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After all these years I’ve finally played through the original Legend of Zelda thanks to the Switch Online. I don’t tend to be a big fan of the original games because a lot of them don’t hold up for me but LoZ wasn’t bad. I would put it in the middle. I can’t imagine playing it without today’s modern features though because it seems like it would be an extremely long process without a lot of quality of life features. With the Switch Online enhancements it does help the game to an extent but I certainly am glad that the modern titles have added a lot to the experience.
The general plot is that it’s dangerous to go alone so Link grabs his sword. He has to stop the demon king and save the princess so he’s in for a busy day. To do this he will have to find all of the pieces of the legendary Triforce and only then will he be able to save the world. Don’t underestimate a hero that is on a journey! Link will never give up and never surrender until he has his day. That is why he’s so legendary.
The gameplay style uses the overhead format. For the most part you slice the enemies that get in your way but additionally you can also get other weapons later on like a laser blaster, arrows, and bombs. For the most part you don’t want to waste ammo so you’ll stick to the sword but the laser is an exception as the ammo is limitless. Using your gadgets wisely is the only way you can come out on top here because if you squander them then you will be easy pickings for the monsters. You have to be very careful because you take heavy damage just for bumping into them.
Also it’s easy to miss an item and have to backtrack a lot so watch out for that. This is definitely a puzzle game first and foremost, not to mention that it’s also an unforgiving one. If you don’t watch your step then that’ll be curtains for your time. It definitely took me several hours to beat this game because I would get lost a whole lot. I don’t know how you would be able to navigate the final dungeon straight through. That one is extremely long and filled with shortcuts. There’s no visual indicator of any kind on which walls can be blown up so I just had to try on all of them. Each room had at least 3 corners to try and there could be over 20 rooms so that was a lot of options. I should mention that you can only carry 8 bombs unless you find a secret upgrade so without rewinding to replenish your stock…that would have been absolutely brutal.
The actual combat can be fun but expect to get hit a whole lot. At times the game turns into a bullet hell title where everyone is blasting you at the speed of sound. There’s one particular enemy that is super tough to deal with because he emits a full barrier with a lot of little attack nodes that are super hard to dodge. If any of them hit you then they will deal an incredible amount of damage. I would avoid them when possible but a lot of times you would have to fight in order to move forward.
If I were to take a stab at trying to improve the game it would really boil down to one thing. I would add some kind of indicator that a shortcut was nearby like a crack in the wall or something. That takes the guesswork out which I think is a good thing. Why should you be wasting bombs everywhere when you can just place them tactically? There is a sort of map on the top right of the screen but it’s an empty void that only shows your location. I would put in landmarks and such so you at least know where you’ve been. It’ll be like Link was filling out the map along the way.
These quality of life updates are what I would add to the mix and I think it would work really well. Then you can focus more on the actual combat and just taking out the villains. I’d also say maybe they shouldn’t let you exit a dungeon without taking every key item there. It would help prevent issues like not taking the raft in world 4 and then having to search every dungeon until you find it. That’s definitely no fun because you never want to have to go back. It just isn’t fulfilling. The only time I really enjoyed backtracking is when there is a power up system so you get stronger or the levels are super convenient. Like going back in Shantae is fun enough because you get the ability to fly and do other kinds of things that makes the old levels a breeze. If you’re about the same level of strength then it’s just not quite the same.
The soundtrack really holds up quite nicely though. You hear a lot of classic LoZ themes that are still used to this day. Nintendo really never held back in this area and the graphics also look pretty good for the NES. It’s clear that a solid budget was put into the game for back in its day and it shows. Good effort never goes to waste after all and they can look back on that and be proud. We’ll see if the next Link game can match it in that respect.
Overall, Legend of Zelda ended up becoming a big thing so clearly the game succeeded. I can see the appeal back in the day in that there was so much to do so you could easily spend months playing this game and figuring everything out. That would definitely be a rewarding experience but I wouldn’t say it holds up quite as well nowadays. It can really toe the line between being annoying or being fun at times. Still, you can’t go wrong playing it for free on the Switch Online though. Give it a whirl and see what you think. Either way you get to experience one of Nintendo’s most historic titles so that alone should be an incentive to give it a whirl. That said, if you take the nostalgia goggles off, I would argue that Skyward Sword still leaves this one in the dust.
Now this is a very unique oneshot because this time Link isn’t the main character. Or I guess he technically is in a sense but they call him Quark here. I found that a bit odd myself but I figured I shouldn’t question it. It’s a fun story, I don’t see what the point of not calling the lead Link was, but this would fit in well with the LoZ mythos for his younger days.
The story starts with Link walking around when he meets a fairy and an old man in the forest. Whoops…I meant “Quark”. So Quark is on a quest to grab the 3 legendary artifacts so that he can awaken the Master Sword. Once he has that then he will be able to save Zelda from Agahnim, a powerful sorcerer who has taken over Hyrule. Unfortunately Quark isn’t able to pull the Master Sword out yet and literally cries to these two people about it. The guy is introduced as Lepton and the fairy is called Ellie. They explain that there’s another villain on the loose named Graviton. Perhaps Quark could practice his skills by defeating that guy and saving a great deal of lives? Lepton will even throw in some free lessons so Quark agrees to the terms.
Right off the bat you can tell that this Quark is a little whinier than the others. Of course he is still a rookie here but even so it’s just odd to see Quark not be more of a leader kind of guy. At one point Lepton asks Quark why he’s fighting and the hero responds with “For myself” which was not the right answer. After getting beaten up by the villains for a bit, Quark remembers that he’s fighting for Zelda and the kingdom. Better late than never I guess?…..and Quark’s sword skills aren’t great yet either as he has to be saved by Lepton. By the end of the oneshot it’s safe to say that he’s back to being more courageous.
So this isn’t the best portrayal of Link I’ve seen, but Quark’s an okay main character. I wasn’t a big fan of Lepton for most of this story because it felt like the guy was making things hard on Link for no reason. He already explained that Graviton is quite powerful but then tells Quark that he has to fight on his own against him? Why? This inevitably leads to Lepton getting stabbed and things could have been different otherwise. There’s a plot twist at the end that makes all of this meaningless anyway but it’s still not a good look for him regardless.
The idea of the character’s not bad though and if Lepton would just let go of his ego a bit more then I think he’d be a much better character. Ellie’s nice enough as the sidekick. She is looking out for Lepton and tries to make Quark polite at all times which is good. As for the villain, there’s not a whole lot to say about Graviton. He has a really solid design but the guy is partially comic relief so I wouldn’t say that you can take him all that seriously. The guy even wants to go to sleep at one point because the wait to get his power up was too long.
The humor is done well enough in the story though. It all flows together pretty well and the fights are good when they happen. There is a lot more dialogue than I was expecting initially though. The oneshot really makes sure that you have on your reading glasses at all times. If you take them off then that’ll definitely be game over for you right off the bat. It’s not boring at any point though and the oneshot is of a decent length at 30+ pages. There’s enough time for the plot to settle and this feels like a legitimate sidequest. Something that would help Quark in the long run.
The art is solid here and it’s a quality story so there’s not much more you could ask for. Quark feels out of character but I know there are a lot of different Link incarnations. I am completely used to the more serious version from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess at this point so it’s hard to go back to the spunky, younger versions. Still, I will say that Quark stepped up when he had too which is the important thing. I’m surprised Ganondorf didn’t appear but I suppose he can’t show up every time.
Overall, This was a fun story. Graviton had a cool design even if his personality wasn’t quite up to par. It’s always nice to see Link (I’ll just call him Link at this point. Quark just doesn’t feel right) having some help along his quest. It always feels like he has to do just about everything by himself when you hope that someone will step in to help him eventually. This was finally that moment even if Lepton didn’t want to directly help too much. I think there’s a time for training and a time for action but Lepton messed this up. If you want to see a fun little story about Link as he prepares to save the day, this is a good one to check out. You’ll definitely be blasting through it in no time.
Legend of Zelda is a series where the main games tend to be terrific but some of the older ones don’t work as well. It’s a little bit like Metroid to that extent where I didn’t care for the first couple much but then they got better. This game plays out like a very old school LoZ title where you are really left to your own devices. It ends up making for a game that is pretty annoying to play.
So someone has decided to mess with the 4 seasons. The global climate is out of whack now and nobody really knows what to do. Fortunately Link is on the case. He will have to use the staff of seasons in order to put the world right again. It’s the only way to bring peace and prosperity back into the land. We don’t know exactly who the villain is, but he will certainly regret getting in Link’s way.
The main gameplay style here is that of an overhead adventure. You travel across the world as you look for different essences as well as the 4 seasons themselves. You can use various weapons in the hub world like your sword, boomerang, and other weapons. Talking to civilians will help you get past obstacles that can’t be overcome by brawn alone. There are also portions of the game that simulate the Mario experience as the game turns into a side scroller. It’s always pretty fun to go through those segments as a change of pace.
I played this game as a virtual console port on the 3DS. I can say right now that I can’t imagine playing this game without the access points. I use those quite a lot. Without them there are obstacles that will take you back to the beginning of a dungeon. If you make a wrong step you may find yourself in a room that you can’t back out of and you have to take the long way around. The game has many anti quality of life features that stack up.
On the plus side, I do like the graphics. They’ve aged well and this is a colorful style that just really works well. It’s why a lot of people like sprites since they transition into the future really easily. The soundtrack’s also pretty decent. It’s all catchy and works well for the various dungeons. So on a technical level this game was on the money.
The actual gameplay is pretty smooth as well. You never feel like the weapon is hitting too late or you miss something that you’re aiming for. The core gameplay is solid so I don’t expect you will really come across any issues. So this pretty much wraps up the good parts of the game. They are considerable of course but the negatives do outweigh them this time.
First off, there’s not much of a story. It’s not the kind of thing that will lower a score but when bosses show up without any dialogue or cutscene, you know something is up. Yeah there is still a story overall but it’s fairly barebones. I will give the game credit for having a cliffhanger ending though. It flat out tells you to go and buy Oracle of Ages as the game ends. There is a caveat to that though.
It looks like you have to buy both games to effectively link them and unlock the true ending. If you just buy one then you will really be playing through almost the same story. So…this seems like a really crafty way to get people to buy both titles. I also wonder how that would work through virtual console. I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to transfer save states like that and if so that would be awful. I don’t know for sure though so just keep that in mind if you want to see the true ending.
No, the real issue with the game is the puzzles. LoZ loves its puzzles but the problem is that the series is often not as good at it as the real puzzle titles like Professor Layton. Half the time you are given no clue as to what to do next or have to use your weapon in a new way that was unexplained. I spent 20 minutes blasting one enemy with elemental attacks only to find out that it wasn’t actually causing damage. (Why have the boss glow as if you landed a hit when the hit didn’t work?)
Between dungeons you often have to do tasks in the hub world but there is no way to know what you are supposed to do. Additionally the hub world is huge so running back and forth is incredibly time consuming. The game took a lot longer than I expected it would in order to conquer it and this was why. I spent hours just spinning my wheels when I could have been at the next dungeon already.
I never cared much for that aspect because if I got a game then I want to be playing it. I want to feel the gameplay and just go all in but this really slows things down. I ended up needing a guide for many parts and I don’t see how I would have ever guessed what to do in some of these cases. There are some places you can teleport to in order to save time but not nearly enough of them. You still have to walk large parts of the world map on your own which is not ideal.
At the heart of it, the game just isn’t very fun to play for this reason. Sure, some of the dialogue can be fun, you can enjoy the boss battles but anytime you’re having too much fun the game slams you down with a dead zone where you have to figure out where to go next. It leaves you in a tough spot but not a fun one as you’re running through areas you’ve already been to a million times already.
At least because of that the length is considerable. If you get this game for the going rate of $10-$15 bucks then this is really not a bad deal. There’s also the replay value of getting the true ending but if you do need two copies in order to get to it then that may not be applicable in the virtual console version anyway. Definitely do your research before buying the game.
Overall, The overhead Link games aren’t really my style and this one was no exception. If it focused on more combat and less wandering around then I think it would have fared a lot better. Link games always have solid combat after all and that would have aged really well. So if you’re in the mood for a Legend of Zelda game, I’d recommend checking out Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, or Breath of the Wild instead. At the end of the day this one just wasn’t fun and is best left to history.
Tri Force Heroes is definitely an interesting Legend of Zelda title. It’s far different from most of the ones that come out. I would say it’s closest to Four Swords in terms of gameplay. You’ve got the classic overhead view back but this time you’re controlling 3 Links. It is held back to an extent though in how much this is built for multiple people to play it as opposed to a 1 player experience. It also ramps up the difficulty levels quite a bit to the point where this is one of the few games that took me longer to complete than the average time from the Howlongtobeat site.
The story this time revolves around a princess who is so beautiful that she ends up being cursed by another person who is jealous. She is now forced to wear a skintight suit at all times so she can no longer put on the fancy dresses she once had. A kid is instructed to destroy the monsters in 8 key worlds and break the curse on the Princess. He dons the name of Link as well as the classic gear and gets ready to accomplish this. Can Link really save the day or is he ultimately doomed to be crushed here?
Interestingly both Zelda and Ganondorf don’t appear in this game. I’m surprised they didn’t just make Zelda the princess but that’s probably for the best because I can’t really picture her just taking the curse sitting down like this. It was a good move not to make her the damsel but it would have been fun to maybe see Zelda appear as a supporting character. I was also waiting for the big twist that Ganondorf was the big villain all along but that one didn’t actually end up panning out. The actual villain who doesn’t even have a true name beyond “The Lady” is decent at best. She is a little on the petty side since the whole reason she did this is because she’s jealous of the princess. It’s not exactly the best motive.
Her role is also small but that’s the way the story is in general. You can go through the game without seeing much of the story at all. See, there are 8 worlds to complete and each world has 4 levels. Each level has 4 sections in it. You can clear all of these in one shot or break them up as much as you want. if you turn the game off after any world or leave the room then you’ll get a quick cutscene of encouragement from the King or some information from the wardrobe owner. However, if you just beat the game right up front then you won’t get these cutscenes and instead will get a lot of them back to back at the end. That’s what happened to me and it’s an odd tactic.
I feel like the plot was thrown together more as a formality but the game didn’t actually care about it all that much. As for the gameplay, it’s fairly basic. You have to get to the end of each area by solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. You can move and swing your sword as well as using a power up specific to the level. You will need to use multiple Links to clear these levels as well like throwing Links onto higher levels or holding them up so they can slice away at enemies who are too tall to be hit normally. That’s the way to clear a lot of the puzzles since the multi links is a big part of the game’s theme.
Here’s the thing though, if you’re playing multiplayer then everyone controls a Link. In one player mode the other two are Totems so they can’t move or do anything. You have to constantly switch between them to solve the puzzles on your own which takes a lot of extra time. Additionally for bosses where you have to distract them with one Link and attack with another, it can be tough to switch that quickly. So the game is absolutely meant for multiplayer. If the other Links would move on their own as A.I. or something I think that would be a lot better. That could potentially work. Like this it can get a bit rough although the challenge was fun.
The game flies by pretty quickly. It took me a little over 8 hours to conquer it so around 1 hour a world. Part of that is just because the levels can be tricky though as they are usually pretty short otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game allows you to skip levels as well by using the fairy. Each level has 4 areas as I mentioned and you get 3 skips for each level. So what you can do is clear area 1 and then skip the rest of the level. If you do this then you only have to clear 32 areas in the game or effectively just 8 levels. It’s definitely an effective way to speedblitz the game but at that point are you really getting the full experience? It seems like it wouldn’t be all that worth it but at the same time if you have a level that’s particularly annoying at least you have it as an option I guess.
The graphics are pretty decent. It’s going for a pretty retro look here but everything does appear to be in HD with a lot of detail. The art style is charming and definitely gets you into the flow of the game. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It may not have the iconic theme you would expect to walk away with but it does have that classic LoZ charm to be sure. The boss theme would probably be the most memorable one if I had to choose one theme to walk away with.
As for replay value, there is definitely more to do here. For starters you can go back to the levels you completed and clear the Challenger Mode. Each level essentially has another version to play so that could last you another 8 hours. You can also try to obtain all of the clothes from the shop. I didn’t explore the hub world much at all but there is also an items shop which I could see being pretty handy. All in all I wouldn’t call it a ton of replay value but the content is absolutely there. The going price nowadays is also very low so that helps make this a bargain as well.
Overall, Tri Force Heroes is a good game. It can be a bit repetitive due to the puzzle style it has. You will be doing the same actions over and over a lot of the time which can get a bit dull so you don’t want to play this in super large batches. The fact that the game is really built around being a multiplayer experience also makes things feel a little clunky at times. Still, at the end of the day I would recommend this game if you like LoZ. It’s not quite up to the standard of the main games but as a spinoff it does accomplish its duty of being a game you can rally behind and to see the classic characters one last time.
Twilight Princess has finally gotten a manga. It’s still the only big LoZ game that I have not played so it’ll be cool to see how this title pans out. Wolves better not keep perishing though or that could end up hurting the series quite a bit. I’ll have a review for the series when it finishes.