Owning the NES Classic Mini means my first priority is to play legend of Zelda. Again. I’ve just finished the sixth dungeon, which I recalled being tough, but I thought that was thanks to Darknuts.

These armoured knights are unaffected by sword strikes from head on, and also totally immune to the boomerang’s stunning effect. So you have to carefully manoeuvred yourself into a place to strike without them barging into you. Their movement is totally random, which in a sense is a good thing, as I’ve no idea how you’d hit them if they all just converged on you. It also means though that you can never predict if they will suddenly turn towards you, forcing evasive action. Which is difficult if several are nearby. The best tactic, if you risk being overwhelmed, is to drop bombs and then focus on dodging.

As it happens though the darknuts are in the previous dungeon. Six is made challenging by something worse, the goddamn wizzrobes.

The red ones are manageable by themselves – they teleport somewhere, fire one magic blast towards you if they have line of sight, then teleport again. It’s pretty easy to avoid their attacks and position yourself to strike back.

The blue ones are the bastards though. Instead of teleporting they drift erratically around the screen. If you pass in front of them they fire their magic repeatedly, whilst remaining in motion. They can also pass through solid blocks. If they barge into you, they inflict as much damage just by contact as they do with their magic. Finally, they’re twice as tough as the reds.

 

Argh! Image from zeldadungeon.net

Well at least there are only two blues here. Image from zeldadungeon.net

The good news, the big shield will at least block wizzrobe magic. The bad news, they’re often paired up with Like-Likes, which upon contact eat your shield. Want it back? You have to leave the dungeon and go buy one from a shopkeeper again.

So several rooms in dungeon six are a hellish frenzy of weaving around trying to land a hit, whilst dodging shots from several directions at once, hoping you don’t touch any blues, then also running in a panic from Like-Likes.

Oh wait there are bubbles as well, which don’t hurt you but stop you swinging your sword for about 5 seconds. Probably causing you to miss a narrow window to strike a wizzrobe.

As a final screw-you, dungeon six contains the magic rod which lets you shoot the same blasts as the wizzrobes. But they’re immune. The boomerang

If you die then you have infinite lives with which to try again, but you respawn with just three hearts. It’s not even worth trying to wade into the dungeon in such a fragile state, so you have to either chug a potion or go grind easy enemies for hearts before you try again.

Make sure you have the blue ring before you come here, or you’re taking three hearts damage each time a wizzrobe hits you. Which is pretty disastrous. Also, if you’ve done all the previous dungeons, plus found all the overworld heart containers, you should be able to get the magic sword which means you can take down the blue wizzrobes in two hits.

After all this struggle, the boss fight of this dungeon is weirdly anticlimatic. Wait for it to open its eye, fire one arrow and it drops dead. *sad trombone*

Anyway as Zelda veterans will confirm, I’m just being a wimp as I’m not even playing the Second Quest. This hard mode is accessible after beating the regular game or entering a cheat code. Dungeon layouts are changed with more hidden passages and movable blocks to hunt for, enemies are tougher, and items and dungeon entrances are moved to new locations. That sounds like some truly challenging dungeon crawling. I really should try it next.

(well, no, I should get back to PC games).