Right off the bat, this game starts with a cutscene. And a good one at that. Up until this point, I had never seen a cutscene on a Zelda Classic game, so this was really great.
Into the game, you can select either Hero Mode or Classic Mode.
Did I forget to mention, that this game is hard? It's hard. Really hard. I could barely beat some bosses even fully equipped with potions and tons of heart containers. The game does provide a room by the beach where you can lower the difficulty. I would recommend this option for people who are really bad, like me.
So with that basic rundown, let's get into the core of this game.
Gameplay: Overall, the gameplay is top notch for a 2D Zelda game. The game is full of cutscenes and almost constant action. Enemies are littering every screen you come across. I kid you not there will not be a second of this game where you are bored.
Story: The story is original. A mage called Venser is power-thirsty and takes Zelda to an island called Remdra. Aside from the main story, there is also a side quest in which Link must destroy all the golden beasts, and show proof of this to a man who will give you a golden tunic. The golden beasts side quest is extremely hard, pitting you against many of the game's enemies, except 20x more difficult, most of the time in a really frustrating boss room.
Overworld and Dungeon Design: The overworld is littered with secrets. It is so well designed, there are over 100 heart pieces scattered around it. Great flow and level design in the overworld provides the feeling of an overworld adventure, and more massive areas open up as you complete the various dungeons. The goal of each dungeon is to collect the heart piece at the end. Eventually, the goal of each dungeon changes. The dungeons are filled with plenty of puzzles that'll be sure to have you scratching your head for minutes. There are also loads and loads of mini-dungeons, some mini-boss gauntlets, and some necessary in the story.
- Seaside Ruins: The first dungeon involves traversing the dungeon in search of four switches, which open a pathway looping around to the boss door. The dungeon has one very difficult block puzzle
- Mini Dungeon Remdra Prison: This dungeon is opened by the Prison key, and inside you must free a certain Moblin who gives you a Bow and Arrow upon completion.
- Murky Palace: I honestly don't remember most of this dungeon. I know you get the stepladder, and the boss is a real pain in the behind.
- Boss Arena Hollow Grotto: Basically a mini-boss gauntlet. 25 Rupees to participate. Pits you against a boss at the end (Greatblin).
- Mini Dungeon Goron's Grotto: After defeating the boss of this mini-dungeon you get the Power Bracelet.
- Corona Mines: Oh my goodness. The fire enemies in this dungeon are so annoying to deal with. You get the Hammer in this dungeon and fight a crazed Goron.
- Mini Dungeon Abandoned Forge: The music here fits so well it hurts. There is one annoying block puzzle here, had me stuck for about ten minutes or so.
- Unhallowed Chapel: Nonononononononono. This game just got real. Really real. This dungeon is hard, especially for only Level 4. There's also an easter egg where you can kill the boss, Scourge, early. Not recommended, though.
- Mini Dungeon Stormwoods Island: Every time you get hit by these skeleton pirates they steal all of your money. It hurts.
- Frozen Enclave: Basic ice dungeon. Not too, too, special. It's around now when you get introduced to the better keese, which also at this point, are very annoying considering they take like four hits to kill. This also has a key hunting section with I didn't care for too much. Probably the least interesting dungeon (to me anyway)
- Mini Dungeon Flooded Tunnel: Pretty annoying block puzzle. The gimmick with the rafts and the Lens of Truth isn't too bad.
- Undersea City: Keys, keys, and more keys. Kinda like the water dungeon from OoT, but you need lots of keys...
- Boss Arena Abandoned Lodge: I could not get past the boss in this place until I had like 10 more hearts. I honestly enjoyed it, though.
- Mini Dungeon Guardhouse Armory: This music fits. Once again fighting guards and a really fun switch gimmick, that confused me in a good way.
- Magus Tower: This is where the second half of the game begins. The music is so epic. You finally meet Venser here, so it's crucial to the story.
- Sunken Basin: I really enjoyed this. The whole jungle sanctuary type vibe, with an underground lave dungeon, is really cool and offers some really cool puzzle mechanics. You think all good of this dungeon and then you get to.. that puzzle. I swear to god the solution is so random and I was on this for a freakin hour.
- Mini Dungeon Jungle Crypt: I really like this. Might be my favorite mini-dungeon. The boss is so much fun.
- Prismatic Gate: phewee this one is bringin back memories. This place is huge. Tons and tons of puzzles and an annoying key chase. Brings back that switch gimmick from the Guardhouse armory, but this time a little more tricky. Actually, a lot more tricky. I love this one, though
- Magitek Factory: Another dungeon with A+ music. I love the mechanic here, and overall, it's easily one of the best in this game.
- Mini Dungeon Dusty Caverns: Ok, this one is confusing. uses lots of pit puzzles, where you gotta fall down those holes. Lots of holes. There are two bosses, which are both equally creative and fun.
- Echoing Shrine: This one is so great. This is my favorite. Music from skyward somehow mixes so well here, and with the SFX of the chain chomp enemy. I thought it was so good, and then that's when I fell into the basement. I'll let you all find out for yourselves.
- Starlight Temple: Once again, a dungeon I respect due to its music choice. This is the final real dungeon of the game. Some mechanics are really fun, including the portal sphere, others really duffed my doilies.
- Level X Blighted Abyss: Two words. Freaking Brutal. I can not begin to describe the pain this dungeon put me through. Besides the difficulty level, this dungeon is amazing. Probably #2 on my favorite dungeons.
- Boss Rush The Hall of Memories: Every single boss in the entire game all in one go with three heart refills and then you fight Moosh. Straight up 3 hours put into that.
The bosses are amazing in this game. Basically, I'll tell you my thoughts on them and how to beat them.
Blue Crustacean: Crabalt ~ As a first boss, this guy is pretty easy. Just wait till he comes at you and slash your sword. When he does the jump, just spam in his direction.
Prison Warden ~ Just a guard with more health, pretty easy.
Cybernetic Experiment: Moldorm Prime ~ This boss design is really good, as is its moveset. This boss can be difficult, so try to avoid the boulders that fall, and you should be good to go.
Manhadla ~ This miniboss is recognizable from the very first Zelda game, pretty much straightforward.
Crazed Overseer: Corgoro ~ This dude gave me some trouble. You can place a bomb when he shoots the fire out like an arm, and that should take him out in one hit.
Patra ~ Another miniboss from the original game. Not a much of a threat to you.
Enemy of the Living: Scourge ~ This guy has an obvious weak spot, but hitting it is a pain. The way his AI is programmed makes it so hard to hit his back its tear bringing. I honestly really enjoyed fighting Scourge, especially later in the Hall of Memories when you can kill him in one hit with the Portal Sphere.
Hinox ~ Another straightforward miniboss.
Sub-Zero Commandant: Frost Knuckle ~ I'm proud of myself for beating Frost Knucke first try. You have to break his shield with your hammer, and then attack him.
Giant Manhadla ~ Just another Manhandla with two times the heads.
Airborne Menace: Mothula ~ Sort of easy, but if you fall in the water its pretty much over. When it starts having the babies is when it gets chaotic. Try and stay in a corner and attack everything that comes near you, then dart in the water when it sprays the fire.
Restless Spectre: Pumpking ~ This guy confused me on how to beat him. From what I gather, you needed to break his head once or twice and make sure it was near one of the wooden beams, but I'm not 100% sure.
Guard Captain ~ Just a ton of powered up guards in a room. Should be pretty simple.
Clan Archmage: Venser ~ First Venser battle, stay wary if the wizzrobes and manage your attacks, take a few hits and retreat. Rinse and repeat. I enjoyed this battle, but it can get annoying if you're not being very careful. This can be said for a majority of bosses. Here is when the bosses get really good.
Terror of Remdra: Gleeok ~ The first phase is soo reminiscent of the first Zelda, and then when fighting in the basement, its reminiscent of Oracle of Ages's final boss. This boss is extremely well done, and really fun to fight.
Servant of the Dark: Krampus ~ Basically a demon that shoots lasers. "Imma firin my lazar!" I really like this boss for what it is, I could see it being more than just a miniboss, it has a lot of potential.
Fallen Angel: Lumen ~ Lumen fights are like a really good minigame. She spams everything imaginable, and all you can do is get lucky, the upbeat type of music, but also kind of unsettling, works with the type of character that Lumen is.
Triforce Usurper: Venser ~ Venser battle number two has a lot of secrets to hold. If you somehow manage to beat him, you get his rod, but the game literally makes it impossible to do that. I have yet to do it.
Bio-Mechanical Weapon: Meta Arrghus ~ This boss goes by fast. Reminds me of that one boss from Majora's Mask, and the design is really good. Its moveset is clever, and so is the gimmick to defeat it.
Subrosian Cultists ~ Tons of Subrosians running around a room shooting beams at you. I really like this mini-boss.
Dust Flyer ~ Kinda like a sandy version of Mothula, but way easier.
Corporeal Nightmare: Medusa ~ This boss fight took me ages to complete, but it was fun. The AI has almost random movement which makes everytime different. There are tons of different things coming at you at once, it gets your heart really pumping.
Vengeful Spirit: Lumen ~ After defeating Lumen, she comes back to get revenge on Venser and to do that she needs dem crystals man. So naturally, she tries to kill the person who saved her. Great going Lumen.
Destroyer of the Gate: Venser ~ Final boss, first phase. The floor effects in the boss arena are really cool, and it really feels like the universe is collapsing. Definitely a fitting ending to this amazing game.
Dimensional Abberation: Venser Reborn ~ Second Phase: So now Venser is overpowered, but if you have the True Master sword this fight is easy.
Moosh ~ Kind of a joke. You fight him at the end of The Hall of Memories. My reaction when I saw the last boss in the Hall of Memories was Moosh "......uhh... I'll take it". Two minutes later I was staring at the Game Over screen. That's just my life in a nutshell for ya.
Tartaros ~ This boss is literally the hardest boss in Zelda Classic history. It has, I think, three phases to it. It starts as just a big thing, I dunno how to describe it, that summons Krampus. So then you gotta fight Krampus again. Once you do that you gotta take out that thing, and when you do that it turns into a demon. It has wings and can take you out in like three hits. This thing is insane.
??? ~ This is a secret boss only unlockable upon completing everything in Hero Mode and going back to the Hall of Memories with 30 hearts. It's like a gray version of Link and had tons of movesets. If you get this far into the game, by this point you know what this guy is. If you get here: Good Luck.
So that wraps up every boss in the game. If I missed any, please tell me and I will add it.
And there is one final thing. The music.
Music: I feel like I could talk about this for hours. Not only are the songs used so good, they fit their scenarios and that's not something everyone can say. Picking music that fits so perfectly with an original game concept is hard as is, and this game does it perfectly with every single track!
Evan20000 made a truly amazing creation. This game is indescribably good. In fact, this game deserves to be a canon Zelda game. This game defines Zelda and what Zelda is. This is the definition of Zelda. If this game isn't then I don't know what is.
In conclusion, I give this game 5/5 stars. This game is perfect, in almost every way. Maybe that's why I broke the timer and have it capped out at like 99:54:04 or something like that.
(If I made any mistakes or left anything out, please feel free to tell me, and I will gladly fix it.