Monday, December 12, 2011

The Legend Of Zelda


A victory 25 years in the making, the wizard Ganon has finally fallen… Okay I’m not sure it’s as exciting as all that but Goddamn, I needed to grab your attention didn’t I? So let me back track a little bit… A long time ago in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-six, a new technology was invading our shores, a new wave of entertainment that would eventually change not only how we spend our free time, but drastically change our lives all together… 
I’m talking about the Nintendo Entertainment System (affectionately dubbed the NES). That year also brought us Link’s first journey in the form of The Legend of Zelda. Now before I continue waxing nostalgic, let me explain that in February of 1986 I was only five years old; I had no concept of videogames yet. It wasn’t until probably ‘89 or ‘90 that I really came into my own as a gamer. So the first wave of the NES craze sweeping the nation (Oldies think Beatlemania, newbies, Justin Bieber? Okay maybe the release of WOW I don’t know) kinda passed me over without a bang, maybe just a whimper. Now I’m not saying I was without videogames before ’86 I’m just saying it was an Atari 2600. And before you hardcore mofo’s get on my case about what a great system the 2600 was, let me ask you this: DID IT HAVE SUPER MARIO BROS??? And please, before you get up in arms with your “Yes” retort, understand I don’t mean Mario Bros. the original game with the aforementioned brothers. I mean Super Mario Bros. the game that made you a social leper if you didn’t know how to play it. Yeah I had Berzerk, Haunted House, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Galaxian amongst a plethora of other titles, but it was no Super Mario Bros. and no Legend of Zelda. It wasn’t until that magical Christmas of ’89 that things started to change, and yours truly was one of the first kids on the block to have the newest in handheld technology, the Nintendo Gameboy. And it was because of the Gameboy that I had my first real Zelda experience with The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Note: this wasn’t until four years later but I’m trying to build a time line here).

Fast forward, eighteen years later (give or take a month) I sit in front of the Nintendo Wii. It’s December and some exciting Christmas developments have already unfolded. I’ve rece ived an early gift of a Nintendo 3DS limited 25th Zelda Anniversary addition, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is unattainable because it’s on my Amazon Christmas wish list. I debate starting The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS (Yes I’ve never beat it, someone deleted my game save) but then a crazy idea I’ve had before crosses my mind (probably last crossed my mind when The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was released): why don’t I first go back and beat all of The Legends of Zelda (Nintendo Systems only) starting with the very first and work my way up to the newest one? I’ve debated this craziness before but have never committed. I mean, I own most of the titles and the ones I don’t, well, they’re easy enough to get my hands on. So with a quick stop to the Wii Shop Channel I’m transported back to the world of Hyrule and starting my first quest. I can tell you standing on the other side of victory that I can understand why this game spawned so many sequels and why it’s remembered so fondly by those of you lucky enough to have played it when it was first released. I’ll admit I enlisted the help of a walkthrough (in my mind no different than using Nintendo Power back in the day) and I’ll give a shout out to ZeldaDungeon.net for their attention to detail (thanks for the assist). Now if you have no love for 8-bit then first off shame on you, and second you’re going to have to get over it to tackle this classic. Graphically it won’t even compare to your latest iPhone game but there is something heart warming about those 8-bit graphics, something classic, something pure. 

Skill level? I’d say intermediate, I guess more than anything it depends on your patience level. I have little to none; that’s what makes me a horrible RPG (role playing game) player. I like to charge through everything guns blazing (sword slashing in this case) and hate having to replay the same things, over and over and over again. This I consider a handicap and why I’d say this game can be a little challenging. Some of the enemies (Wizzrobes and Darknuts) gave me trouble when there was a room full of them. And as always is the case in The Legend Of Zelda series, if you just charge in, the Like Like is going to eat your shield, which means questing for rupees and purchasing a new one. Overall it took me about eleven hours and seven minutes to beat this quest. I say about because the counter on the Wii doesn’t account for pausing and there were nights where I’d pause and eat dinner so the time could be less than that. But the point is, I beat it! Ganon fell under the blade of my mighty Magical Sword (one of the best parts of using a walkthrough meant I got all the upgrades this time).

***SPOILER ALERT***

The ending of The Legend of Zelda was everything I’d wanted it to be. When you deliver the final blow (with the Silver Arrow, not your Magical Sword) Ganon explodes in bloody 8-bit gore leaving behind the Tri-Force of power sitting in a pile of his ghastly remains. I have to say this is beyond satisfying (if only I could get my wife to understand this) and makes you really feel a sense of accomplishment. With Ganon slain and the Tri-force of Power in your hands you unite with Zelda and lift the Tri-Force of Power over your head while she lifts the Tri-Force of Wisdom over hers and you become the hero of Hyrule.

***SPOILER END***

This is the end of my first quest and yes for you hardcore types there is a second quest built into the game and maybe after I’ve defeated all of the games out there I’ll tackle the second quests as well. But for now, it’s on to Zelda II: The Adventures of Link.