Proto:The Legend of Zelda
This page details a prototype version of The Legend of Zelda.
A first-party Nintendo prototype? It's a secret to everyone.
Lots of neat differences inside. It's safe to say this was fairly late into development, as most of the tweaks to the First Quest are for difficulty.
Rooms leading to different rooms. Yep.
The start of the adventure.
Attack of the Wizzrobes.
Ganon is a chump.
- The prologue and item list are not present.
- 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 eight hearts in the prototype and 12 in the final.
- Hitting a 4-directionally animated enemy (like Moblins) with the Boomerang causes their animation speed to increase dramatically. This was fixed in the final.
- There's an exploit involving the Patra that was removed from the final build. Destroying a mini-Patra and then exiting/re-entering the room will kill the main Patra.
- There are some stairways that have bombable walls. Their appearance seems to be arbitrary, not intentional. They don't lead anywhere, and once the player exits and re-enters the room, the cracks will disappear.
- Armos Knights take much longer to come to life in the prototype. The waiting time was reduced from 128 frames to 60 frames. A cloud of smoke is visible when it is awakened.
- Moldorm has 1 HP per segment in the prototype, but 2 in the final. 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.
- The hungry Goriya hasn't been coded yet, and its text is not in the ROM.
- The first Second Quest-exclusive Old Man ("IF YOU GO IN THE DIRECTION OF THE ARROW") has been coded, but has no text. The other Old Man ("LEAVE YOUR LIFE OR MONEY") isn't present in any form.
- The Stalfos (sword shooter) and Ropes (flashing) of the Second Quest do not exist at this point.
A variable exists ($0050) that tracks how many monsters you've killed without getting damaged. When hit, this value is set to 0. Once the variable reaches a certain value and an enemy is killed, a Blue Rupee will drop, and the variable is set to 0.
The final caps this at 10, but the prototype's variable stops at 6. This makes it easier to accumulate a lot of rupees.
The different item groups were changed as well, except Group A. All of the changes alter Blue Rupee drops to regular Rupees. Item differences are in bold.
|3||Blue Rupee||Blue Rupee|
|9||Blue Rupee||Blue Rupee|
Killing a Dodongo when it is smoke-stunned will always make the Dodongo drop bombs in the final. This hadn't been coded in the prototype yet.
Every shop type had its inventory tweaked for the final.
|Shop Type A||Item||Price||Item||Price||Item||Price|
|Shop Type B||Item||Price||Item||Price||Item||Price|
|Shop Type C||Item||Price||Item||Price||Item||Price|
|Shop Type D||Item||Price||Item||Price||Item||Price|
All of the Money-Making Game's rupee values were changed for the final, with the exception of the +50 Rupee prize. These changes make the Money-Making Game much more of a risk.
|-20 Rupees||-40 Rupees|
|+1 Rupee||-10 Rupees|
|+10 Rupees||-10 Rupees|
|+30 Rupees||+20 Rupees|
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.
Stalfos' raised foot was redrawn for the final version. Its head also has a couple of minor changes. This prototype sprite can also be seen in both the Japanese and American manual of the game.
The Wall Master enemy is missing its spots in the prototype.
Pols Voice doesn't have whiskers in the prototype. The color used for its eyes was assigned to the whiskers in the final, turning the eyes from Link's tunic color to brown. This is also seen in the manual.
Ganon's defeated palette is different in the prototype.
A simpler design for the boulders. Note that there's only one frame for this design, not two.
The Ghini looks angrier in the prototype, and has two spectral legs instead of a tail. This prototype sprite can also be seen in both the Japanese and American manual of the game.
The Game Over theme is simpler and shorter in the prototype.
- The Title, dungeon, and ending tracks are not yet in the game.
- All dungeons use the Level 9 dungeon track.
- Ganon's jingle does not play when you encounter/destroy him.
- The dungeon music cuts out when entering basement rooms.
- All items (besides rupees) use the same sound effect. It's the sound used for picking up hearts in the final.
- Moldorm and Patra don't use the standard boss sound effects (no sound ambiance or screaming when hit).
It's a Bribe to Everybody
The "It's a Secret to Everybody" Moblin has a different line of text in the prototype, translating to "I'll give you this, so leave me alone!"
Unused Room Types
The dungeon room number 21 is unused. The blocks form a left-pointing arrow. This room does not exist in the final, and was replaced with the entrance room used in all dungeons. In the prototype, the ID for the dungeon entrance room is 2A.
Room 0B is used in the final for the Second Quest, but it's unused at this point. However, there is a slight difference between the rooms in the prototype and the final: the gap between the South & West and North & East doors was widened from one to two spaces, making it impossible to cross with the Ladder.
These two rooms (10 and 20) are used only in the Second Quest, which is under construction in the prototype.
Unused Push Blocks
Dungeon room number 61 is the same as 21 with the blocks form a left-pointing arrow. However, it is possible to push one of the blocks to move from left to right and vice versa in the room.
Blue Bubble and Red Bubble
Several things from the Second Quest do not exist yet in the prototype, as the Second Quest is under construction. However, this is not the case of the Blue Bubbles and Red Bubbles, which are present in the prototype but not used. Their effects on Link's sword are also present.
The Second Quest has barely been started in the prototype. The overworld is identical to the one in the First Quest, including dungeon locations. The only major difference is in the dungeons, which consist of a random unplayable assortment of mish-mashed rooms. Though the dungeons themselves are not finished, their associated maps are. All of the dungeons, except Level 7, have map differences.
The Second Quest is still using the First Quest's palette schemes. The palettes for the L & E dungeons were swapped, as were the two spiral dungeons.
The prototype's design was moved to Level 3 in the final, though the prototype is missing the two rooms on the left.
This design moved to Level 1 in the final.
Moved to Level 2 in the final.
Design moved to Level 5.
The last of the letter-shaped dungeons, this appears in Level 4 of the final.
Three rooms were cut from the final: one to the left of the starting point, two from the tail end of the dungeon.
The two innermost parts of the spiral were deleted from the final.
Two rooms on the left and right of the bottom section were taken out of the final's level design.
The staff list is different in the prototype. Shigeru Miyamoto, Toshihiko Nakago, Yasunari Soejima, and I. Marui all go by their real names here. They decided to use pseudonyms in the final. Takashi Tezuka (Ten-Ten) and Koji Kondo (Konchan) use pseudonyms in both versions.
The copyright line is positioned lower in the final.
The Second Quest's ending text was rewritten for the final. The prototype doesn't display the player's death count, though there's space allocated for it. The prototype is also missing the "Legend of Zelda 1 'End'" text.
|The Legend of Zelda series|
|NES||The Legend of Zelda (Prototype) • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link|
|SNES||A Link to the Past|
|BS-X||BS Zelda no Densetsu • BS Zelda no Densetsu: Inishie no Sekiban|
|Nintendo 64||Ocarina of Time • Majora's Mask (Prototypes)|
|GameCube||The Wind Waker • Twilight Princess • Four Swords Adventures • Ocarina of Time Master Quest (Debug Version)|
|Wii||Twilight Princess • Skyward Sword|
|Game Boy (Color)||Link's Awakening • Oracle of Ages • Oracle of Seasons|
|Game Boy Advance||The Minish Cap|
|Nintendo DS||Phantom Hourglass • Spirit Tracks|
|Spin-offs and Related Games|
|CD-i||Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon • Link: The Faces of Evil|
|Nintendo DS||Tingle no Balloon Fight DS • Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland • Irodzuki Tingle no Koi no Balloon Trip|