The Legend Of Zelda

Miyamoto's Magic And Imagination ...


The Legend Of Zelda Title Screen


Game Specs for The Legend Of Zelda

NOTE: When possible, the game's official manual or official documentation from the game maker's company or Nintendo is used — with spelling or terminology presented as is, despite some translation errors.

SPOILER ALERT: Some of the categories below may have a question mark to conceal important or secret revelations in the game. If you would like to see the unknown revealed, a rollover option or external link will be attached to the question mark.

Title The Legend Of Zelda
The Legend Of Zelda
Company Nintendo
Developer(s)/Designer(s):
  • (Executive Producer) H. Yamauchi
  • (Producer) S. Miyahon
  • (Director) S. Miyahon, Ten Ten
  • (Designer) Ten Ten
  • (Programmer) T. Nakazoo, Yachan, Marumaru
Composer(s)/Musician(s):
  • (Sound Composer) Konchan
Year: 1986
Release Date: U.S. - August 1987
System: NES
Genre: Adventure RPG
Ratings/Suitable For Age Group?: E for Everyone (Mild Fantasy Violence)
Arcade Version?: No
Port To Other Game Systems: Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U, 3DS)
Part of Franchise: Original title (first) in The Legend Of Zelda series (Numerous sequels and re-issues based off of this title)
Rarity/Availability: Cartridge becoming harder to find (at least, in the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area), but currently can download through Nintendo's Virtual Console and/or Nintendo eShop service on Wii, WiiU or Nintendo 3DS; also, included in NES Classic Edition
Add'l Game System Peripheral Needed To Play?: N/A
1 or 2 Player: 1 Player
Number of Reserve Players: Start with 1 Player
1-Up's None
Life Meter Life Meter from The Legend Of Zelda
Yes. It increases as you earn and find Heart Containers. Can grow to 16.
Password No
Battery Register Your Name from The Legend Of Zelda

Continue Screen from The Legend Of Zelda
Yes
Continue? Continue Screen from The Legend Of Zelda
Yes, but will begin at checkpoint from earlier point, usually start of Level or beginning of game
Perspective/Orientation Gameplay Screen by Screen freedom to explore - Overhead/Bird's Eye View
Number of Levels Nine Levels of the Underworld
Checkpoints? Usually begin at start of Underworld Levels or first screen of Overworld
Save points? No
Uninterrupted Play? Upon death of Link, play stops and resumes from last checkpoint
Internal Map(s)? Yes - each Level contains a Map and Compass to find

Level-1 Map from The Legend Of Zelda
Level-1 Map from The Legend Of Zelda
Above: These screens show the filled-in Map of Level-1, as an example
Score? No
Difficulty Settings No, but after completion of game or after entering ZELDA as your Password, the harder second quest of The Legend Of Zelda is unlocked
Time Limit? No
Hero
Link with White Sword from The Legend Of Zelda Link holding Triforce up from The Legend Of Zelda
Link with Magical Shield from The Legend Of Zelda
Link from The Legend Of Zelda

Link
Sidekick(s)/Cast Princess Zelda from The Legend Of Zelda
Princess Zelda
Old Man from The Legend Of Zelda
Old Man
Old Woman from The Legend Of Zelda
Old Woman
Merchant from The Legend Of Zelda
Merchant
Fairy from The Legend Of Zelda
Fairy
Secret Molblin from The Legend Of Zelda
Molblin (some)
Hungry Goriya from The Legend Of Zelda
Goriya (some)

Yes - All NPC's (non-playable characters)
Weapons All Of Treasures from The Legend Of Zelda
All Of Treasures
Items/Equipment
Power-Ups
  • Hearts, Fairy and Life Potion/Water Of Life (refills energy)

  • Heart Containers (life meter extension)

  • Rupy/5 Rupies (currency)

  • Clock/Magical Clock (freezes enemies)

  • White and Magical Swords (sword upgrade)

  • Magical Shield (shield upgrade)

  • Magical Boomerang (boomerang upgrade)

  • Magical Key (unlimited keys)

  • Blue and Red Rings (strength upgrades)

  • Red Candle (unlimited candle usage)

  • Silver Arrow (arrow upgrade)

  • Power Bracelet (reveals shortcuts)

  • Book Of Magic (Magical Rod/Magic Wand upgrade - adds a flame at point of contact, like the Candle)

Power-Downs No
Main Enemy Ganon or Gannon from The Legend Of Zelda
Ganon/Gannon
Person/Place Being Saved Princess Zelda, Hyrule
Objective/Goal Rescue Princess Zelda, Defeat Gannon/Ganon
Ending? Yes
Secret Code(s)? Yes... secret Name to enter
Stage Select No
Invincibility No
Extra Players No
Continues N/A
Sound Test No
Additional Secret Codes ?
Trivia/Little Known Facts
  • In The Legend Of Zelda, Zelda's name was inspired by the author of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife—Zelda Fitzgerald.

    Picture of Zelda Fitzgerald - inspiration behind the naming of The Legend Of Zelda.


  • The official U.S. title for the game is The Legend Of Zelda; in Japan, it is The Legend Of Zelda: The Hyrule Fantasy.

  • In The Legend Of Zelda, Link's name was inspired by what could have been a major plot difference than what Shigeru Miyamoto's final vision became. Early on in development, there were plans to give the game an element of time travel—set both in the future and the past. The meaningful name, Link, served to suggest that he was a connection between both of those different eras... and it stuck. (Later games in the series would explore these plots.)

  • The late comedian and actor, Robin Williams, named his daughter, Zelda, in honor of the game.

  • Link was designed and inspired, in part, by the Disney version of title character of J.M. Barrie's famous book — Peter Pan.

    Link from The Legend Of Zelda is modeled after the Disney version of Peter Pan. Link from The Legend Of Zelda is modeled after the Disney version of Peter Pan.


  • In an earlier prototype of The Legend Of Zelda, the Triforce pieces were actually going to be replaced by microchips that Link would have collected instead.


    The famous Triforce from The Legend Of Zelda. The famous Triforce from The Legend Of Zelda. The famous Triforce from The Legend Of Zelda. 


  • Speaking of the Triforce, there is an almost illogical or unexplained detail of the game's plot—Why are the pieces of the Triforce, that Princess Zelda hid, guarded by Ganon's minions? How did Ganon know where they are, and more importantly, why doesn't he just steal them to form the Triforce of Wisdom for himself???

  • The majestic theme to The Legend Of Zelda almost never existed—Maurice Ravel's famous piece, Bolero, was Nintendo's first choice of music, but after learning of copyright issues, Koji Kondo created the memorable anthem instead!

  • Link was going to originally begin the game with a sword, but after some pre-release testing, test groups seemed confused as to what to do next in this new genre. So Miyamoto, surprisingly, removed the sword and placed it into a cave. This seemingly-counterintuitive stroke of genius goaded players into exploration and fostered communication between one another to share tips and secrets.

    Entering ZELDA as your name will let you skip to the Second Quest of The Legend Of Zelda


  • The Legend Of Zelda was the first game cartridge to have an internal battery pack to store and save game progress.

  • The Legend Of Zelda was the first Nintendo game to have a bonus quest included within it. The bonus can be accessed upon defeating the game the first time through or by using the name, ZELDA, in the game's "REGISTER YOUR NAME" screen. The programmers realized that after they completed the game, they had enough space left to fill the cartridge with another quest with items and dungeons in new locations.

    Entering ZELDA as your name will let you skip to the Second Quest of The Legend Of Zelda


  • The Legend Of Zelda was the first Nintendo cartridge to be released in a color, other than gray—shiny gold.

    Golden cartridge of The Legend Of Zelda


  • As a result of a hotline number used to help give hints to stumped players of The Legend Of Zelda, Nintendo's Counselor's Corner was created and eventually became a major fixture in the Nintendo Power magazine.

  • The maps to all nine levels of The Legend Of Zelda can be fit together to form a rectangle—a clever tactic to get more data out of the game's limited memory.

    The 9 dungeon maps of The Legend Of Zelda fit together to form a rectangle.


  • The first five levels of the Second Quest of The Legend Of Zelda (albeit in a scrambled order) form the letters - Z, E, L, D and A - spelling out ZELDA.

    The first five Levels of the Second Quest of The Legend Of Zelda spell out ZELDA.


  • Nintendo's censorship standards were set high and were usually strictly-enforced. Such offenses as religious imagery, however, were ignored in The Legend Of Zelda—Link's Magical Shield prominently displays a cross, as well as his regular shield. The Book Of Magic, also, has a cross on its cover.

    The Legend Of Zelda violates censorship rules of Nintendo by using crosses.


    Interestingly enough, Level-4's Manji shape, which is a prominent and respected symbol of Buddhism, wasn't avoided, either. In Western cultures, the Manji, which is a left-facing swastika, can be confused with the notorious symbol that faces the opposite direction adopted by the Nazis.

    A photograph of a Buddhist statue with an engraved manji.


    Level-3's Manji shape is reminiscent of the outline of the Manhandla, the main enemy of the level.

    Level-3 of The Legend Of Zelda is shaped in what seems to be a swastika, but in fact, is a manji.


  • As Shigeru Miyamoto was working on his The Legend Of Zelda, he was simultaneously toiling on Super Mario Bros. He intended to create two unique games, however, some programming remnants crossed over. They can be seen, most obviously, with the similar Piranha Plants of Super Mario Bros. and the Manhandla of The Legend Of Zelda.

    Level-3 of The Legend Of Zelda is shaped in what seems to be a swastika, but in fact, is a manji. The Piranha Plant from Super Mario Bros. looks very similar to the Manhandla of The Legend Of Zelda.


  • An homage paid to The Legend Of Zelda can be found in Super Mario Bros. 3. Warp Whistles, that look very similar to Link's Recorder/Whistle can be uncovered in Super Mario Bros. 3. When blown, Mario or Luigi will be carried away to later stages via a whirlwind, just like Link. Furthermore, the same tune is played in both games.

    Mario finding a Warp Whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3. Link holding up the Recorder or Whistle in The Legend Of Zelda.


    Mario waiting for the Whirlwind in Super Mario Bros. 3.     Link waiting for the Whirlwind in The Legend Of Zelda.


  • The first two games of The Legend Of Zelda series were actually released in Japan on the Famicom before The Legend Of Zelda was even released in the U.S. The Legend Of Zelda was on store shelves on February 21, 1986, while Zelda II - The Adventure Of Link was introduced on January 14, 1987. North America began selling the first game on August 22, 1987!

  • An unintentional error remained as a remnant from The Legend Of Zelda's earlier release in Japan on its Famicom system. The Famicom's controllers had a built-in microphone; a feature that its sister system—the Nintendo Entertainment System—did not. The microphone allowed for audio responses to actually play a role in game play in Japan.

    A picture of the Famicom Controller.


    The manual for The Legend Of Zelda included the following passages:

    Pols Voice
    A ghost with big ears and a weak point — he hates loud noise.

    Link will surprise himself if he hits upon Pols Voice's (the monster with the big ears) weak point. Do this by...Sorry! That's a secret!
    Although there is an item in The Legend Of Zelda that plays music—the Recorder or Whistle—it has no effect on the Pols Voice enemies. However, the gamer playing the Famicom version could use his/her voice on its controller to defeat the character.

    Link battles the Pols Voice in The Legend Of Zelda. An illustration of the Pols Voice from The Legend Of Zelda Manual.


 

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