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The Legend of Zelda Interesting Things In the Original


Sage of Tales
The other day, for the heck of it, I put on the Zelda Collector's Disk for GameCube and played a little old, old, old school Zelda. It's interesting to notice some of the things present in the original that other games built upon or which made a comeback, as well as things we never saw again.

The Stopwatch: This was an item that could be found by killing enemies in some of the dungeons. If you were lucky enough to kill an enemy that had one when there was still a horde in the room, you got to run around and stab everything without the enemies getting you. If the stopwatch happened to be held by the last enemy you felled, it was useless. I remember that I used to pause the game constantly just to see the funny colors flashing Link became. I suppose it was Zelda's answer to the Mario invincibilty Star. We never saw it again. The Stopwatch appears in Classic Legend of Zelda and in no other Zelda game (that I remember playing, anyway). Maybe Nintendo thought it was too much of a cheapshot? I could see an item like this working in one of the 3D titles if it were limited. "Enemies paused for 30 seconds" or something. It's a weird little thing I don't realize I miss until I play the original game again.

Bubbles: These enimes make you unable to use your sword for a limited period of time. In latter dungeons and on Second Quest, there are red and blue bubbles - one takes your sword permenantly, the second kind gives it back to you. Red disables you, so you have to find a room of blues. The flashing bubbles just take away your sword ability for a limited time and you get it back after a few seconds. I find it interesting that in the latter games, the bubbles were reduced to normal enemieis - flaming skulls that come at you and are as annoying but harder to kill than Keese. The bubble effects actually make a re-apperance in some of the other games (Wind Waker and Skyward Sword) as the "Curse" effect some enemies give you. Just interesting how this has evolved.

Rings: In the original game, your defense was permenantly boosted with rings, one of which you bought at a hidden shop, the other, stronger ring found as an item in the final dungeon (which you cannot get ahead of time becuase you need the full Triforce of Wisdom to be allowed in). I remember A Link to the Past had the finding of different kinds of "mail" (different colored tunics). Other games dispensed with this, instead giving different tunics and armor different functional abilities. I still find it intersting that, much like you could buy the Blue Ring in the orignial game, Twilight Princess gives you the Magic Armor being "deplete your wallet, young rich man!"

Keys: Original LoZ has both the Magic Key item (one of the latter dungeons) and the ability to buy keys in shops around Hyrule. This has been exchanged for the "small key and Boss Key" system. I cannot tell you how many times I've cursed a lack of key in a game, wishing I could "just go buy a darn key like in the game I grew up with."

Allies Among the Enemy Species: Sometimes, you found moblins who would give you money in hidden caves. I've always liked this - just the concept of that "not all monsters are monsters" and that some among Ganon's hordes want him toppled and will help the Hero. This "don't be fooled by apperances" has been played with in other games - Wind Waker's "Moe the Moblin" comes to mind, as well as Batreaux of Skyward Sword. The Deku Scrubs of Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, the Oracles, Minish Cap, etc; would be helpful after you smacked them one, and for a price.

It's just neat to compare and contrast where it all came from - what was borrowed from the original and what was left behind.

Alder Dragon

Classic Gamer
Nov 20, 2007
Pennsylvania, USA
I still really only play the classics. I like the 3D Zelda games but the 2D (NES, SNES, GameBoy) are what I love the most. As for the original, I always liked the magical rod. That sort of made an appearance in TP but not really -- I want one that shoots fire ;) -- I haven't played some of the newer games though.


Sage of Tales
The stopwatch is badass, especially if you get it in a room full of Darknuts or Wizrobes. Those things are fierce.

Anyone who hasn't played the original NES Legend of Zelda - in any of the forms it can be purchased for those who lack an NES - you should give it a shot. Don't let the "primative" graphics make you turn away. It's an awesome game. There's a *reason* why it launched a 25+ year franchise.

I relive my childhood whenever I turn it on.


Jun 22, 2011
I really love the original Zelda, and of all your points the thing I probably miss most is how keys were handled. Being able to buy them was cool, but what I really miss is keys being interchangeable between dungeons. In A Link to the Past this really could have made the game even more interesting because there were a number of dungeons that could be completed with extra keys (Misery Mire could even be completed with 4 left over I believe). It would be a cool reward for getting this optional keys to be able to use them in other dungeons.

Another little thing that disappeared more slowly in the series was how key collection wasn't at all predictable and linear in the early games, especially the first. In Majora's Mask (on first cycles of dungeons), Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword I'm pretty sure there is only one instance in which you can even hold more than one small key at a time in Hyrule Castle in Twilight Princess. The thing that ruined this was probably the Water Temple of Ocarina of Time because so many people would miss keys since you can collect them in bunches. Still I loved that, and I miss the more confusing game design of the earlier games.

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