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Legend of Zelda in virtual reality is both familiar and completely terrifying

The first Legend of Zelda game for the NES remains a classic.

The sense of adventure and discovery in the game was a rare thing upon release, and the dungeon design still holds up in modern hands. A new version of the game, re-worked for a first-person view and playable in virtual reality, changes nearly everything about how you experience a Hyrule that is recognizable, but now much scarier.

"This is a VR clone of The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The gameplay and artwork are virtually identical to the original NES classic, however in this version you see the world through Link's eyes, in all of it's virtual 3D 8-bit glory," the game's page states. "Explore the world, find weapons, kill enemies, collect items, discover secrets, buy upgrades, delve into dungeons, defeat bosses, restore the Triforce, and rescue Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon."

I've played an hour or so of this version of the game in my Oculus Rift, and it's a brand-new experience. Each sprite that makes up the screen now has a vertical aspect to it, meaning you can't see around walls or look at the entirety of a maze. It's easy to get lost, and you can no longer see every enemy on the screen at a glance. Instead you have to look around, make sure you take note of, and continue tracking, the enemies in the world.

They can and will surprise you, and it's easy to lose track of an enemy only to have them attack you from behind, or watch an arrow that barely misses fly across your view.

It's a scary, more action-oriented take on the original game, and it's a ton of fun. You can try it for free right now if you have an Oculus Rift, although be aware that it's still in beta and you may experience a few glitches here and there. Check out the video to see the game in action, and let's start getting excited about what other classic games may be re-imagined for virtual reality.

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