What if the classic Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda was re-released today using a first-person 3D perspective? That’s exactly what Oculus Rift developer Ubiquitron wants users of the virtual reality headset to discover for themselves.
I stumbled across this gameplay video (thanks Kotaku) from YouTube producer Vaecon, who takes his viewers on a brief tour of the game’s overworld. But ZeldaVR: The Legend of Zelda BETA really turns Shigeru Miyamoto’s top-down action adventure game on its head.
Here, using the Oculus Rift, you view Hyrule and its monster inhabitants through Link’s eyes, transforming the game into something more resembling Doom than a 2D dungeon crawler. Link’s head bobs around subtly as you traverse the maze, stabbing and shooting Tektites and Moblins. Remove the cheerful theme music from the mix and it might even resemble something terrifying, especially when considering the deep immersion provided the Oculus Rift.
From what I can gather it doesn’t explicitly rip the art assets from the original cartridge, but instead serves as a “virtually identical” recreation of the NES classic. On the surface, the idea seems doomed for failure. But after watching Vaecon’s playthrough, the first-person perspective seems to lend even more charm to the characters while significantly raising the challenge.
Can you imagine other retro games getting this treatment? Contra, Mega Man, and shooters like Galaga could be fundamentally altered to deliver fresh spins on familiar worlds, for that ultimate dose of nostalgia. That is, if lawyers from Nintendo, Capcom, and Konami don’t object.
This is yet another reason to be excited for the Oculus Rift, and it makes the unknown wait for the Crystal Cove development kit (read my hands-on impressions here) and its retail release even more unbearable.
ZeldaVR: The Legend of Zelda is classified as a Beta, though the developer has scheduled the full release for March. It will be free from VirtualReality.io.