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The Legend of Zelda Redux

Hack of The Legend of Zelda


Celebrating the 35th Anniversary since the release of the original Legend of Zelda on the Famicom Disk System on February 21st, 1986; and continuing over from the Zelda II Redux hack, The Legend of Zelda Redux (or Zelda 1 Redux) aims to tackle some of the odd designs and programming decisions from the original NES classic to revitalize and give new life to the beloved and cherished classic.

This hack tries to address a lot of points to make the game fit with the rest of the series (and Zelda 2 Redux) by doing some rebalancing and QoL changes, and also some visual flare into the game, without compromising the original game’s design. Be sure to check the full Changelog inside the ReadMe file for the full list of changes made to this hack, and also don’t forget to check the optional patches too!

Want to see the full discussion/development of the hack? Follow it on the next sources:


  • MMC1 and MMC5 versions. This was done so that users that want to go the reproduction cartridge route, can use the MMC1 version (and for compatibility sake). For emulation, any of the two versions can be interchanged.
  • Both versions feature overworld tile animation
  • Save manually with Up+A when in the Items Subscreen
  • Reworked heart HUD to match Zelda 2 Redux
  • Relocalization of the game’s script to better match the Japanese release, or have better hints altogether. Based on the Legends of Localization book/webpage (Except the two iconic “Take this” and “It’s a secret” lines)
  • Make the Blue tunic more vibrant
  • Stop the HUD from disappearing when entering or leaving caves during overworld map
  • Proper player sprite position when leaving overworld from caves
  • Reduces random wait times when entering caves
  • Fix Y-scroll timing glitch when changing screens
  • Fix Q1-D1 door opening on its own if you enter-leave the dungeon
  • Fix alignment of the sword beam in multiple directions
  • Increment the initial bomb max. amount to 10 instead of 8
  • Increment the bomb upgrades by 10 instead of the original 4. First upgrade should give you 20 bombs, second will be 30.
  • Faster text printing
  • Modify the Sword beam to only be active when at full health/heart, and stop shooting when the life gets to 3/4 of a heart
  • Modify certain item names to better match subsequent official names in the franchise (Rupee, Fairy, Heart Container, etc.)
  • Change the Red and Blue rings to Red and Blue tunics
  • Introduction text rewrite
  • Reimplementation of the warning screen from version PRG1 upon Game Over / Saving
  • Slight modifications to the title screen to give the “ZELDA” title a red colour (modified fading palettes to match this change too)
  • Possibly also add a breakable tile hint for overworld tiles
  • Automap Plus, but modify it to have 1/4 heart decrements instead of 1/8 (this is needed in order to make space in sprite PPU for the next point (#3)
  • Visible hint for breakable walls in Dungeons (already implemented, just need sprite space for the left walls)
  • Remove the 1 Rupee flashing (couldn’t be made green due to palette limitations)
  • Press the Select button to toggle the item selected for the B Button (to avoid pausing the game to select an item every time)
  • Change the duplicate bosses in Level 4 and 7 (Gleeok and Aquamentus) to Lanmola and Patra respectively.
  • Have 999 rupees as the maximum amount, instead of 255. The rupee amount also needs to be saved in SRAM for when the game loads, so it starts with whatever amount you had last time (thanks to Bogaa for this feature!)
  • Add a proper arrow enemy-drop item and an arrow counter (shops give 30 arrows when purchased), with the max arrow limit being 30 for normal Arrows, and 60 once you get the silver Arrows (thanks to Bogaa for the Arrow drop/counter code, and stratoform for the Max arrows limits!)
  • Slight graphic changes to make certain sprites match their official artwork (Link now has his yellow hat line, some shield slight change, etc.). This won’t be a graphic update of the game, as it was still wanted to retain the original game’s overall art design and aesthetic, but with sprites that better depict their official artwork designs.
  • Be able to kill the Pols Voice by playing the flute, and also with arrows to retain the original way of killing them (Thanks to stratoform for this!)
  • Flip the heart rows in the File Select Screen (Thanks again stratoform!)
  • New column definitions to make the overworld look more polished, adding corners, rounded edges and other slight stuff so the overworld doesn’t look as blocky.
  • Make recently bombed overworld walls have a new arched cave entrance tile, without the tile losing its properties from the previous tile $24 (new tiles are $54-$57):
  • Rework the Credits for the game to have full names show up for each developer (like in Zelda 2 Redux):
  • Diagonal Sword swing in Zelda 1, implemented by minucce. Inspired on initial work based on Displaced Gamer’s “Zelda Hit Detection - Behind the Code” video

Don’t like some of the changes made in the project? Don’t worry, the project also includes optional patches to undo or remove certain features, or even restore things like how they were in the original Zelda 1!

Optional patches:

  • Blue-er Tunic based on Asaki’s hack (Bluer Tunic.ips)
  • Change the Tunics back to Rings with new revamped sprite (Tunic 2 Ring.ips)
  • Change Tunics to the Original Ring GFX from the NES release (Tunic 2 NES Ring.ips)
  • Hide the unique Automap tiles and print out the grey tiles from the original (Grey Automap.ips)
  • Disable Diagonal Sword Swing for those that want the original Zelda 1 stab instead (Disable Diagonal Sword.ips)
  • Fill the amount of hearts you have upon starting a save file, so you don’t always start with 3 hearts only (Full Health at Start.ips)
  • Famicom Disk System’s version Font graphics (FDS Font.ips)
  • Hide back all the overworld and dungeon secrets (Original Hidden Secrets.ips)
  • Modify bomb upgrade amount to 05 per upgrade (Bomb Upgrades 5 instead of 10.ips)
  • Link’s Awakening graphics patch (Link’s Awakening GFX.ips)
  • Original HUD to be the same as the original Zelda 1, with the map on the left and health on the right (Original HUD.ips). If you want Grey Automap with this, use “Grey Automap (for Original HUD).ips”
  • Original NES graphics (Original NES GFX.ips)
  • Original (blocky) Overworld screen/column definitions (Original Overworld Columns.ips)
  • Remove the Low Health sound effect beeping (Remove Low Health Beep.ips)
  • Remove the newly added “THE HYRULE FANTASY” subtitle from the title screen (Remove Hyrule Fantasy Subtitle.ips)
  • Reworked Title Screen to match more recent Zelda title screens (Reworked Title Screen.ips)
  • Reworked Title Screen without “THE HYRULE FANTASY” subtitle (Remove Reworked TS Subtitle.ips)
  • Unique bosses in each Dungeon/Level (Rearranged Bosses.ips)
  • Make each dungeon have its own unique colour palette similar to Modern Classic Edition (Recoloured Dungeons.ips)

Help needed for these points:

  • Save the amount of hearts you last had if the game was saved manually, so when you load, you start with the same amount of life (this I’m not sure if it will be implemented in the end hack)
  • Implementation of a Copy/Erase file system like in subsequent Zeldas, where D-Pad Up and Down control the cursor in the File Selection and pressing A brings up the Name screen (Example: ALttP). Could possibly be done, but it’s also a missing/dropped feature from Zelda 2 Redux.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Database match: Legend of Zelda, The (USA)
  • Database: No-Intro: Nintendo Entertainment System (v. 20180803-121122)
  • File SHA-1: DAB79C84934F9AA5DB4E7DAD390E5D0C12443FA2
  • File CRC32: D7AE93DF
  • ROM SHA-1: A12D74C73A0481599A5D832361D168F4737BBCF6
  • ROM CRC32: 3FE272FB




ContributorType of contributionListed credit
ShadowOne333HackingMain developer & Project leader
TraxOriginal WorkZelda 1 Disassembly, Help and Feedback
bogaabogaaHacking999 Rupees, Arrows, MMC5 animation, paths dialogue, and a LOT of ASM contributions
FiskbitHackingMMC1 Animation (NES 2.0 header)
DarkSamus993HackingASM help, Select Button feature
stratoformHackingKill Pols Voice w/Flute code, PRG1 Game over screen, Cracked walls collision fix, Max arrow limit
gzipHackingSelect button fix, Slow title screen waterfall animation
frantikHackingImplementation of MMC1 Automap for MMC1 Animation
minucceHackingBugfixes for MMC1, MMC5, original game bug-fixes and Diagonal sword swing
LexLuthermiesterHackingNew bosses optional patch
snarfblamOriginal HackingAutomap hack

User Review Information

10/10 Amazing Hack (Purist Rant)

Reviewed By: brownjacket on 22 Sep 2021

I needed to write this review partially because this is an amazing hack and partially because I need to vent. I didn’t grow up with the challenge of NES games. As someone who got into retro gaming later in life, you purists need to keep in mind a few things. 1) these games were cryptic back in the day just so you’d shell out more of your parents cash to buy strategy guides, 2) these games were challenging NOT because you were special children who could handle such difficult challenges, but because of the following equations: hardware limitations + nintendo’s corporate deadlines = a hard game. A hard game + loads of free time as a child = You spending a bunch of hours on nintendo as a kid and now, as a grown adult, feeling some weird moral superiority over people enjoying your beloved game in a different way. Many purists dish on this hack for making the game “too easy.” Well, it sets the difficulty just right for my contemporary tastes. Adding a map, select button functionality, visible hints, and ESPECIALLY the diagonal sword swing are all welcome additions in my book. This hack breathes new life into a dated game, but it aggravates me to no end seeing grown men whining about these tiny details, when shadowone333 and all the other hackers involved put in a lot of charitable forethought, time, and dedication to refurbish this game. If you don’t like certain aspects of this hack, you can literally customize it with a dozen different patches to remove those QoL changes. They didn’t have to do that, but they did and it was a nice feature. But if you’re a still not happy with that, literally just stop coming to this website all together. Just play on the original hardware with the original game. These programmers are die hard fans and gave us a cool gift FOR FREE. Please show some appreciation, that’s all I’m saying.

Version 2.0 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
10/10 Amazing Hack (Purist Rant)brownjacket22 Sep 20212.0Yes
Great Experiencenejimakipiyo07 Sep 20211.01Yes
The definitive version of Zelda 1RedXTheChosenOne21 Aug 20211.01Yes
Not optional enough for purists.ClaudeDixon25 Jun 20211.01No
Very Nearly PerfectPowerPanda29 Mar 20211.01 MMC5Yes
A great gift for Zelda's 35th!Ray13827 Feb 20211.0Yes
Absolutley Wonderful!Morinis22 Feb 20211.0Yes
Easiest recommendation I've madeifightdragons22 Feb 20211.0Yes