BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets
|Ambiguously Canon Content|
|BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets|
|Designer(s)|| Koji Kondo (sound composer)|
Yuichi Ozaki (sound arrangement)
|Release date|| Week 1|
March 30, 1997
April 6, 1997
April 13, 1997
April 20, 1997
|Platform(s)||BS-X Broadcasting System|
|Predecessor||BS The Legend of Zelda|
|Successor||A Link to the Past (BS-X port)|
BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets was a game for the BS-X Broadcasting System add-on for the Super Famicom (the Japanese Super Nintendo). Games were downloaded from St. GIGA's satellite radio service. The game was much like a Second Quest or Master Quest of A Link to the Past, sharing a very similar overworld with slight changes and entirely new dungeons. Unlike a Second Quest however, it has an entirely new story. Various actions earned the player points, and these points could later be traded in to Nintendo for different prizes.
Ancient Stone Tablets is different from most other Zelda games as the game's central heroes are actually the avatars of the player's ID for the BS-X Broadcasting System, drawn into Hyrule, which is also true for BS The Legend of Zelda. The difference being that this time the player does not take the place of Link, but takes part in a new tale set after the events of A Link to the Past. The male character wears a green tunic (though others are later available) and a backwards baseball cap. The female character has long red hair and is otherwise almost exactly the same as the male.
The Hero of Light
The events of Ancient Stone Tablets occur a mere six years after the destruction of Ganon by the hero, Link in A Link to the Past. Hyrule is enjoying a time of peace and tranquility, but Princess Zelda suffers from a dark, recurring dream showing a shadow over a temple; a premonition of evil to come. One day, she witnesses a mysterious and brilliant light in the sky to the east. Aginah, the younger brother of the wise man Sahasrahla and now living in his old hideout near the Eastern Palace also witnesses such a light, and travels to investigate. There he finds a strange youth lying on the ground. Zelda, also following the light, meets up with Aginah, and they both carry the child to rest in Sahasrahla's hideout. Confused by the youth's unusual clothes, they believe the child not to hail from Kakariko Village. Speaking to Aginah while the youngster sleeps, Zelda learns that his brother Sahasrahla had also sensed danger surrounding Hyrule and had left the land to find the hero, Link. While Link has not yet returned, Zelda senses that if this new youth was endowed with courage, he or she may be the Hero of Light.
The Monsters Return
Some time after Zelda sets off to return to Hyrule Castle, a Soldier who guards the Eastern Palace appears before Aginah, claiming that a horde of monsters had appeared, killing the other guards protecting the temple. As the sole survivor, he passes this information on to Aginah despite his injuries. Aginah remains with the youth, hoping Zelda's belief in him or her is true. When the child awakens, Aginah informs the youngster of the monsters that are attacking their land, and explains that it is dangerous to go alone without a weapon. He states that a Sword and Shield can be found in the Eastern Palace, but he himself is too old to go there. He lends the youth an Ocarina and a Bug-Catching Net belonging to Saharshala, and also a Bottle containing a magical Golden Bee. He informs the child that the bee will attack monsters, but flee from anyone who holds a blade, and that the ocarina can be used to return to the entrance of a dungeon. With that, the new hero embarks on his or her journey.
After obtaining weaponry and exploring the Eastern Palace and a dark dungeon hidden behind the Waterfall of Wishing, the hero obtains two mysterious tablets from the Dungeon Masters, the Armos Knights and Moldorm. The hero also rescues Zelda from a monster attack and escorts her to Hyrule Castle. After the hero's quests in the dungeons are completed, he or she and Aginah meet up with Zelda in the castle and proceed to study the unusual tablets. Aginah concludes that they should travel to his elder brother's house in Kakariko Village to search for clues to deciphering the markings. Unfortunately, Aginah fails to discover anything important about them, so implores the hero to travel forth and collect more of them from the dungeon monsters. After obtaining two more tablets, Zelda suggests they travel instead to Link's House to obtain the Book of Mudora, which may be able to translate the text. While Aginah searches the house, Zelda calls for the Fortune Teller to divine the location of the book, while the hero continues to search for the tablets. Aginah does eventually locate the book, upon which point he and the hero meet with Zelda at the castle.
The Silver Arrows and the Demon King
The translated text of the tablets, written in the language of ancient Hyrule states that a sealed power, the Silver Arrows, is buried on the mountain. Aginah and the hero travel to the Sanctuary at the foot of the mountain, but Zelda follows, claiming she had another prophetic dream, this time of her holding the Book of Mudora on top of Death Mountain. Zelda insists on traveling with the hero to the summit of the mountain, as she is the only one who can read the Book of Mudora. During their quest to obtain the final two tablets and reach the summit, the Fortune Teller sees the King of Evil in a vision. Ganon's malice had kept his spirit alive despite the destruction of his body. It was this lingering evil power that had drawn the Hero of Light into the land of Hyrule, and upon the summit the hero travels once more into another world to engage in a desperate final battle with the Demon King in a new version of Ganon's Tower. Ganon desires the power of the Hero of Light to be fully reborn, but is finally destroyed using the Silver Arrows once more.
The game was divided into four "weeks", with one hour long broadcast per week, in the style of a serialized drama or cartoon. Aside from the opening and ending cutscenes, this gave players 50 minutes in which to beat two dungeons, hunt for secrets, and perform all the other standard Zelda actions. Once the time is up, whether the player has completed all the tasks available to them or not, the game would end, and his or her progress would be saved to the BS-X cartridge. Next week, the player will carry over the Tablets and other items they have obtained, and also their Rupee count, which acted as a scoring system. The player would be able to return to complete tasks they had failed to complete the previous week but could not return to old dungeons. Instead, a Thief will stand outside the dungeons of the previous week and hand the player a giant bag filled with the spoils of the dungeon. The game made use of streaming orchestrated music (which consisted of tracks from The Legend of Zelda: Sound & Drama) as well as a technology called Live Voice, which supplied tips to players at key points during the game and progressed the plot in the form of a fully voice acted drama. Aside from the narrator who spoke to the player directly, characters such as Aginah and Princess Zelda would speak to the hero via telepathy and convey information and plot developments. Other than a rebroadcast the following year the game was never playable again, even for those who still possessed the game on a 8M Memory Pak, until the advent of emulation. The voice acting and streaming orchestral music is impossible to emulate however, although the game contains written text as well.
Weeks and Objectives
- Week 1: The character awakens in the house in which Sahasrahla was found in A Link to the Past. Aginah is standing next to him or her, and he explains that he doesn't know who the character is, but he knows that he or she is important. He tells the character to go to the Eastern Palace to find out more. the character must travel there and defeat the enemies inside to acquire a stone tablet and some equipment. The character then finds Zelda and rescues her. She tells the character that she believes him or her to be the Hero of Light. The character then takes her to the castle, where she leaves him or her. After this, the character must acquire the flippers and complete the second dungeon which awaits behind the waterfall where the fairy fountain was found in the original A Link to the Past. After the week is over, the character is told to travel to Kakariko Village to find the next objective.
- Week 2: The character awakens in Kakariko Village in Sahasrahla's house. The character must then find two more stone tablets. The character learns more of Ganon and a first hero who saved the land not long ago. There is little plot in this episode, but there is much inventory growth. The week ends with Aginah talking of going to Link's house. He says that the Hero will accompany him.
- Week 3: The character wakes up in Link's house. The character then acquires the glove which allows him or her to lift heavy rocks once per screen. the goal is once again to acquire two more stone tablets.
- Week 4: Zelda decides she is going to follow the character throughout this week. She follows the character into the graveyard (7th) dungeon and the dungeon that goes up the mountain (8th). On top is a giant stone tablet, and she tries to decipher it. Once she does, the tablet breaks, giving the character the Silver Arrows and a path to get into Ganon's Tower. A flight of stairs leads to a drop down into an area like the center of the pyramid. After the character defeats him, Zelda remarks that she never realized how beautiful Hyrule really is. When time runs out after 50 minutes, the character drops the Master Sword into place. He or she is transported back in a flash of light from where the hero came. The reason Ganon still existed is that while Ganon's body was destroyed, his malicious spirit lived on, and coveted the power that the Hero of Light had.
- This is the first game to directly refer to Zelda's ability to predict the future through her dreams.
- While BS The Legend of Zelda was the first game to introduce a time limit and time-based events, this was the first game in which NPCs would actively move, change their behavior and even sometimes require rescuing depending on these events, a system that was later used to extensive effect in Majora's Mask.
- This was the first Zelda to feature a "fog of war" effect on the map; clouds will cover sections of the map that you cannot visit in the current week, and reveal more of the map as the weeks progress. This was used again immediately in the following game, Ocarina of Time, and was also used in Four Swords Adventures and others.
- Due to the Live Voice broadcast, this is the first Nintendo-produced Zelda game in which the princess' voice is heard in any fashion. Ganon's laugh and voice is also heard briefly, although this first occurred in The Adventure of Link.
- The hero gained the ability to turn at right angles while using the Pegasus Boots for exceptionally fast movement, which was later used (with slightly less precise turning) in Four Sword Adventures.
- The Gold Potion is introduced in this game, a potion that not only restores the hero's health and magic, but imbues him with a golden glow and increases his strength for a limited period of time (by shortening the time it takes to charge a Spin Attack), similar to the Elixer Soup from The Wind Waker and both the Great Fairy's Tears and Rare Chu Jelly in Twilight Princess.
- This is also the first game to involve a mini-game using Bombs; namely attempting to throw them into a large moving jar, later used for puzzles in Ocarina of Time and other games.
- This the first game in the series to allow Link to temporarily rent items, instead of permanently obtaining them. This is a concept that is revisited in A Link Between Worlds.
- The plot of the game takes place six years after A Link to the Past, the same amount of time between the Japanese releases of both games.
- There are spots for the Magic Cape and the Book of Mudora, but neither of them normally appear in the game.
- "March 30, 1997 (Week 1)" — BS Zelda, The BS Zelda Homepage.
- "April 6, 1997 (Week 1)" — BS Zelda, The BS Zelda Homepage.
- "April 13, 1997 (Week 1)" — BS Zelda, The BS Zelda Homepage.
- "April 20, 1997 (Week 1)" — BS Zelda, The BS Zelda Homepage.
- "BS THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: These games were broadcast via the Satellaview, a satellite modem for the Super Nintendo. Two titles were created for the system: BS The Legend of Zelda, based on the first Zelda game, and BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets, based on A Link to the Past." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 237)
- "Narrator: 6 years ago, Link the Hero threw down the King of Evil, Ganon. Since then, the land of Hyrule has basked in a time of tranquillity. But one day..." — Voice acting translation, The BS Zelda HomePage.
- Ah, so you've awakened, young child from another world. You were wrapped in a mysterious light which brought you here, although I don't know what it was. --Aginah (BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets English translation)
- "These files were patched with the... Magic cape and Book Mudora" — BS Zelda, The BS Zelda Homepage.