Finally! I just finished Zelda Challenge: Outlands, another game I picked up at Portland Retro Gaming Expo last October. This one is a fan-made hack of original Legend of Zelda’s gameplay engine by GameMakr24 with new levels, artwork, items, and story added. It’s definitely trickier, too. There’s none of that “getting your sword on the first screen” crap here. Expect to do some overworld and even dungeon exploring without it first! It really recaptures the magic of just diving in and getting lost in the original title, a feat which even its official sequels have never quite been able to replicate. Very good stuff.
I can’t emphasize enough that if you love the original Zelda and have mastered it, Outlands is the game for you. It’s more quality Zelda 1 gameplay and about as professionally made as NES fan games get. It’s fiendishly yet superbly designed in a way that reminds me of the original Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (The Lost Levels). Of course, the challenge here isn’t fast-paced platforming, but rather the mental effort involved in searching out and solving some of the most devious Zelda dungeons ever. Make no mistake: You’ll need to focus in and bring along every brain cell you can muster if you want to stand a chance of not getting hopelessly lost
Like most ROM hacks, this one is a secret to everybody. If this little review can help change that, I’ll be all the more pleased.
(Originally written 2/20/2017 through 4/9/2017)