The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - Retroview

Prequel? Sequel? WHAT?

By: Desh

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 9
   Originality 7
   Plot 5
   Localization 8
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Moderate
   Time to Complete

5-20 hours


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

   Personally, I have a weakness for old games. I know. Sad, isn't it? But what's even scarier is that one of the games that I used to consider very advanced is now on the old-school list. As the Legend of Zelda series is about to touch on yet another Nintendo system, the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past actually provides a link to past styles and the good-old-times. With all this reminiscing, you may call me sap. Go ahead. I dare you. But no matter what, this game will always hold a place in my heart.

   LoZ: LttP continues the original battle system used in its 1986 counterpart. Turn, swing you sword, set a bomb. However, it underwent a thorough improvement from the previous two titles. You could now pick up and throw bombs, arrows didn't come at a cost of a rupee per arrow, and many new techniques were introduced, such as the charged swirling-blade technique. Weapons and tools such as the hookshot and pegasus boots widen the possibilities for travel. Magic was also brought in from Zelda II, giving us such spells as Ether and Bombos. This broad range of tools brought great variety to the slaughter of Ganon's minions.

   With all of these new toys to play with, the dangerous possibility that a disgusting menu would be created loomed overhead. However, this turned out not to be the case. Incorporated into the game was a simple menu like that of the original game - just pick your tool of choice. The only frustrating aspect was dealing with bottles, but that was only a minor nuisance. Also thrown in was a way to save without sacrificing one's self, a problem that plague its NES prequels.

So the world IS flat!
So the world IS flat!  

   The shift to a new system allowed for a much more varied sound palette. The classic overworld theme was redone well, but, thankfully, it was not the only overworld theme. The music is all very well done. The sound effects, as well, offered a good improvement to the previous shwupt-ting! of previous installments.

   As someone once put it, there is only one story to be told. Just many ways to tell it. This is very apparent in the Legend of Zelda series, as each is merely a retelling of the others. However, with each new "episode", the epic tale becomes more and more involved. Here, with the very limited storyline in the previous two games, the story of Link, Zelda, and Ganon could come out in fuller light. While the system is not new, just augmented, the story starts to take shape. However, it still seems rather hackneyed, appearing to be just two random lines of action.

   However, it is in the game's simplicity that it shines. Not having to worry about subtle plot points, one can just cruise through the game,destroying psuedo-3D sprites along the way. The urge to kill is frowned upon in the real world, but you can easily vent here. The addiction is almost intoxicating, to the point of my grades suffering slightly... ahem, well then. The true reason we plays games, after all, is to have fun. That holds true here, with heart containers, different sword levels, hidden items... secrets galore. The replay value is glorious.

   The colorful sprites that inhabit the world of Hyrule add to the appeal of this quaint little land. They are well animated, and act with some emotion. There are instances where you'd like to shoot the graphics designers, like with the stupid grins on the lumberjacks' faces... but, that aside, the characters look marvelous. Enemies, too, look nice, especially bosses. Put them next to Ocarina of Times bosses, well... that's just not fair! For the system it's on, A Link to the Past uses its graphical capability to good use.

Contrary to popular belief, ether USES MP - and doesn't restore it
Contrary to popular belief, ether USES MP - and doesn't restore it  

   Part of A Link to the Past's appeal is that it isn't impossibly difficult - even a child of eight could navigate through it. However, even the writer of eighteen sometimes has to pause and think throughsome of the puzzles. This perfect balance just adds to the fervor of excitement in the game, and makes you feel a warm, fuzzy feeling whenyou've beaten it.

However, those puzzles and tough spots can occasionally slow you down. And experienced player can rush through the game in about five hours, but to get everything, he needs about seven or eight. On a first run-through, it's not uncommon to see a time of ten or fifteen hourswithout getting everything. However, a crazy friend of mine sat down one day, having never played it before, and found everything withingtwenty-four hours (not recommended, by the way).

Our young elf-buddy is out to entertain us again, at the risk of his own hide. What a generous elf. I wonder if he has as much fun as we do playing with him? Anyway, this game has enough style and challenge to entertain you for hours. With more than a little storyline thrown in, it becomes a legend - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

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