For those who keep up with the fan community, The Legend of Zelda: Outlands is a pretty famous hack. The hack was completed by GameMakr24, was released back in 2001, and stands as one of the very first full-featured hacks of the original NES Legend of Zelda. In some ways, Outlands can stand well on its own and is almost like an unofficial Zelda III on the NES. The story takes place sometime after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, with the Thunderbird coming and laying claim on the Triforce of Power, taking it away with him to a realm outside of Hyrule-proper known as the Outlands. After losing most of his equipment in an accident while traveling there, Link must embark on a journey in a strange new land to find the magical Fairy Tetrarchs who can break the seal on Ganon’s secret lair, where the Thunderbird has gone to hide the Triforce.
At its core, the game is essentially an reworking of the classic game. The music and everything else is pretty much just copied over from the original version, but the colors are reworked (Link is darker looking, like he is in the cartoon series), the graphics are original for the most part, enemy graphics are swapped around and look nice, the bosses (though mostly reskins) are quite interesting, and the overworld is very alien. But, the biggest change, in my opinion, is that Outlands is a lot less straightforward compared to the first game. Yes, there are nine dungeons that you must complete to finish the game, yet the game almost has that “Metroidvania” feel to it. For example, in Level 1, you’ll see the Step Ladder item visible in one of the rooms, but as it turns out, you can’t get it until you have the Ocarina and can defeat the boss that is guarding the room before it. Where do you get that? Why, not until you can access Level 4, of course! Often, you’ll visit a dungeon and defeat the boss protecting the Fairy there, but you’ll have to make note of certain locations that you can’t yet visit and then return later with the appropriate item. It’s this feature of the game that makes it deceptively difficult and long. Yes, the overworld is still the traditional 8×16, yet the game jams A LOT into those 128 screens, and the dungeons are laid out in such a way as to be quite difficult.
I must thank YouTuber Vythern for requesting this run of the game. I’d tinkered around with it before, but never played it to this extent. I’m really glad to be finally taking a more in-depth look at it! 🙂
Anyway, I’ll definitely see this one through, so stay tuned – a part two is certainly on the horizon!