News Article

You're Not Alone in Finding the First Zelda So Hard

Posted by James Newton

So does Eiji Aonuma

The re-release of Legend of Zelda as part of the 3DS Ambassador program has reminded gamers just how hard Link's first outing is. If you haven't finished it yet, don't give yourself a hard time about it: neither has series producer Eiji Aonuma.

In a recent interview with Game Informer, Aonuma revealed to this day he has never completed the original Zelda:

I’ve never actually finished it. I almost feel like there’s still no game more difficult than it. Every time I try to play it I end up getting 'Game Over' a few too many times and giving up partway through. Certainly after playing the original Zelda for the first time, I didn’t ever think that I wanted to make a game like that.

While we're not sure that the first Zelda is the hardest of all — Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is surely right up there — it's still surprising to hear that Aonuma hasn't clocked the first game in the series he now oversees.

If you've ever finished the first Zelda, congratulations: you've done what Zelda's producer couldn't.


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User Comments (70)



Link79 said:

If they are talking about the 2nd quest then yeah that's hard.
The normal quest isn't so bad though.
I'm not gonna say I never got a game over but I have completed it many times.
I bet Anouma would really get frustrated with Adventure of Link.
That one would make anyone give up.



Juampi said:

I finished it yesterday for the first time. I actually thought it was pretty easy! Have yet to play the second quest though.



SuperOmegaMan said:

Aomuma didn't direct this game, he wasn't even accepted onto the Zelda team until after A Link to the Past came out. Therefore, this isn't his game.



WaveGhoul said:

I've beaten it...If anything, Zelda II was more challenging. Yet the final Dungeon in LOZ made my tummy charn, not just because of the diffiuclty but because a lot of that disorienting grey color....Everywhere you go you were in a sea of greyness, with rooms that looked almost identicle.



BenAV said:

This was one of my first NES games back when I was about 5 or 6 and I loved it to bits.
A lot of good memories there.
Haven't ever beaten the game though, as I didn't really care too much about all that back then... But maybe I will now that I have it on my 3DS.



Gavin_Rozee said:

I'm currently on level 9. I haven't found the game very hard, except for one type of enemy I have trouble with; those stupid blue magician things that hammer you with magic when they face you, who happen to be plentiful in level 9 .

Zelda II is frustratingly hard though.



warioswoods said:

I must admit that it's a little disappointing to hear him say that he's never bothered to complete the first game in the series. There's a lot to learn from the first 2 Zelda games... I've had a great time replaying them on the 3DS after so many years.

Also, agree with Link79 - the second quest is much harder than the first.



Taya said:

The first Zelda isn't really that hard, but yes you will get a few Game Overs unless you are really experienced with the game. I've finished it a couple of times.

Zelda II is much much more difficult.



FantasiaWHT said:

I haven't beaten either Zelda, but on both games it's the last dungeon. Zelda 1 I can't even get to Ganon, it's just too long of a dungeon and I lose too much health over it. Zelda 2 I've gotten to the final boss but couldn't beat him... then I learned that there's a cheap trick to beating him so I'm playing it again ;P



KDR_11k said:

Malstrom loves quoting an earlier interview where Aonuma admitted he couldn't even deal with the octoroks.



DiggerandIndy said:

It is hard, but I've beaten it. Ditto with Adventures of Link. I haven't played them all, but IMO Ocarina of Time's the most difficult.



Samholy said:

im still at the 9th dungeon. it think its my fourth run. whenever i die, i need to save my unlocked path. now im lacking keys, so i must buy like 2 or 3. it has so many useless doors, i wasted them fast !

but yeah, NES era was hardcore. games today are softer to us.(looking at ninja gaiden. maybe not all...)



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

The first Zelda hard? dahahahahahahaha. I can think of over 100 games probably on the NES harder than the original Zelda. The second quest is somewhat hard, but only because its hard to find the last few dungeons.



Tornado said:

Gotta say, I'd love a new Zelda that's more in the style of the NES original!



Graph said:

Zelda is not hard at all ... not even the second quest ... seriously. People think it's hard?



Bensei said:

Just completed it yesterday XD

It's hard, especially if you play it without a Overworld Map (since there are no clues in which order to complete the dungeons), but not "Hell-how-should-I-complete-this?" hard. Zelda II -> Yes, but also beatable after getting the Life-Magic and Midoro Palace.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I could always make it to Ganon in the second quest. But somehow i couldn't figure out how to damage him. When i'm done with the three more Ambassador games i want to play before it i guess i'll give it another shot.
Had the same final boss problems in Wind Waker and Minish Cap. Looked up the solution for the former in the internet and have still to beat the latter.



King_Boo said:

a room full of wizrobes or darknuts maybe hard, but most everything in the first is easy, at least when you know where everything is.



timp29 said:

Ive beaten zelda 1 and 2 since the ambassador program.

Biggest frustrations:
Zelda 1: The dungeon with all the blue warping magic shooting dudes (dungeons 7? and 9)
Zelda 2: Those freaken bird knight things in last dungeon.

Overall, I think Zelda II is harder.



bezerker99 said:

Zelda and Zelda II are difficult, but with practice, as is most things in life, they can be mastered. I cut Aonuma-san a lotta slack - he is producing the new breed o' Zelda games, he doesn't have time to go screen to screen burning every single green bush in sight just to find a secret stairway and such. D:

(btw, interesting lil bit o' knowledge I think about Aonuma-san, /haha!)



ImDiggerDan said:

I never played it first time round so am finding playing it now so difficult mainly because of how dated it is compared to the modern versions. If someone made a decent re-write of it that better used the available controls I'd give it a bit more of a go.



TeeJay said:

You didn't have to take it that way, lol. It's not that he didn't bother, it's that he got frustrated and quit. And the game is legit hard, give him a break, will ya? D:



Meta-Rift said:

I think the first one has the best difficulty curve. The 3D games are all cakewalks. (Except Majora's Mask, of course.)



grumblebuzzz said:

A lot of people go on and on about how hard Zelda II is but I consider the first one darn near unplayable. II really isn't so bad if you just grind and level up well but the first Zelda is grueling, and not in a fun way.



Beechbone said:

Yeah, it's pretty hard, playing it a bit from time to time but I get frustrated all the time.



TheGreenSpiny said:

That's funny, I remember beating both quests when I was a kid, they were a challange but I don't remember them being that hard. Zelda II I made it all the way to death mountain then gave up, could never find my way around that stupid maze.

Now a days I find both games so frustraiting I can't even play them for very long.



Demonic_St33V said:

Hard? I don't get it... When it was released in the Wii shop, I snagged it. Didn't get a chance to play it until my next day off, sat down and beat it in a single (if long) session. I walked away thinking to myself "I don't remember it being that easy the first time I played it".



Kid_A said:

Bah. I've played it through 100% three times now. Aonuma needs to step up his game



armoredghor said:

I think the second one would be a lot easier to play if it saved your exp. points and not just your level. The first one was hard but it was my first real overhead 2d hack/slash. If you know where to go it gets easy but not knowing where to go with little skill and 3 life is hard.



thinkhector said:

I think I really have the best perspective on this game being hard or easy. I actually played this game when I was younger, when it first came out, but I didn't own the game so never really got deep into it. Flash forward many years later, for the first time I am attempting to beat the Legend of Zelda. The game is HARD. I have not used any tips or hints and I believe some of you who beat the game long ago new all the tricks (maybe even from guides). I was vaguely aware of the cross trick, but didn't remember how to get around the maze at first. By the way, this is from someone who has beaten Mega Man 1 and Ghouls and Ghosts.



JebbyDeringer said:

Imagine how cool they could make a new isometric Zelda game with modern technology? Much simpler graphics than 3D but a real attention to detail. Just make the map 4x bigger than A Link to the Past and please add more than one town.



Milkman-123 said:

ive had zelda two ever since its release day. and i've never EVER gotten the hammer. im still trying to get the dAmn hammer XDXD its sooo dang hard!! im with ya Aonuma



ToxieDogg said:

Meh, I've completed both Zelda 1 & 2 a few times in the past (Zelda 2 isn't really any harder than the first one). Neither one of them are as difficult to beat as the original NES Metroid, that's for sure...NES Metroid is confusing as hell with no map and lots of areas looking the same, it's way too easy to get lost.,,,I don't actually enjoy playing it at all, but I do love Metroid: Zero Mission on the GBA



Scissors said:

I beat it earlier this year, I did use some help from Zelda dungeon though. It's the only NES game I've beaten without using cheat codes.



Chris720 said:

LoZ isn't really that hard... ._.
LoZ II is just annoying with leveling up and stuff... grinding is NOT in any way, shape or form, fun.



grumblegrumble said:

I spent an entire Summer of my youth burning every tree and blowing up every rock face This game is CLASSIC. It's not THAT difficult. If a ten year old can beat it (me) back in the day, surely this guy can who now oversees Zelda. WTF. It should be a job requirement!!!! Zelda 2, now, there's a hard game. The last 2 levels anyways



MeloMan said:

It was tough back in 1988 for me as a person still getting comfortable with home videogames, but never impossible. What made it so hard probably is it didn't hold your hand much and the enemies were punishing if you weren't prepared, but heck, that was the fun of the game. Funny this article popped up because a friend and I were just chatting about how he first played Zelda I and just couldn't swing the game for anything. To each their own I guess. Now Zelda II was the one for me that made me actually stop playing the game for a LONG time, then I gathered the courage (no pun intended) to finally recover the Triforce of Courage. Games just aren't what they used to be.



Tigus said:

I will now work 2x as hard to beat the last 2 dungeons! Love this game!



Link977 said:

Ive only beaten this once, without the blue tunic thing, which I didnt know about



Hokori said:

I will aim to beat it 4 times
once on wii once on 3DS
and then the 2nd quest on both



KLZ said:

I found the first Zelda more difficult than Zelda 2, I love zelda 2



Henmii said:

I have also beaten the first Zelda. It was hard though. I still have to play the second quest.

I have not beaten Zelda 2 yet. It's extremely hard (though I am almost at the end)!



Adam said:

You would think it'd be a requirement for the job. Sample resume:

  • Degree in computer science.
  • Great communication skills.
  • Experience upending tea tables.
  • Beat The Legend of Zelda.


WaxxyOne said:

Hearing someone say that the first Zelda is hard kind of makes me die a little inside.

Given that games of that time were known for being brutally unforgiving, Zelda is actually quite easy by comparison. That's not to say there aren't some tough spots, but being able to continue as many times as necessary, and get enough heart containers and potions to stave off death for awhile, keeps the challenge reasonable. In my opinion, you can't really call yourself a true Zelda fan if you haven't completed at least the first quest.

Now Zelda II, on the other hand, is a much tougher game and has a lot of annoyances built into it that make it frustrating as well (limited lives, magic meter constantly on the verge of running out, few fairies/regeneration items, etc). I'd be more interested in hearing if he's managed to get anywhere in that one...



Javin said:

I dont blame him! Its a very hard game. I'm stuck on temple 6 because of all the enemes keep killing me! but I'll beat it soon enough!



moosa said:

Jeeze what the heck... I've played, enjoyed and beaten some of the hardest games out there. It's been quite a while since I played it last but I could never get past like the fourth dungeon or something in the first game. The second game I didn't get very far at all. I didn't just give up after a few minutes. I died so many times. How can you guys act like these games are child's play?



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

the 3ds' controls aren't as responsive as the nes or classic controller's, so that doesn't help me this time around. I am having a lot more problems with the ambassador versions

EDIT: completely forgot about the blue ring. Back to being easy.



thanos316 said:

what the heck he means he never finished the first zelda. its not that hard. i was probably like 10 or 11 playing the first zelda game. its a classic none the less. but that game is beatable.



Henmii said:


Keep in mind that it is not strange among game developers to be bad at playing games (It's at least that way at Nintendo). They at least are good at creating games, and that's most important.



Darel18 said:

Try to beat Nes Battetoads (this one I did) or TMNT ( =( ) and then we will talk



Balaclavab said:

I used a walkthrough for the whole game, but I got stuck and gave up in the last dungeon....I will go back and finish it sometime

But I found the original MEtroid much easier to beat, although i hand drew my own map as i played through it (although I had to look up the scre attack)



StarDust4Ever said:

Compare Zelda to the original Mario Brothers. I've beaten Super Mario Brothers more times than I can count, but I've never beaten SMB 2 or 3 without a Game Genie. I never did much like the NES Zeldas though. I played 3D Dot Heroes on PS3, which is supposedly an NES Zelda throwback, and I had an absolute blast!

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