This video was shown at Space World of 2000, and exceeded every Zelda fan’s expectations. The same tech demo was shown in May, at E3 2001. Rumors say a playable demo was even introduced behind closed doors at the same event. By now you know that the graphics in this video were scrapped for a cell-shaded style. While Wind Waker (the GameCube Zelda title) did not display these detailed graphics, Twilight Princess had a more similar style.
[spoiler /Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano/ /Nascondi la versione in Italiano/]Questo video venne mostrato per la prima volta allo Space World del 2000, e com’era prevedibile riuscì ad entusiasmare ogni appassionato della serie di Zelda. Lo stesso filmato venne riproposto a Maggio all’E32001, e a sentire alcuni addetti ai lavori sembra che una demo giocabile con questa grafica fu realmente presentata a porte chiuse durante la stessa fiera. Come ormai sappiamo questo filmato non portò a nulla di compiuto: il primo Zelda per GameCube fu Wind Waker, dallo stile completamente diverso, mentre Twilight Princess, seppur più simile a questo vecchio video, non ne è comunque una derivazione.[/spoiler]
[Original intro in italian by Bakke, english translation by Sba sb3002]
As we can read on Wikipedia, the Satellaview (also know as BS-X) was a satellite modem add-on for Nintendo’s Super Famicom system, released in Japan in 1995. The first game on the system was Zelda BS, a “remake” based on the original Zelda for the NES. The gameplay was identical to its predecessor, but a few differences exist which make the experience distinctly different. The overworld was altered from an 8 by 16 map to an 8 by 8. As in the The Legend of Zelda’s Second Quest, dungeons are again completely different.
Some years ago, a mysterious scan from an unknown Japanese magazine was found, and on it there was a screen that showed what it looked like a 16bit version of Zelda 2:
Thanks to Chris Covellon the Assembler Forum, we finally have some more informations about this assumed BS-X remake of Zelda 2: “Here’s my webpage which has pictures from the Famicom Tsushin special on the Super Famicom announcement in 1988 with that picture. That particular section in the Super Famicom article explains the graphical capabilities of the SFC, including a large number of on-screen colours, and large memory addressing, allowing for Kanji text display. That mock-up pic of a recoloured Zelda 2 with kanji text is all that was ever seen of a SFC ‘Zelda 2′. It’s just a single-screen mockup shown during the SFC’s tech demo showcase.”
“The text (in both magazine pictures) writes to the effect: The pixel-addressing capabilities of the SFC are so high that Kanji text can easily be displayed. This allows game like RPGs, for example, to display easy-to-read Kanji messages”
So, the presumed Zelda 2 BS-X was nothing more than a 1988 “tech demo” to show the SNES power to the press.. well, it was more fascinating to think about a SNES remake of Zelda 2, but we are happy to finally have an answer! Props to Chris Covell for these informations! You can read the original Assembler topic in here or take a look at Chris webpage in here. We can still wonder about the meanings of this image, as it could be seen as an early “concept” for the third Zelda game, but maybe it’s a bit too vague..
The images on this page are taken from the Beta of The Legend Of Zelda 3: A Link to the Past, during the second half of 1991, a few months before its official release. The differences from the final version are in fact very small, but very interesting. Nintendo first changed the HEAD-UP DISPLAY of the game: the bar of the magic had a different shape, more similar to a test tube, the icons of object in your inventory were situated on the left of your stock (while in the complete game they are placed on top of your stock), the life meter went from being written as “+ LIFE +” to – “LIFE -“. Nintendo may have changed the symbol to avoid the presence of a symbol similar to a cross (In the 90’s Nintendo often removed religious symbols from games, in order to avoid controversy).
In the second beta image, the main difference is the presence of 4 enemies, in place of the 2 single ones inserted in the complete game. This greatly lowered the difficulty of the stage.
In the third image, the bridge is pretty much the same, but on the right of the river we notice the lack of the trees. Instead of trees, some stones in a strange formation is found. The strange design perhaps indicated the location of the secret cove, which was removed from the final version of the game. The main difference in the beta is in minor graphic changes. We’re currently still looking through old screenshots and sprites to find more changes.
[Original intro in italian by monokoma, translation by Sba sb3002]
You can find more info about Zelda: A Link To The Past in the Zelda Wiki!
As the inaugural game of The Legend of Zelda series, it was first released in Japan as a launch title for the Famicom’s Disk System peripheral, a year and five months before it was released in the United States. Because the Famicom Disk System was not released outside Japan, the game was published internationally on the Nintendo Entertainment System’s cartridge format in 1987, with an internal battery to facilitate data saving. Nintendo released the game in Japan in 1994 on cartridge format for the Famicom. [Info from wikipedia]
In the beta version of Zelda 1, in the first cave the player had the option to choose between the sword or the boomerang. In the final version you can only find the sword. The image of this beta cave is still in the manual of the final game.
Thanks to one of the “Iwata Ask” interview series, we found out more info on the development of Zelda NES. The game was internally known as “Adventure” or “Adventure Mario”, as wrote by Miyamoto in some early design docs, created in 1985. Some of the items and enemies drawn in the design-doc, were never used in the final game. There’s also an early version of the world map!
The “Second Quest” was created because they had spare memory room:
Iwata: In order to fit in as many dungeons as possible given the limited memory, you were making them like you were doing a puzzle.
Nakago: Right. Tezuka-san said, “I did it!” and brought this to me. I created the data exactly in line with it, but then Tezuka-san made a mistake and only used half of the data. I said, “Tezuka-san, there’s only half here. Where did the other half go?” and he was like, “What?! Oops, I messed up…” But Miyamoto-san said it was fine just like that.
Tezuka: Heh heh heh. (laughs)
Nakago: So, using the half of the memory that was left over, we decided to create the Second Quest
Some more info on the beta and development of Zelda for the NES were shared in the book “Hyrule Historia” and translated by Glitterberri:
The first thing I thought about was a game that made use of the Disk System’s function of rewriting data so that two players could each create their own dungeons and make the other player solve them. We actually created such a game, and when I played it, I felt it was very fun playing in the dungeons themselves. So we put together a game with a series of dungeons underneath mountains distributed around Death Mountain for a single player to solve them. But we also wanted it to feature a world above, so we added forests and lakes, and so Hyrule Field took form gradually.
Now, we didn’t decide the game’s title from the very beginning either. Originally, I wanted it to be “The Legend of X,” but I couldn’t find the appropriate word for the “X.” Then, the planner to whom we assigned the PR project suggested we did a story book of the game.
Also, a prototype version of Zelda 1 was somehow leaked, and thaks to the Cutting Room Floor we can see all the little differences that were made before the game was relased:
The prologue and item list are not in the prototype.
When a candle is used in a dark room, the game does not pause while the room lights up.
It’s not possible to hit the old men in the prototype.
The Magical Sword requires 8 hearts in the prototype and 12 in the final build.
Armos Knights take much longer to come to life in the prototype. The waiting time was reduced from 128 frames to 60 frames.
Moldorm has 1 HP per segment in the prototype, but 2 in the final version. Likewise, the Blue Wizzrobe got its health buffed from 8 HP to 10 HP.
Both Wizzrobes’ beams do less damage in the prototype. The Blue Wizzrobe’s beams went from 1 Heart to 2 Hearts of damage, and the Orange Wizzrobe from 2 Hearts to 4(!) Hearts.
There are a few sprite changes in the prototype. Three of them are used in-game, while the other two are earlier designs left in the ROM.
Link’s name come from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link.
You can find more info about Zelda NES in the Zelda Wiki! Thanks to kek8 for the contribution!
Cendamos was able to find some interesting hidden stuff in the memory of this game. Items such as the Giant Hammer, Mega Crush, Enemy Set and Power Wrist were removed from the final game. Not much is known about these items, other than the Power Wrist was probably similar to the one in Wind Waker, giving the hero double the strength.
Also seen is what appears to be a baby Chuchu, or maybe a beta version of a regular Chuchu.
There was also a character sprite showing your stats on the menu that changed whenever your item or status changed. On the far right of the screen shot, you can see what it’d be like if you were being shocked.