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

Link Returns
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 4
   Interaction 4
   Originality 3
   Story 3
   Music & Sound 4
   Visuals 4
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 10-20 hours  

So much power...
So much power...
This review is based on the original version for the SNES. With the great success of Legend of Zelda and the slightly lesser sucess of Zelda II, it was only a matter of time before a third Zelda game was made. Reverting to its roots, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past features a gameplay style similar to the first one rather than the second. Zelda Lttp features a large number of improvements such as an involved plot, larger inventory, and several spells.

Lttp's battle system consists primarily of sword attacks with the occasionally assistance of a tool such as the bow and arrow or boomerang. Link now has the ability to charge his sword an unleash a powerful spinning attack. Though the battle system is simple, battles are usually fairly exciting due to them being fought in realtime. While some battles are hack and slash, most boss fights involve discovering weaknesses and fighting carefully to avoid damage and are very well done.

Lttp never gets very difficult thanks to a good deal of life and armor upgrades. Few normal enemies can slow Link down for very long and most bosses are easily destroyed once their weakness has been discovered. There are a few challenging puzzles in addition to the dozens of easy ones, but they are too few and far between to increase the overall difficulty significantly.

Lttp features much more dialog than the first Zelda did. The localization job is even more noticeable and has been done well. Play control has been improved upon as well and is surprisingly tight. Even the menus have been improved giving Lttp an excellent interface as well.

As Lttp is the third in the series with only a few improvements, it lacks in originality. It does feature a reasonable amount of new puzzles, tools, and enemies, but it still plays much like the original. The story isn't too unique, but it's also the first Zelda game to have a real story.

Being the first Zelda game with a real story, Lttp does a pretty good job. While most of the game is still a glorified sequence of dungeons, the addition of the storyline helps keep things interesting. Though it is lacking in comparison to most other SNES RPGs, it is still good for an action RPG and a welcome addition to the game.

Don't look down, don't look down, don't look down
Don't look down, don't look down, don't look down
The large number of dungeons, new puzzles, and addition of a storyline help make Lttp much longer than its predecessors. Extra life pieces have been divided into four parts and scattered adding even more time for those that wish to collect all of them. There are a number of other bonuses to be found as well such as the ability to hold more arrows or even improve the Master Sword. It can take anywhere from ten to twenty hours to complete the game's many dungeons and defeat the final boss depending on how many extras the player tries to find.

Lttp takes the best tracks from the previous Zelda games and remixes them adding a large number of new music as well. All of the music is very well done, though some tend to get a bit repetitive at times. Dungeon tracks sound ominous, boss tracks are exciting, and the castle track is majestic. While not as good as the music, sound effects are good as well. Bombs, swords, and spells all sound fairly realistic.

Returning to an overhead view, Lttp gives up a lot of potential sprite detail. Fortunately, a great deal of attention seems to have been payed to sprite detail anyway as they still look good despite the overhead view. Some of the larger bosses are incredibly detailed due to their massive sprite size. There is a lot of enemy re-coloring, but there are also plenty of detailed enemies in the game to help make up for this. Environments are well detailed too and some even feature plenty of special effects such as fog.

Despite the minor lack of originality and story, Lttp manages to improve greatly upon its predecessors. The improved dungeons, gameplay, and addition of a small story make Lttp a very enjoyable game. I recommend it to all action RPG fans, especially those who enjoy the Zelda series as this is one of the best.

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