Explore Hyrule and Seek Out the Shattered Shards of the Triforce!

Zelda Classic

Zelda Classic

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Categories/Tags: adventure classic nintendo fantasy theme freeware role playing

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  • What's Free - Play game for 100 minutes.
  • File Size - 8 MB
  • Play It On - Win XP/Vista/7
  • Game Created By - Armageddon Games

DFG Exclusive Review Summary

  • Includes all of the challenging gameplay of the original Legend of Zelda
  • Features an open and explorable world filled with many secrets
  • Completely free to play
  • Infinite modding capabilities
  • The story is not very compelling
  • It can be easy to get lost in the world




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Game Description

Return to Hyrule. Return to Where it All Began.

Not everyone has played The Legend of Zelda or its many sequels and spin-offs, but everybody has most definitely heard about it. The kingdom of Hyrule, Link the Hero of Time, the Master Sword, the Triforce, the evil Ganondorf, and Princess Zelda herself are all classic icons in the industry and they all began with the humbly-titled Legend of Zelda.

With Zelda Classic, you can now experience the mythical game that started it all over again or for the first time ever. You will take control of Link’s earliest incarnation, explore Hyrule, fight fearsome monsters, collect all manner of useful tools that will open up new doors for you, and face the porcine villain himself, just as millions of gamers have done since 1986.

However, Zelda Classic does not just remake the old game; it expands upon it in many unimaginable ways. Whether you’re a longtime Zelda fan or are just getting your feet wet, Zelda Classic is not something you should ignore.

A Kingdom in Trouble

A shadow has fallen over the land of Hyrule. The forces of Ganon, Prince of Darkness, have invaded. Thanks to the Triforce of Power, Ganon is infused with enough strength to make him invincible. Fearing that he will come for the Triforce of Wisdom next, Princess Zelda shatters the relic and scatters its pieces into the darkest corners of the kingdom.

With the Triforce safely out of evil hands, a young hero named Link sets out to reassemble it and use its power to challenge Ganon and save all of Hyrule.

Take Part in a Magical Adventure

The Legend of Zelda was one of the earliest examples of a nonlinear game in the industry. Rather than proceed through a series of levels in a specific order, you were given the ability to free roam from the very beginning. Zelda Classic follows this rule to a tee, planting you in the very same world, with the very same enemies, and with that very same timeless spirit of adventure.

  • Explore the expansive and nonlinear world of Hyrule at your own pace. Look for hidden passages and secret rooms abounding with treasure.
  • Collect rupees from fallen enemies and use them to purchase new items that will help you on your quest.
  • Slay the forces of Ganon using a variety of weapons. Swing a magic sword, fire a bow, plant explosive bombs, throw a boomerang, and more.
  • Collect special Heart Containers to extend your life and take more hits.
  • Gather an assortment of tools to make exploring the world easier. Use a candle to light up dark areas, a raft to float down rivers, a ladder to reach higher places, and more!

Learning the Controls

The controls of Zelda Classic operate under the template of the original game. The new keyboard controls are meant to emulate the functions of the NES controller, so you don’t need to memorize too many keys. The key mappings can be changed at any time, but the default controls appear as the following:

  • Use the arrow keys to move around the map.
  • The Enter key serves the function of the NES’ Start button. Press it to pause the game and access the menu where you can change the items you currently have equipped.
  • The left Alt key substitutes the A button. This activates the item you have equipped in your A slot. Since this is typically where your sword will go, you’ll use this as your attack button.
  • The left Ctrl key represents the B button. When pressed, it activates the button that is currently in your B slot.
  • The spacebar plays the role of the select button. Once you acquire the map for a corresponding dungeon, you may press the key to give it a quick look and get your bearings.
  • In addition, you may click your mouse anywhere on the screen. This will pause it and summon a contemporary-looking menu where you may opt to quit, reset the game, take screenshots, adjust the volume, or alter the controls to something that works better for you.

More than Just a Remake

If you think you’re just going to get a picture-perfect remake of The Legend of Zelda with Classic Zelda, you have another thing coming! Zelda Classic includes a powerful program called ZQuest that allows players, including you, to create their own custom content from scratch!

  • Craft entire 8-bit dungeons and worlds.
  • Program your own quests and write your own epic story.
  • Change and modify the base game, or create a whole new game yourself.
  • Download thousands of user-made mods and expansions from Armageddon Games’ Quest Database for free.

Perfection Perfected

Zelda Classic is proof that you can teach new tricks to an old dog. It remakes the original Legend of Zelda game down to the minutest details, from the graphics to the sounds to the gameplay. Then it adds more to it in the form of new quests and modding tools that allow players to create their own content for the game, increasing the replay value tenfold!

Hence, Zelda Classic offers a lot of bang for your buck, and it’s completely free! There’s a lot that both old and new Zelda fans are sure to appreciate, and it could very well be the last game you’ll ever need.

Zelda Classic Review

Every Legend has its Beginning

1986 was a landmark year for the gaming industry. Nintendo released a new title for the NES that they anticipated would be so special, that it was sold as a unique golden cartridge. They were correct in their assessment, for The Legend of Zelda would eventually go on to become one of the biggest and most beloved gaming franchises ever.

Hyrule has been a staging ground for adventures that have gotten bigger, more magical, and more graphically impressive over the years. This all begs the question: How does the game that started it all fare today?

Zelda Classic attempts to answer that question. Created by a group of devoted Zelda fans and modders, the game delivers an almost picture-perfect recreation of the beloved classic. All the old powers, tools and enemies have their place, and the sense of adventure is at an all-time high as you’re given the freedom to go wherever you want in whatever order you choose.

While The Legend of Zelda is a product of its time, it still remains a solid entry and Zelda Classic is a nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane.

A Minimal Story

If there’s one thing that will probably catch you by surprise about the first ever Zelda game, it’s that the story isn’t anything to write home about. While the later entries would go on to have progressively more sophisticated narratives and nuanced characters to help bring the world of Hyrule to life, the plot of The Legend of Zelda itself is pretty simple and minimal.

As dictated by the poorly-translated scrolling text at the beginning, the Prince of Darkness, Ganon, acquires the Triforce of Power and uses it to conquer Hyrule effortlessly. Fearing of what he would be capable of if he took her own Triforce of Wisdom, Princess Zelda shattered the artifact and had its pieces scattered across the kingdom. It is here where a young and brave warrior named Link sets out to recover the Triforce, face down Ganon, and save both Zelda and the kingdom once and for all.

If you’re only familiar with the later entries in the series, then you might be in for a little bit of surprise about the story for The Legend of Zelda. For one thing, it’s not an integral part of the game. Like many NES titles at the time of release, the story was really more of an excuse to justify its particular brand of gameplay. Others might be a little shocked at some of the different conventions of the plot, from Link attaining power from the Triforce of Wisdom rather than the Triforce of Courage, to Ganon’s depiction as a blue pig man.

Do note that none of these qualities make the game bad per say; they’re just a little unusual. The Legend of Zelda, even under the Zelda Classic moniker, is a game first and foremost. If you want a good story, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Familiar Presentation

Zelda Classic was designed from the ground up to be a faithful remake of the original Legend of Zelda. Hence, the graphics have been made to resemble the original NES game pixel by pixel. Everything, including the backgrounds, trees, tile sets and sprites, looks like it was ripped right out of the original golden cartridge.

Although this means you have to deal with some fairly outdated 8-bit visuals that make Link look more like a squat little goblin than the Hero of Time himself, they still have a retro look that’s sure to delight a nostalgic mind. Regardless of whether you like them or not, there’s no denying that the team behind Zelda Classic accomplished what it set out to do.

The music has a similarly retro style and it’s just as catchy as it ever was. There aren’t a whole lot of changes in this department; it honestly feels like you’re playing the genuine article and not a fan-made project.

The Old has Become New Again

If the story catches you a little by surprise, the gameplay is at least more familiar if you’ve played any of the 2D games in the series. It’s a top-down adventure where you’re given free reign to explore the game world. For a game that was released back in 1987, it’s a fairly sizeable world too. It may not compare to the likes of Skyrim or most modern day MMORPGs, but it’s still something you can easily get lost in. Right from the get-go, you can pretty much go wherever the wind takes you. The only things that can stop you are a variety of natural barriers that require specialized tools and items to circumvent.

Unlike its successors, there are no towns or settlements whatsoever in The Legend of Zelda. Non-player characters are limited to a few individuals scattered in caves all over the place. They offer the occasional good or service that you can get for a price in rupees, but other than that, you’re going to be in for a very solitary adventure in Hyrule.

The Legend of Zelda also has a greater emphasis on combat than on puzzle-solving. Hyrule has become a very dangerous place as of late; just about every screen is crawling with several active and aggressive enemies. Many of the familiar foes are present, from the Octoroks to the Moblins. Combat is a pretty simple affair where you simply whack baddies with your sword. If Link is at full health, then he also has the ability to fire a beam from his sword, giving him a nice attack that’s handy for taking out enemies from a distance.

He also comes equipped with a shield that has a chance to deflect all incoming missile attacks that Link is directly facing. Neither the sword nor shield are particularly powerful at the beginning, but with enough exploration and a few rupees, you can easily acquire upgrades to make them more useful.

Link’s sword and shield aren’t the only tools or weapons that Link has at his disposal. He can also acquire a variety of other goodies, like a boomerang and a bow, which are even better than the sword at fighting from long range. There are also bombs that can be planted to blow up groups of enemies, while candles can be used to hurl fireballs.

A lot of items come with some utility as well. Bombs can blow up rocks and reveal secret passages, while candles can burn down trees to open up new pathways or illuminate especially dark areas. With a little bit of ingenuity, nearly every item in your inventory can be applied for an unexpected function.

Needless to say, Hyrule can be a pretty fun place to run around in. There are all sorts of cool little secrets tucked around all over the land that can be found by the meticulous player. You can find large caches of rupees, boost your health permanently with extra hearts, and locate lone merchants that sell goodies like potions, bombs and upgrades. If you’re especially thorough in your investigation, or at least remember where everything can be found from previous play-throughs, then you can increase Link’s power tenfold before even setting foot into your first dungeon!

Advancing through the game is largely a process of gathering an assortment of items that serve the role of literally expanding your horizons. Link can only travel on foot at the beginning, but he can eventually cross rivers with a raft or reach higher places with a stepladder. Nothing is more satisfying in Zelda than returning to some place you couldn’t reach before and going right into it with your latest toy. It’s this constant thrill of discovery that makes The Legend of Zelda such a hallmark in gaming.

Unfortunately, the open-ended nature of The Legend of Zelda can also be its own undoing. You have no real direction in where exactly you’re supposed to go. There are no signs, breadcrumbs or even hints that indicate where your next dungeon is located; the game pretty much throws you right into the middle of the hornets’ nest. Hyrule can be a very tricky place to navigate through and the constant hostility you’re bombarded with doesn’t make it any easier.

One detail you should realize is that the only way you could get your bearings on the overworld of the original game was to use a physical map that was included with the cartridge. As a faithful remake, Zelda Classic requires the same thing, except it obviously doesn’t have a map you can refer to while the playing the game. If you want to relieve yourself of some frustration in Zelda Classic, it’s recommended you go online to find a map yourself.

Even with that in mind, it’s a bit head-scratching that the Zelda Classic team couldn’t find it in themselves to update this little feature. As admirable as it is that they made such a faithful recreation of the original, it would have been nice if there was at least an optional mapping system included in the base game. It may be a classic, but that doesn’t mean everything about it is like a fine wine.

More Than Just Classic Zelda

However, at the end of the day, just playing through the original campaign for The Legend of Zelda is only scratching the surface of what Zelda Classic is truly about. Not only does the game come with the second campaign that mixes things up and makes the quest even more challenging, but it also boasts a variety of powerful modding tools that allow users to create their very own content.

The most prominent of these tools is a level editor that allows you to create your own sprawling worlds. It’s surprisingly easy to create an in-game world screen-by-screen; all it takes is for you to paint the selection of tiles yourself in a way that makes sense. Creating deserts, fields, forests, orchards, rivers, caverns and dungeons is a simple and addictive process. It’s also possible to import your own tile sets, so creating levels that are wholly distinct from the base game is entirely possible.

There are also tools that let you edit NPCs, enemies and items. The sprites that are used, the animation cycles that bring them to life, and what effects they have on gameplay are all yours to control. These features can be a somewhat more dicey affair, especially as you’ll need to either be artistic enough to draw your own sprites, or a good enough programmer to get the effects just right. Nevertheless, putting them in your hand-made worlds is a snap as well.

Even if you’re not much of a coder or artist, Zelda Classic has a large and very creative community that can cover all your bases. Custom sprites, maps and tile sets can be downloaded from the game’s official website for your own purposes.

You can also sample the many independent campaigns that are available online, like You Only Live Once, Dawn to Twilight, Time After, and Link’s Birthday. Many of these are entire games in and of themselves and can be just as good as the original. Unfortunately, others can be pretty amateurish or otherwise buggy. The most annoying issue that plagues the lot of them is how they can be just as hard to navigate as the main game, all the while lacking a proper map to make your life easier. The campaigns are free either way, but finding the good from the bad is often a difficult and daunting process.

A Treasure Worth Uncovering

In the end, Zelda Classic is something that’s easily worth a look for both longtime fans and newcomers to the franchise. The narrative may be weak in comparison to the Zelda titles of today and not all the gameplay elements have aged that well, but The Legend of Zelda is still an imaginative little game that does not disappoint with the way it rewards exploration and thinking outside the box.

Even then, it’s only a small piece compared to what the whole Zelda Classic package has to offer. You can go wild creating your own Zelda games with the modding tools, or download any of the hundreds that are available online to enjoy the classic game in a whole new way. Anyone who’s nostalgic for the games of yesterday will definitely find a whole lot to enjoy with Zelda Classic.

- Review by David Galvin

Dave Galvin is a freelance writer and avid gamer. Somehow, he managed to find a way to combine the two passions.

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