An early version of N64 classic Zelda: Ocarina Of Time has been acquired by fans and contains a number of previously unseen secrets.
Dataminers have become a reliable source of rumours and new information in the modern era, especially when it comes to games as a service titles, but hacking a game to find its secrets also works for retro games.
Many fan groups are dedicated to picking apart gaming history and now they have an unexpected new source of information: an early version of The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time thought to be a Spaceworld demo from a year before the final game was released.
The early demo was discovered on an old development cartridge obtained by Forest of Illusion and is a much earlier version of the game than the unfinished ROM that was part of the last year – which is good because it also means it’s been acquired via less nefarious means.
Fans are still picking through the details, but it seems to include about half the data from the original beta ROM, after it was overwritten in favour of F-Zero X but while unknowingly leaving much of the Zelda data behind.
This has revealed not only different version of familiar items and areas but brand-new features that never made it into the final game. Perhaps the most significant are magical medals, which conferred powerful abilities that were never part of the final design.
The soul medal allows you to transform into Navi the fairy, allowing you to fly; while the medal of darkness makes you invisible to enemies and the light medal allows you to use an attack similar to light arrows.
There’s also a fire, ice, and wind medal – with the latter allowing you to warp to different areas. Some of the medal abilities were incorporated into the final game in different ways and medallions do exist in the final game, but they didn’t confer any special powers and were eventually just an indication that you’d awakened a new sage.
References have also been found to a landmine style weapon that seems similar to the blue shell from Mario Kart and a version of the Pegasus boots that in other Zelda games allow you to run faster.
New areas in the game include inns at Lon Lon Ranch and Zora’s Domain, as well as Gerudo bandits that would move around Hyrule Field at night – instead of regular monsters.
While the map of the overworld seems to be completely different the story structure was also changed in the beta, with Zelda researching the Temple of Time in the Royal Library while Link located the Spiritual Stones from the final version.
Although being able to fly sounds cool there’s no suggestion that any of these things would’ve made Ocarina Of Time better but it’s a fascinating insight into how the game was created and the design decisions Nintendo made along the way.
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Source: Metro UK