We’ve seen lists before of generic ways Skyward Sword references various aspects of the many titles in the Zelda franchise. But more to the point, it would seem the developers made a concerted effort to pay homage to the very first game in the Legend of Zelda series.
From the general to the specific, come along with us as we examine some of the ways in which it would appear Skyward Sword is paying homage to the original The Legend of Zelda.
10. “It’s a secret to everybody.”
Beginning with one of the most oft quoted lines from Zelda history, one which has made its way into several other entries in the series, this line was first uttered by a Moblin who gives you a handful of Rupees after bombing a hole into his secret cave. In Skyward Sword this line is repeated by not one but two characters. In one instance a proto-Zora-esque Parella says this line while giving you a handful of Rupees after you bomb your way into his/her secret cave.
Which brings us to…
9. Bombing walls for secrets
But wait, I can hear you argue, we bomb walls for secrets in every Zelda game. Ah, but not like we do in the first game. Since then every dungeon wall or sheer cliff side which hides a secret is marked in some painfully obvious way. In the original The Legend of Zelda there was no indication whatsoever, except by deduction: you’ve explored every part of the dungeon but your map shows that there is clearly a room which you have not yet entered, so you place a bomb… and sure enough… a secret entrance. The same thing occurs for the first time in a long time in Skyward Sword.
8. Ghirahim’s sword seen in the title screen to the original game?
This one is fairly debatable as we never quite get a good look at Ghirahim’s rapier, but it does bear a striking resemblence to the sword seen on the first game’s title screen (yet never seen anywhere in the game).
Which reminds us…
7. The title screens
As seen above, the original Zelda game had a horizontal sword (with the hilt to the right) underneath the title of the game on the title screen. In the trailers for Skyward Sword, we see a familiar layout. Also notice the vines covering the Triforce and such in each screen.
6. Walking downstairs into dungeons
In the original The Legend of Zelda, each dungeon was accessed by walking down a set of stairs. The limited technology at the time tried to make this as dramatic as possible by fading out all sound but footsteps going down the stairs and a fade out. Almost every dungeon in Skyward Sword is also accessed by going down a set of stairs, with a more modern dramatic cutscene in each instance.
5. Sky Keep is an homage to the dungeons of the first game
Speaking of dungeons, the dungeons in the first game were comprised of uniformly rectangular rooms with doors only exactly in the center of each of the four sides. As a clear homage, the final dungeon in Skyward Sword features a similarly simplified construction.
4. Getting Triforce pieces in a dungeon
One of the most memorable aspects of the original game was finally getting that golden triangle at the end of each dungeon in its special room. Not only was it the whole reason you were there in the first place, but it also refilled your hearts, which was especially nice right after a tough boss battle. In Skyward Sword we collect pieces of the Triforce in the final dungeon, each houses in their own special room, and this really felt like it was hearkening back to the first game since in so few Zelda games since do we ever actually gather pieces of the Triforce again.
3. Potions have two servings
In most Zelda games you can buy potions to restore your life, and in the first Zelda game if you spent just a little more, you’d get an extra potent potion that allowed for two servings. This makes a comeback in Skyward Sword where if you upgrade your Heart Potion you get two servings per bottle. Nice!
2. Sword beams
One of the first things announced about “Zelda Wii” that caught my attention was the fact that “sword beams” would be making a comeback. In the first Zelda game (and second and third) Links sword strangely could shoot a projectile. We haven’t had this reappear in any major console games for ages. Well, in the final battle in Majora’s Mask if happened to have the Fierce Deity Mask, but that hardly counts. Having the ability to shoot a beam of energy from the Goddess Sword certainly feels like a look back to the Zelda games of yore.
1. 25th Anniversary
And, finally, probably the most obvious. Skyward Sword was released twenty five years after the first Zelda game. So it was no surprise to see the designers give a coy wink to that fact by having a character mention the 25th anniversary within the game.
Did you happen to notice these homages? Or any that we missed? Let us know in the comments.