Things you may not know about The Legend of Zelda (Facts and Secrets)

The Legend of Zelda is the first game in the series we love, but there are still many mysteries and secrets that you may now know. Today I have gathered some facts and secrets related to The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

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Skip to hard mode

In the original Legend of Zelda, once you beat the game then you can go back out on your adventures and play the game again, although this time all the enemies are much harder. This is known as New Game Plus these days. Nintendo did offer a cheat code to get there quickly, when you name your character name them “Zelda” and you’ll start on the second quest, or New Game Plus, with harder enemies.

Name confusion

Zelda is the Princess you save in the game, and you see her at the end of the game. Link is the hero, however, his name doesn’t appear in the title of the game. For some reason Zelda’s name is the focus. In Japan the game was called The Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda. The Legend of Zelda then stuck as the series naming convention, rather than Hyrule Fantasy… which could have made more sense.

Secret Saves

Back in the day The Legend of Zelda was innovative when it came to quality of life features, you could actually save you progress in the game and come back later. Yes, this sounds crazy by modern standards, but back then saving progress wasn’t a thing.

When you die in the Legend of Zelda, you have the option to Save and Quit, or continue. There’s also a secret way to save without dying. If you pause the game and press Up and A at the same time on a second controller, then you can save.

No Sword Run

One of the most iconic moments in the Legend of Zelda is right at the start of the game when you pick up the sword and the Old Man says “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” While the sowrd is useful, you don’t actually need it for most of the game. You can get through much of the game, apart from the final fight with Ganon, without it. So yes, it’s dangerous to go alone, but you can if you want, until the final battle!

Extra Key

The Legend of Zelda laid the ground work for the majority of features in a sterotypical early Zelda game; exploring the overworld, dungeons, items, bosses and dungeon keys. Typically you’d go into a dungeon, solve and puzzle and you’d be rewarded with a key. In the first Dungeon there is a way to keep hold of an extra key. Enter the dungeon, exit, then enter again and the locked door will be open, allowing you to keep the key for later. You can also pick up keys from vendors, but beware, it’ll cost you.

Full Health Regen

When you die in the Legend of Zelda, you start back at the beginning with 3 hearts. Even if you have loads of heart containers, you’ll always go back to the start screen and start with 3 hearts. You can perform this simple trick, and you’ll start with full health. Go to a fairy fountain, and use the save trick with the second controller, and then you’ll restart with full health rather than 3 hearts.

Secret Moblins

In the original Legend of Zelda there are a bunch of secrets including Moblins that are hiding, and they give you rewards when you find them. They are tucked away in all sorts of hiding places, including having to blow up walls without cracks in them. Finding all the secrets back in the day with the original Zelda 1 took a lot of time and patience, plus a lot of bombs or fire to burn bushes. Thankfully these days you can use a guide.

Magic healing

There are flaming skill enemies in many variations of The Legend of Zelda, and they can curse Link so he can’t use his sword. One way to quickly recover from this is to use the Flute. Then you don’t have to wait for the effects to wear off, Link recovers immediately.

Timeline placement

The Legend of Zelda is the first developed Zelda game, however, it appears near the end of the timeline, or one of the branches after the Hero falls in Ocarina of Time. After Ocarina of Time, the Zelda timeline branches into potential futures; Link is defeated, Link wins (child), Link wins (adult). After Link is defeated in Ocarina of Time, we have A Link To The Past, Link’s Awakening, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, A Link Between Worlds, Triforce Heroes, then The Legend of Zelda.

Reduced enemies

When you are exploring in the Legend of Zelda, you’ll have a number of enemies on screen. Normally, we’d kill them all and move onto the next screen to continue exploring. If you kill them all, move onto the next screen and then backtrack, you’ll find all the enemies have respawned. There is a secret to dealing with these enemies and that’s to kill ALL BUT ONE of the enemies. then when you backtrack, you’ll only have one enemy on screen to deal with, making your exploring life much easier.

Potion trick

Potions are very helpful in The Legend of Zelda, they restore health, plus in later games have many different effects. In The Legend of Zelda we have red and blue potions, both restore health. The blue one can be drunk once, and the red one twice. However, if you drink from the red potion, then it turns blue indicating you have one more. Then buy another blue one, and it’ll turn red, saving you ruppees and giving you an extra dose of health.


The Legend of Zelda is one of the few Zelda games to have a direct sequel. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the direct sequel to Legend of Zelda. Majora’s Mask is a sequel to Ocarina of Time, then we have A Link Between Worlds as a sequel to A Link To The Past and the most recent one with Tears of the Kingdom a sequel to Breath of the Wild.

Minus world

The minus world is the name given to levels hidden in the code of the original Super Mario Bros. These levels are filled with bugs and unused content, but are pretty famous among Nintendo fans. There is also a minus world in the original Legend of Zelda. There’s loads more freedome for what players can do in this minus world, it’s fully navigable, but there’s loads of bugs.

The YouTuber SKELUX made it his goal to explore as many NES games’ Minus Worlds as possible, starting with the one for the first Zelda. Unlike Super Mario Bros., which has Minus Worlds that can be reached within the game itself, SKELUX had to dig into the game’s code to unlock Zelda’s. Specifically, he had to bypass the game’s internal mechanism for preventing players from walking out of bounds.

The map in The Legend of Zelda is an eight by 16 square grid, but it can actually measure Link’s position on it all the way up 16 by 16. Since the game only uses the first half of the map, it also uses a hexadecimal system which represents the second half of the map with negative integers, registering an error if Link tries to appear there. In his video, SKELUX says he spent around six hours messing around with the game’s code to get rid of that barrier.

Once he cracked that problem, he was able to enter the bottom half of the game’s world without the game restarting. It’s at once both completely glitched out but also stable enough for him to reasonably play through. Also, enemy sprites are inverted and objects are scattered across the screen in a haphazard fashion. There are caves with pulsing rave beats inside of them, graveyards surrounded by invincible enemy hybrids, and lots of mysterious trap doors, making the entire thing look like an 8-bit acid trip.

Japanese voice controls

There are some small translation differences between the Japanese and US version of the game. However, the interesting thing here was the Japanese version had voice commands. The famicon controller had a mic input while the NES didn’t. Enemies known as Pols voice could be defeated in Japan by talking to them. In the US version you could kill them with arrows, however, the manual wasn’t updated and it still said they hated noise.

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