Game Profile

The brave Link begins his hazardous journey in the fantastic world of Hyrule.

Using your sword, your shield and your wit, retrieve the eight fragments of the Triforce and save the princess Zelda from the evil Gannon (Nowadays known as Ganon). This is the best-selling adventure game that initiated one of the most successful series of all time.

Created by Shigeru Miyamoto, it introduced many innovative features that Zelda games are still associated with today. Not only is the adventure action-packed, it also features puzzling dungeons and myriads of secret passages. Discover or rediscover this timeless classic.

Game Review

Wii U eShop Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

A Link from the past

When The Legend of Zelda was released in 1986, it was at least as much an eye-opening experience for gamers as Super Mario Bros. had been. Whereas that game expanded and solidified the left-to-right nature of platformers for generations to come, The...

Game Review

3DS eShop Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Rough around the edges, but an unforgettable adventure

When The Legend of Zelda was released in 1986, it was at least as much an eye-opening experience for gamers as Super Mario Bros. had been. Whereas that game expanded and solidified the left-to-right nature of platformers for generations to come, The...

Game Review

Virtual Console Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

The brave Link begins his hazardous journey in the fantastic world of Hyrule.

Where it all began - it's amazing how playable and fresh this games feels, even after all these years! Although the visuals and sound are hardly going to turn heads these days, the core Zelda gameplay is all present and correct.The Legend of Zelda is a...

Game Screenshots

Related News

News: The Nintendo World Championships Legend of Zelda Challenge Has Been Detailed

The Nintendo World Championships Legend of Zelda Challenge Has Been Detailed

Thor Aackerlund and Jeff Hansen to be guests of honour

The Nintendo World Championships are now just two days away, and details around the live event continue to be revealed. The latest batch of information from Nintendo of America relates to one of the game events and some welcome special guests that will feature. First of all, details have been...

News: Nintendo World Championships Event Time Confirmed, With The Legend of Zelda NES Included in the Final

Nintendo World Championships Event Time Confirmed, With The Legend of Zelda NES Included in the Final

Pre-show broadcasts also promised

Following the past weekend's Nintendo World Championship's qualifiers, Nintendo of America has used its quirky Nintendo Direct Micro and subsequent details to flesh out the final event that's taking place in LA on 14th June. For starters, the big event will be at 3pm Pacific time on 14th June, which is 6pm Eastern...

Video: Take A Look At The Evolution Of Fairies In The Legend Of Zelda Series

Take A Look At The Evolution Of Fairies In The Legend Of Zelda Series

Fairy impressive

Since the original Legend of Zelda was released on the NES in 1986, fairies have been an integral part of the series. In each iteration, these fairies have always shared common traits; with the ability to rejuvenate, enhance and often provide vital words of wisdom to the hero, Link. YouTuber – MasterOfHyrule – has payed tribute...

Video: This Recreation of The Legend of Zelda in Minecraft is Something to Behold

This Recreation of The Legend of Zelda in Minecraft is Something to Behold


The absence of Minecraft on Nintendo systems will likely be looked back upon as a major 'what-if' in years to come. It's arrived on practically every other gaming platform, and various other attempts at the genre have since been announced by Indie studios aiming to fill a gap. While you can keep major releases from Nintendo fans, you...

Game Trailers

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

User Comments (89)

__Nathan G


Nathan G said:

Ive played this before on Gamecube, and I thought it was just too hard to enjoy. But when I saw it appear on the Virtual Console I thought, I cant miss the opportunityto own the Zelda where it all began right alongside Twilight Princess. A must have for all Zelda fans..



Shrapnel09 said:

this is probably one of my very first memories as a kid playing with my sister, and complaing how much i hated it when it wouldnt save my game because i didnt hold reset when shutting off the power lol. Very fun game, nice and challenging.

I have something to ask the admins about this game (or general public) im doing the 2nd quest right now and when this game was released in the US in 1987, did the map it come with include instructions of where to find the dungeons in the 2nd quest, i see no possible in finding these things unless told where to locate them (you would have to bomb every section of wall in the game eventually to locate them!

Here is a scaned copy of the original 2nd quest map, but i dont know if this game with the game or not. http://img131.imageshack.us/img131/2968/zeldaoverworldfrom19886mb.jpg
I tried to make a vow not to look up hints on the internet for all VC games i bought, but for the 2nd quest i think i have no choice.



Damo said:

Interesting point there. I'm sure all copies came with the map but I could be wrong.



SAM said:

My copy did not come with any maps.

Shrapnel said: "you would have to bomb every section of wall in the game eventually to locate them!"

That's how we did it back then! I rememeber me and my dad working in shifts burning all the bushes and bombing every rock in the game.



Al said:

this is a pritty awesome game, im a bit stuck thought at the moment on
level six, or dungeon 6 if you want to call it. those invisable things are very harsh.

__The Kid


The Kid said:

A must have for old and new gamers. There are so many elements in this quest that paved the way for this glorious francise.



Shrapnel09 said:

SAM: so you honestly found every dungeon in the 2nd quest by bombing and burning nearly every sprite in the game? Im takling finding every dungeon in the 2nd quest WITHOUT any outside assistance, this includes friends, magazines, hints on the back of your cereal box, anything. you fully completed the 2nd quest but literally bombing every section of wall till you found each dungeon?

"That's how we did it back then!", dont talk down to me either, im 20 myself so i didnt get it the day it came out but my first memories was of this game so dont assume i just played this game for the first time yesterday.



SAM said:

Yes, I'm not BS'ing, that's how me and my dad beat games in the late 80'es and early 90'es. And this game in particular. Trial & Error. When you think about it, the game promotes trial and error - why else would there be an upgrade for the candle? (the red candle allows burning bushes faster than the blue one and has very few practical uses other than for burning bushes)

I was 8 years old when I got this one in 89. The internet didn't exist back then and there weren't much in terms of gaming magazines either and my friends were not much help in this department. So what else could we have done?

There was just this one ocation when we used outside help to beat a game and it was for Zelda 2. We could not find the second to last castle so we called Nintendo's support hotline and they gave us a hint. We still talk about that event as "the one time when the game beat us".



Shrapnel said:

I know the internet didnt exist in 89 which is why i never brought it up in the first place. weren't much in terms of magazines? I guess you never heard of nintendo power. Anyway i believe you, burning bushes is easy with the candle, my main argument is with bombs... you would run out so fast and it would take forever... wait im not done yet! if this game was about promoting trial and error they would have never released a map for it in the first place.

But thats fine i forgot what the previous argument was about, the point is im not going to bomb every square inch of the map cause that would take forever, if i had infinite bombs then its a different story. hello mushroom -top of the morning-. i just hope that zelda holds on together, i would hate for this to be tossed aside, but how can you lot allow a rebutle?! what about spell check? do i need that?! no sir! ah HA HA HA!



Dakk said:

Definitely a bargain for such a great title. The gameplay is solid and it holds up well for its age.



Dave said:

The reason it was easier for us (in the sixth grade) without the internet is because we'd all diligently mark our finds on the map, then we'd bring the maps to school and trade notes during break. We were resourceful when we had to be.



TheNintendoBoy said:

I have to say I really disagree with this score.. Surely, it must be the nostalgia and respect for the beginning of such an excellent series that made you give it 4 stars?

I played it long after ALTTP, and while I wasn't expecting to be blown away or anthing, I didn't find it to be much fun at all.

I'll list my main gripes:
- I personally hated how in the beginning you had to (or were free to if you want to put it that way) "test" different paths until you took the one you're supposed to begin with.

- The forest and mountain "mazes" are simply retarded. I mean where's the fun in repeating the same screen over and over until you get it right, with no clue whatsoever as to how to get out of there?

- The boss fights were pathetic overall. I had a harder time fighting regular enemies like darknuts and wizzrobes.

- Either the translation is crap, or the original script is. It really ruined the atmosphere for me, though I did find some lines to be unintentionally funny. I know it was considered good for a console game at the time, but that doesn't mean I should have to put up with it now!

- Since ALTTP manages to retain all the good aspects of LoZ while adding alot more to it, making it feel like a remake, you might as well get that one instead.



mario/zelda_fan said:

Well i think im gonna buy this one but only if someone answers this question:

Do you get to keep your items like in a link to the past or take one item at a time like in four swords?

But I don't think anyone will answer this because I'm the only one who sent something since march!!!!



lemon said:

I love this game, played it when I was a child for hours (made the 2nd quest too...)... Unfortunately, Nintendo didn't like to serve Zelda at normal NTSC-speed in Europe... It was possible to run this game at original-speed twenty years ago on the Famicom-Disk-System but on the Wii in 2007 it is impossible!?! I thought I wouldn't care for this game, but I push the button so hard because Link is that slow! Seems the only games which work correctly in Europe are the PCEngine games... This PAL/NTSC-topic is so boring...



Badspeller said:

At 500 points its worth the price of admission. Many aspects of the game haven't aged well, such as it basically asking you to wonder around aimlessly in order to find the next dungeon. But if you print out an overworld map, and keep in mind that this game came out in the mid 80s its a lot of fun. Zelda pioneered a lot of things we take for granted in console games today, such as save games, action rpgs ect.



Brodo18 said:

Toooo Fricken Hard.
If you want a really fun Zelda game download "A Link To the Past"!
This game is honestly 10 times more fun and I really enjoy it. They made the difficulty perfect and it is long and enjoyable throughout!
I dont really understand how people use the excuse that since this game started the zelda series you should download it. I dont really care if it started the series, today this game is mildly enjoyable for a few hours and you probably wont play it ever again.



William said:

Hey, everyone! TLOZ (This series) is, by far, my ULTIMATE favorite game of all time! I've played it VERY often since I was a kid. Sure, everyone gets the heebie-jeebies at times when it comes to RPG, it happens. Anyway, I've also got this one on my Wii (Wii Shop), and I've been constantly playing it over and over!

However, there are more quests online at
it has far more quests for more Zelda game-play.

Well, happy playing!

P.S. I've also rated this game 5 stars because it's an excellent game of all time!



Jordan said:

Brodo18 (Canada) - 03 Jul 2007, 17:55 GMT

Toooo Fricken Hard.
If you want a really fun Zelda game download "A Link To the Past"!
This game is honestly 10 times more fun and I really enjoy it. They made the difficulty perfect and it is long and enjoyable throughout!
I dont really understand how people use the excuse that since this game started the zelda series you should download it. I dont really care if it started the series, today this game is mildly enjoyable for a few hours and you probably wont play it ever again.

Reader rating:

Damn right, this game is solid and stupendously hard and awkward to play. Like Brodo said, if you want a good 2d zelda game get a link to the past=)



Ben said:

started the series, and still hold up greatly.

I find it hilarious to hear people call this game fun and complain how you actually had to explore to find things in it. Do gamers today require the adventure to be hand fed to them to be fun?

Oh and to the question about the second quest map, no there was no map for the second quest. the second quest was a secret that wasnt known when the game was first released. for those who dont know and want to try it, if you enter your name as ZELDA in the name entry, you automatically start on the second quest.



Ender said:

The game that started it all, and it's still the best 8-bit game ever made.

This was the first Nintendo game that I ever played and I still love it to this day. Those who say that the graphics, gameplay, and music don't hold up to this day are crazy. Every single Zelda game that followed (except Zelda II) took gameplay elements from the original, and the Hyrule Overworld theme is still one of the most well-known songs in video game history.



Link_O_Fett said:

Still one of the best games of all time. For 500 points you get a lengthy adventure with tons of adventurous fun packed in. If you don't have it on Gamecube or GBA, download it immediately.



Jogurt_the_Yogurt said:

This game is simply brilliant. Huge, entertaining, and leaves you with a great sense of accomplishment after building up Link's collection of goodies. And when you're done, you can play it all again with everything in different locations!



Nick said:

I just started to play this game on the GC via the bonus disc that came with Wind Waker. Surprisingly I'm more addicted to it than the games I'm paying $50 for



Lwaad said:

I got a Wii for Christmas (thanks to a devoted wife and brother) and this is the first VC game I bought. I'd never played it before, and it really is a lot more fun, and a bit less difficult, than everyone made me believe.



Trollcheese said:

Too bad they stopped doin' the 8-bit NESgames even though the new technology showed up. Love the 8-bit classics, specially this one.



Stuart said:

How come everyone keeps talking about playing this on the GameCube? I bought Wind Waker aswell, and that also had the bonus disc; but I haven't even heard of this game being on the GC version.

Can someone give me a bit of info on where to find it?

[This game is excellent by the way, and I downloaded it anyway - I now have all the Zelda's on my Wii ]



I'm stuck...
Dungeon 6, well hard, about 7 or 8 rooms in you get a load of monsters.
It's a pity - 'cos right up to about the 5th dungeon I was having a great time - drew up my own map of the overworld in pencil and paper as well - fantastic - and a great sense of achievement...
...doesn't look like i'll be finishing this any time soon though



The_shoemaker said:

Really? I think when super smash bros brawl comes out I'll play the demo of this game and see if it's worth my points.



Sariku said:

Shoemaker, it's an amazing game. Well, if you have patience. It is very easy at the beginning (Providing you can memorize the path, as you have no map of the overworld.), but later on it get's insanely difficult. Don't even get me started on the Second Quest though... >.<



Pwnage said:

gets hard, i never could find the third dungeon, i just walked around stabbing enemies:-L



Dante_must_die said:

The legend begins! The first Zelda game ever. Its 21 years old but it still hasent lost any of its charm. All important things that made the franchise so big are in this game.Link,Zelda;Ganon and the Triforce aswell as the heart containers boomerang and bombs. But compared to its successors its pretty simple(and then i mean simple for Zelda standards). Some people would say that its hard. And i have to admit that its sometimes very frustrating but its always fair. But theres no doubt that its one of the best NES games evermade. Theres only one disadvantage. The overworld is really big and sometimes youl have no idea where to go next. In the 8bit era "trial and error" was very common,but todays gamers might get frustrating about that. That why i put the link whit a overview map here:



zelda_freak said:

I rember watching my dad play this when I was young, I guess that's what got me into zelda. This game is very frustrating since theres not much help and is almost imposible to complete without a guide, but the feelinng of accomplishment is very rewarding.



PoisonedV said:

Promise me you won't get this game unless you just want to own all the Zelda games.



Capt_K said:

This was a hard game, i finished it after much throwing of controllers and swearing!
I loved the sounds on it, esp when in the dangeons! i got a map with mine and very glad i did too otherwise would have been very difficult.
4/5 from me due to the frustration level!



GameGod3008 said:

I found this game quite difficult. i bought it as i'm a fan of the Zelda series and i was surprised by it to say the least. It shows how the series has changed over time and i had some trouble sticking to it. However, it did grow on me and i found myself enjoying it but i did get a little frustrated at times and it is hard. If you like adventure games or you're a fan of Zelda, get it.



Marvel_Maniac said:

Honestly, I find it odd that everyone keeps talking about how hard this game is. Difficult, yes, but not even the realm of Ninja-Gaiden-difficult. I guess since I grew up with this game, I had plenty of discussions/help/team-ups with my brother and kids from school to make it through and memorize the labyrinth locations. Personally, this is a very satisfying game. I'm strongly considering downloading it just so I can go through the 2nd Quest for the first time.



Conard said:

I never enjoyed a game as much as this one. I remember how much I played it as a kid, and since I've got it on the VC I've been playing it all the time again. The level of difficulty is high, but doable. My favourite game of all time, I highly recommend you to get it.



zelda_freak said:

mabey not the best game if you have anger problems. I remember even breaking my GBA in frustration, haha. great game anyways. especially if you're a fan of the series.



Adamant said:

It's an adventure game, guys. You're supposed to explore. Makes the game last longer, you know. Try drawing maps, try experimenting a bit with your items to find hidden rooms, try just walking around and taking in the world you've been placed in. Don't judge it by the standards of today's "adventure" games. It's not that type of game, and it was never intended to be.



Pickles said:

I got this game just to round out my Zelda knowledge, but found it to be amazingly fun and addictive. Don't be put off by all the talk of how frustratingly difficult it is; you will die, but in the old school gamer way of live-and-learn. It's part of what keeps you coming back, trying different strategies etc. No enemy or room is as impossible as they seem originally. I feel comfortable saying this, as I really stink at Link.

The undirected exploration is also very fun, especially when you have enough hearts to go boldly. A few extra hearts and a couple of dungeons are hidden too well, but you always know where to turn if you need help. It might be nice if Nintendo would include some supplemental clues in the uber-terse guide. But really nothing can spoil the fun here.



timp29 said:

I feel this game has aged the worst out of all the zelda games (no suprise seeing its the oldest) and think by today's standards its worth a 3. I started my zelda days with Zelda II and after getting hooked on the Zelda series, I went back to Zelda I and found it dissapointing. Someone mentioned earlier about 'A Link to the Past' being a very similar game in control and layout, so for all newcomers I would definitely recommend ALttP over this one, as it has very similar game play with improved controls and graphics.



MasterMario said:

I found a few issues with this game but it's the game that started it all and worth 500 points unlike Zelda II.



TheDudeAbides said:

This is one of the main reasons I bought my Wii in the first place.... to be able to play my favorite games without the hassles of dealing with my NES. The Legend of Zelda is my favorite Nintendo game, and even though I found the regular controller turned sideways didn't feel quite as right as a regular NES controller, this game brings all the nostalgia of playing it as a child. It's not A Link to the Past, but it's a Zelda game, which makes it perfect.



2hip2beskware said:

Not the best, but still terrific. Bits of it (arbitrary block pushing puzzles) will have you grinding your teeth at times, but it's a truly great game.



megacody said:

Zelda is a classic, anyone who loves video games should get this. nuff' said.



PsychoFish said:

The first game of the best Nintendo video game series. It is different than modern Zelda games in many ways and most of the time it's unbelievable hard, but it is THE classic Zelda and a must have in every NES or Zelda fans collection.



gamerwizz said:

they should have put the map in the operations manual then maybe I would enjoy this more



Ricardo91 said:

Another game I originally played as a classic NES cartridge. It was the only one I actually kept.

This is definitely one of the hardest Zelda games ever made. It was hard to get used to at first, as you can only move in 4 directions instead of 8, and you can't use spin attacks. The game doesn't give you the best instructions either, especially in the second quest. I had to look on Gamefaqs to even get an idea as to find some dungeons, and the second dungeon in the first quest took me forever to find on my first run. But still, it debuted the Zelda franchise, and so it's a vital piece of Nintendo history, and one every fan of the company should own in some form. 4/5



CanisWolfred said:

@Mr. Cheez

Yeah, Gamefaqs helped me a lot with this game, if only for the tip that if you kill all but one enemy in an area, there will always be one enemy at that area for the rest of the game. It made exploration a breeze!



LordJamak said:

Played this and finished it more times than I can remember for the NES, on the GameCube collection, and now going through it on an emulator on my laptop. Is it worth the money or Wii points to get this again? I dunno. If you have been gaming for over 20 years like some of us have, yeah it might be good for nostalgia purposes, but maybe not. Plus, this, the second one, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's mask are all on the special GC compilation that is easily obtainable online or at stores like Gamestop or pawn shops.



spyster10000 said:

well I own this title on the cube and I haven't played it much but one rainy day I'll probably look into it and think "why in hell didn't I play this before" anyway a true Zelda fan should own this even if there like me and aren't going to play it much for now I give it 3 stars but the future me would shoot me for that if you get what mean



ZBomber said:

I remember playing this game with a game genie back in the day. Pretty tough game, I remember when me and my sister finally discovered the second dungeon in this game (I think a friend tipped us off... again this is before we had the internet)



Marvel_Maniac said:

I'm an idiot for buying the Zelda Classic release for GBA. I really should have waited to buy it on the Wii (which I now have). Same thing with the Mega Man games, I bought the anthologies but I would very much prefer to used the VC system of saving mid-game, and easy to pick up and play usability of the Wii menu.

Be that as it may, this game brings back a lot of memories. I remember renting this game when all I owned for my NES was Duck Hunt and Gradius. We came home and started it up and just watched the opening screen. Immediately we were caught up in its fantastic, epic nature. THAT is worth more words than I can use to describe the feeling. Unfortunatley, I fear that most newer gamers will never be able to get that same feeling of mystery and excitement from booting this game up. Even with the newer games like Twilight Princess, the mystery is lessened by the fact that this is an old series. Back in the day, we had no idea what to expect. It was all entirely fresh and new. Maybe this is how people felt about the ground breaking art of the Renaissance. That really IS what we are talking about here with these NES games: a Renaissance of gaming. Love it.



Kurachi said:

ai, the first zelda ever, i played alot same with my mom
we both had own save game, and we both completed it, same with the 2nd world (which you can do right away when calling your character zelda)
my mom really was so into it, she actually drew the dungeons on papers, we didnt have internet like this back then
it was the only "big" game we had back then

i enjoyed the game from the start to the end
i followed the whole zelda series, and this one is the first i ever played

it was (still is) a great game
i even made in smash bros brawl a level which looks like the screen with shop, near the start (just the form)
good memories



RetroNL said:

It started all here, the first NES game that had a save feature and the beginning of what will be one of the best games in history, present and future.
This game was very unique for it' s time, especially the collecting feature, among those features, it was and is a very pleasant game to play, puzzling and action all in one pack. What do you want more ?
Even for not Zelda fans, this game is definitely worth playing.

4 stars (4,5)



Corbs said:

This is where the magical Zelda series began. I'll never forgot the day I got this game. I didn't leave the house for a month that Summer. Good memories.



Divock said:

The power of the Zelda series has influenced people throughout the world to pick up a controller and experience the magic. It's one of those games that says, "I am worth my weight in gold!" The game is definetely worth the 500 points if you don't have it.



pikmin95 said:

It was too confusing when I first played it. I had to use a walkthrough.
Also, I've noticed that the title screen says "1986-2003 Nintendo". Is this the gameboy port?



Mama_Luigi said:

I can't wait to try this game when i get my Wii points!
Edit: Oh, i just found out that you have to use bombs on walls, but you have no clue where you should throw the bomb at the wall, i think i'll pass this then.
Edit 2: Ah, what the heck, it's a classic! I will download this!



koopa85 said:

@ Mama Luigi
Actually this game doesn't leave you hanging too much in the dungeons(you will only ever have to bomb the center of the walls on each side), but the overworld is a little more tricky, yet not too tricky. Although the second quest is very hard! I haven't even completed it yet! This is easily one of the best nintendo games. Definitely worth 500 points.



deeztreezeez said:

I agree its a classic...but ehhhh, it never grabbed me...Ocarina of Time is my favorite...after playing that this game can suck it!



WheresMeLoZ said:

oh the bloody wii VC. ill admit the wii is great but does anyone still play this on the original NES?
its loads better.
Function: abbreviation
abbreviated of Nintendo Entertainment System

~Nintendo [nin-ten-doh]
1.a system for playing awesome-ness.
2.any game designed for this system.



Hawker said:

Thanks to Nintendo Power back in the day, I had beaten the 2nd quest & was stuck on the 1st quest for months. I just couldn't find dungeons 3 & 6, then one day I was at my cousin's house playing the 1st quest & accidentally found both dungeons looking for moblins that give rubies. After that I had no trouble, other then figuring out level 9.



Huckleberry said:

I have the Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition, I just playing to the Legend of Zelda (1986) that classic. I can't remember is B-7 on First Quest. Everyone can help of B-7 is where for turn right, left, up and down?



Red_Robbo said:

@12. The NintendoBoy
Dude, there WERE clues for the forest and mountain mazes, you just had to talk to the right character and they'd tell you the directions to take. Obviously if you hadn't found those people before going in then it was the most frustrating thing imaginable, but the designers weren't so mean as to put absolutely no clues in!



Ryno said:

I want to download this now but I am going to hold off and see if Nintendo puts it out on some kind of Zelda 25th anniversary collection.



Milkman-123 said:

i hope zelda II comes w/the 3ds ambassador program! even though that games is hard as S***.i never played the original (because i wasnt alive yet) so im mainly taking other's people's word for it. mmm, but im pretty good @ sidescrollers. i wanna play 'DEM ALL. GOTTA CATCH ALL THE GAMES, ITS LIKE F***ING POKEMON

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...