Notes Before You Begin
Each episode allows you to play until the in-game clock reaches 18:55. This gives the player about 50 minutes of playtime and the episode ends exactly when the time limit ends. Be sure to complete the dungeons within the time limit and then afterwards feel free to look for heart pieces or participate in sidequests. A score is actually tallied at the end of each episode, and this is based on the number of chests you opened, tablets obtained, heart containers found, etc. You will be able to see your score for each of the weeks on a results screen like the one above.
On another note, even when you finish this game you will have two item slots missing. Originally the Magic Cape and the Book of Mudora were planned to be in the game, but neither of these can be obtained normally in the game. Finally, you can choose to be a boy or a girl. The gender of your character only changes the sprite used in the game.
Next, there are many time-based events scattered throughout the four episodes. Depending on the in-game clock, there a couple possible weather conditions that can occur. The first of these is rain. During rainy times Zoras roam the land trying to attack you. In addition, bombs will be defused and thus cannot be used to blow up walls outside. The second weather condition is having fog. While the fog obstructs your ability to see certain objects on the screen, it doesn’t seem to have any other effect. These weather conditions appear at particular times and disappear after a short period of time. Of course these weather conditions do not affect you when you are indoors.
Another feature that should be noted is that many of the mini-games and sidequests are timed-based. Certain mini-games can only be played at certain times during the hour, and other times NPCs won’t even be present until a specific time. In the original game, the streaming audio alerted you about various sidequests, but here you have to find these yourself. Also, at certain times you will be given certain weapon boosts. For example, you may be given unlimited arrows, bombs, or sword beams. Sometimes, the Bombos and Ether Medallion spells (magic attacks spanning a large area) will be automatically used at a particular time.
Here are notes generally intended for experienced Zelda players. If you have played Link to the Past, the most notable change in this game is with the Pegasus Boots. Now when you use the Pegasus Boots, you not only can turn, but you can continue running past screen boundaries. In a Link to the Past you could only run straight, and you would stop running as soon as you moved to another screen.
Another major note is how bombs are used against walls. In a Link to the Past, there were always cracks on the walls to indicate that a wall should be bombed. Ancient Stone Tablets has some cracked walls, but otherwise it somewhat returns to what was used in the original Legend of Zelda. This means that most bombable walls will look no different than ordinary walls. If you swipe your sword at a wall however, it’ll make a different noise if it’s meant to be bombed. Also, you do not need to prod the wall with your extended sword anymore in order to get this different noise. Another way of detecting bombable walls in dungeons is to look at the dungeon map. The dungeon map will indicate the hidden door with a small indent, as it does with any door in the dungeon. If you see an indent on the map but no door present in the wall, it clearly needs to be bombed.