Gaming’s timeless hero in the green cap has certainly come a long way since first gracing the NES console. Though Link in the Legend of Zelda has gone through many iterations, from cel-shading to HD, none can compare to the original Link. Every time gamers reconnect with the original Zelda they discover so many things: a solid game, a familiar story, and a high degree of difficulty. Interestingly, as it turns out, Legend of Zelda originally might have been a much easier game if some posted photos of a The Legend of Zelda in prototype form are to be believed.

Some highlights of the prototype screens include altered looks for enemies and easier access to rupies. Dependent on the point of view, Nintendo should be either scolded or praised for raising the level of difficulty from prototype to final version. Increasing the number of enemies per dungeon floor and decreasing the amount of rupees and heart pieces available certainly made the original much more challenging, and, to some, much more fun. Aside from some handy points of comparison, these screens don’t deliver anything too mind-blowing, but it is nice to get a look at the early builds on a genuine classic.

Check the screens out below and compare each with the final screen shot on the right:

As a reminder of good times, this prototype look should be enough to get gamers coming back to their old Zelda games, from Link to the Past to Ocarina of Time, in preparation for Skyward Sword’s release hopefully next year. Zelda has enjoyed a storied history on many a Nintendo console with many changes over the years including some motion control inspired innovation. The future is very bright for Link, but it’s great to see his

Nowadays, developing a game requires much more time and planning that certain elements never change from inception to final product. Like Easter Eggs on DVDs, it would be a treat to see how features/enemies/levels evolved over the development process every once in a while. Perhaps for more recent classics, gamers won’t have to wait some twenty years before finding some screens for the prototype version on a gaming forum.

Knowing that Nintendo was initially going for a much easier Legend of Zelda game, how do you feel about the product that was delivered? Would you be interested in getting similar behind the scenes looks at other classic titles?

Source: Lost Levels

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