An astonishing demo build for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has turned up fresh details on early ideas for Nintendo's N64 masterpiece - such as Link being able to turn into his fairy Navi.
The demo in question was found on an old N64 development cartridge used to hold Nintendo racer F-Zero X. On further inspection, files relating to a 1997 Zelda demo build were also found, partly saved-over but some very much still intact.
Details have now been excitedly shared by the Forest of Illusion Twitter account, which is dedicated to preserving lost bits of Nintendo history. There's a lot to see.
Here's the F-Zero X development cartridge which contains the Spaceworld 97 Zelda 64 data in the overdump. There doesn't appear to be much code or music, just graphics and maps. Zelda 64 data begins at 0x1000000 in hex.https://t.co/DsFpv5uVau pic.twitter.com/JUyOjGRP5w— Forest of Illusion (@forestillusion) January 19, 2021
First up, a series of magical spell medallions which granted eye-opening effects, such as the Soul Medallion that let Link "become Navi and fly around".
Others medallions let Link fire light arrow-esque attacks or hide within a cloak of darkness to avoid enemies. Another medal let Link warp when in danger, while two more let him create and extinguish fire.
Here's detail on how Link would transform into Navi via the Soul Medallion:
And this is Huge -- the effect of the lost Magic Spells explained!!!!! pic.twitter.com/fnhoDZxU2c— MrCheeze ?? (@MrCheeze_) January 19, 2021
There's a very different world map for Hyrule:
Hyrule World Atlas from the 1997 Zelda 64 overdump! Now that is incredibly different! pic.twitter.com/EMykH1eMub— MrTalida (@MrTalida) January 19, 2021
A much more basic version of Kakariko Village:
An early version of the archery test where you ride Epona:
And Link's Pegasus Boots would also have put in an appearance:
Haven't seen anyone mention this yet, but the hover boots appear to have been the Pegasus Boots as many have long suspected! pic.twitter.com/aXifUfS2Fl— zel. (@zel640) January 19, 2021
Fans have even been translating some of the text found in the game, and have suggested early versions of Ocarina's plot would have played out very differently.
For example, the Deku Tree was going to be a prison for the game's fairies - including Navi - which Link would then set free.
We'll keep our eyes peeled for more from the leak, though fans looking into its files have cautioned that the ROM is only partially complete. Presumably this early build was not intended for public eyes, which is why the cartridge was then re-used to store F-Zero.