The Legend of Zelda

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File:Legend of Zelda, The.jpg
North American box art.

The Legend of Zelda, known in Japan as ゼルダの伝説 THE HYRULE FANTASY [Zeruda no Densetsu Za Hairaru Fantaji], "Legend of Zelda: The Hyrule Fantasy" is an adventure action game developed and published by Nintendo and released on the Famicom Disk System in 1986, then ported to NES for release in other countries. It is the very first game in the Zelda series. In the game, an evil wizard named Gannon used a powerful artifact called the Triforce of Power to kidnap the princess of the land of Hyrule, Zelda, and spread his evil minions across the realm. You play an elfin boy named Link who must collect the 8 pieces of a second artifact called the Triforce of Wisdom, as well as many other weapons and items, to become strong enough to defeat Gannon.

I first played this game in the late 1980s when my brother borrowed it from his friend who lived down the street. My brother accidentally deleted the boy's near-complete save game file, and we struggled to get all his items back before having to return it to him. Later, we ended up getting our own cart, and it quickly became one of our favorites. As we neared completion, I faked being sick so I could stay home from school and keep playing. I was able to find the last heart container and the red ring, but I didn't get to Gannon. My brother beat it first, showed me how it was done, and then I was able to beat it too. The second quest took a lot longer because several of the puzzles were more complicated, but I did end up beating it too.

It is my second favorite Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, being my favorite.

The font used on the box art on the "ZELDA" logo is Zapf International Demi.


I own the original gold cart, the revised gold cart, and the gray cart. I have beaten the game many times with 100% completion. I've beaten the second quest with 100% completion. I once hand-mapped nearly every bomb/burn site for both quests.


  • Overall: 8/10
  • Best Version: NES


  • Considering the constraints of the media, there is an unbelievable amount of game here! Fitting everything into 64K was a serious feat of engineering.
  • The game has pretty nice graphics considering the limitations of the NES.
  • Despite having very little space for music, it manages to be memorable and not become annoying. The title music is especially good.
  • The slow progression of items you can buy and through the exploration of dungeons keeps the game fresh the whole time.
  • I like how the underworld monsters are more sinister and gruesome than the over world monsters.
  • Even without the second quest, the game is wonderful. The addition of an entirely new underworld was delicious icing on the cake.
  • The manual is very well-made, and the inclusion of a partial map was a great help.
  • Coloring the game cartridge metallic gold was icing on the cake.


  • The game requires a lot of trial and error to find all the hidden rooms and treasures. Thankfully, the vast majority of these are optional.
  • I wish there were more red/blue versions of the various enemies, items, etc. This seems like an untapped area. For example, there are no blue Like-Likes, red Wall Masters, Red Gibdos, or Red Manhandlas. Some of them are backward was as well, like the Red Tektites being harder to kill than the blue.
  • Unless you're familiar with Japanese mythology, a lot of the monsters will seem particularly unusual and abstract.
  • The "Pay me for the door repair charge" annoyingly punishes you for exploring.
  • Some of the items seem to be poorly placed like when you get boomerangs from both the first and second dungeons. Although this may have been on purpose to introduce the idea of upgrading items early on.
  • Dungeon 7 is particularly out of place with a, by then, sissy Aquamentus for a boss, and the red candle for a treasure.
  • In one of the second quest dungeons, it is possible to become trapped in a couple rooms closed off by a shutter door, and, if you don't have any bombs, you need to reset the game.


  • Nothing. This game is sheer brilliance.


Design Notes


Fan Art