Saturday, March 3, 2012

Game B1 : The Legend of Zelda - Remembrances Versus Discovery

Link journal entry 1 : When I heard the screams in the forest, I didn't know what I was getting into. I can't stand those monsters, taking on a helpless woman! She told me that Ganon freak was holding the princess hostage and that the only way to fight him was to get hold of a powerful artifact called the Triforce of Wisdom. I was helped by an old man in a cave who gave me a sword and went on to find the pieces of the thing. Princess Zelda hasn't done things the easy way, because the Triforce is really well hidden. As for now, I've secured two pieces in the first two dungeons I found easily. I know where the third one is, but these knights are really formidable foes. I feel I'm starting to acquire power and I'm making good progress on my quest, but the day I best that fiend is not close to me yet...

Yeah, the Triforce! "Zelda" won! What do you mean "it's only the first one"?
First of all, I wanted to make clear that I'm currently playing Zelda on my faithful NES console. All it took was a lot of alcohol, a lot of cotton buds and a bit of patience (and, ok, I admit, a brand new Pin connector). But it's astonishing how well these old consoles fare. I'm waiting to see someone boot up a Playstation 3 in 25 years. So, I'm obviously taking the risk to lose all my saves at some point (I still have the old save battery, but it's holding up), but I prefer this experience. I own the game in about four or five versions so starting up again on the 3DS or Wii won't take long if needed. Fingers crossed anyway.

As Zenic has said in one of his recent posts, there is a real difference between player knowledge and character knowledge. It's not the first time I'm experiencing Zelda. In fact, I've played it at least twenty times and completed it five or six times already in the last 25 years (yup, we ain't getting any younger...) It means I remember the basic layout of the otherworld and could cross the first three dungeons with my eyes closed. I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of a new player, and waiting to discover clues, instead of rushing through the game, but considering the clues are quite rare and cryptic (Miyamoto obviously wanted to encourage the player to experiment and explore by himself), I don't know which places you're guided to and which you're supposed to discover by yourself.

That doesn't mean the game will be a breeze, though. First of all, the difficulty is quite high, especially when you compare it to later Zelda games (except Zelda II. This one is a bitch). You have a room as soon as the third dungeon where you have to fight one dozen knights at the same time. And secondly, there is a few places I can't remember. For example, I knew the second dungeon was east of the beginning, but I had to search a bit to remember exactly where. So I went wandering around the otherworld for a while (and, as Zelda is a really open game, you can stumble upon ferocious foes) before I found my way. It was a short, but nice moment, and I really cherish first experiences on a game for the pleasure of discovery.

It's amazing to see how many landmarks of the series are already there : The health is shown in hearts, you find items in dungeons that help you tackle the next one, and so forth. The items themselves are well-known : bombs, boomerang, bow, rupees, small keys, etc... The monsters are basic versions of monsters we'll see again a lot, like octoroks or moblins. That's what really great in the Nintendo franchises. Mario still uses mushrooms and Link still has a boomerang, even dozens or hundreds of games later...

And it was before the fairies become drag-queens.

Anyway, as for now, I've got two pieces of the Triforce, the bow (no arrows yet, but it's only a matter of having enough rupees to buy them), the magic boomerang, the big shield and some bombs. The third dungeon ramps up the difficulty with the knights all over the place, but it's only a matter of time before I secure the next piece. Now where the heck is the fourth dungeon in this huge overworld?


  1. Alright! It's back in English! I think it's for the best Alfred as not only is your English more than up to the task, it's an opportunity to share the same community that the other sites have already started building.

    Now...I'm going back to the beginning...seems to most logical place to start.

    One thing I did notice is that while your posts are now in English, the site itself is still in French. Enregistrer un commentaire!

  2. It's for making you work your french in order to tackle Mortville Manor more easily ;)

    Great to have you on board, Trick, don't hesitate to comment a lot, I'd love to know your thoughts about my humble beginnings!

    (and thanks about my english, I'm making my best, I hope everything is understandable, tell me if some things seem unclear to you)

  3. I don't remember any hints at all really. The first 3 dungeons are fairly open, although bombs are necessary for the second one if I remember rightly.

    Good luck with the game, I remember having to consult a strategy guide to get to level six, the wrapping screens are hard without hints.

  4. Yup, I'm looking forward to the maze in the forest. I think I'll spend my whole life in it...