I just finished playing one of my favorite Zelda dungeons ever.
So which Zelda was I playing? Ocarina of Time? Link’s Awakening? Wand of Gamelon? No, I just finished playing “The Legend of Princess”, a indie freeware game released by Konjak, a one-man developer whom you may know from other internet game releases (Fun fact: Konjak and Anton, graphic designer of this site, both worked on the Nintendo DS game Contra IV!). The game is just a small Multimedia Fusion project, containing simply one dungeon and nothing else start to finish, but that one dungeon surpasses the many I have played throughout the Zelda series.
Described by Konjak as a “love letter to Zelda”, this game seeks to answer the age-old fan question “What would Zelda be like if A Link to the Past had based itself on Zelda II’s side scrolling mechanic instead of reverting to Zelda I’s isometric view?”. Most fans would conjure a bleak view of Zelda for an answer, but The Legend of Princess presents an exciting alternate view of a 16-bit Zelda as a side-scroller, complete with 16-bit Link’s pink hair. This game isn’t simply an arcade hack-and-slash with Link tacked on, but espouses a great deal of unique Zelda elements in the span of its one dungeon, such as a pushing-block puzzle and boss fights with Dark Link and Phantom Ganon, all rendered in beautiful side-view 2D.
You begin the game by choosing one of three items for ranged attack and one of three items for mobility, the difficulty and style of the game varying depending on the items you choose. The game then drops you at the begging of the dungeon, so you have to jump, battle, fight bosses and solve some puzzles all the way to find the princess, while trying to collect all the rupees you can along the way. The game plays great, much smoother and fast-paced than Zelda II. Expect to see many familiar enemies, such as the Octorok, Keese, and dreaded Wallmaster (who behaves somewhat differently in an original twist). The music is great. It reminds me of the music of the Legend of Niel parody series, in that while not directly copying any Zelda music, is certainly made to sound like tunes familiar to the Zelda fan’s ear. The graphics are gorgeous; the sprites and backgrounds are mostly (all?) original, to boot. The game is pretty short, lasting only for the duration of the rather short, linear dungeon, but it will surprise you with its quality. It’s fairly replayable, as well, due to the item-selection scheme.
All in all, this game comes highly recommended to anyone who like a good arcade side-scroller, but is simply a must play for any Zelda fan.