4 of the best retro games like the Legend of Zelda you can play right now
The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most well loved in the world. The adventures of Link on his eternal quest to defeat Ganon and assemble the triforce is well told. Link’s story was first told in 1986 when the Legend of Zelda was released for the Nintendo NES. It captivated gamers worldwide and forged a series that continues to this day.
But what can be done when the game is finally beaten and Zelda has been saved? Instead of hitting reset and starting again, what do you do if you want another action adventure retro title to sink your teeth into?
“But what can be done when the game is finally beaten and Zelda has been saved?”
We’ve compiled a list of similar titles and whittled it down to 4 of our favourites. Essential titles that cannot be missed and will scratch that itch for adventure once again. Looking at gameplay, style and general fun this list is the result of that compilation.
Final Fantasy 1 (1987)
Replacing one incredibly popular series with another is going to be a controversial start to this list. However, the very first Final Fantasy has a lot of similarities with the first Legend of Zelda game. They both feature mute heroes, a need to collect magical maguffins (crystals vs triforces), an antagonist with world domination on his mind and a high fantasy setting.
The key differences? The original Final Fantasy is a turn based RPG vs the Legend of Zeldas 3rd person top down real time action. If you struggle with turn based RPG’s it’s probably best to skip this recommendation. But has this piqued your interest?
The first Final Fantasy is available almost everywhere, but has been remastered for Steam, Android, IOS and Nintendo eShop.
Dragon Quest aka. Dragon Warrior (1986)
Released just a few months after the Legend of Zelda. Dragon Quest featured turn based combat in a high fantasy magical world with another mute protaganist and equally enigmatic antagonist, the Dragon Lord.
The story of Dragon Quest is arguably deeper than that of the Legend of Zelda. Featuring an indepth back story for the characters and setting. In contrast to the first Legend of Zelda game, the damsel in distress of Dragon Quest doesn’t even have to be met let alone saved! And the ending is sure to shock anyone.
“The story of Dragon Quest is arguably deeper than that of the Legend of Zelda.”
For those up for a more challenging experience, Dragon Quest can be played on Android or you can buy the first 3 Dragon Quest games for switch from Amazon
Dragon Crystal (1990)
No not another Dragon Quest entry. Dragon Crystal was released over 4 years after the Legend of Zelda. Becoming popular enough to receive a re-release on the 3DS via the Nintendo eShop 22 years later.
Dragon Crystal tells the story of a young adventurer who gets transported to a fantasy world of monsters and dragons. It is a turn based game but is far more similar to Legend of Zelda than other entries in this list. The world is portrayed as a maze and the monsters only move after the protagonist has.
The player must traverse the world using only what has been collected on the way. All the time nurturing his own dragon just like a pokemon! Dragon Crystal is available still on the Nintendo eShop now.
Wonder Boy in Monster Land (1987)
Wonder Boy in Monster Land is the direct sequel to 1986’s Wonder Boy. Spiritually, Wonder Boy felt like Sega’s own boy hero. He was a blonde haired, blue eyed young champion out to save the land and his girlfriend. There are many similarities in how the game plays out. Minor quests, exploration and equipment all play a major part of this title.
“Wonder Boy felt like Sega’s own boy hero.”
The key difference is in the 2D side scrolling almost platformer gameplay. But just like Link, Wonder Boy visits shops, talks to the townsfolk and beats monsters.
Wonder Boy in Monster Land is available on the Nintendo eShop and Playstation Network.