The Legend of Zelda(JP) (later released as The Legend of Zelda 1(JP) in Japan) is an NES action-adventure game. It was first released in Japan as a Famicom Disk System game in February of 1986.

The next year it would release in both North America and Europe. It is generally regarded as one of the most important video games of all time. The game was created by industry veterans Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka.

The Legend of Zelda was ranked as the number one video game of all time in the 200th issue of Game Informer. Super Mario Bros. was ranked number two.


The game takes place in Hyrule, the land in which most Zelda games take place. In this land, Princess Zelda heard of Ganon, the Prince of Darkness's coming. She broke the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces to protect it from the wicked Ganon. Ganon kidnapped the princess and left her maid Impa to die. Link found Impa and learned what had happened and set out to reassemble the Triforce of Wisdom to save Zelda and stop Ganon.

Main Characters

  • Link: Link is the main character in the game that you take control of. In the game, Link must find 8 pieces of the Triforce, once you collect them all, you will be able to enter the final dungeon or level. Link has many different weapons, such as a sword, a shield, bombs, a boomerang, and bow and arrows.
  • Zelda: Zelda is one of the main characters in the game that gets kidnapped by Ganon. Before she was kidnapped, she shattered the triforce, and scattered the pieces throughout the land, when she then sent out Impa to find a hero, whom is Link.
  • Ganon: In the game, Ganon kidnaps Zelda, and takes her to his dungeon, Link must fight through 8 bosses before coming to him, where he must fight him with his sword and arrows. Ganon will then start warping around the room throwing fire balls at you. Once you defeat him, Zelda will be saved, and you will be able to start the second quest.

Minor Bosses

  • Aquamentus: Aquamentus is the first boss in the game that will shoot three fire balls at once which can only be avoidable with the Magical Shield. The enemy is a green dragon with a horn on top of his head.
  • Digdogger: A sea urchin with a big red eye in the middle. He can be seperated into three defeateable parts by blowing the whistle.
  • Dondongo: An orange boss that resembles a rhinoceros. It can be killed by putting two bombs in front of his head.
  • Gleeok: A big green dragon with up to four heads. The heads of this boss will fly around the room trying to attack Link, after they have been cut off.
  • Gohma: A big spider boss with an eye as his weak point. The only way to kill the boss is to shoot arrows into the eye.
  • Manhandla: A plant boss with four heads. You must defeat all the heads and then the boss to win the battle.
  • Patra: An enemy resembling a large fly, it has smaller, fly like enemies surrounding it, moving in a cirular pattern around it. Sometimes the small flies pattern will change to increase difficulty.


Link in the overworld.

The gameplay incorporated four different genres into one game: action, adventure, RPG's, and puzzles. It had a huge overworld with dungeons and houses that would lead to an indoor setting with plenty of enemies and puzzles. The main goal of the game is to gather all the 8 pieces of the triforce, defeat Gannon, and save Zelda. But to do that, you must travel through labyrinths and dungeons destroying all the bosses and collecting new items that would help you defeat Gannon.

One interesting point in the game is that you do not have to collect every item or heart piece that you come across, as it's your choice to get it or just pass it by. If you do, it would of course help you beat the game.

The game featured 8 bosses and many enemies. Once you beat the game (or put your save file's name as 'Zelda'), you can play the second quest which completely reorganizes Hyrule and the dungeons for a new challenge. The magic whistle will also let you do more things than in the previous quest.

It should be noted that, unlike the future Zelda titles, this game is nonlinear, with no guidance whatsoever. The game is also heavily reliant on the map included with the cartridge. Otherwise, it's possible to accidentally enter dungeon 8 first and the levels can be competed in any order, with the exception of the final level which is only accessible after the first eight are completed.


Interestingly, the team that worked on Super Mario Bros. was working on The Legend of Zelda at the same time. According to the developers, they would often remove some aspects of one game and bring them to the other. For example, the spinning fire bars from Super Mario Bros. were initially featured in The Legend of Zelda, though Shigeru Miyamoto decided that they would fit better in Mario's game. The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. were the first games that Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, and Toshihiko Nakago all worked on together as a team. The first part of the game that was added were the dungeons. Then the team suggested that they expand that and add an open world which Link could traverse that would connect all of the dungeons together.

Originally, The Legend of Zelda was being developed as an arcade game before the team decided to release it as the first Famicom Disk System title.


There are various mistranslations throughout the game. In subsequent ports, the entire intro was rewritten.

Some examples of mistranslations include:

  • Dodongo dislikes smoke - the phrase should be "Dodongo hates smoke".
  • Secret is in the tip of the nose - It could possibly be better phrased as "there is a secret at the nose".
  • Digdogger hates certain kind of sound - Properly translated as "Digdogger hates a specific sound".
  • All of treasures - Subsequent ports omit the "of", though it could also have been simplified to "treasures".
  • Look up the manual for details - properly translated as "see the manual for details"

Release List


  • There are various Easter eggs throughout the game. Some reveal areas where you can either get a red potion or (more preferably) a heart container. Others reveal a strange creature who will give you up to 100 rupees, claiming that "It's a secret to everybody". Some secret areas are stores.
  • The "White Sword" in the game may have evolved into the Kokiri Sword.
  • The Magical Shield may have evolved into the Fire Shield in A Link to the Past.
  • Unlike the later games, heart containers can be acquired in ways other than defeating a boss. This was later changed to heart piece.
    • Also, one can acquire several items and upgrades before even entering the first dungeon. A Link to the Past changed it to make this more gradual and linear; this has been the standard ever since.
  • The "power bracelet" may have evolved into the Goron Bracelet.
  • The game was awarded "Best Challenge" in the 1988 Nintendo Power Awards.
  • This is the first game to have open world gameplay.
  • One dungeon is shaped like a manji, which resembles a swastika. The manji is a positive symbol in Buddhism, and actually faces the opposite direction from the symbol used by the Nazi Party of Germany.


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