A WASD To The Past – Zelda FPS

Fairy boy, fairy boy

Have a dash of Nintendo in your PC tea, with Michael Johnston’s fan-made, browser-based reimagining of the second NES Legend of Zelda game as an FPS of sorts. Large, flat open lands, caves and floaty heart icons, all from the player-perspective rather than a bird’s eye view. Dedicated/clever/fiddly/oddly grindy, but quite lovely in its strange past-meets-present genre-bending.

Due to cruel, evil, malicious but ultimately career-shaping parents not allowing me any consoles in my youth, I’m not familiar enough with that game to offer you any ooh it’s the blue things I love them they’re my favourite of all the things gushing, but I do recognise the magical firing sword (when Link’s health is full), the shopping caves and the music. Will Ninty leave this one standing? It is only the first section of the game, up to and including the first boss fight, so perhaps they’ll show mercy.

The game runs in a browser if you have the Unity plugin installed (an engine which, it happens, turns five this month and is celebrating 30m installs of the plugin all-told), or alternatively there’s a video walkthrough below.


Thanks for the tip, Lewie.


  1. Hyperion says:

    haha, pretty slick. I like the idea. I do kinda hope they (Nintendo) wont interfere with this but :T

  2. Veret says:

    First-person platforming and sluggish melee fights? O frabjous day!

    Okay, that was a little harsh. But all the old Zelda games already exist on PC, so I’m a little confused as to the mission of this particular project.

    • rxtx says:

      The main point is that they’ve taken a 2D game and remade it in 3D

    • Collic says:

      Sometimes the only reason you need is ‘because it’s cool’.

    • Veret says:

      Hmm. Rule of Cool works, although I can’t say that I personally was grabbed by this concept. Maybe if he’d gone the extra mile and made it third person I could be more on board with the gameplay? Or maybe I should just appreciate all the cool people doing projects like these for free, and accept the fact that I won’t like 100% of them. Yeah, I’ll do that.

      But at least I got to use the word “frabjous.”

  3. ulix says:

    Nintendo are usually pretty lax with fan-made stuff infringing on their IPs, except of course when whole levels or sections (or games for that matter) are remade. But since this is a reimagining, and since the second Zelda was a side-scrolling action-platformer I predict they’ll let this slide, because how do you “copy” 2D-sidescrolling levels to 3D? You can’t, you’ll have to reinvent them.

    • Brumisator says:

      Ever heard of the ocarina of time 2D project? Exterminated by Nintendo.
      They are anything but lax on these matters.

      But maybe this’ll fly under their radar.

      I played this a few days ago, it’s fun to point at and go “HAH! I remember that!” but actually playing it…meh…

    • Bhazor says:

      Thats not why it was shut down.
      link to squidnews.com

    • ulix says:

      My point still stands ;)

      In fact the only game I can think of that they actually did shut down (out of what felt like 1000 fan-projects) was the Pokemon MMO. Because obviously that would be something they might decide to do themselves.

      Also, Nintendo only owns a third of the rights on Pokemon (Gamefreak and Creatures Inc. owning the other thirds respectively, all companies that are – in theory – independent).

    • Brumisator says:

      It seems my memory failed me.
      My bad.

  4. Fumarole says:

    If it doesn’t have up and downthrust attacks it ain’t Zelda 2.

    • Moonracer says:

      the fact that it is an FPS allows you to look up or down and “shoot”, so yes, that is included.

  5. Jossoy says:

    hahaha, from your link:

    “I had some trouble trying it myself as my PC doesn’t meet the steep system requirements of Project64” “The system requirements of Project64 are high. ”

    Said requirements:
    •Pentium III 600 Mhz or better
    •128 Mb. RAM or more
    •Fast video card with 16 Mb. Video RAM or more
    •Windows 95/98/Me
    •DirectX 6.0 (latest version of DirectX recommended)

    This was written in 2005.

  6. El Stevo says:

    No inverse y axis.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Why would you want to defy nature in such a way? There’s a reason it’s called the “inverted” mouselook – it’s evil and bad and wrong.

  7. Chiller says:

    Hmm, it appears I hit a bug with the first key in the dungeon (alternatively, I’m doing something wrong). I went outside to heal after I got it and upon return I could not unlock the door. Too bad, I love 1st person RPGs.

  8. Berzee says:

    Meer, you ninnyhammer, Zelda 2 wasn’t bird’s eye except the world map, it was a sidescroller (and therefore more better)!

    • the wiseass says:

      I wanted to say the same but I forgive him because not being allowed a console in his youth is punishment enough. Poor Mr. Meer.

  9. broklynite says:

    Since nobody else has said this…..


  10. Web Cole says:

    Shirley they could have managed some first person animations?! Looks a bit meh otherwise, tbh.

  11. Dr. Wily says:

    Its puzzling to me that all this obvious hard work and love went into recreating what is arguably the worst game in the series. The original Legend of Zelda seems like a better candidate for this kind of treatment. Or even Link to the Past.

    This coming from a guy who is currently loving Mirror’s Edge, so maybe I shouldn’t appoint myself Arbiter of Taste.

    Also, the skeleton coalescing together from the pile of bones looked pretty sweet.

    • jeremypeel says:

      One day, Mirror’s Edge’s time will come. Too late, but it’ll come. The meat is in the time trials – have you given them a go yet?

      Also, we’re agreed on the re-assemblin’ skeletin.

    • Dr. Wily says:

      Not yet, but I’m looking forward to it. One benefit of only having 3 or 4 hours a week available for playing games is that games that are universally criticized for being short still take me a month to get through.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Yeah, there comes a point where 100+ hours promised gameplay doesn’t seem quite so appealing when you know you won’t see a quarter of it.

      Seriously though, the story mode is only the beginning; the time trials allow for plenty of freedom in creative route-finding, and nothing compares to finally shaving off that .43 of a second on the final run.

  12. Meh says:

    This type of thing always makes me just a little sad.

    Why can people not at least attempt to come up with their own ideas, rather than doing this type of thing? It always seems like a waste of skill and resources. But whatever.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I’m sure someone will get some semblance of enjoyment out of it, but I have to agree on the waste of skills. Having watched a video full of fairly pretty goos and competent animation, I can only hope the creator is working on something else more inspiring.

    • Dr. Wily says:

      I feel exactly this way whenever I see a particularly well made Star Wars/Star Trek/Dr Who/whatever fan film. Why not put that effort into your own work? No matter how much effort you put into fan art, people will only ever see it as a novelty.

    • Gutter says:

      It is his “own idea”.

      It doesn’t matter if the map layout is the same as some other game, it’s part of his idea. It’s not a “waste” either, unless you think that using his another setting would make the project more worthy? His intent isn’t to make money here.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Another project might not be any more inherently worthy, but it would most likely be more fun, as it wouldn’t be religiously following level design and gameplay decisions originally made for a 2D game.

      I do think projects like this have artistic merit, and if I was a Zelda fan I reckon I’d be pretty excited about the whole thing. As Dr. Wily says though, it’s pretty limited in its scope and I’d like to see the developer try his hand at something less willfully niche and restricted. It doesn’t have to be about money.

  13. Dr. Wily says:

    I suppose now we are treading into the dangerous territory of discussing a work in the context of what if could have been (according to us outside observers) instead of what it actually is. No actual finished game will ever be as good as the theoretical game we could imagine him making instead.

    Yes, I realize that I am basically arguing with myself on the internet. Its much more productive than arguing with strangers!

  14. Garrett says:

    Think about it, you push your head forward in order to look down, you pull your head backward in order to look up. It makes perfect sense.

  15. Xenovore says:

    I agree, this game is a waste — something much cooler could have (and should have) been created. Being a fan of the Zelda games, I was expecting coolness — there is none to be had here.

  16. hearme says:

    It’s the first appearance of Idie Okonkwo, although u have fascinating ideas.one of the five lights of Generation Hope. She’s one of my favourites. Well, they’re all my favourites, but she’s intermittently hilarious and scary as hell to write. She’s also the one of the five who required the most research to write.