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"So, You Like Zelda?" (Game Recommendations)
[Originally written for The Eligood Forum. Come visit!]

If you've ever felt a pang of longing for another old-school Zelda game, then perhaps these other titles might be of interest you...



Game: Willow
Console: Famicom / NES
Compare With: The Legend of Zelda (on NES)

Description:

This one is based off of the famous 1988 film, Willow, starring Warwick Davis (yes, the same person who played Prof. Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies). It seems to be a tradition within video gaming that most games based on movies leave a lot to be desired. (With movies like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, some might say that the inverse seems to be true as well.) However, this game is a notable exception.

While I compare it to The Legend of Zelda, it is a great game in its own right. Capcom did a really good job on this one. The music, the gameplay, and the graphics are all top-tier for an NES title of this age. And look at this epic intro!:



...Even just watching it makes me feel like a wizard.



Game: Faxanadu
Console: Famicom / NES
Compare With: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (on NES)

Description:

This one is brought to us by the late, great Hudson Soft (which got absorbed by Konami in 2012). Back when I was but a smol child, this was the first video game that I ever played...and what a glorious beginning it was. I still vividly remember my mother coming home from the pawn shop with a grocery bag that contained an NES and this cartridge in it. We didn't have a lot of money then, but life was filled with wonder.

This game is actually part of the Dragon Slayer series, but for some reason, they changed the title when importing it to the U.S. It has the usual fantasy story fodder: a kingdom in peril, a heroic knight, elves, dwarves, dragons, and what not. Perhaps it is my nostalgia speaking, but despite using these now well-worn tropes, it does not feel formulaic or boring in any way. The only advice that I can give is, don't pick up the Pendant! I mean it. It doesn't matter how shiny it looks. Leave it alone.

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Gameplay:




Game: The Battle of Olympus
Console: Famicom / NES
Compare With: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (on NES)

Descrption:

Brøderbund Software, the same people who brought us that classic Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, released this one. (I am being cheeky of course. Brøderbund actually released a lot of enjoyable and well-known games, like Carmen Sandiego, Prince of Persia, and Lode Runner to name a few.)

If you took the framework of Zelda II and filled it with Greek mythology instead of medieval-esque lore, then you'd end up with something like The Battle of Olympus. I never got the opportunity to play this one when I was younger, but I was surprised when I learned of its existence.

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Gameplay:




Game: Golden Axe Warrior
Console: Sega Master System
Compare With: The Legend of Zelda (on NES)

Description:

To be honest, I haven't played much of this one either. It looks cool though. I believe it was intended to be Sega's answer to the success of The Legend of Zelda. But is it a poor rip-off or a great game? I leave you to be the judge.

Title Screen:

Gameplay:




Game: Golvellius - Valley of Doom
Console: Sega Master System
Compare With: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (on NES)

Description:

This one also holds a special place for me. My father worked for Tonka, the precursor of Hasbro, back when they helped bring the Sega Master System to the U.S. market. My sister and I ended up receiving one for Christmas, and I think this was one of the first games that we got.

It was released by Compile, who is known for the popular puzzle game Puyo Puyo. Much like how Zelda II has an overhead map and side-scrolling dungeons, you traverse the world of Golvellius in a similar fashion.

The graphics, the gameplay, and (especially) the music in this title are all top-notch...and I daresay, better than what the NES could offer at the time. *gasp* That may sound like sacrilege to some. While the NES had an extensive catalog, the Master System excelled in raw power. They both have their strengths. I am just grateful to have been able to sample a few games on each of them as a child.

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Gameplay:




Game: Fatal Labyrinth
Console: Sega Genesis / Mega Drive
Compare With: The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past (on SNES)

Description:

The last gift that I received from my mother before she passed away was a small Sega Genesis clone console produced by AtGames. I'm not sure why she bought it for me as I had stopped playing video games for the most part many years earlier. Perhaps it was her way of encouraging me to keep a child-like sense of glee. The console has a lot of built-in games. A young cousin and I would play Golden Axe III on it whenever he would spend the night at our house.

One of the other titles that it contains is Fatal Labyrinth. Like many games of this era, Fatal Labyrinth is pretty challenging! One explores a huge dungeon throughout the entirety of the game. Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to compare it to Zelda. The gameplay is more rogue-like, but it is fun nonetheless. [A better comparison would probably be the faster paced Dicing Knight on the Bandai WonderSwan Color.]

Title Screen:

Gameplay:




I'm sure there are plenty more out there. Do you know of any Zelda-like games?




In our neverending quest for more games, we journeyed o'er land and sea until we came to a far off village on the edge of the world. There we encountered a powerful mage named "nurmweb" who taught us a bit of rare magic...*ahem*...Ok, you got me. We just ran an Internet search and came across this informative YouTube video by Tybee Games appropriately titled "Games Like Zelda (2D)":



Here is a giant list of all of the games that he mentions...

Similar The Legend of Zelda (on NES):
• Ys (Sega Master System)
• Ys II (NES)
• Crystalis (NES, GBC)
• Startropics (NES)
• Zoda's Revenge: Startropics II (NES)
• Golden Axe Warrior (Sega Master System)

Similar To Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (on NES):
• Dragon Buster (Arcade, Famicom)
• Dragon Buster II: Seal of Darkness (Famicom)
• Faxanadu (NES)
• The Battle of Olympus (NES, GB)
• Ys III (NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, etc.)
• Cadash (Arcade, Sega Genesis, Turbografix 16)
• Wonder Boy III (Sega Master System, Turbografix 16, Sega Game Gear)

Similar To The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past (on SNES):
• Neutopia (Turbografix 16)
• Neutopia II (Turbografix 16)
• Lagoon (SNES)
• Soul Blazer (SNES)
• Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole (Sega Genesis)
• Secret of Mana (SNES)
• Illusion of Gaia / Soul Blazer II (SNES)
• Crusader of Centy (Sega Genesis)
• Beyond Oasis / The Story of Thor (Sega Genesis)
• Secret of Evermore (SNES)
• Terranigma / Soul Blazer III (SNES)
• Alundra (PS1)

Similar To The Handheld Zelda Games,
The Legend of Zelda - Link's Awakening DX (GBC)
The Legend of Zelda - Oracle of Ages (GBC)
The Legend of Zelda - Oracle of Seasons (GBC)
The Legend of Zelda - Four Swords (GBA)
The Legend of Zelda - The Minish Cap (GBA):

• Final Fantasy Adventure / Sword of Mana / Adventures of Mana (GB)
• SylvanTale (Sega Game Gear)
• Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hands (GBA)
• Sword of Mana (GBA)
• Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django (GBA)
• Guardian of Paradise (PC)
• Juka and the Monophonic Menace (GBA)
• Back To Stone (GBA)
• The Binding of Isaac (PC)

Oh boy, that is a lot of games.
Enjoy! 😉