The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past - Retroview

The Golden Land


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 6
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 8
   Originality 7
   Plot 7
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Very Easy
   Time to Complete

3-15 hours


Title Screen

   Like many of us, I have gone through life without questioning many of the things that I see. More than anything else, I never questioned the greatness of Nintendo until much after the astounding success of their Super NES. Games like TLOZ:ALTTP really made the SNES the true gaming system of the time. And - even with the advent of TLOZ:OOT & TLOZ:MM - the third installment of the Zelda series continues to be a shining gem of gaming history.

   Combat in Z3 is relatively simple. Designed in much the same manner at Illusion of Gaia or Secret of Mana, action and movement around the screen will ensure your survival. Striking an enemy with your sword or arrows, is typically the only strategy required; bosses typically deviate from that pattern and are much more involved. Sometimes the tools that you acquire throughout the game (e.g. Ice Rod, Magic Hammer, Bombs, etc....) are even more powerful than the Master Sword.

   These types of battle are built upon gradually with the early bosses requiring little more than a barrage of arrows and a good sense of timing. After reaching the Dark World, things rapidly become more complicated with many of the more powerful enemies only being vulnerable after a certain item makes them so. To make things even harder, there are some enemies that are totally indestructible to physical attacks. Several items you have - primarily the powerful magical medallions - help out in this arena.

Link's Garage Sale: South First Street; Hyrule District
Link's Garage Sale: South First Street; Hyrule District 

   Levelling up - as such - doesn't really take place in Z3. Your progress is guaged primarily by the number of relevant items you possess and the length of you heart (life) meter. After defeating each dungeons' 'boss', you gain a heart to make you withstand a greater number of attacks. On top of gaining the valuable life bonuses from the primary foes of each area, you can collect heart pieces from around the world to create more manually. The collection of heart pieces and special items constitute the only real side quests the game has to offer.

   The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past is much like the first game in the series, musically. Many of the same familiar tunes are brought back with the greater quality of the SNES synth behind them. On top of that, there are a good number of new additions to the classic Zelda feel with good showings from the Lost Woods theme and the music in - and around - Kakariko village. The sound effects are very nicely done with many of them being a spot on match to your imagination. Several sounds of sword attacks and a plethora for the other items of the game makes this game one of the most well developed for the SNES.

   There are a lot of things about Z3 that made it the great game of the year. First off, it is quite possibly the only game on the SNES that used such large words as, cataclysm. For that reason alone, we should thank Shigeru Miyamoto. His confidence in us as intelligent people helped make the story of of the game great beyond its' time.

Open Sesame!
Open Sesame! 

   TLOZ:ALTTP is extremely easy - and yet, still fun. From the first 'practice' dungeon, to the spire of Ganon's Tower, there is naught to keep you from your goal. The only possible exceptions to this rule are the myriad of boss monsters. They can range from the incredibly easy to the extremely difficult (for beginners). Even then, it should be a relatively simple matter to beat the game in 15 hours.

   Much like the other games in the series, Z3 relies heavily on the existence of the Triforce, a mystically powerful artifact, and Ganondorf, the King of Evil, to tell its' story. Somewhat similar to Chrono Cross' storyline (at least superficially), you can expect a few surprises now and again leading up to the final confrontation inside the Pyramid of Power.

   Translation has always been one of Nintendo's strong suits. Z3 displays that in spades. The text is virtually flawless - with only a very few commonly misunderstood phrases. For the most part, there aren't any accents to worry about, and so the dynamics of the language are easy enough to pick up and understand.

   I've probably played through the entire game a dozen or more times. Why? Because there is a single item I've never gotten (that's my anal-retentive side showing through). Aside from this type of pesky side-quest, the only real reason to replay the game is to totally decimate it the second time. Afterall, everything is exactly the same every time you play it, so you can get rather good and understanding the patterns of things.

Hylian Olympic Candidate
Hylian Olympic Candidate 

   For coming out so early, the graphics of Z3 are phenomenal. You have a semi-overhead view of everything which makes for some interesting scenery. The pastel colors that the games is shown in, truly allow the fantasy feeling through. Granted, the game is somewhat cartoony compared to its' more recent predecessors, but that can hardly be a fault of the creators any more than it can the design of the platform.

   Heart pieces. Enough said... Well... Okay! Really, heart pieces are the ONLY thing that makes the game long. Virtually every other aspect of the game is straightforward and doesn't involve going a long distance out of your way or venturing deep into caverns that you could otherwise skip. For this reason, the number of hearts you end the game with, will somewhat determine the length of time involved in the completion.

   TLOZ:ALTTP is probably my favorite addition to the Zelda series. It is as epic a title as you can hope for on the SNES and - even compared to the much different SquareSoft games on the platform - Z3 shines like a penlight in the dark.

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