Just started Zelda: 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, with new levels, artwork, items, and story added. It’s definitely trickier. I died several times exploring before finding my first sword, which Zelda is holding onto inside one of the dungeons for some reason, but 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.
You know, people often write off the combat mechanics in the original Zelda game as overly simplistic and point to various sequels as the point where it got good, but I can tell you one thing: Being sealed inside a room full of darknuts or wizzrobes (especially the dreaded blue ones!) when you’re low on health is one pulse-pounding affair. The action here may be basic on a surface level, but it’s as tricky and compelling as it is simple.
(Originally written 2/20/2017 through 2/24/2017)