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I Finally Did It! ... 23 years Later... I Beat Zelda for the 1st Time!


Lambda
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I did it guys, and it feels awesome!

I first tried this game nearly 25 years ago and couldn’t figure much out as a kid. I heard chatter on the playground as a kid, some intel was solid, some was totally fraudulent haha... but without Nintendo power, I couldn’t finish the game, and I only had the chance to play it at my cousins, since he had Nintendo and I had Sega Genesis.

(Our dads who were brothers literally planned that out to make sure we were always entertained when visiting the other... “play a new system?! **eyes wide** “YES!” We’d shout!)

44 Lives later, and I did it. 
 

This begs a question I wanted to ask everyone: 

 

Who has done this game to completion with zero help?

Who has used guide for the whole way?

For partial guides, how much did you need and what were the worst parts? (Darknuts were the worst for me in Dungeon 8).

 

My answer: I used guide only when totally stumped... that equated to me search for over an hr for next objective with zero to show for it (as an adult this is a LOT of time when you have a family haha).

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56 minutes ago, arch_8ngel said:

I got this game as maybe the third game for my system, and before I had NP.

My dad and I took turns hand drawing maps while the other explored.

We exhaustively mapped both quests, burned bushes, bombed caves, and all.

 

Amazing!! That’s got to be an awesome memory! Amazing that you both got all of that accomplished! 

ill never forget being in 5th grade (I just transferred to a new school), and one day my dad came into my room as I was waking up, and asked me “you feel sick today right?” With a wink... I was able to convince my mom to let me stay home from school, with his help, and we spent the entire day (9am-3pm), playing genesis games and eating junk food. One of my favorite memories as a kid.

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Yes, both quests back in the 90s, eventually with zero deaths on both.  It was only when I accidentally discovered in the Second Quest you can walk through walls in dungeons and use the whistle to open passages in the Overworld that it even became possible.  No I did not have the benefit of Nintendo Power except the SMB3 guide.

Those sure were the dark days...yes I know the 90s had the greatest console war ever (for some reason I was told by more than one classmate that "Sega [Genesis] has better graphics [than SNES]" which I don't get at all) but I'm forever grateful we live in a modern age where we can much much much better enjoy retro gaming in ways that were never dreamed possible even 10-20 years ago.

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Congrats on beating the game, never too late!

I remember we played a lot of The Legend of Zelda when we were kids at home, and I know my bro and I went pretty far in the first quest without much outside help. I'm pretty sure we beat it with some kind of help, like advises from my older brother or even from friends, but I know for sure it was not much. We found the level 8 by our own for sure cause we were crazy pyromaniacs burning every damn trees in forest.

But some of the secrets in the second quest are just out of this world with no help. Like how in hell are you supposed to find the entrance of level 8 on your own? I always thought this one was just crazy well hidden.

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28 minutes ago, Estil said:

Yes, both quests back in the 90s, eventually with zero deaths on both.  It was only when I accidentally discovered in the Second Quest you can walk through walls in dungeons and use the whistle to open passages in the Overworld that it even became possible.  No I did not have the benefit of Nintendo Power except the SMB3 guide.

Those sure were the dark days...yes I know the 90s had the greatest console war ever (for some reason I was told by more than one classmate that "Sega [Genesis] has better graphics [than SNES]" which I don't get at all) but I'm forever grateful we live in a modern age where we can much much much better enjoy retro gaming in ways that were never dreamed possible even 10-20 years ago.

Total Respect here! Zero deaths is NUTS! I couldn’t even get past certain darknut rooms in Dungeon 8 without a red potion!

The console wars of the 90s were hardcore! Me and my cousins had hours of discussion on which system was better... NES or Genesis... one thing we all agreed on... we all loved Comander Keen on Windows 95 at our other Uncle’s house 😂.

32 minutes ago, Estil said:

Lag...I hate lag 😞

I genuinely hate lag as well! However I can say there was ONE room in Dungeon 8 when the number of sprites on screen caused the processor to lag slightly. It gave me enough time to think about how to react and conquer the room. I’m sort of thankful for this moment 😂. I may have had to start over without that half a second lag!

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4 minutes ago, guillavoie said:

Congrats on beating the game, never too late!

I remember we played a lot of The Legend of Zelda when we were kids at home, and I know my bro and I went pretty far in the first quest without much outside help. I'm pretty sure we beat it with some kind of help, like advises from my older brother or even from friends, but I know for sure it was not much. We found the level 8 by our own for sure cause we were crazy pyromaniacs burning every damn trees in forest.

But some of the secrets in the second quest are just out of this world with no help. Like how in hell are you supposed to find the entrance of level 8 on your own? I always thought this one was just crazy well hidden.

Thanks!

That’s so impressive to have gotten so far with such little help! I admire everyone who’s done so! I know it took me a bit of searching and a lot of help to get through this, so I’ve got a ton of respect for everyone who did this the old fashioned way!


I’ve heard this so many times about second quest. I’m not sure my next play will be the second quest. I may move on to Links Awakening which was actually the very first Zelda game I ever officially owned myself. I never beat that one as a kid either but I’m dying to beat it soon. I’m playing Ocarina concurrently, and I’ll probably put that one on pause while I conquer links awakening. Old fashioned game boy style! Haha

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3 minutes ago, Lambda said:

Thanks!

That’s so impressive to have gotten so far with such little help! I admire everyone who’s done so! I know it took me a bit of searching and a lot of help to get through this, so I’ve got a ton of respect for everyone who did this the old fashioned way!


I’ve heard this so many times about second quest. I’m not sure my next play will be the second quest. I may move on to Links Awakening which was actually the very first Zelda game I ever officially owned myself. I never beat that one as a kid either but I’m dying to beat it soon. I’m playing Ocarina concurrently, and I’ll probably put that one on pause while I conquer links awakening. Old fashioned game boy style! Haha

You really should consider beating the second quest too, I don't mean right now but definitely at some point when you revisit the game. There's a few very brilliant twists in it that really enhance the whole experience of the game. In itself it is genius, thinking in 1986 to offer a complete harder variation of the game was such a bold move. Just the first quest would have make it an instant classic, with the second quest it was clear the game was already video game masterpiece material.

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Congrats! My brother and I beat the game when we were young. He drew maps on graph paper. He also played the second quest with his friends. I only remember some of the second quest, but I remembered almost everything about the game when I played it again on my own a few years ago. Only major problem I had was finding the second dungeon... Smacked my forehead really good when I looked at a map.

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Congrats!

I tried beating this game without guides or hints about ten years ago, but I didn't know about burning bushes or bombing unmarked walls, so I gave up in frustration. Now that I've seen some speedruns and I know it actually came with a paper map, I think I could get through it without too much trouble. I really should go back and do that some day.

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5 hours ago, Lambda said:

I genuinely hate lag as well! However I can say there was ONE room in Dungeon 8 when the number of sprites on screen caused the processor to lag slightly. It gave me enough time to think about how to react and conquer the room. I’m sort of thankful for this moment 😂. I may have had to start over without that half a second lag!

He is talking about the controller input lag you get from playing the NES on a digital display, not the inherent CPU slowdown caused by too many moving sprites on screen. 

But yes, the slowdown can be very helpful! 😅

 

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6 hours ago, guillavoie said:

 

But some of the secrets in the second quest are just out of this world with no help. Like how in hell are you supposed to find the entrance of level 8 on your own? I always thought this one was just crazy well hidden.

By bombing the shit out of everything!

My dad and I found it, so it was possible 😛

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6 hours ago, Lambda said:

Total Respect here! Zero deaths is NUTS! I couldn’t even get past certain darknut rooms in Dungeon 8 without a red potion!

After you beat the second quest, give it a try without a sword.

You can't beat the game, because Ganon requires at least the basic sword, but you can get to him without it, and finish all of the other dungeons along the way.

Then the truly hardcore mode is beating the game with minimal equipment and only 3 hearts.  I can reach Ganon in that mode, but basically one unlucky hit kills you, so haven't had the patience for a win.

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In the early 90's as a group, my neighbors, my brother and I used to play this and Zelda II together and apart and kinda share our findings with no help from strategy guides or magazines. Come '93 (I'm around 7 at this point) we had all gotten to Death Mountain and I was the 1st to finish it. None of us actually grabbed the red ring either as we didn't veer off into the area where it was hidden. For Zelda II we all got to the 6th dungeon and got the special ability to see in the ghost town, but none of us beat it until I did in college in the mid 2ks.

One fun thing I figured out was how to get the power bracelet as the first or second item (depending on if you grabbed the sword) in the game by going through the lost woods and circling all the way around. Fun times.

It's kinda crazy how my finishing the game was like a big deal in my grade to the point where people didn't believe it. Like someone had me over their house to make me do this in front of them as everyone played it but nobody finished and then was like telling everyone at recess like "Dude, he did it right in front of me!"

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8 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

Congrats!

I tried beating this game without guides or hints about ten years ago, but I didn't know about burning bushes or bombing unmarked walls, so I gave up in frustration. Now that I've seen some speedruns and I know it actually came with a paper map, I think I could get through it without too much trouble. I really should go back and do that some day.

I’d definitely give it a shot. Haha it was a great feeling!

 

7 hours ago, ifightdragons said:

He is talking about the controller input lag you get from playing the NES on a digital display, not the inherent CPU slowdown caused by too many moving sprites on screen. 

But yes, the slowdown can be very helpful! 😅

 

Ahh wow I don’t think I even realized the controller input lag, but that could be because I play on the digital TV 99% of the time now and I’m not trained to see/feel it.

The PPU framer rate cycle slowdown helped massively in one area. I remember one room, I literally lined myself up and fired the sword shot just to get 8 sprites on one line. The slowdown gave me the quarter second I needed to think and then beat the darknuts 😂.

2 hours ago, epiclotus said:

Awesome job!  I have several games on my list that I have gone back and done this for, and it's a great feeling.

Do it, brother! This was definitely satisfying!

1 hour ago, Kguillemette said:

When I was 6 I got as far as level 6 and 8. I found the entrance to Death Mountain. It took me several years to find the entrance to level 7. 

 

No help. I did help some of friends with some of the secrets I found, though!

You Sir are a gentleman and a scholar! 😃 it was guys like you that were a massive help on the recess playgrounds! Commendable! 
 

23 minutes ago, MachineCode said:

In the early 90's as a group, my neighbors, my brother and I used to play this and Zelda II together and apart and kinda share our findings with no help from strategy guides or magazines. Come '93 (I'm around 7 at this point) we had all gotten to Death Mountain and I was the 1st to finish it. None of us actually grabbed the red ring either as we didn't veer off into the area where it was hidden. For Zelda II we all got to the 6th dungeon and got the special ability to see in the ghost town, but none of us beat it until I did in college in the mid 2ks.

One fun thing I figured out was how to get the power bracelet as the first or second item (depending on if you grabbed the sword) in the game by going through the lost woods and circling all the way around. Fun times.

It's kinda crazy how my finishing the game was like a big deal in my grade to the point where people didn't believe it. Like someone had me over their house to make me do this in front of them as everyone played it but nobody finished and then was like telling everyone at recess like "Dude, he did it right in front of me!"

I remember playing certain games like Zelda in groups.. it was almost mandatory because of the lack of info. I wish I could find some of the notes me and my cousins all wrote down as we progressed. That’d be cool to see again. And there were definitely doubters back in the day when you beat a hard game haha... no cell phone cameras to take proof pics back in the day. I miss those times.

 

5 hours ago, arch_8ngel said:

After you beat the second quest, give it a try without a sword.

You can't beat the game, because Ganon requires at least the basic sword, but you can get to him without it, and finish all of the other dungeons along the way.

Then the truly hardcore mode is beating the game with minimal equipment and only 3 hearts.  I can reach Ganon in that mode, but basically one unlucky hit kills you, so haven't had the patience for a win.

This sounds insane haha. Definitely going to read up on how some guys accomplish this. “ NES Hard” was hard but what you’re describing sounds like a suicide mission 🤣!

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