, I remembered some of the locations too.

The real problem for me was the Darknuts.
 
#24
That random bombing thing sounds like a pain in the ass.
You can farm bombs easily in Level 2 or from the Green Moblins. You can also upgrade your bomb stock and increase the amount held. Once you get the whistle, it lets you drop off at any one of the Levels you've beaten, Although, it is random. Bombing stuff, blind on Levels 6-9 is a pain in the ass, though. The rest of the game is fairly tame.
 
#25
, for its time it's a remarkable achievement and every new item/ability found is a joy. Also still ha
walls that need to have holes blown out of them with bombs in insane!
and that is why a Link to the Past is still my fav Zelda of all time (might be tied with Breath of the Wild though). The SNES sequel was ahead of its time, i can still play it today and somehow i remember where everything was. Good times man
 
#26
The worst was when you didnt properly blow air through a tshirt before loading the cartridge into the NES and losing all your saves due to the blinking power light of death
 
#28
Yes the game seems rather crazy for it.. between bombing every wall, burning every Bush, moving every tomb stone. Keep in mind that at the time it was designed, there was the thought that you'd play the game, then go to school and talk about your experiences with your friends and share tips.. "Bomb this wall when you get to X screen, burn the third bush in the bottom row of Y screen.." Sounds a little ludicrous, and if you didn't have any friends with the game you were kinda screwed (hey, there was always the hint line!) But Nintendo did include a generous tip guide to help out, plus there were a couple precious maps available in the popular-at-the-time Nintendo Power magazine and such. Anyway it was not too difficult, just took kind of a really long time.. but in those days there had honestly never been a game at all like this before. It was absolutely captivating, like nothing else. The crazy design totally worked!
The school.thing is exactly how it worked back then. I revealed the SMB 4-2 warp zone to a buddy in elementary.
 
#29
Keep in mind that during the games release it was popular. Plenty of maps, hints, kids at school worked together to make it not so cryptic at the time. It isn't an ageless design in turn, but you could easily print a map of the whole game these days.
 
#31
I played through it again not too long ago and didn't find the bombing/burning too much of a hassle. Of course, I remembered some of the locations too.

The real problem for me was the Darknuts.
The Darknuts could be a real problem due to their random patterns combined with Link's slight lack of maneuverability.
 
#32
Zelda games have always had that factor with me, i've never been able to get through any of them blindly and have always had to rely on walkthroughs / guides to make any TRUE progress without missing anything. I think the first zelda game I was able to get through 100% by myself was A Link Between Worlds, but that game was rather a cakewalk so it's nothing to brag about. I don't miss that era of gaming though, the ones where your ass was handed to you on a silver platter over and over again. I just feel that maybe people are a bit too busy these days to fully dedicate to mastering such difficulties in games anymore.