BS stands for Broadcast Satellaview; the Satellaview unit is commonly referred to as the BS-X. Using this addon, gamers could download the game from the BS-5 channel of St. GIGA's satellite radio network and save it onto either the BS-X base unit's flash-RAM (included) or a BS-X Special Broadcast Cassette (an additional purchase or prize).
A youth from "another world" appears in a flash of light and descends into Hyrule, and is discovered by Sahasrala and Princess Zelda. This youth (who can be either male or female, depending on the player's choice), is identified as the "Hero of Light" and instructed to obtain the eight "Ancient Stone Tablets", which contain the divine words of the three goddesses. It is believed that if the hero/heroine can obtain these tablets, the message in them will reveal an ancient secret able to defend Hyrule from Ganon and his army.
Thus, the Hero of Light sets out to collect the Ancient Stone Tablets, traveling in the same Hyrule depicted in A Link to the Past. After collecting the Tablets and drawing the Master Sword from its pedestal in the Lost Woods, the Hero of Light, along with Zelda, climbs to the summit of Death Mountain to an ancient monument. Zelda translates the tablets and monument cracks there, revealing the Silver Arrow and Sacred Bow. This, Zelda says, is what the Hero of Light needs to defeat Ganon. Finally, a red portal opens up and reveals the way into the Dark World, where Ganon resides.
The Hero of Light enters Ganon's Tower and battles Ganon, defeating him with the Silver Arrow. After retreating back to Hyrule, the Hero returns the Master Sword to its resting place in the Lost Woods, leaves Zelda and Sahasrala, and returns to their world in a flash of light.
The game and its gameplay was mostly identical to A Link to the Past, which it was based on.
Many gameplay mechanics were changed. The most notable change was to the Pegasus Boots; the player could now change directions when running with the Boots, and move between rooms and screens without automatically stopping as in A Link to the Past. The dungeon items were also changed. Instead of three pendants and seven crystals the player now collected the titular Ancient Stone Tablets, of which there were eight.
Bombable walls, which in A Link to the Past were noticeably cracked, are in this game completely indistinguishable from regular walls. Only prodding with a sword will lead to their discovery by making a hollow ringing sound. Each bombed-out area rewarded the player with Rupees, or pots containing bomb and arrow refills, and so on. Sometimes the wall concealed an "Upgrade Thief"; the thieves who in A Link to the Past knocked into the player and stole the items they dropped now appeared in a helper role; he would upgrade their maximum of one ammo type (either bombs or arrows, each thief only upgrades one type, and once only), but for a cost. The price increased as the player progressed through the game. When discovered in caves found on the overworld, these thieves gave out large quantities of Rupees.
Each week, the player could only access certain portions of the overworld. Areas shrouded in clouds were unreachable. Two dungeons were accessible per week; however, the episode ended only when time expired, not when the player had completed all the objectives for that week. In the meantime, the player could complete side-quests and hunt for Rupees, bottles, and Pieces of Heart.
Once certain key dungeon items were acquired, new areas of the overworld become available. For example, once a player has the Magic Hammer, they can knock previously impassable pegs into the ground, allowing access to new areas. At one point in the game, large rocks lie in the hero's path; when the player acquires various types of gloves they can lift these rocks out of the way.
The non-mandatory side-quests were also fully voice-acted; however since the player could come across that event at any point rather than at a forced time, and there was no viable way for the console to convey proximity information to the voice acting center, it is assumed that the voice actor for that character kept saying their script over and over for the entirety of the designated time (they can each be saved from about 18:43 until 18:56), whether any player was actually on the same screen (and thus in "earshot") or not.
The Zelda no Video documentary shows several minutes of live voice-enhanced gameplay in action, both of the opening cutscenes and of a side-quest, with the voice actor for Princess Zelda calling for help desperately for the entirety of the clip.
Several optional side-quests were available, each with its own, mostly text-only, cutscene (they were not activated at any set time so could not feasibly feature live voice), the completion of which netted a score bonus and Rupees, but detracted from the time available.
Unlike other games, where any clock feature stops when the player opens a menu or pause it, in this game the clock kept on ticking no matter what. Action in the game pauses when the item menu opens, but the clock does not. At particular times on the clock various things might happen: health-restoring fairies appear, a Bombos or Ether magic attack destroys enemies on-screen, the player gets unlimited bombs or arrows or magic or can shoot magic rings from their sword. The events and the times events occurred varied between weeks.
At a different time each week, fog descended on the overworld. A few minutes afterward, a thunderstorm started, restricting exploration by defusing bombs and replacing normal overworld enemies with Zoras, fierce, lizard-like creatures. After a few minutes, the fog, rain and thunder cleared.
|Treasure Chest||500 points|
|Small Key||1,000 points|
|Piece of Heart||1,000 points|
|Dungeon Item||1,000 points|
|Heart Container||5,000 points|
|Special Item||5,000 points|
|Rescuing someone||10,000 points|
|Talking to the Mole||10,000 points|
Each event on their journey, both major and minor, will net the player points. Every event in the chart to the right has a score value associated with it. The scores add up, so a chest will give points to the player, even if it contains a points-bearing item in turn. However, 500 points are deducted from the player's score for every minute that passes (including the six minutes before play starts).
There are no points given for collecting Rupees, slaying enemies, or defeating bosses. The items the player acquires after defeating bosses do give points.
There is no feasible score limit; while the game allows for eight digits worth of scoring, there is no way a player can ever reach this even if they do absolutely everything and collect the tablets as soon as possible. This is because the amount of score-giving items in the game world are strictly finite; there is thus no way to discover what the game would do if the score was surpassed.
While scoring had absolutely no effect on gameplay whatsoever, there were other post-game benefits. At the end of each hour of play the gamer was given a score readout. By submitting these game high scores (probably a coded password sent by mail, but perhaps sent directly via the satellite link) his or her score would be recorded. If the player scored high enough, they could receive free gifts, such as phonecards or flash-carts.
|30 Mar 1997||05 Apr 1997||BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban Dai 1 Wa|
|06 Apr 1997||12 Apr 1997||BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban Dai 2 Wa|
|13 Apr 1997||19 Apr 1997||BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban Dai 3 Wa|
|20 Apr 1997||26 Apr 1997||BS Zelda no Densetsu Kodai no Sekiban Dai 4 Wa|