Used strategy guide, which I’m sure is what everyone did, even at the time. The bones of what you’d think of as “a Zelda game” are all here, but there’s no way anyone could have got through this game without a guide back in the day.
It’s cool to see the stuff which has been here from day 1: Boomerang, silver arrows, LIKE LIKES EATING YOUR DAMN SHIELD, Lynels, even the Power Bracelet
Not entirely sure how not to grade this game on a curve. It absolutely, definitely has problems, but what should it be compared to? Later Zelda games? Other games on the platform?
The most annoying problem is probably the d-pad controls with regard to movement direction, door detection, getting up against a block to push it, etc. I never got used to this, and it isn’t just a problem of this game. The game boy Zeldas feel this way too. Don’t remember whether the SNES one does.