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The Legend of Zelda

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Title Screen

The Legend of Zelda

Also known as: Zelda no Densetsu: The Hyrule Fantasy (JP, FDS)
Developer: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo, Hyundai (KR)
Platforms: NES, Famicom Disk System
Released in JP: February 21, 1986 (FDS), February 19, 1994 (Famicom)
Released in US: August 22, 1987
Released in EU: November 15, 1987
Released in KR: 1989

EnemyIcon.png This game has unused enemies.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article
PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article
NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page

The Legend of Zelda features Link on a quest to save Zelda from the evil Gannon (sic!). On his way, he gets no help at all, except for the Old Man who gives him a random stick he picked up somewhere (plus some vague hints), and is on his own in the vast land of Hyrule.


Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info
Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info
Miscellaneous tidbits that are interesting enough to point out here.
Console Differences
Because not everyone has a Famicom Disk System. Some have a Game Boy Advance.

Unused Enemy Type

To do:
Add a screenshot of the enemy.

Enemy type $42 is a Gleeok with one head, unused in the final game. This can be seen by freezing RAM address $0350 at $42 and changing screens.

Unused Text

クワシイコトハ マニュアルヲ ヨミマショウ

Literal translation: "For further information, check the manual."

In both the FDS and Famicom cartridge versions, this unused string of text is found at the end of the treasure listing. It served the same purpose and says basically the same thing as the sign Link is holding in the final game.

Revisional Differences

To do:
Other differences?

Heart Container Glitch

FDS Zelda Heart Container Trick.png

In the original FDS release (Rev 0), there is a glitch that allows players to easily get a lot of extra Heart Containers: on the eastern shoreline, there's a Heart Container that is normally only reachable with the Ladder. However, if you use the Flute while standing in the same row as it you'll pick up the Heart Container when the whirlwind drags you across the screen, and the Heart Container will still be there when you return.

The glitch occurs because the current room index ($00EB) is changed once you get caught by the whirlwind, setting it to the room to the left of the dungeon entrance that you spawn at. This variable is checked to determine which collect flag to set when obtaining the main room item. As such, the heart piece can be obtained only once per Flute destination for a total of 8 "duplicated" hearts, plus one more for obtaining the Heart Container normally. The number of Heart Containers will still max out at 16, and you can't get any more than that. This trick is perhaps most effective in the much harder Second Quest, where you obtain the Flute in Level 2. Using this trick makes the Second Quest much easier, not only because of increased life, but the quicker you increase the number of hearts you have, the quicker you can obtain the stronger swords.

This glitch was partially fixed in Rev 1 by making it impossible to collect the Heart Piece while being swept up by the whirlwind, but since the ($00EB) address is still being overwritten too early, it will cause a "phantom" Heart Container to appear when caught by the whirlwind. The glitch was finally fixed in later releases by storing the room index set by the whirlwind at ($00EA) instead.

Title Screen

Revision 0 Revision 1
It's not trademarked, I can use it for whatever I want! Oh no!

Revision 1 version adds a trademark symbol to the title screen.

Save Option Screen

Revision 0 Revision 1 Animal Crossing
It's empty, but surely nothing could corrupt my save data Oh no! Zelda End Menu AC.png

Revision 1 version adds a small warning to the Continue/Save/Retry screen. The elusive Animal Crossing version of the game keeps this screen layout but removes the warning, as it's unnecessary on the GameCube. It's worth noting that The Legend of Zelda is the only game that is completely unobtainable in Animal Crossing without a game enhancer such as Action Replay.

Some Virtual Console versions use this screen layout as well.

Screen Transitions

The Famicom re-release on cartridge has smoother screen transitions compared to the FDS and NES versions. When you enter or exit a cave in the FDS and NES versions, the frame blinks briefly; this was fixed in the Famicom re-release.

Regional Differences

English Localization

Some of the hints were changed rather than translated for the English localization. The severe Engrish and odd reasoning behind some of the changes makes it unclear what Nintendo had in mind for some of the choices made.

Level 1

Japanese English
 ヤ ハ ツカエナイ

Literal translation: "You can't use arrows if you run out of money."

The hint in the Japanese version is a useful tip on how the Bow works, which you get in this dungeon. In the English version, it was changed to a hint for a secret 100 Rupee location.

Level 5

Japanese English
オトニヨワイ イキモノ

Literal translation: "There are some creatures that are weak against sound."

The hint in the Japanese version refers to the Pols Voice's weakness. Since the NES controller doesn't have a built-in microphone like the Famicom's second controller, the method to defeat Pols Voice was changed and the different advice reflects this.

Level 7

Japanese English
メガネイワ ハ シヘノ

Literal translation: "Spectacle Rock is an entrance to death."

The hint for how to find Level 9 was for some reason moved to Level 8 (see below). "The tip of the nose" is apparently the room in Level 7 where a secret path to the boss' lair is found. A very odd choice...

Level 8

Japanese English
デスマウンテンデ ヤヲ

Literal translation: "Look for the arrows in Death Mountain."

The English version's hint was moved from Level 7 and in the process replaced the hint for where to find the Silver Arrows. What?!

Japanese English
ライオンノカギヲサガセ 10TH ENEMY HAS THE BOMB.

Literal translation: "Search for the Lion Key."

The hint that you should look for the Magical Key in Level 8 (aka Lion) was replaced with... not the most helpful of hints.

The English line may be an attempt to hint that if you defeat ten enemies without getting hit and defeat the 10th one with a bomb, said enemy will drop a set of four bombs. If you defeat the 10th enemy with the sword, it will give you a blue Rupee instead. This video goes more in depth about the meaning of the new English line.

Level 9

Japanese English
アカイユビワヲ ミツケ

Literal translation: "Have you found the Red Ring?"

The reminder that you should probably find the Red Ring was changed to a hint for how to find the Compass.

Japanese English
イチバンウエ ノ サカ
イメヲ コワセ

Literal translation: "Destroy the topmost boundary."

The Japanese line may be a hint for how to find the Red Ring, but it's really vague and could as well refer to something else. Maybe that's the reason it was ultimately replaced in the English version?

What's odd is that this hint was already in place in the prototype version of the game, where all the items in Level 9 were still in different locations.

Level 6, Second Quest

Japanese English
ミズウミノ キタ ニハ
 ヒミツガ アル

Literal translation: "There’s a secret north of a lake." Another really vague hint in the Japanese original that was replaced with something that made more sense - in this case, a hint for finding Level 8.

(Source: Legends of Localization)