Sunday, May 24, 2009

Top 52: Legend of Zelda (#24)

Whew. School is over so now I can finally get back to writing consistently. Junior year in NYU really at up a lot of time. I'm sorry for abandoning you, my faithful readers. Anywho, I'm continuing the Top 52 segment, with a classic that released before I was even born: the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.

Title: Legend of Zelda
Console: Nintendo DS
Release Date: 08/22/87
Genre: Action-Adventure
My Ranking: #24

I remember holding this golden cart in my hands when I was about four years old and my brother explaining to me that Zelda is the princess and that the main character's name is Link. I was then confused as to why the game was called The Legend of Zelda but I immediately didn't care once I actually started playing.

The NES Zelda for the first game I played that enabled me to wonder around and choose my own destination. Being four years old at the time, I was a bit overwhelmed but, I enjoyed going to different areas and whacking monsters with a brown 8-bit object that was supposed to resemble a sword. I was also fond of placing bombs and watching walls and enemies go poof.

I only really appreciated this game when I was older however. Hints as to where the next dungeon is were often cleverly cryptic and you would only be able to beat the game if you used all of the tools available to you. The game forced you to be on point with every item you got, from the boomerang, to bomb, to arrows. You also needed to have a strong ability in reading maps, trying to guess where the developers would hide a key or item.

Zelda, in 1987, was ahead of its time. Gone were the linear gameplay elements and replaced with a action-adventure, puzzle, RPG game. Even today it's hard to properly define what kind of game Zelda games are as they break the molds of traditional genre. It's also interesting to note that the Legend of Zelda was the first game game that allowed you to save your progress.

The Legend of Zelda, unlike other installments in the series, is really damn hard. Hearts are hard to come by and if you don't know where your going in a dungeon--which is always the case--chances are you are going to die. Bosses were challenging not only because you had to figure out the best way to beat them but also because if they hit you, you could lose multiple hearts.

Hundreds of games owe their success to the gameplay elements pioneered in the Legend of Zelda. Any open world environment game like Grand Theft Auto III, or the new Prince of Persia, have Zelda to thank for their gameplay style. If you haven't played this game, play in on Nintendo's VC; you won't be disappointed.

My Top 52:
#52 --- Star Fox 64 (N64)
#51 --- Kirby's Adventure (NES)
#50 --- Roller Coaster Tycoon (PC)
#49 --- Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
#48 --- Metroid Prime (GC)
#47 --- Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
#46 --- Bomberman 64 (N64)
#45 --- Guitar Hero II (PS2)
#44 --- Super Street Fighter II (GEN)
#43 --- Pokemon Puzzle League (N64)
#42 --- Soul Calibur II (GC)
#41 --- Gears of War (Xbox 360)*
#40 --- Elite Beat Agents (DS)
#39 --- Call of Duty 4 (PS3)
#38 --- Super Metroid (SNES)
#37 --- The Orange Box (PS3)*
#36 --- Metal Gear Solid (PS)
#35 --- Doom (PC)
#34 --- Super Mario Kart (SNES)
#33 --- Mischief Makers (N64)
#32 --- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
#31 --- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
#30 --- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All (DS)
#29 --- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GC)
#28 --- F-Zero (SNES)
#27 --- Katamari Damacy (PS2)*
#26 --- Mario Kart 64 (N64)
#25 --- Tetris DS (DS)*
#24 --- Legend of Zelda (NES)

*- Denotes highest ranked game for that console