Legend of Zelda Review (NES)

Legend of Zelda Review (NES)


The Zelda series is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, featuring 17 official games with several spin-offs, a manga series, an animated series, a touring symphony, and overall has sold over 67 million copies. The games have changed majorly over the years in countlessways. From lore to graphics, the series brings new changes with every title.
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The series itself has brought major changes to the industry ever since its first release, Legend of Zelda, on the Nintendo Entertainment System. To celebrate what the series has become, we will be looking at the game that started it all.

Screenshot at Jun 26 17-12-24



The story behind this game is primarily what set the standard for furture games in the series. Nintendo did a great job when creating the story, making sure they create a grand and memorable story. Here is the story as stated by the game’s manual;

“A long, long time ago the World was in an age of Chaos.”

“In the midst of this chaos, in a little kingdom in the land of Hyrule, a legend was being handed down from generation to generation, the legend of the ‘Triforce’; golden triangles possessing mystical powers. One day, an evil army attacked this peaceful little kingdom and stole the Triforce of Power. This army was led by Ganon, the powerful Prince of Darkness who sought to plunge the World into fear and darkness under his rule. Fearing his wicked rule, Zelda, the princess of this kingdom, split up the Triforce of Wisdom into eight fragments and hid them throughout the realm to save the last remaining Triforce from the clutches of the evil Ganon. At the same time, she commanded her most trustworthy nursemaid, Impa, to secretly escape into the land and go find a man with enough courage to destroy the evil Ganon. Upon hearing this, Ganon grew angry, imprisoned the princess, and sent out a party in search of Impa.”

“Braving forests and mountains, Impa fled for her life from her pursuers. As she reached the very limit of her energy she found herself surrounded by Ganon’s evil henchmen. Cornered! What could she do? … But wait! All was not lost. A young lad appeared. He skillfully drove off Ganon’s henchmen, and saved Impa from a fate worse than death.”

“His name was Link. During his travels he had come across Impa and Ganon’s henchmen. Impa told Link the whole story of the princess Zelda and the evil Ganon. Burning with a sense of justice, Link resolved to save Zelda, but Ganon was a powerful opponent. He held the Triforce of Power. And so, in order to fight off Ganon, Link had to bring the scattered eight fragments of the Triforce of Wisdom together to rebuild the mystical triangle. If he couldn’t do this, there would be no chance Link could fight his way into Death Mountain where Ganon lived.”

“Can Link really destroy Ganon and save Princess Zelda?”

“Only your skill can answer that question. Good luck. Use the Triforce wisely.”

As I said, grand and memorable.


One thing that makes sure a NES game succeeds is its gameplay, for that is truly all it has to offer. The team behind the game took elements from different game styles and mushed them together, creating not just this game, but the base of the action-adventure genre. The game is played in a birds eye view. The player must use a variety of weapons and magical objects to make his/her way through the expansive overworld, fighting off various creatures off all sorts, meanwhile making his/her way to the next level (dungeon).

The overworld is massive, featuring different terrains, and many secrets, giving the players a lot to explore. As said by many, the feeling of exploration and adventure is what makes this game so unique. Every time the player burns a bush to find a stairwell, or bombs through a wall to find a cave, the feeling only expands. Though this does get slightly redundant, as the player will get lost in no time, and there are no in-game guides to help.


The game, like many NES games, has a rather high difficulty compared to modern games, each enemy dealing lots of damage and taking numerous hits to kill. This of course can be avoided by grabbing weapon, life, and defense upgrades early on in the game, making the first few dungeons much more simpler.

Overall, the gameplay is fun, original, though can be challenging and very confusing.

Art and Music

The game’s graphics are standard NES graphics, simplistic, and heavily relying on the player’s imagination. The game’s art on the other hand is a different story. The game’s manual features full color art, that truly captures what the everything in the game represents, aiding the player’s imagination.


The games music is also standard NES style, consisting of chiptunes. The games theme song is well recognized among the gaming community as one of the best themes in gaming history. The theme was almost a piece written by Maurice Ravel, before the games composer, Koji Kondo realized the copyright on the song had not expired. He quickly wrote a song within a day, which is the song we all know and love.

The rest of the music in the game is well fitting, the overworld theme being a variation of the main theme, the dungeon themes being eerie and giving the sense of danger, and the final dungeon theme being strong and emphasizing the feeling of evil.

Overall, the game features fitting visuals and music that has lasted for decades.

Should You Give it a Go?


If you are a fan of the series, or just looking for a great retro game to play, definitely go for it. It is a NES classic that has lasted for decades that still is being ported onto Nintendo’s newer consoles. I recommend keeping a walkthrough at hand though as it is extremely easy to get lost if you don’t know what you are doing! This game may not feature some of the aspects of the series that are valued in today’s games, but it will feel familiar to anyone who picks it up.

Legend of Zelda Review (NES)
Legend of Zelda for the NES is a game that is colorful, addictive, creative, and overall, epic. I would reccomend it to anyone looking for a great retro game, as long as they have the patience and the will to succeed. For what the game offers, I give it a nice 9/10
Art and Music9
  • Expansive World
  • Lots to Explore
  • Great Story
  • Easy to get lost
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)
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About The Author

Editor/Game Reviewer

He is a Hylian who has a knack for Nintendo. When he is taking a break from exploring Hyrule he can be found honing his tennis skills, taking part in musical theatre, or surfing the internet.