Proto:The Legend of Zelda

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This page details one or more prototype versions 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.

Contents

Download

Lost Levels release thread

Sub-Pages

ZeldaFDSOverworld4.png
Overworld
Rooms leading to different rooms. Yep.
ZeldaFDSDungeon31Proto.png
Levels 1-4
The start of the adventure.
ZeldaFDSDungeon72Proto.png
Levels 5-8
Attack of the Wizzrobes.
ZeldaFDSDungeon94Proto.png
Level 9
Ganon is a chump.

Gameplay Changes

General

  • 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.

Bugs

Pay me for the floor repair charge.
  • 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.
(Source: BrYaN55)

Enemy Changes

  • TLOZ Armos.gif 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.

Unimplemented Objects

  • 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.

Item Drops

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.

Group B

Drop Variable Prototype Final
0 Bomb Bomb
1 Blue Rupee Rupee
2 Clock Clock
3 Blue Rupee Rupee
4 Heart Heart
5 Bomb Bomb
6 Blue Rupee Rupee
7 Bomb Bomb
8 Heart Heart
9 Heart Heart

Group C

Drop Variable Prototype Final
0 Rupee Rupee
1 Heart Heart
2 Rupee Rupee
3 Blue Rupee Blue Rupee
4 Heart Heart
5 Clock Clock
6 Rupee Rupee
7 Blue Rupee Rupee
8 Rupee Rupee
9 Blue Rupee Blue Rupee

Group D

Drop Variable Prototype Final
0 Heart Heart
1 Fairy Fairy
2 Blue Rupee Rupee
3 Heart Heart
4 Fairy Fairy
5 Heart Heart
6 Heart Heart
7 Heart Heart
8 Blue Rupee Rupee
9 Heart Heart

Other

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.

Shop Changes

Every shop type had its inventory tweaked for the final.

Shop Type A Item Price Item Price Item Price
Prototype Shield 160 Bomb 20 Candle 60
Final Shield 160 Key 100 Candle 60
Shop Type B Item Price Item Price Item Price
Prototype Shield 130 Bomb 30 Arrow 80
Final Shield 130 Bomb 20 Arrow 80
Shop Type C Item Price Item Price Item Price
Prototype Shield 90 Bomb 10 Heart 10
Final Shield 90 Meat 100 Heart 10
Shop Type D Item Price Item Price Item Price
Prototype Key 80 Blue Ring 250 Meat 160
Final Key 80 Blue Ring 250 Meat 60

Money-Making Game

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.

Prototype Final
-20 Rupees -40 Rupees
+1 Rupee -10 Rupees
+10 Rupees -10 Rupees
+30 Rupees +20 Rupees

Sprite Changes

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.

Used

Prototype Final
Link's going to get kicked Maybe you should try using those swords

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.

Prototype Final
The Wall Student has become the master How the Wall Master Got Its Spots

The Wall Master enemy is missing its spots in the prototype.

Prototype Final
That face just looks empty now Taste microphone, bunnies!

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.

Prototype Final
Silver for silver arrows? Finish him off already

Ganon's defeated palette is different in the prototype.

Unused

Prototype Final
Almost good Rolling rocks

A simpler design for the boulders. Note that there's only one frame for this design, not two.

Prototype Final
Look at them gams Don't mind me, just floating around

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.

What the hey?
Curiously, the lower half of this earlier design made its way into the Japanese strategy guide!

Audio Differences

Music

Prototype
Final

The Game Over theme is simpler and shorter in the prototype.

Other changes:

  • 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.

Sounds

  • 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

Prototype Final
Leave him alone! It's a secret to NOBODY

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!"

(Source: Tongueman (Bluesun for better translation))

Unused Room Types

TLOZ Proto UnusedRoomLayer1.png

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.

(Source: Dark Linkaël)
Prototype Final
TLOZ Proto UnusedRoomLayer2.png TLOZ RoomLayer1.png

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.

(Source: Dark Linkaël)

TLOZ Proto UnusedRoomLayer3.png TLOZ Proto UnusedRoomLayer4.png

These two rooms (10 and 20) are used only in the Second Quest, which is under construction in the prototype.

(Source: Dark Linkaël)

Unused Push Blocks

TLOZ Proto UnusedBlock1.png

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.

(Source: Dark Linkaël)

Unused Enemies

Blue Bubble and Red Bubble

TLOZ Proto BleuBubble.gif TLOZ Proto RedBubble.gif

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.

(Source: Dark Linkaël)

Second Quest

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.

Complete Maps

Interlocking madness
That skull looks a lot better

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.

Map 1 Details

Map 2 Details

Level 1

Prototype Final
L is for lacking E is for executed

The prototype's design was moved to Level 3 in the final, though the prototype is missing the two rooms on the left.

Level 2

Prototype Final
E is for empty A is for A

This design moved to Level 1 in the final.

Level 3

Prototype Final
No wait, A is for Aaaaah L is for Link

Moved to Level 2 in the final.

Level 4

Prototype Final
Z is for Zmaybe I should have gone with a different gimmick for these captions D is for done

Design moved to Level 5.

Level 5

Prototype Final
D is for developing Z is for Zelda. That's cheating, yes, but who cares

The last of the letter-shaped dungeons, this appears in Level 4 of the final.

Level 6

Prototype Final
I don't know what letter this is Shorten that map

Three rooms were cut from the final: one to the left of the starting point, two from the tail end of the dungeon.

Level 8

Prototype Final
Complete spiral Not anymore

The two innermost parts of the spiral were deleted from the final.

Level 9

Prototype Final
Eyes of Ganon are everywhere. Especially in the middle Looks like it has buck teeth now

Two rooms on the left and right of the bottom section were taken out of the final's level design.

Ending

Prototype Final
Who is I. Marui anyway? S. Miyahon, pioneer of the industry

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.

Prototype Final
You are winner! Slight changes, hooray

The copyright line is positioned lower in the final.

Prototype Final
Triforce of Force? Thanks, I am pretty great

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.