Zelda: Sword of Moria Update: Western Calatia’s Pretty, But Not A Nice Vacation Spot

Western Calatia - Finished
When last we ventured into the land of Western Calatia (a few weeks ago), ever-questing hero Link had just died at the hands of a boss, but upon his revival was wondering when he’d see more of the rather well-made fan game he was starring in, The Legend of Zelda: Sword of Moria. Actually, the game’s creator, Jessica Brown has been busy working on it in between her writing for a few gaming sites and other things like life in general. So it’s a case of her own patience and persistence overcoming any sort of burnout and boredom that tends to set in when working on something for such a long period of time. My experience with the last couple of demo builds has been nothing but total fun because here’s a case of someone who’s dedicated to making a game that’s worthy of the Zelda lineage and canon while not rushing it out just to say it’s “finished”.

That map above seems as if it’s huge (and it is indeed!). And as note, it’s not a nice vacation spot because it’s got monsters that will keep Link from enjoying his stay by constantly trying to kill him. But it also seems likely that it’s not the entire game world Brown has planned for the final release. Excellent. Even more excellent, she’s just posted a nifty article over at Zero Friction that details some of her thoughts on developer fatigue and how to deal with it. If you follow the fan game scene (whether it be ROM translation efforts or full-on games being created from scratch), you know many projects flame out and vanish or move from person to person sometimes for years until they disappear for good or actually get completed. brown touches on that and more as she lays out some ideas on how her game may or may not be chapter-based along with some other stuff I’ll let you get to on your own.

Zelda: Sword of Moria Hands-On: The Missing Link Is Coming Along Quite Nicely


 

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.

Sword of Moria Calta CanyonThe 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.