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Modern Zelda Fans' Take on the Old 2D Titles


Hello Sweetie!
Jun 18, 2011
So, I wouldn't call myself a "latecomer" to the Zelda series considering I've been playing for half my life, but I never had any Zelda games when I had my NES and I never owned a SNES, so I wasn't introduced to Zelda before Occarina of Time. However as I've gotten into several Zelda titles, I got really curious to how I would like the original games, considering I'm used to the 3D Zeldas. With other gaming series like Mario and Donkey Kong, I started out with playing the 2D games and loving them before I played the 3D games, so I have no issues going back to playing the 2D games because there's the whole nostalgia factor there, which makes the games remain enjoyable to me.

Obviously, playing the original games when used to more modern versions of Zelda, it's not gonna be the same as for other Zelda players who've been following the series since the beginning. So, I'm curious to hear from others like me, who've decided to give the old games a go despite being used to more modern Zelda's.

I've only just begun and I have to say with Legend of Zelda, it was a bit confusing at first to figure out where the hell I was gonna go... it's all just one big open landscape and there are no characters around to give you as much as a hint as to where you should go. Thankfully I went into the cave and got the sword, but I seriously wandered around aimlessly for a good while (dying *a lot*) before I finally stumbled upon something. First it was a clue, I was told to take something to an old woman, but I actually ended up stumbling upon the first temple and completing it before I actually found the old woman directing me to the temple (go figure). I found no clues for the second temple, but eventually I stumbled upon that one as well (again, wandering around aimlessly) and completed that one. So I'm currently two temples in, but after that I haven't found another clue, and I've also stumbled upon a couple of areas that apparently work like the Lost Woods (since there are two different areas that do this, they obviously can't both be the Lost Woods)...

My opinion of the game, I haven't yet decided if I like it. I'm unsure what my reaction would've been to the game had I been introduced to it back when I had my NES. I could see myself either getting frustrated with the seemingly aimless wandering around with no real idea of where to go and what to do - or I'd be somewhat fascinated with the exploration/adventure aspect of it. Would I have rushed out to get the second Zelda based on this game had I played it back then - hm... probably not. I don't think this game would've made me into a Zelda fan the same way Occarina of Time made me into one when I first played that.

Taking a small break from LoZ, I decided to also check out Zelda II - having heard it's sort of the black sheep of the Zelda family. And I have to say I'm somewhat frustrated with it so far. I don't mind the change in gameplay from LoZ from overview to left-to-right so much. I could definitely get into that, but I'm a bit frustrated with the game itself. First it took me a few tries before I realized I shouldn't wander off the path, same goes with figuring out how to pick up items. But eventually I figured I'd be going somewhere with this game, especially once I found a town. But I only ended up being directed to another town where the inhabitants were even more useless (apart from filling up my health). I tried entering the cave, but it's damn right impossible to see the bats in order to fight them off... how can you fight off enemies you can't see, but who can attack you in spades in return...

I'm feeling rather frustrated with the game. I wanted to at least be able to get someplace in this game before consulting a walk-through... I can sort of understand why some people dislike Zelda II. There's great gameplay potential with the left-to-right screen, but you can't roam as freely as you do in the first game because you get attacked the minute you leave the path, the only thing you seem to do around town is fill up your health and talk to people - I have yet to find a single store. And even if you defeat 10-15 enemies in the "grass" you never run out of them, they keep popping up... I *will* give the game another go, but right now it's not a game I particularily like...

What about you? If you're a modern Zelda fan who are/have/intend to take up the old Zelda titles, I would like for you to share your opinion, experience or expectations from the games. If you're a classic Zelda fan who's grown up with the series - what are your thoughts on the aspect of going from modern to classic - do you understand the struggle or is it in your opinion that any "true" Zelda fan will love the original games regardless of when they got into the series?


Jan 10, 2011
On the midnight Spirit Train going anywhere
First off, understand that I came in with Ocarina of Time 12 years ago, so I'm neither a Classic nor Modern fan. I came in near the turning point in the series, so I don't have the standpoint of either side of these to parts of the fanbase.

That said, I actually prefer the modern formula over the classic one. I like that the older ones have a lot of exploration involved, but it's just too much if you ask me. I like how modern titles have more story involvement put in. It keeps the games much more interesting than the exploration in the classic titles. However, I do think that some exploration should return to the modern formula. Basically, what I'm saying is that I would prefer to see a Zelda game that is both linear and open. Like LA. The story and dungeons were linear to the core, but the overworld was vastly open and begging to be explored. I'd definitely like for the "first half/second half" style to stay in the series, though, so I think some of the dungeons in the second half should have open choice, meaning we can choose to do some of them in what order we please. That's my thoughts for the ideal Zelda in nutshell.

All in all, I think both formulas have their flaws and limitations. The classic games don't have enough story involvement to keep their length interesting, but the modern titles lack the exploration to keep the overworld interesting. The two formulas need to be combined to make Zelda everything it should be. Choosing one or the other is folly.

(This was a bit off topic, but I think it ties in just fine.)


Fish. Citizen of Foo
Sep 30, 2011
First game I played was OoT and I own all the new ones but I've played the old ones and they're awesome (except AoL). Even though they can be confusing i still enjoy them, for one they actually have some challenge to them, unlike newer games and they have more to explore and feel bigger sometimes. New games are awesome too though I mean they're all Zelda.


Jun 22, 2011
Here's my background on the series. I played Link's Awakening first then Ocarina of Time followed by most of the series in order from there with the first three games played around the time Wind Waker came out. I thought Link's Awakening was very cool but was blown away by Ocarina of Time. The series could do virtually no wrong in my eyes from Ocarina of Time to Wind Waker. Then Twilight Princess came along and while it's still a great game was nowhere close to the rest of the console games in the series for me. Skyward Sword put the series back on track but it still is not where it was IMO. Going to play Legend of Zelda, Adventure of Link, and A Link to the Past after playing some of the 3d games first was very refreshing to me. Legend of Zelda and A Link to the Past specifically seem better than the rest of the games in the series including the two N64 games that I grew up with. Adventure of Link feels like a whole different genre but is a great game in of itself. So I guess I'm more of a mix since I grew up with the 3d games but feel the 2d games were superior. Also I think the modern games are forgetting their roots.

I really think that there's no such thing as a real Zelda fan since the series is so diverse now. The two extremes to me seem like the first game in the series and Twilight Princess. Legend of Zelda was almost an open world game with virtually no emphasis on story and gameplay focused on survival and exploration. Twilight Princess was very story driven and linear focusing on action going from objective to objective. So from my point of view the game designers should strike some kind of balance and loosen up the story some. Also they should allow freedom when it makes sense to do so which they have slowly been cutting out. Legend of Zelda has you go find 8 pieces of triforce and lets you proceed however you want. Twilight Princess has you get three fused shadows in a set order, then four mirror shards in a set order, and then you finish up the game with two dungeons. What's the point of having multiple objectives at once if you have to get them in a set order? My argument isn't for an open world game; it's for allowing choices and freedom when it makes sense.

I'm more of a fan of the older games mostly just because they didn't throw pointless restrictions in your face at every turn. All the games except the first are guilty of having pointless restrictions to some degree but the most modern games are just flushing potential freedom and replay value down the toilet at an incredible rate. Sorry to go way off track, but that's what I see as the main struggle between the modern games and the older games. IMO the game designers weren't that far off track with Skyward Sword, but they need to remember the roots of the series a little more for the next game. Skyward Sword was linear and it made sense for the first half of the game. Your objective was Zelda and you followed her around for threee dungeons- it makes perfect sense to only have one order. I think they really should have thrown older Zelda fans a bone by letting you do the next three dungeons in different orders. Plus they could have allowed for some item-skipping to go on which was commonplace in classic Zelda. For instance the Fireshield Earrings logically should have been skippable since they only prevented damage- there was a readily available alternative solution to that problem with the guardian potion plus. In other words my biggest problem with modern Zelda is that they force your hand when they don't have to.
May 27, 2012
Time to make my first long post on these boards! I'm a very new fan of the series so i'm gonna tell you how I felt playing all the old 2d games.

The legend of zelda
Didn't get the chance to finish this one yet but i've played around and its very fun.

The legend of zelda adventures of link
Played a bit of it and I personally disliked it alot. Its not just the awful art design but the difficulty is just way off and the monsters are way to hard to kill. I mean I only bothered to finish the first dungeon and I already knew that the best way to finish the game was to always be at full health to have the sword beam. I don't think I'll ever want to finish this game and if I do it would be after I play all the rest!

A link to the past
Playing this one now and I must say it may be my favorite out of the 2d games I've played so far and may be my second favorite overall. Its so fun to figure out all the secrets and the dungeons may be shorter than usual but they were still very fun to play. It is also very challenging as i've had to look at a walkthrough a few times.

Links awakening
I'm gonna play it soon!

Oracle of seasons and ages
I really enjoyed this game and the seasons changing elements in it. I haven't played ages yet but I have a feeling its gonna be just as good or maybe even better.

The Minish cap
This isn't an old 2d zelda but it is a 2d game so... anyway I really loved this game and it was the first zelda game i have finished. Really its not the best but still amazing just being able to shrink down to the minish size.


If I was a wizard this wouldn't be happening to me
May 20, 2012
Sub-Orbital Trajectory
My first Zelda was PH, so I'm a "latecomer" to the series. I tried Zelda II and I just didn't get the side scrolling. But I killed at Link's Awakening. It's not that hard to do 2D.
My first Zelda game was Ocarina of Time. I first took up playing the game as a young child, however, quickly found myself stumped and finished the quest a few years later. Then, everything went in many different directions. I began playing Twilight Princess, the two NES Zelda games, and A Link to the Past. I found Twilight Princess to be much like a more complex Ocarina of Time which I appreciated; this fact also ensured that I was never confused regarding what to do next for an extended period of time. The 2D Zelda games were a completely different, new, and more difficult experience for me even after years of gaming.

There was absolutely no help to be sought anywhere in the original Legend of Zelda. Never before had I had to use my mind to the same extent in order to uncover overworld secrets, locate items, and barge into dungeon entrances. It was a not an easy game but the satisfaction felt from completing a dungeon, then coined "level" was enormous. Zelda II only increased the pride I felt from completing a major impediment preventing further progression. Sure the overworld and dungeons were more linear but the enemies were tough as nails to defeat. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the game and it ranks as my third favorite 2D title behind The Minish Cap and A Link to the Past. Speaking of A Link to the Past, from the moment I first set sight on the opening scene with the sword slamming its way through the Triforce to progressing through the Sanctuary, I had a smile on my face. This third main installment may not have been as difficult as its predecessors, however, it was longer and boasted a better story. The game also established many of the precedents my favorite franchise title, Ocarina of Time would follow.

My first experience with older 2D Zelda games may have been bittersweet, however, it quickly turned into a true appreciation when I first played the SNES classic and masterpiece, A Link to the Past. This prompted me to rethink my opinion on the NES games-as mentioned before I grew to enjoy Zelda II but still shudder at the original-as well as to check out more installments in the series such as Link's Awakening and The Minish Cap which I now play on my 3DS. Learning the legacy of the franchise is crucial in understanding its development as well as uncovering new video game tastes you previously thought you never had.
Feb 5, 2011
I didn't get to play the original 2D games until after playing Twilight Princess for the GameCube and getting my Wii. I used ZD's walkthroughs for help. Here are my thoughts in short:

Not totally holding up, but I still find it fun and interesting

At first, I wasn't really enjoying it as much, the difficulty was getting to me. However, with time, I started to enjoy it. It's still not my favorite of the 2D games, but I still found some fun in it.

Best 2D game and one of my favorite Zelda games.

I enjoyed this game, every moment of it.
May 22, 2012
Blowing With the Wind...
I started playing around the time TP was released, and have beat/played most modern Zelda games. After beating SS, I decided to play LoZ. After beating it, I think I can rank it among one of m favorite Zelda games.
I'm an old school Zelda fan, I had a NES, still have my Snes, and every other Nintendo console. I remember playing both Loz and AoL when i was so young that i didn't know what was going on or what needed to be done, they were just sprites i could move across the screen, however i remembered Zelda because it looked very different from metroid and mario and anyhting else so i'd play them a lot. Time came around when i was 6/7 to play the Snes and alttp blew me away, it was the first game in which i took notice of the music, the first game where i had seen rain and the first game that looked that good. I played it, still not knowing what i was doing or why but played it constantly becuase it looked, sounded and felt so amazing. Then i played OoT and i'm happy to say i got full force of the revolution, i had an n64 and had played mario 64 and other 3D games but Zelda was something so very different and it made me happy that it was so creative, so perfect and so enjoyable.

From there Zelda became the biggest name in gaming for me, and i followed it very closely, snapping up all of the games when they came out, which I still do. Problem is though that after playing OoT so religiously and for so long and then to play MM a short while after, the 2D games felt completely closed off and restricting; the main point is that you move in squares... i now really don't like that, its very easy for me to get confused and lost, i miss strafing around enemies and the whole 2D way of Zelda just felt so different and primitive that it was hard for me to get back into them. I can play alttp with my eyes closed and i prefer it even now over SS, but even as an old school gamer with such love and nostalgia for the 2d Zelda games, it is 3D where Zelda really truly shines. In my opinion anyway.... however i still say that the 2D Zelda games are among the greatest games ever created. =]
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May 3, 2012
When I was a kid everyone on the block knew the original LoZ inside and out, so I never really got to play it without seeing someone else play.

Heroine of Time

Rest in peace, Paris Caper...
Aug 6, 2011
Take a guess.
I am a modern Zelda fan, I suppose; I came in with The Wind Waker. Fortunately, with the Wii's virtual console, I've had the opportunity to play through most of these games. I've completed The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, and Link's Awakening, but Adventure of Link is too hard for me, though I'm still trying to get through it.

I am personally very fond of The Legend of Zelda. While part of it is, of course, the utter freedom and adventure that I feel playing it, a lot of it is personal as well – and that's because of the fantastic memories I made with that game when I played it with my sister. My sister and I are very close, and video games is one thing that we both love. Playing The Legend of Zelda was one of my favorite moments we've had together. The exploration and ability to do anything you want really bonded us together, even as we both met our ends in multiple deaths. Despite the fact that the game was difficult, we actually helped each other out quite a bit, finding the dungeons and getting past particularly treacherous points in the game.

Unfortunately, I am a much bigger Zelda fan than her, and after a while, she grew bored of playing the game with me. I completed from dungeon six to the end mostly on my own. But, I must admit, I still enjoyed it a lot. I love the open-ended exploration; I would absolutely love to see that somehow implemented in modern Zelda titles, no matter how unlikely that is. Plus, I felt quite satisfied that I actually completed this game on my own.

Adventure of Link... well, I can't say I dislike it. Again, my sister and I started this game together, and we had some fun times, but oddly enough, I think she liked it more than me. As strange as it sounds, we like watching each other fail, haha. It makes me, at least, feel like I'm not the only one absolutely poor at video games.

After we beat the first dungeon, we both pretty much abandoned the game. However, after receiving it through the Ambassador program for the 3DS, I've recently started playing again. Without someone playing with me, it's completely infuriating, and I've struggled to get through the second dungeon, only to discover that I could have gotten a Life spell that would heal me way before it. You have no idea how much that would have helped. I've also spent time grinding for experience in the fields – yes, grinding. In a Zelda game. Haha, it was an entirely new experience for me – not exactly a bad one, but not really good, either.

...I have not made any progress, though, for a good four months. There has been no indication in the game as to where I should go (as usual) and I feel as though I've scoured every inch of accessible areas without any luck. So... maybe eventually I'll convince myself to use a walkthrough, but I banned myself from them a while ago, and so I'm trying to stay away from it.

(Also, to the OP: it sounds as though you're in the wrong cave. The cave that you should enter is also dark, but it only has one enemy in it. The other cave you only enter after you get the lantern/candle item in the first dungeon. ^^)

As for A Link to the Past...

Well, people will disagree with me, but I didn't like it as much. I don't know why, but the large amount of items and upgrades combined with the very little amount of in-game hints you get really overwhelms me – and not in a good way. I completed almost the entire game on a walkthrough (something for which I am ashamed of now) and I still performed rather poorly. I'm almost afraid to replay it, since I get very lost in the overworld.

I have no idea why this doesn't give me the same feeling as The Legend of Zelda did, since basically everything I liked about LoZ is what I don't like in LttP. And I also seem to be the only person who feels this way about LttP. It's just not as magical to me, and I almost wish it was. I know it gave so much to the Zelda series that I love today, but it's just not my favorite. Now, I don't hate it – not at all, haha. It was nice while it lasted. But I'd much rather replay LoZ than this.

Lastly, Link's Awakening. I loved this game. The plot and music truly astounded me. It felt so emotional, and I was shocked by how much I loved it. I wasn't expecting much from it, given how I believed A Link to the Past was just "all right", but it really affected me. The story was phenomenal – even though I'd already read a summary of the game, I still found myself fascinated whenever I learned something new. I can easily say it's one of my favorite games in the series. Ballad of the Wind Fish is also among my favorite songs in video games. The ending, especially, was very moving; I loved Marin and all the characters in the game, and it was saddening to see them go. It's strange, because this game is so often overlooked, but I quite enjoyed it.

Over all, I like the 2D games just as much as any of the others, though out of all of them, I believe Link's Awakening is still my favorite, followed by Legend of Zelda.
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godess reborn

Blame The Cricket
Jan 29, 2012
Turn around...
I recently bought the first Zelda game, and it is overwhelming me. Up to this point I have only played 3D Zelda titles, where there are at least a few people to give you hints on what to do next. In LoZ, you start off in the overworld and are left there, without any kind of instruction whatsoever. There is no map, no tutorial on how to use items, nothing. It is a very open space where you can go explore and see what you find. But so much in it is hidden that I don't know if I forgot to get an item or if I just passed a dungeon entrance. It has good puzzles, secret passagways, and a sense of discovery, which is great and all, but I wish there could've at least been a map.


Wind Waker!
Apr 6, 2012
For Zelda 1 & 2:
These games were very hard, very frustrating, and I was definitely not used to the go do whatever you want.
Also whenever I watch a movie or play a video game I always care more about the plot then anything else and the first 2 games couldn't really deliver that.

For A Link to the Past and every 2D games after that:
I really liked those. They were challenging but fun at the same time (definitely no where as easy as the 3D games). I would recommend them to new comers.


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
My first Zelda was Ocarina of Time back when it first released, so like JJ, ALIT, and many others, I'm not a "modernboy" nor am I a "classicboy". So, I'll just speak about the games pre-OoT, meaning LoZ, AoL, ALttP, LA, and BS ALttP (because I played it like a BOSS!).

Legend of Zelda: Ok, so I'm plunged into an overworld with no direction whatsoever WITHOUT a sword. Nice twist on things. No fairy? Cool. No text, very cool. Okay, so let's go up into the next "room"...holy CRAP, enemies! What do I do? Let's try to run around a bit...GOSH DARNIT, I DIED AND DON'T EVEN HAVE WEAPONS, THIS GAME IS STUPID!!

Yeah, as you can tell from that large string of text, LoZ wasn't a pleasant experience first time around. I didn't seriously go up a screen; I knew to go into the cave and get the sword. With or without the sword though, the game was ridiculously hard for me. I never beat it the first time around -- I quit the game and went to sites like ZeldaPower, ZeldaLegends, Zeldasomethin (I forget the name) and finally to IGN and got a walkthrough for the game where I beat it on my very old like 1994 ish computer (it was OLD and I was like 7 years old) using the application "Zelda Classic". I didn't compare the game to Ocarina because they were far too different for me to begin to draw a comparison between the two, but suffice to say that I favored OoT over LoZ because I could actually beat 99% pf OoT without using a walkthrough whereas LoZ forced me to use a walkthrough for ~60% of the game (half of level 4 onward + all heart containers).

Adventure of Link: I DIED. IN THE OVERWORLD. Enough has been said. Even to this day, AoL is just too hard for me to beat legitimately. I have to glitch the game or use a gameshark code to make it TO the second palace, and even with cheat codes it's still mundanely hard. I didn't compare AoL to Ocarina, but I DID compare it to LoZ since they were both similar in that both are 2D games rather than 3D. At this point I began to appreciate LoZ for at least being a challenge without going overboard. I didn't hate AoL but it definitely wasn't a favorite of mine. ^^'

A Link to the Past: I played the GBA port not knowing a SNES version existed...what I mean by that is, I never played the original version though I definitely knew it was "Zelda 3" rather than "Zelda 6". The game's difficulty was definitely toned down from LoZ and AoL. I beat the entire game WITHOUT using a walkthrough, though subsequent playthroughs I forget (present tense) how to get to Misery Mire at times. Umm...ALttP is definitely the golden 2D Zelda if any 2D Zelda is allowed to be gold.

BS ALttP: Why the HELL is there a time limit? *reads into it* OH, that makes sense.

BS ALttP, for those that do not know, is actually easier in many respects than ALttP. However, I must say that it does have it's confusing moments, and those are far more than ALttP will ever have, even with modifications to the game code. I loved playing through the game with a female Link (well, technically it's female MASCOT but still), she was the first I chose and the only I chose (around this time I had recently played Oracle of Ages and I fell in love with Nayru's design, so amazing) and she's served very well. If only BS ALttP was remade for the 3DS, you know, along side ALttP 3D Remake. Oh mygoodness, fangasm. :/

Link's Awakening: I enjoyed LA all the way until (Catfish's Maw?). I couldn't figure that dungeon out for the life of me, so I had to visit ZeldaDungeon (I think this was in about 2005 though I can't be sure). After Level 5, things were great until I couldn't figure out how to find Dethl. I found him and beat him the hard way, then I read a tip later on that you can one shot him with the Boomerang, which I didn't know existed in the game.

I want Bomb Arrows to return. I'm glad that Twilight Princess at least tried.

Okay, so in short, the elder Zeldas will turn some people WAY off. But they're still enjoyable in their own little ways. Even that frustrating AoL is enjoyable, and it easily has some of the best concepts the Zelda series has ever known, besides y'know, the 3D. xD

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