Saturday, February 13, 2016

Zelda Randomizer

While I'm currently replaying The Legend of Zelda on the 3DS Virtual Console, I find myself being too reliant on solution maps. I constantly check, where everything can be found, to plan my playthrough efficiently. It keeps me alive in the game and it gets stuff done, but it's also more boring and takes away the exploration.

When I first played this game on the NES, I didn't have the luxury of the internet. I only had some maps that came with the Club Nintendo magazine, e.g. I had a map of Level 5, but the majority of the game I had to discover fully on my own, exploring every nookie, bombing every wall, burning every tree.

And there's a way to fully get back to this level of sensation, where you explore Hyrule in its fullest. Via Kotaku I discovered the Zelda Randomizer, a nifty tool that basically creates a ROM hack for The Legend of Zelda, where it shuffles dungeon rooms, location of caves and items or enemies. It can't change the overworld layout, but everything else can be mixed up, even to create something that makes the 2nd Quest look like a walk in the park.

I gave the whole thing a try and the first result was already quite interesting. The cave in the northwest of the starting point didn't have a shop, but it gave me an extra Heart Container. Enemies around here were also a lot tougher, where I even faced Lynels on my way to the first dungeon...

Level 1 then was a giant troll. Two locked doors and one door leading into a room with an old man, but no keys. Interesting, I would have to find another dungeon first to steal some keys. Or a shop that sells them. However, navigating the overworld is so much deadlier with Lynels everywhere! On my current playthrough of the original I haven't died a single time so far, while here I easily stacked up multiple deaths within minutes.

It gives you a fresh experience, where you can explore the classic NES Hyrule anew, where you have to discover the locations of everything again. Maps won't help here.

Earlier this year I even fantasized about getting a "Random Zelda" for the 30th Anniversary, where Nintendo takes the original Zelda game and makes it so that it creates an unique world with unique dungeons on every playthrough. Or maybe even have "Zelda Maker" based on the first game.

The Zelda Randomizer isn't as powerful, but it certainly will be the most interesting way to re-experience The Legend of Zelda for the 30th Anniversary, unless Nintendo does something on their own.

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