Saturday, 14 August 2010

An Old Feature: The Legend of Zelda Retrospective Part 1

Once again, I've dug up another piece of writing from my past. I wrote this just after my Disgaea review, and it recieved much positive feedback. The grammar's not quite up to scratch with my newer stuff, but I thought I might as well post it here anyway. And before you ask, I never continued this feature, but may redo the whole thing sometime in the future. Enjoy...

The legend of Zelda retrospective
Part 1
The legend of Zelda is probably one of the most celebrated video game series’ ever. It’s been going on since Nintendo’s first console and after two Zelda games being announced this year I’m making my tribute. Today I’ll be taking a look at the first five games to be released.

The legend of Zelda 
[nes/gc/gba/virtual console]
Released in 1986 for the Famicom disk system in Japan and then on the NES a year later in the UK and America, the legend of Zelda was the first proper adventure game which opened the door to the greatest series of all time. It was also the first game to make use of a save function and the first to sell over a million copies. The game featured a huge over world map along with a total of six dungeons and a deep, lengthy storyline. As the tale goes, Ganon the prince of darkness has stolen the triforce of power and has used it to lay siege upon the kingdom of Hyrule unleashing dangerous monsters across the land. In an attempt to steal her triforce piece, the pesky pig captures princess Zelda and it’s then up to the hero of the story, Link to save her and slay the evil lord. And in case you haven’t had enough, once you have finished the story you have access to a ‘quest 2’ mode in which you play through the game again but with a higher difficulty and some cool twists. The easiest way to obtain this adventure is through wii’s virtual console service but if you have the cash and an NES system you can pick it up off eBay. The game is also available on the gamecube in the legend of Zelda collector’s edition and on the gameboy advance. I really recommend you pick this title up now.


Zelda II: the adventure of link 
[nes/gc/gba/virtual console]
Zelda II is mostly considered to be the black sheep of the series by many fans due to its strange game play differences. Link is older in this game however despite the many years that have gone by since he defeated Ganon, there is still an evil presence in the land. A magic spell saw to it that if Link was killed and his blood was sprinkled on Ganon's ashes, the evil lord would return. As a result, Ganon’s minions are out in force to kill Link, who at the same time turns 16. All of a sudden he finds that a triforce mark has appeared on the back of his hand and he then goes to his friend Impa, one of the sages for help. In the meantime, Zelda is drifting into an eternal sleep thanks to a magical curse placed on her by a mysterious sorcerer and it’s once again up to link to save her from certain death by sleep, while avoiding getting himself killed. In order to access Hyrule castle where the princess is sleeping, link must collect pieces of the triforce of courage, which is engraved on the back of his hand.

As I mentioned before, Zelda II has a slightly different formula to the other titles in the series.
The reason for this is because adventure of link is a side-scroller like Mario or sonic games, but that doesn’t make it a platformer at all. Another unique feature of Zelda II is its exp system, not featured in any other Zelda game to date. Every time you level up, you are given the option to upgrade one of your three stats: stamina, which increases your defensive power, attack, which increases your offensive power and magic, which boosts the power of the magic spells you will learning. In conclusion, Zelda II: the adventure of link is well worth a purchase, but it’s simply not as good as the original. The game is available on the same consoles as Zelda 1, but it’s probably cheapest to get on VC again.


The legend of Zelda: a link to the past [snes/gba/virtual console]
The long awaited Zelda 3 was a return to the series’ roots as it was once again at a top-down perspective. A link to the past was a truly amazing game, hailed by many as the greatest snes game of all time, mine was super Mario RPG but whatever, it was still great. The third game in the series is a prequel to the original game, as it tells the story of how thief Ganondorf dragmire got the triforce engraving on his hand and turned into the dark beast Ganon. The thief sends a spy known as Agahnim to the kingdom of Hyrule, and one day, trouble ensues and he steps up to save the day. The king of Hyrule is very pleased with the spy and appoints him as his chief advisor at the castle, two months later several young girls begin to disappear and Agahnim began to abuse his power. It is no big surprise that each of the missing girls is a descendant of the sages who originally trapped Ganondorf in a sacred realm. It turns out that Ganondorf is using Agahnim to help him break the seal that holds him in the former Golden Land. Princess Zelda of Hyrule also happens to be a descendant of the sages, and her turn is next! It is now up to Link to foil this evil plan. The legendary hero finds himself sneaking into Hyrule castle one stormy night, dodging Agahnim's evil guards in order to rescue Princess Zelda. Link finds and rescues her, but this is only the beginning of the game! In order to defeat Ganon for good, Link will need to find the legendary Master Sword, negotiate a Dark World, Ganon's corruption of the Sacred Realm, and rescue the missing girls.

So yeah, the legend of Zelda: a link to the past has a much deeper story than the previous games in the series and is the game that revealed a lot more about Hyrule’s history and introduced loads of gameplay aspects still used in Zelda games nowadays. A cool thing about Zelda 3 is that it contained an area known as the ‘Chris Houlihan room’ named after the winner of a competition in Nintendo power magazine while the game was in early development. A link to the past is also available on the gba, but I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: get it on virtual console!


The legend of Zelda: Link’s awakening
Nobody though it would work: Zelda on a handheld console with no colour. It turns out it did work, and the result was amazing for a gameboy title. Now, I must just mention I’m about to talk about link’s awakening DX, which was a re-release of the original link’s awakening but in colour and apparently with a few added extras, which I can’t say anything about as I have never played the original game, phew, now that’s sorted, let’s get on with the storyline to this game. 

The legend of Zelda: Link’s awakening was the first game that proved handhelds can have games with stories just as epic as their bigger brothers. The prologue to the game explains Zelda 4 is set after Zelda 2, meaning this takes place after Ganon’s death, but the civilians of Hyrule still fear his return. In case the evil lord does ever return, Link sets out on a new adventure away from Hyrule in order to gain strength, new skills and weaponary. On his return trip to Hyrule a massive storm brews and Link’s ship is sunk and he washes up on a mysterious island. He meets a woman there named Marin, whom he firstly mistakes for Princess Zelda, however she tells him that he is on Koholint Island.
All of a sudden, an owl flies up to Link. 
"Awaken the Wind Fish and all will be answered" it says. Marin tells him that at the center of the island is a giant egg, and that a mythical creature called the Wind Fish is inside it. Curious, Link sets off to solve this strange riddle, following clues throughout the island, so that he can awaken the mysterious Wind Fish.
So there you have it. Link’s awakening is certainly the best game boy game from what I’ve played, and at least one of the best game boy colour games.


The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time
[N64/gc/virtual console]
The N64 debut for Zelda is widely considered to be the greatest game of all time by almost every major website and millions of gamers across the world. Ocarina of time has held two Guinness world records, one for being the most pre-ordered game before release and a second for being the most highly rated game ever published, I believe the reason for this is that Zelda64 was so good for it’s time and is still highly enjoyable even over eleven years after it’s release in 1998 but to be perfectly honest I disagree. Yep, you heard me right. In my opinion Ocarina of time isn’t the greatest game ever made because I actually prefer twilight princess. Don’t kill me; it’s just my opinion. Anyway, onto the game itself: the fifth addition to the Zelda series was one of the most anticipated games of all time. With 3 years of work gone into it and 5 years since the last Zelda title was released, fans were expecting something great and Ocarina of time proved to be even better than anyone had ever imagined. Zelda64 introduced a lot of things for the series such as the z-targeting system and the fact that Link is unable to jump, which sounded a little weird at first but Zelda Isn’t a platform adventure, it’s a video game epic. In this title Hyrule has become a more realistic land with its sweeping plains and treacherous deserts. You could watch the sky turn from blue to pink to black as the sun set. You could see lightning and rain. Magic effects would dazzle the screen and suddenly the enemies became very fearsome; you can't help noticing how small Link looks when a dungeon boss towers over him, poised to attack.

In ocarina of time Link is a small Kokori boy who lives in the forest. One day he wakes up to find a small forest fairy named Navi who tells him the spirit of the forest, the great Deku tree needs to see him.
Apparently, the Deku tree has something inside him that the protagonist must find, as he tells Link it will be important for the events that lie ahead of him so
After exploring the spirit’s insides, Link finally finds the object which turns out to be a spiritual stone; the tree then tells Link this is an important item and there are two other stones he must find: a red one and a blue one. As you may have guessed, Link needs to find the other two stones that are located in the homes of two tribes. After obtaining the stones around 10 hours of game play have passed and the story starts to get a lot more complicated. I don’t want to spoil the great tale that is told in Ocarina so I will be leaving it there.
In the end ocarina of time is a huge adventure that had gamers all over the world shocked at its brilliance. If you have a wii pick it up on virtual console now!


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