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Sunday, March 12, 2023


 The Legend of Zelda was without a doubt one of the defining games on the Famicom and gaming as a whole in the mid '80s, so when NEC launched their PC Engine console in 1987 (later released in North America as the TurboGrafx-16), it made sense to have their own answer to Zelda on it.  Hudson Soft stepped up to develop the game, releasing it in 1989 in Japan and the following year in North America.  For what is likely the first 16-bit Zelda clone, it does its job pretty admirably, with plenty of secrets to uncover and several dungeons to complete over the course of the story.  There are quite a few similarities to Zelda - health restoring potions, bombs to blow open walls, and a fire rod as both a weapon and a means of burning down trees to uncover secrets - as well as some new ones, like rings that transform enemies into weaker enemies.  It does have quite a lot more dialog than Zelda does, though, as well as some interesting cultural influences, like a golem for a boss (complete with a giant Star of David) and a bizarre Star Wars reference or two.  Interestingly the game also has two ways to save - either via a password system or, if you have a Turbografx-CD addon, to that system's internal RAM.  The Turbografx didn't get too many RPGs of its own (not outside of Japan, at least), but Neutopia is a good one if you have the means to play it.

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft, NEC
Platform: TurboGrafx-16, Wii Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console, PSN
Released: 1990, 2007, 2011, 2017