Over the past year Nintendo has been teasing us with hints of a new epic game in its Adventure Series of Game Paks called The Legend of Zelda. We had taken a glimpse at the title when it released in February of last year on the Famicom Disk System. We were told back then that the game was so massive and would take so long to complete that it required the ability to save your progress on special 3.5″ disks.
As of this writing, Nintendo of America has confirmed that it has no immediate plans to release a Disk Drive for the Nintendo in North America, so we wondered how they got around the necessity to save the game’s progress. It turns out that the solution was quite ingenious. The engineers at Nintendo’s Japanese parent company decided to use a long-lasting 5-year lithium battery inside the cartridge to allow the game to “save” the data. In reality the game isn’t being saved at all, but instead the battery is tricking the Game Pak into thinking it’s never turned off! That’s right, when you power down your Nintendo Control Deck, the battery continues to supply power to the game, making it believe it’s still on. Impressive!
So, what is The Legend of Zelda, and does it live up to the hype that Nintendo has been giving it? Well, it’s too early to know for sure, but what was shown at this year’s Summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is very promising. The game has you controlling a young kid named Link who must defeat an evil Prince of Darkness named Ganon, who has kidnapped the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda.
This game marks Nintendo’s first big push into the Adventure Series of games, which means it will take longer to complete than your average video game. Indeed, upon starting the quest you may not even know what you’re supposed to do! You start off by visiting an old man who gives you a sword to do battle with. The game is broken up into screens, with different paths leading in various directions. You’ll explore a vast world with various environments like mountains, plains, forests, and lakes. Nintendo is calling this section of the game the Overworld – a place where monsters roam and secret caves and labyrinths await.
Nintendo has said that there are eight labyrinths in the game’s Underworld. It’s in here that you’ll truly be put to the test. You’ll have to locate a compass and a map in order to find everything you need to defeat the big bad boss guarding a piece of the Triforce at the end of each of these elaborate mazes. Only by gathering all eight pieces will you be able to rescue Zelda!
As you progress further in the game you’ll stumble upon special items that can help you in your adventures. A raft will allow you to float across rivers and lakes, and a ladder can help you reach areas that were previously inaccessible. New weapons like arrows and bombs will also help stave off the evil minions of Ganon.
From what we’ve seen of the game so far, The Legend of Zelda is packed with things to do and see. There are tons of different types of enemies, each with their own attack patterns that must be learned. Lots of weapons, items, and secrets are sure to keep even the best players challenged for months to come. Plus, the sequel, The Adventure of Link, is already planned for a release on a gold Game Pak in time for the holidays! Nintendo wasn’t ready to show off that title just yet, but we hear it’s even more sophisticated than the first.
The game comes in a special golden cartridge, which will surely stand out on store shelves. All of this doesn’t come without a price though, the game is set to retail at a staggering $44.95 – that’s $20 higher than Super Mario Bros.! Still, Nintendo is betting that the higher price tag will be worth the price of admission. We’ll have more to report on the game once it finally begins shipping to retailers in July. We’re excited to see more!