The Legend of Zelda: The Anatomy of: The Book

…The Ride: The Book: Etc. The latest in the GameSpite Journal series has just body-checked the Blurb store with two available versions: Hardcover and paperback. As usual. Like The Anatomy of Castlevania Vol. I, this edition is the larger 10×8″ landscape format and isn’t available in black and white, so the price is a little […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: XIII. Into the Breach

You know what I miss about games of late? That sense of finality, of crossing some threshold of no return. Say what you will about the ending of Mass Effect 3, but for me its most disappointing aspect was that it lacked a sense of trepidation. You hit a certain point after which you had […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: IX. Gonna meikyuu sweat

The path to Zelda II‘s fourth dungeon incorporates my absolute least favorite area of the game: The eastern labyrinth. The labyrinth contains a number of key points of interest, including the Labyrinth Palace and a fetch quest item, a small lost child. I don’t know why Link has to rescue the kid; any child capable […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: VIII. Pear-shaped

The midpoint of Zelda II may not have been the smartest break point I could have chosen. Once you make the journey to Hyrule’s eastern continent, the difficulty level spikes dramatically. And it’s not necessarily a good spike. On the contrary, it frequently feels unbalanced and poorly considered.    The random encounters in this half […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II - III. Link’s (Dragon) Quest

I forgot to mention it before, but in this series (as in all these Anatomy articles) the overwhelming majority of images you see here have been provided courtesy of Because Rey is rad. The more I play of Zelda II, the more I’m struck by the realization that Nintendo must have been heavily influenced […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II – II. Parapa

Say, did you know that the name of the palace around which this update revolves — Parapa — is one letter removed from the name of a popular PlayStation character? Yep. Glad we could get that out of the way. Despite what I wrote in the previous update about the opening screen of Zelda II […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda XIV

Finish the Legend of Zelda and press Start and you begin the Second Quest. This goes back to a long arcade tradition of “flipping” the game and playing through a second cycle of stages in which everything is a little faster and a little more dangerous. It goes back to Space Invaders, I guess. But […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda XIII

I didn’t mean to give the impression with yesterday’s update that Zelda was the first game with a strong bestiary, or a diverse one, or a well-crafted one. However, what you would typically find in the early ’80s was that RPGs had large casts of monsters with diverse powers, but those unfolded primarily through the […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda XII

Just a couple last wrap-up pieces on The Legend of Zelda and then we’re on to, I don’t know… Zelda II, maybe? (Whereupon cartman414 will respond to every post to tell me why I love the game insufficiently.) We’ve looked at Link’s powers, the lay of Hyrule’s land, and the structure and purpose of each […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda X

“We are getting very near what is known as the end, if you see what I mean.” I refuted the surprisingly popular theorizing that Zelda’s levels are scrambled and run out of intended proper sequence in my write-up of Level-7, because it actually does feel like a logical follow-up to dungeons 5 and -6. But […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda VIII

I would like to put forth two possibilities for the design of The Legend of Zelda Level-07, Demon. Either it is meant to be a sorbet of sorts — a palate-cleanser — in the wake of two extraordinarily difficult dungeons, or else someone got their numeration wrong and this was supposed to come much earlier […]

Anatomy of a Game: Zelda VII

So, my original intention for the Anatomy of Zelda was to combine multiple later dungeons into single entries. That obviously hasn’t worked out, because, well, the game has more varied and interesting design than I gave it credit for. Which is fine. I’m not going to complain about a well-crafted game, although it does mean […]