Friday, May 21, 2010

3D Dot Game Heroes & Legend of Zelda

The PlayStation 3 (PS3) exclusive, 3D Dot Game Heroes is, as publisher Atlus calls it, “the ultimate love letter to retro gamers.” This is 100% true, and particularly for anyone who has played the original 1987 The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or the 1991 smash hit, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

The developers at From Software are the ones responsible for 3D Dot Game Heroes. Their past works include the Armored Core series, some of the later Tenchu games, the King’s Field series, and, most recently, the fiendishly difficult and critically acclaimed Demon’s Souls.

The company, being founded in November 1986 in Japan, has been around for a long time—and it shows. There will never be a more faithful homage to the Zelda franchise than 3D Dot Game Heroes, which pays tribute and emulates almost every single facet of the blockbuster Nintendo series.

Seeing as pictures are worth a thousand words, I think it’d be best for me to just show you some comparison images of 3D Dot Game Heroes and some of the Zelda games. The similarities are undeniable.

While it is true that you can custom build your hero in 3D Dot Game Heroes, it's obvious that the protagonist was modeled after Link and that the fairies in the game were based on Navi from the Zelda series. The similarities between the characters is a lot more than purely visual--it extends far into the gameplay, as you can see from this trailer for 3D Dot Game Heroes:

Nuff said. For those unfortunate enough to have never played the 2D Zelda titles, here’s a trailer for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which came bundled with The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords:

Atlus even went one step further, making this mini-game rap trailer for 3D Dot Game Heroes, which is inspired by a Japanese commercial for Link to the Past, whose cheesiness can't be described in words.

But let's continue with the comparison images. Here's one of the Princess & Wizard from 3D Dot Game Heroes and their corresponding inspirations, the titular Princess Zelda & the evil sorcerer Aghanim. They don't match 100%, but the mere presence of stock characters like mages, princesses, kings, and simple townfolk in the Kingdom of Dotnia are enough.

The storyline in the game is pure Zelda. A Kingdom, long threatened by an ancient evil that was sealed away long ago. A young hero who must defend his Kingdom when that evil is somehow released. Throw in a massive overworld, multi-leveled dungeons with boss fights at the end, and bunch of Orbs to collect, and you have what many have called...Zelda on PS3.

Finally, let's take a look at your arsenal in 3D Dot Game Heroes and compare them to item illustrations for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:

3D Dot Game Heroes isn’t the most original game out there, but then again, it isn’t trying to be. Rooted in one of the most beloved series of video games ever created, it still manages to bring a lot of new things to the table, and at its bargain price of $39.99 MSRP, it’s a must-buy for retro gamers who happen to own a PlayStation 3.