Packing an encyclopedic knowledge of the land of Hyrule and a passion for sharing it freely with others can be a bad thing if you’re wearing a baggy Tingle costume in public while ranting on a street corner to passersby giving you a wide berth. If that’s you, well… here comes the banana truck right… about… now. On the other hand, if you’re a more creative person like Jessica “Allaweh” Brown, you get cracking on a fan-made game that adds to the Legend of Zelda lore and feels quite like a professionally made product for classic game console. Zelda: Sword of Moria is set two years after the events in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, but plays much closer to the original game than its sequel. Brown has been releasing updated demo builds as she tinkers away on her project and once completed, the game will be free to anyone to play.
The game will require the Zelda Classic Launcher to run and should work fine on pretty much any PC. Once you’re all set to play, that recently created intro sequence kicks in and it’s off to the races. Sword of Moria actually begins with Link not having a sword (or any weapon at all) and a slight bit of hoofing it around to a new town to get his hands on one. This lets you see Brown’s nice level layouts as well as the tried and true Zelda gameplay where you’re unarmed for a short bit as you learn some navigation basics and see a few enemies you’ll want to avoid. Once that sword is acquired, get set to chop bushes and cut grass for Rupees and hearts as well as some enemies that previously had you scampering away before they drew a bead on poor Link.
The demo features an open world like the classic first game, but Brown’s braininess about Hyrule has allowed her to fill in some geographic gaps in the world map, making for a sensible and surprising journey while it lasts. In this latest demo build (2.0), you’ll be able to explore, fight off monsters, solve puzzles and find treasure in the Town of Saria, Northern Death Mountain, Calta Canyon and Eastern Calatia. Two smaller dungeons and one Major dungeon plus a few villages are also open for exploration. As this is an unfinished game, there are a small handful of areas that shouldn’t be ventured into lest you accidentally get Link bumped off. But the bulk of the demo looks and feels as if it’s a professionally made first-party game circa 1987 or so.
There’s still a good deal of work to go, but from the time spent with Zelda: Sword of Moira, it’s clear that this is going to be one of those great fan-made games that’s not just another remake or not quite “right” pseudo-sequel that goes off a few rails at different points. Her sticking to lore and dedication to making a game as close to feeling like the original and sequel make Ms. Brown someone to watch. And with work on a few sites, a regular podcast, YouTube and Twitch channel, she won’t mind you watching her, by the way.