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The Legend of Zelda/Console Differences

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This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.

Other languages:
English • ‎日本語
This is a sub-page of The Legend of Zelda.

Original Release

There were a few changes between the Famicom Disk System, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Famicom cartridge versions of the game.

Title Screen

FDS NES Famicom cart
Put in Side B already I tried plugging in my cartridge upside down. It didn't work. They didn't really keep the numbered titles going, did they

The original Japanese title is The Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda. The NES version removed "The Hyrule Fantasy" from the title, and "The Legend of" took its place; the Disk Side B message was replaced with "Push Start Button".

The Japanese re-release on cartridge changed the title to The Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda 1, with the graphics repositioned (except the leaves) to accommodate for the longer title. In the process they messed up the shape of the Triforce in the area below the sword. Additionally, the tail of the stylized "ダ" character was shortened, presumably for saving graphics space when tiles for the "1" were added. The copyright information was updated, and again the Disk Side B message was replaced with "Push Start Button".

Prologue

FDS NES / Famicom cart
One of many legends Not just A legend, THE legend

The title of the story was changed from "Legend of Zelda" to "The Legend of Zelda". However, the foliage next to the title wasn't updated to accommodate for this change.

FDS NES Famicom cart
Bibles can create magical fire Magic? That's blasphemous A compromise

For the NES release, the "Bible" was renamed "Book of Magic". The Japanese re-release on cartridge keeps the NES name change, but the Katakana text still says "Bible". In addition, the English text for all the items is blue instead of white in the Japanese versions to more easily distinguish the languages from each other.

FDS NES / Famicom cart
FDS Zelda Sheet Of Paper.png NES Zelda Sheet Of Paper.png

The sign or sheet of paper Link is holding was slightly modified when the English text was added, and the spacing between text and the Triforce was also reduced.

Erase File and Font

FDS NES
FDS Zelda KILL MODE.png NES Zelda ELIMINATION MODE.png

For the NES release of the game, Kill Mode was renamed Elimination Mode.

FDS NES / Famicom cart
T h i n THICK

The alphabetical characters of the FDS version were changed from a thinner, unique font to the common font used in many other NES games. The alphabetical characters got the same treatment as the NES version in the Japanese re-release as well.

Loading Screen

Please Wait

When you change disk sides or save your progress in the FDS version, a loading message appears in Katakana text, translated to "Please Wait".

Text

FDS / Famicom cart NES
Right-aligned Centered

All the dialogue text appears right-aligned and starts right above the characters heads in the Japanese versions, sort of like a speech bubble in a comic (only without the bubble). In the NES version, the text appears centered for the most part of the game due to space constraints. The space between rows was also changed in order to fit three rows of text instead of two.

Game Over / Save Option Menu

FDS NES Famicom cart
Retry doesn't mean what you think it means You picked something! The 2P feature makes this easier

The Game Over / Save Option menu was slightly re-positioned for the NES version and yet again for the Japanese re-release where the options are spaced further apart.

The cartridge versions' text flashes when you select something. This does not happen in the FDS version.

Zora

FDS NES / Famicom cart
Stealthy! More visible

A black outline was added around the Zora sprite to make it more visible. The eyes and mouth were also redrawn.

Pols Voice

ZeldaFDSPolsVoiceFinal.gif
In both the original FDS version and the Japanese re-release on cartridge, Pols Voice is invulnerable to arrows, but instead they're extra-vulnerable to the Famicom's built-in microphone feature. As the NES' hardware (in both the original 1985 release and 1993 redesign) lacked this feature, it was instead given a weakness to arrows. Besides their unique weakness between versions, they can also be defeated the hard way with the sword in all versions of the game.

It's worth noting that support for the Famicom microphone feature remains in the NES version, as using an emulator with the microphone ability enabled will also work.

Map Changes

Two dungeon rooms in the game have additional enemies in the NES and Famicom cart versions.

FDS NES / Famicom cart
Waltz in and grab it Suddenly, weak enemies!

Eight Keese were added to this otherwise-empty room of Level 4 (First Quest).

FDS NES / Famicom cart
I'm glad there are no bat-like creatures in this room Damn it!

And again, there are eight Keese added to this room of Level 5 (First Quest).

Ending

FDS NES
FDS Zelda Ending.png Nes Zelda Ending.png

In the FDS version, after Zelda thanks Link, they hold up the Triforces of Power and Wisdom, and the frame starts to flash; they both disappear just before the rest of the text starts to appear under them. In the NES version, they don't disappear until the frame starts to scroll to reveal the staff credits.

Other differences:

  • The FDS version has short loading times when you start the game or whenever you enter or walk out of a dungeon.
  • There is far less slowdown in the FDS version compared to the NES and Famicom carts.

Audio

Music

The compositions are often much richer in the FDS version, due to the use of the system's wavetable sound channel.

Title Theme
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Fanfare for Treasure
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Secret Discovery / Puzzle Solve Chime
FDS NES / Famicom cart

In the FDS version, there is no secret discovery chime when pushing the blocks that open doors in the dungeons, a little odd given that it's present in both the FDS prototype and the NES and Famicom carts.

Game Over
FDS NES / Famicom cart

For some reason, moving the cursor on the Game Over screen in the FDS version resets the musical loop. This was corrected in the NES and Famicom carts.

Level 9 (Death Mountain)
FDS NES / Famicom cart

The FDS version has more bass beats before the rest of the tune begins. In the NES and Famicom versions, it proceeds straight into the melody, which effectively makes the musical loop more seamless.

Ending Theme
FDS NES / Famicom cart

Sound Effects

The FDS version utilizes the system's wavetable sound channel for many sound effects as well.

Boss Noise
FDS NES / Famicom cart
FDS NES / Famicom cart
FDS NES / Famicom cart

The sound the bosses make that is heard whenever you are close or inside their rooms.

Boss / Mini-Boss Get Hit
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Door Opening and Closing
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Item Appears
FDS NES / Famicom cart

The sound for items that appear after clearing a room of enemies.

Link's Sword Beam
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Flute
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Enemy Killed
FDS NES / Famicom cart

In the FDS version, this sound plays (on the FDS-only PWM channel) along with the enemy hit sound (on the other channels) when the enemy is killed. The cart versions only play the death sound effect when the enemy is killed.

Rupee Pick Up
FDS NES / Famicom cart

This is also heard when moving the cursor on the File Select and Inventory screens.

Item Got
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Link Hurt
FDS NES / Famicom cart

Also heard when deleting a saved game file.

Link's Death
FDS NES / Famicom cart

When Link dies, there's more of a series of sound effects in the FDS version as opposed to the little theme that is heard in the NES and Famicom carts.

Bombs Detonate
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Picking Up Hearts and Keys
FDS NES / Famicom cart
Moving the Cursor on Game Over Screen
FDS NES / Famicom cart

The FDS version uses the same sound for moving the cursor as in all the other menus in the game. The cart versions changed it for this particular screen to the same sound effect as when a projectile hits Link's shield.)

2003 Version

The game was re-released for the GameCube in 2003, the Game Boy Advance in 2004, the Wii Virtual Console in 2007, and the Wii U Virtual Console in 2013. The emulations are all altered with a new translation, in an attempt to reduce the amount of Engrish. This altered version of the game, oddly enough, didn't make the cut when the game was released on the Nintendo 3DS, which instead uses a modified US PRG1.

Story

Famicom / NES 2003 Version
The Legend Of Zelda Story NES.png Zelda story GCN.png

In addition to cleaning up the severe Engrish in the original release, the quotation marks were scrapped and the color coding was altered. Whereas the original put emphasis on the Triforce and its eight pieces by using blue and Link's quest by using red, the updated version instead went with a blue color for Zelda.

Famicom / NES 2003 Version
MANY   YEARS  AGO PRINCE
DARKNESS " GANNON" STOLE
ONE OF THE TRIFORCE WITH
POWER.    PRINCESS ZELDA
HAD  ONE OF THE TRIFORCE
WITH WISDOM. SHE DIVIDED
IT INTO" 8"UNITS TO HIDE
IT FROM " GANNON" BEFORE
SHE WAS CAPTURED.       
  GO FIND THE " 8"UNITS 
  " LINK" TO SAVE HER.
LONG AGO,  GANON, PRINCE
OF DARKNESS, STOLE THE
TRIFORCE OF POWER.
PRINCESS ZELDA OF HYRULE
BROKE THE TRIFORCE OF 
WISDOM INTO EIGHT PIECES
AND HID THEM FROM GANON
BEFORE SHE WAS KIDNAPPED
BY GANON'S MINIONS.
LINK, YOU MUST FIND THE
PIECES AND SAVE ZELDA.

Treasures

Additional Engrish fix-up in the treasure listing.

Famicom / NES 2003 Version
ALL OF TREASURES ALL TREASURES
Famicom / NES 2003 Version
RUPY RUPEE
Famicom / NES 2003 Version
5 RUPIES 5 RUPEES

Dialogue

A few lines of text were (somewhat) corrected as well.

NES 2003 Version
LET'S PLAY MONEY
MAKING GAME.
LET'S PLAY A
MONEY-MAKING GAME.
NES 2003 Version
SECRET IS IN THE TREE
AT THE DEAD-END.
A SECRET IS IN THE
TREE AT THE DEAD-END.
NES 2003 Version
PAY ME FOR THE DOOR
REPAIR CHARGE.
PAY ME FOR THE
DOOR REPAIR.
NES 2003 Version
DIGDOGGER HATES
CERTAIN KIND OF SOUND.
DIGDOGGER HATES
CERTAIN KINDS OF SOUND.
NES 2003 Version
SECRET POWER IS SAID
TO BE IN THE ARROW.
A SECRET POWER IS SAID
TO BE IN THE ARROW.
NES 2003 Version
ONES WHO DOES NOT HAVE
TRIFORCE CAN'T GO IN.
ONES WHO DO NOT HAVE
TRIFORCE CAN'T ENTER.
NES 2003 Version
EYES OF SKULL
HAS A SECRET.
THE EYES OF THE SKULL
HAVE SECRETS.
NES 2003 Version
SOUTH OF ARROW MARK
HIDES A SECRET.
SOUTH OF THE ARROW
MARK HIDES A SECRET.
NES 2003 Version
FINALLY,
PEACE RETURNS TO HYRULE.
THIS ENDS THE STORY.
FINALLY,
PEACE RETURNS TO HYRULE.
THE END.
NES 2003 Version
YOU ARE GREAT.
YOU HAVE AN AMAZING
WISDOM AND POWER.
©1986 NINTENDO
YOU ARE GREAT!
YOU HAVE AN AMAZING
WISDOM AND POWER!
NINTENDO

Screen Flashing

When you pick up the Triforce and the fragments in the original version, the screen flashes rapidly. In the updated versions, it was greatly reduced to prevent seizures.

PAUSE text

In the GBA and GameCube versions, when the game is paused, a small, black box that says "PAUSE" appears. This does not occur in the FDS, NES, or Famicom cart versions.

Japanese Re-release

The game was also re-released in Japan on GameCube in 2004, and later on the Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console, and Wii U Virtual Console. The Japanese re-release is based on the FDS version with the rewritten intro from the international re-release, along with an updated 2004 copyright. The Japanese 3DS VC version, similarly to the international 3DS version, opted to use the Famicom cartridge version instead of the 2004 one.

FDS Wii Virtual Console
ZeldaTitleJPFDS.png ZeldaTitleJPWii.png

It is a near-identical emulation of the original FDS version, but at least one weird audio glitch can be heard in the dungeons: namely, the sound the bosses make that is heard whenever you are close or inside the lair has the same volume no matter if you are outside or inside their rooms. In the FDS version, the volume was a bit lower when you were outside the boss room. L

Other

A modified (read: glorified ROM hack / savestate) version of the game, The Legend of Zelda SP (Special), also known as The Legend of Zelda: Living the life of luxury!, was released for the Nintendo Switch’s NES game collection, available to users of the Switch’s online subscription service. It gives the player 255 Rupees and all equipment from the start, though bomb upgrades and Silver Arrows still need to be obtained during the game.