|Series||Legend of Zelda|
|Platform(s)||Famicom Disk System, NES, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Wii (Virtual Console)|
|Release Date||Famicom Disk System |
JP February 21, 1986
NA August 22, 1987
JP February 19, 1994
PAL November 25, 1987
NA November 14, 2003
JP April 1, 2004
PAL November 14, 2003
NA June 2, 2004
JP February 14, 2004
PAL July 9, 2004
NA November 19, 2006
JP December 2, 2006
EU December 8, 2006
AUS December 7, 2006
The Legend of Zelda, originally called The Hyrule Fantasy: Legend of Zelda in Japan, is an action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo. Set in the fantasy land of Hyrule, the plot centers on a boy named Link, the playable protagonist, who aims to collect the eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom in order to rescue Princess Zelda from the antagonist, Ganon. During the course of the game, the player sees Link from a top-down perspective and has to navigate him through the overworld and several dungeons, defeating enemies and solving puzzles on the way.
As of 2011, Nintendo plans to celebrate the game's 25th anniversary in a similar vein to the Super Mario Bros. 25th anniversary celebration the previous year, but is promised to be "different."
A small kingdom in the land of Hyrule is engulfed in chaos after an army led by Ganon, the Prince of Darkness, invaded it and stole the Triforce of Power, a part of a magical artifact bestowing great strength. In an attempt to prevent Ganon from acquiring the Triforce of Wisdom, another of the pieces, Princess Zelda splits it and hides the eight fragments in secret dungeons throughout the land. Before the princess is eventually kidnapped by Ganon, she commands her nursemaid Impa to find someone courageous enough to save the kingdom. While wandering the land, the old woman is surrounded by Ganon's henchmen, though the young boy, Link, appears and rescues her. After hearing Impa's plea, he resolves to save Zelda and sets out to reassemble the scattered fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom in order to defeat Ganon.
The Legend of Zelda incorporates elements of action, adventure, role-playing, and puzzle games. The player controls Link from a flip-screen overhead perspective as he travels in the overworld, a large outdoor map with varied environments.Link begins the game armed with a small shield, but a sword becomes available to Link after he ventures into a cave that is accessible from the game's first map screen. Throughout the game, merchants, fairies, townspeople, and others guide Link with cryptic clues. These people are scattered across the overworld and hidden in caves, shrubbery, or behind walls or waterfalls.
Barring Link's progress are creatures he must battle to locate the entrances to nine underground dungeons. Each dungeon is a unique, maze-like collection of rooms connected by doors and secret passages, and guarded by monsters different from those found on the surface. Dungeons also hide useful tools which Link can add to his arsenal, such as a boomerang for retrieving distant items and stunning enemies, and a recorder with magical properties. Link must successfully navigate through each of the first eight dungeons to obtain all eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. Once he has completed the artifact, he can enter the ninth dungeon to rescue Zelda. Apart from this exception, the order of completing dungeons is somewhat left to the player, although they steadily increase in difficulty and some of them can only be reached or completed using items gained in a previous one. Link can freely wander the overworld, finding and buying items at any point. This flexibility enables unusual ways of playing the game. For example, it is possible to reach the final boss of the game without ever receiving the sword.
After completing the game, the player has access to a more difficult quest, officially referred to as the Second Quest, where dungeons and the placement of items are different and enemies are stronger. Although this more difficult "replay" was not unique to Zelda, few games offered entirely different levels to complete on the second playthrough. The Second Quest can be replayed each time the game is completed and can also be accessed at any time by starting a new file with the name "ZELDA".