Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Legend of Zelda: Outlands

One thing that has become apparent whilst researching the many games I end up buying is just how big a homebrew community exists for the NES. From what I can tell the console seems to be a lot easier to program for than its successors with many games requiring a strange mix of code and hardware. A few comments on various forums mention things like banks, switches and numerous chips that are built into each NES cartridge capable of running a game. It was during one of these sessions that I noticed a company called Game Reproductions who are able to load a ROM file onto a NES cartridge and provide you with effectively a new game. As well as actually providing the games the company also prints and fits new labels for each title so the finished product can be akin to buying a cartridge back in the day. With the company in mind I decided to look for some of the more popular homebrew games and one title I came across repeatedly was a follow up to the Legend of Zelda, Outlands.


The story follows on directly from the first game one of the bosses from the first title has managed to survived defeat at Link’s hands stealing the Triforce of Power making its escape to the Outlands. In order to find the boss you are quested with seeking out help from 8 captured fairies trapped across the lands dungeons. Thankfully Zelda herself is on hand and will actually provide Link with weapons that can be used to work your way through each dungeon.

With the game being an effective hack of the original Zelda title there isn’t much point into mentioning the game play as it’s effectively identical. However the beauty of this title is the redesign of the whole world, gone are the familiar paths of the over world and the same puzzle filled dungeons. Instead we are presented with a whole new land (the Outlands) to explore and completely different dungeons. On first loading the game Link isn’t even provided with a sword, you have to actually wander the land to find the right cave unlike the predecessor with the sword being readily available. From the off this ads to the overall difficulty taking some effort avoiding enemies that are dotted around the map, when you eventually do discover the wooden sword its apparent that all the enemies react in different ways than players would expect. Some are now immune to the weapon and no matter how many times you strike the weapon will simply have no effect. This can make for some frantic moments as you dash back and forth but mainly provide a refreshing challenge with a much higher difficulty. One item of note that makes an appearance is the Ocarina which is a pleasing nod to fans of the series several items are actually taken from Zelda 2 so it’s a joy to see that the game isn’t limited to taking everything from its predecessor.


Unlike a lot of cart reproduction companies GR doesn’t require you to provide a donor cartridge in order to load a title and I was even given the option of choosing a suitable label for the game. It just didn’t seem right having anything other than the standard Zelda design though but the label that came with the game was of very high quality and sat next to other NES carts you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Pricewise it cost around £20 which included shipping from the US .One thing I will mention as I was worried about this before purchase is the ability to actually save your game during play, seeing as I also bought an RPG (Mother or Earthbound as its also known) my biggest concern had to be spending a couple of hours playing a game but then having to lose my place. Thankfully the cartridges come with inbuilt batteries so if a game requires saving the feature is available. One thing to be wary of is the delivery time as it can actually take up to a month for the company to make each cartridge if they don’t have any in stock. Overall they were easy to deal with and I would recommend them if you decide to buy a few homebrew titles.


As a final note the original Outlands ROM creator has a website that explains in great detail the type of changes he made so I would recommend a visit if you want to learn more:

Outlands


10 comments:

Jack said...

@viagra online
You buy it, not download it. It's a cartridge.

Polaris said...

Nice review!

Kooz said...

I honestly had no idea people were doing this--that is awesome. I need to get this. The Legend of Zelda is my #3 top NES game ever! http://kooztop5.blogspot.com/2011/08/top-5-nes-video-games.html

GameMakr24 said...

You don't have to buy it, unless you want to play using an actual NES. You can easily download the ROM patch from the website, patch a copy of the Zelda ROM, and then play it on your computer using an emulator.

BitsAndPieces said...

That's awesome.. It does look playable and fun. I need to learn how to remake games!

icedawg said...

meh. hate the new graphics. would have played it had the graphics been kept as they were in the original.

Lorfarius said...

icedawg - It uses the same graphics as the original. Its just the original modded to be a different game but none of the artwork is changed.

Anonymous said...

Heres is the game FOR SALE

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NINTENDO-NES-STYLE-BLACK-LABEL-The-Legend-Of-Zelda-Outlands-RARE/291606392325?_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982&_trkparms=aid%3D777000%26algo%3DABA.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D33863%26meid%3Df0ec818273784b4daf4042b0e8854491%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D321906529452&autorefresh=true

Anonymous said...

Check this picture

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/zKwAAOSwo0JWJX7T/s-l1600.jpg

Anonymous said...

Here is an updated version of this games walkthough.

http://fatmin.com/2015/11/23/zelda-outlands-walkthough/

Note I did not write this walkthrough, only formatted it and converted to HTML from txt.