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Friday, June 3, 2016

Unpopular Opinions Vol. 3

Are you in the small group of people that actually likes the Star Wars prequels? Perhaps you even like Micheal Bay's take on the Transformers or you actually enjoyed the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Or maybe, just maybe, you think The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time isn't the greatest game of all time and that better Zelda games do exist that aren't subtitled A Link to the Past. Welcome to Unpopular Opinions, where perspective, mine anyway, greatly differs from the majority.

Gamers Need to Stop Ignoring the Original Legend of Zelda's Faults

While Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is often viewed as the red headed stepchild of the franchise by the majority of critics, The Legend of Zelda, the first game in the series, is treated as some NES darling. Zelda II is pretty difficult, but it really isn't the terrible Zelda game so many say it is. What makes me roll my eyes is that these same people that are all too eager to point out Adventure of Link's faults turn a blind eye to Legend of Zelda's imperfections.

Zelda II is by far, the harder of the two NES Zeldas, but the first one is no Sunday stroll. When you reach Level 5, there is a considerable leap in difficulty. The more annoying enemy types such as Wizrobes and Darknuts start becoming more plentiful and you'll often have to kill all of them in one room before the next door opens. Death in late game dungeons can be particularly painful since you always restart with three hearts instead of maxed out life, forcing you to either go for your Red Medicine, farm for health with the enemies in the dungeon or retreat to a Great Fairy Fountain.

The original 8-bit version of Hyrule is loaded with secrets, many of which are impossible to unearth without a guide. Walls can be blow up with Bombs to reveal alternate routes in dungeons and certain bushes can be torched with the Candle to reveal underground caves hiding goodies. Problem is, you are given zero indication of what walls can be blown up and what bushes are flammable. No cracks in the walls that can be blown up and the bushes that are capable of going up in flames look the same color as the countless other bushes throughout the land.

It isn't just the gear that's hidden, either. the dungeons, the very places you need to venture into to reunite the Triforce, also start to become hidden later in the game, with their locations not being very obvious. I don't just mean finding the dungeons in a "Where do I go?" sense. You could be on the proper screen of a dungeon entrance and not even know it. That's how secret some of these dungeon locations get later on.

You can find a Goryia in one of the dungeons that says "Grumble, Grumble..." He's actually hungry but rather than simply saying "I'm hungry" or "Got any food on ya?" the game goes with the very cryptic "Grumble, grumble." For all we know, the guy is peeved that Ganon isn't paying him the same amount of Rupees that the other Goryias are getting and he's venting his frustrations.

Make your way through The Lost Woods and you can trade in that rusty Wooden Sword for the White Sword. "Master using it and you can have this," says the Old Man. That doesn't make any sense but I'm gonna take my shinny new sword, anyway. Wait, why can't I take it?!  By "Master using it and you can have this," what he actually means is that you have to have a certain amount of Heart Containers (6) before you can claim it. Why he doesn't just say that instead of dish out confusing info, I have no idea.

I am grateful that this game did kick off the Zelda franchise and I'm not saying that I think the first Zelda is bad. What I am saying is that it is not some flawless masterpiece, completely devoid of any wrong. Whenever this game is brought up by critics, rarely do they speak of it's bad points and it's quite unfair that Zelda II is constantly recognized for it's faults but the original never is. The lenses in those rose tinted nostalgia goggles surely can't be that thick, can they?

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