In today’s gaming, many RPG players are familiar with the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series. If you’re a MASSIVELY GIGANTIC fan like me (I even have a tattoo on my left bicep I designed), then you’ve played every single damn one to date. Let’s take yet another trip down this subspace highway back to 1992 to revisit the Zelda game that contributed many aspects that ‘Twilight Princess’ and ‘Skyward Sword’ used in their creation…
‘A Link to the Past’ if easily amongst my top favorite games of all time. The intricacy of the storyline, the puzzling…uh… puzzles, and the distinction of it’s unique user interface and playability makes it a game for the ages. That also rings true since the game has been ported twice (legally, by Nintendo), once on the Gameboy Advance, and another on the Wii as a virtual console game, bringing this game’s awesomeness to the masses multiple times over, across several generations of gamers. So let’s begin, shall we?
Where to begin… where to begin… How about Story? Good.
So the game is a prequel to the original Legend of Zelda, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. It starts with your character (we’ll call him Link), sleeping. He gets what we believe is a mental transmission or a dream of Zelda, the Princess, calling to him for help. He wakes as his Uncle leaves all armed up. Before his departure, Uncle says to wait in the house for his return. You don’t listen (you disobedient child), leave the house into the rain, and your adventure has thus begun. The first task is to make it into the castle, which you are pretty much tossed into trying to find yourself (though a huge castle is kinda hard to miss). This already gives you a sense of how difficult the game might become. Let’s hit Fast-Forward real quick. You rescue the Princess, and go on this journey to collect 3 pendants (power, wisdom, and courage… follow me here?), and retrieve the Master Sword in the Lost Woods. Then, you go find the evil wizard Aghanim who is trying to break the seal the Seven Wise Men of old put on the Golden Land to keep creeps like him out. Zelda just so happens to be a descendant of the wise men, so when he banishes her (which leads to the fight), he gains access to the Golden Land and gets the Triforce. His wish turns the Golden Land into the Dark World. Beat him and you’re off to follow her.
Still with me? Good!
Now your task is to free the seven maidens whom he has trapped in the seven dungeons of the Dark World. Don’t take this task too lightly… The Dark World dungeons are nothing to blink at. Monsters are tricky, traps and tricks are sometimes (most of the time) hard to figure out.
As far as intricacy goes, few games have met the level of Zelda status. That status was a direct result of the first 3 games (LoZ, LoZ II: TAoL, and LoZ: ALttP). For it’s time, the story of a kidnapped princess was only really told by Mario and the other Zelda games, so it wasn’t as overused as it is today. Having to play through about a third of the game (which would actually make you believe it WAS the whole game… that’s how long it is), only to find out there a WHOLE LOT more to do can either be disheartening to some weaker gamers, or could just make your heart flutter with excitement like the wings of the well sought-after, life-replenishing fairy. Just don’t bottle it, ’cause you’d explode. This was also the first time an Alternate World was used in a Zelda game, which is an attribute that is still in use in many recent installments of the series (Twilight Princess, anyone?).
All of the aforementioned has lead me to give Storyline, an 8 out of 10.
Now let’s go onto Gameplay.
‘A Link to the Past’ was arguably the pioneer for many of the gameplay aspects of many of today’s games. It also marked the introduction to a multi-level dungeon, as well as diagonal movement of Link in a ‘Zelda’ game. Reverting back to a top-view as opposed to the side-scroll only perspective in ‘Zelda II’, was a critical change in paving the way for new things like the horizontal sword slash, as opposed to the stab, making battle a WHOLE lot easier.
That’s for good reason, because if you had to worry about running away from crap falling from the ceiling, coming at you quite fast from all sides (8-way), and avoiding floor traps and holes while trying to align yourself straight on for a stab (not pictured here), I would rather just kill myself just to get out of that damn room! Also, changing how arrows work is also a critical change to the game as a whole. Instead of using Rupees to fire an arrow, they’re their own separate item. Many items and other features are introduced in this game, as listed here. The Spin attack is also introduced in this game.
How much work has gone into reshaping how the ‘Legend of Zelda’ games play, look, work, and anything else players thought made a Zelda game, really left a lasting impression on the gamers of that time era, and on gamers of later generations who have played the game. Because of the impact on the gaming genre with the revolutionary gameplay experiences, I really am inclined to give Gameplay, a 9 out of 10.
Now, we move onto Graphics.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, being a 16-bit system, quite literally doubled the graphics capabilites from the previous two games, both being released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. They definitely used those extra 8 bits wisely. By simply adding progressively darker pixels to sides and corners of something, they went from blatantly obvious, crappy visual colors and designs, to giving it more of a third dimensional sense, making it much more pleasing to the ocular sense. Having that much more to work with, they were able to create new visuals for fighting, as well as use those newly developed visuals to enhance gameplay itself (e.g. Side slash vice the stab). Having added the element of water use to the game, they were then able to make splashes and waves much more realistic than the static sprites from the NES predecessors. The only thing i can say negatively about the graphics, is that sometimes you SEE yourself hit an enemy, but you end up getting hurt anyway whilst your enemy is still prancing around like a self-rightous son of a… *AHEM*.. yeah…
And… just because I can… I’m going to make in-game music a part of the Graphics segment here. no more BEEP BOOPs, SHPRRSSSs and KZRRPTs in the music in this game. The music in the 16-bit era actually made musical sounds somewhat more like an actual instrument. Trumpets, Snare drums, and other various orchestral instruments actually resembled their real-life counterparts! That is the main reason why any Zelda fan can tell you what songs came from the SNES Zelda game.
Anybody who has played the game, will immediately be struck with intense emotions and memories rushing into the foreground of your mind like… well… Link dashing with the pegasus boots. You’re all smiling right now after listening to this, I know you are.
Graphics… 9 out of 10.
With all said and done, I’d gladly pop the cork on my bottle and pour this game a hearty…
9 out of 10 shots!
…and you thought you had a high tolerence. PSH! Just kidding. Or am I???
Questions, Comments, Concerns, Moans, Complaints? Hit us up and let us know what you wanna say. I also have a plethera of glitches in this game and can very easily walk you through how to perform them, let me know.
“But I sense your helplessness… Before you go any further, find the Moon Pearl on Death Mountain. It will protect you from the Dark World’s magic so you can keep your heroic figure.”
-Sahasrahla, The Kakariko Village Elder