When I call myself a Zelda Fan, I use the term very loosely. Out of the roughly 20 “Legend of Zelda” games in the series, I have beaten one of them.
That game was 1998’s “Ocarina of Time” on Nintendo 64. That game was absolutely beautiful.
After laying the smackdown on Ganondorf at the end, I was thirsty for more dungeon mazes and monsters to cut apart.
Unfortunately, Nintendo is horribly stingy with its products. If all you have is a PlayStation 2, the closest thing you’ll get to playing “Zelda” is “Soul Calibur 2,” a fighting game where Zelda’s main character Link is one of the guest fighters.
The point is, there was no way I was going to see the exciting new adventures of Link and Princess Zelda. So I did the next best thing and looked back to the beginning.
“The Legend of Zelda” began on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. I fortunately just happened to own a copy of that first game. It is a golden cartridge about the size of a CD case.
After playing the game for about five minutes, I realized a fundamental truth about early “Zelda” games that nobody seems to mention: “The Legend of Zelda” is really, really hard to play. I barely got anywhere.
Imagine a world where you are constantly running, surrounded by monsters in every direction and your only defense is to stab forward with your sword. The monsters, by the way, normally take multiple stabs before they die.
Having said that, exploring the primitive 8-bit world is hugely entertaining. Listening to the epic “Zelda” theme in little robotic tones made me nostalgic for a time I never lived in.
For the few hours I played, I felt like listening to Wham and cutting the front of my hair short.
Run, run, run. Chop, chop, chop. Die.
Run, run, run. Find a key. Die.
Run, run, run. Find a dungeon. Die. Game over. Cry.
Finding this game made a fun weekend but it is literally a big step back from “Ocarina of Time.”