Finding hidden elements in a game will always feel special to the players discovering them. Whether they be nods to other titles, gameplay tricks to ease the challenges ahead, or just secrets waiting to be stumbled upon, they help to create a sense of discovery. That in turn builds the experience of playing said game as a much more unique endeavor.
The Legend of Zelda is a series that has always loved including secrets. With Breath of the Wild, there were moments waiting to be revealed around every corner that gave players the feeling they were uncovering something no one else had. But even as far back as the first in the series, Nintendo was cleverly hiding things for the most curious of players.
Some of these are well-known by now, having established themselves as some of the most famous secrets in gaming history. But there was a time when they too were waiting to be found by fans. On the other hand, there are still some hidden details and tricks that players may be unaware of even after all this time.
This is just one of the many pieces that makes this series so beloved. In a franchise that focuses on the allure of grand adventure, it’s only natural for passionate players to want to turn over every stone. Here are 25 things hidden in The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link that only super fans knew about.
25 Both Games: Saving Was A Secret
We take something like saving for granted but it used to be a luxury. Some games didn’t have the option at all but the original The Legend of Zelda was the first game to include separate files and a way to save your progress.
Each time Link perished, the Game Over screen would give you the option to save and quit or continue. It was the same in Zelda II. But there was a hidden and mildly bizarre way to save without dying. Simply pause the game, press Up and the A button simultaneously on a second controller, and voila.
24 The Legend Of Zelda: Dungeon Layouts Resemble Their Namesakes
Showing title cards as Link entered each dungeon wouldn’t be included until later games. But that doesn’t mean that the nine levels in the original game didn’t have names. Nintendo seemingly went one step further and made it so each dungeon’s layout represented its name.
Some of them are easy to make out like The Eagle, The Skull, and The Moon, which is represented in crescent form. But others, like The Lion or The Demon, require a bit of imagination.
23 The Legend Of Zelda: Skip The First Quest
Before The Legend of Zelda was a widely known franchise, there were some non-players who believed you played through the game as Zelda, given that her name is in the title. But Nintendo chose to include a secret if players actually chose to name their hero after the princess.
The Legend of Zelda features a second quest that you can play through after beating it once and it’s much more difficult than the first. Naming your file ‘Zelda’ allows you to skip straight to this second quest. A well-known secret by now, but an awesome Easter Egg at the time.
22 The Legend Of Zelda: Second Quest Dungeons Spell Zelda
There are many things that the second quest from The Legend of Zelda changes to give the player a greater challenge. Enemies are tougher, locations on the overworld are shuffled around, and the layouts of each dungeon are changed completely. It added more variety instead of simply increasing the difficulty.
Nintendo chose to include another Easter Egg when they rearranged the maps for each dungeon. Some of them resemble letters. And when put in the correct order, they spell out the titular princess’s name.
21 Zelda II: "I Am Error" Isn't Actually An Error
Coming across this town citizen is by no means a hard task. He’s easily found in the town of Ruto and he spawned countless memes as many thought he really was an error, most likely attributed to poor translation when bringing the game to the America. But this isn’t actually the case.
Later in the game, you can find another citizen named Bagu which is Japanese for “bug.” He looks identical to Error, just with different colored clothes. It seems Nintendo inserted a joke about bugs and errors that many players didn’t pick up on.
20 The Legend Of Zelda: Secret Moblins
There are a lot of quotes from the Zelda franchise that are famous among fans. And one that pops up throughout the series to this day comes from the original. In several areas, you can find Secret Moblins. Instead of attacking Link as they normally would, they give him various amounts of money.
“It’s a secret to everybody” is one of the most recognizable quotes today. But actually finding these guys? That took some real patience as there was no way to know which bush to burn or which wall to bomb, revealing entrances to their hiding spots.
19 Zelda II: Familiar Town Names
Zelda II is often considered the weakest entry in the series by many fans due to how many aspects it changed from the successful original. So it’s likely that most players haven’t taken the time to revisit it. If they had, they would have noticed some familiar town names.
Several of them have the same names as the Sages found in the seminal Ocarina of Time a decade later. Saria, Ruto, Nabooru, Darunia, and Rauru are all towns that can be found in Zelda II. Impa wasn’t a town as she was still a character seen in the game’s manual.
18 The Legend Of Zelda: Extra Keys
All Zelda players know what to expect when it comes to progressing through dungeons. Battle monsters or solve puzzles to earn a key that unlocks a door, allowing you to move forward. But during the first quest of the original game, it’s possible to make it a little easier on yourself.
Upon entering the first dungeon, you can exit, reenter, and the locked door straight ahead will magically be open. This lets you keep an extra key for tough spots later. You can also purchase small keys from certain merchants, but that will cost you a hefty amount of Rupees.
17 The Legend Of Zelda: You (Mostly) Don't Need The Sword
When you first begin your quest in The Legend of Zelda, it gives you no information to go off of. Your first instinct will be to venture into the cave nearby, where you’ll meet an old man who spouts the famous words, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”
With this, Link gets his trusty sword. But you don’t actually need a sword to complete most of the game. It would certainly offer seasoned players a greater challenge not to get it. The only thing you do need it for is the final fight with Ganon.
16 Zelda II: A Tribute To Dragon Quest
Nintendo loves their Easter Eggs, but not all of them found in the Zelda series are references to other games within the franchise. In the Japanese version of Zelda II, Link can find a grave in Saria Town that reads, “The hero Loto rests here.”
Loto is the hero of Dragon Quest, known as Erdrick in the English language version. But as the English language version, titled Dragon Warrior, had not been released in America by the time Western audiences got their hands on Zelda II, this Easter Egg was taken out.
15 The Legend Of Zelda: Complete Your Inventory Without Finishing A Dungeon
Something that would become a staple in the Zelda series was obtaining an item or weapon in a dungeon that helped you defeat that dungeon’s boss. By the end of the game, you’d have an absolute arsenal going into the final level to face Ganon.
But if you really wanted to, you could complete your inventory without finishing a single dungeon. There’s nothing stopping you from entering any of the dungeons. One could go in, collect the item, and leave. Why you’d want to do this is another matter, but it is possible.
14 Zelda II: Ganon's Laugh
Ganon, the chief antagonist of the Zelda series, is not in Zelda II. But the threat of his return looms throughout. Many of Ganon’s minions believe that defeating Link will see him resurrected. And every time Link loses all his lives, players see a Game Over screen accompanied by Ganon’s silhouette and his taunting laugh.
But that laugh is anything but original. Though it is slightly edited, it’s the same laugh that Soda Popinski emits in the boxing game Punch-Out!! when he wins by knock out.
13 The Legend Of Zelda: Restart With Full Health
When you perish in the original The Legend of Zelda and begin playing again, you start back at the first screen with only three hearts. It doesn’t matter how many heart containers you’ve found, you always begin with only three. That is, unless you know this trick.
If you want to save and return with full health, just head to a fairy fountain and use the save screen trick with a second controller. If you do, you’ll begin with full health instead of just three measly hearts.
12 Zelda II: Easier Experience Points
In both games, there are several tricks that could be utilized by desperate players who knew about the save screen. And for those living in a house with other players, this next one could help them out tremendously.
Zelda II is the only game in the series to feature a leveling up system. Upon completing a temple and placing the magical stone in the statue, Link earns a massive amount of experience points. As this happens, you can complete the save screen trick, select a different file, and allow that Link to gain experience until he levels up.
11 The Legend Of Zelda: An Easy Way To Defeat Gohma
Gohma is a giant, armored, one-eyed spider that has appeared in several Zelda titles as a boss. And while many of her incarnations are fairly easily dealt with, her first appearance was a bit tougher.
She’s the boss of Level 6 and she wisely chooses to keep her eye closed as you avoid her attacks. Even still, there’s an easy way to deal with her. Equip your bow and fire immediately upon entering the room. She will always be straight ahead and will begin with her eye open. If you time it just right, you’ll defeat her in one hit.
10 Zelda II: No Need For Keys
Where The Legend of Zelda gave players the option of stockpiling extra keys, Zelda II lets players bypass a need for them at all. Another way this entry was more like an RPG was the inclusion of certain spells that Link could learn.
Some of them are expected, like life recovery or the ability to shoot fire. But then there is the fairy spell which, as you probably guessed, turns Link into a fairy. It was mainly included so Link could reach high up spots, but you can also use it to get pass locked doors in temples.
9 The Legend Of Zelda: Don't Feed The Hungry Goriya
The Goriya is one of the most annoying enemies in the Zelda series as it mirrors Link’s movements. However, in the original game, you can come across one that only grumbles and blocks your way forward.
What you’re supposed to do is feed him your bait so he’ll let you pass. But there’s a glitch that lets you get rid of him if you don’t have any. Just break out that second controller again, perform the save screen trick as soon as you hear the lovely “secret found” melody, restart, and he’ll have disappeared.
8 Zelda II: The Acceleration Glitch
It’s not as if Link moves too slowly in Zelda II. But if you’re just not patient enough, there is a glitch that allows him to move much faster. It can only be used with NES controllers that let you press left and right on the D-pad at the same time.
Doing so will make Link run much faster in whichever direction he’s currently facing. But as it is a glitch, it doesn’t come without its precautions. It can also occasionally cause him to glitch through walls, which could lead you into a trap.
7 The Legend Of Zelda: Healing From The Bubble's Curse
“Bubble” is the uncharacteristically cute name given to the flaming skull enemies found throughout the Zelda franchise. And in every single appearance, Blue Bubbles have been a pain to deal with. While they don’t deal damage, they do curse Link so he can’t use his sword.
However, a quick way to deal with this problem is to play the flute/recorder. Rather than waiting for the effects to wear off, this will cure Link immediately. Nintendo kept this secret going with later titles, where you could play the Song of Storms on the ocarina for the same solution.
6 Zelda II: Easier Monster Battles
One of the aspects changed in Zelda II was how you navigated the world. You could move Link around an overworld, but once you entered a town or monster battle, it would switch to a side-scrolling view.
Speaking of battles, there is a trick you can use to make them easier. There are certain spots or tiles that, when Link steps on them, trigger a battle sequence. But there are also monsters roaming around the world. If you wait for a monster to step on one of these tiles and then move forward, the ensuing battle will be much easier.
5 The Legend Of Zelda: Fewer Enemies To Deal With
The Legend of Zelda also featured a small secret that would make dealing with enemies easier. Once you defeat all the monsters on a screen and move to the next one, the monsters you just defeated will have respawned when you return to that location. This means you’ll either have to run away or deal with them again.
Or you could defeat all of them but one. Since the enemies don’t respawn unless all of them have been slain, doing this means there will only be one easily avoidable enemy whenever you return to an area.
4 Zelda II: Easier Dark Link Fight
Dark Link offers one of the most interesting boss fights in Zelda II and Ocarina of Time. It is also one of the toughest as he mimics all of your attacks. He’s the final boss in Zelda II, so he naturally brings the greatest amount of challenge.
But he doesn’t have to. While you may think you need to attack him head on, it’ll be much easier if you hold back. Simply move to the edge of the left side of the screen and tap B repeatedly. You’ll still get hit, but he’ll go down much more easily and quickly.
3 The Legend Of Zelda: Extra Potion
Potions are one of the most helpful items you can find in any Zelda game and they’ve grown to include different colors with varying effects. In The Legend of Zelda, there is only water of life and red water of life. Each refills your hearts, but while the blue one can be drank only once, the red can be drank twice.
Once you drink from the red one, it’ll turn blue, signaling you have one more use. When this happens, just purchase another blue one and it’ll turn red again, saving you Rupees and giving you an extra potion.
2 Zelda II: A World Within A World
This Easter Egg from Zelda II undoubtedly went unseen by most fans for quite a long time given how unnoticeable it is. Just south of Spectacle Rock, there is a beach area that doesn’t really serve any purpose. Many players may have found it and assumed it would be important later, but nothing crucial ever happened there.
What it is, however, is a well-placed Easter Egg hiding in plain sight. It looks remarkably like a scaled down version of the entire overworld from The Legend of Zelda.
1 The Legend Of Zelda: The Minus World
“Minus World” is the name given to levels buried under code of the original Super Mario Bros. They’re filled with bugs and unused content, but they have a certain amount of fame for Nintendo fans.
Earlier this year, a player discovered that a minus world also exists in The Legend of Zelda. There’s much more freedom in terms of what can be done compared to the one in Super Mario Bros. and is fully navigable, but it’s still filled with bugs. You can see all the insane ridiculousness here.