The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past

The box art for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is an action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo in 1992. The game follows the continuing path of Link, and this time he is a young boy living with his uncle, who is forced into a quest to stop the evil wizard Agahnim after Princess Zelda sends him a telepathic message and he follows his uncle to the Castle. After his wounded uncle passes his sword and shield on to Link, he continues on and retrieves Zelda from the dungeon. After learning that he can only defeat Agahnim with the Master Sword, he learns from the elder Sahasrahla that he may retrieve teh sword and defeat Agahnim by retrieving three pendants. Link retrieves the sword eventually, but after confronting Agahnim, both he and Zelda end up in the Dark World. In order to rescue Hyrule from Ganon's wrath (Agahnim is trying to release Ganon), Link must rescue the descendants of the Sages to keep him trapped in the Dark World and restore Hyrule to its former peace.

A great friend of mine told me that he had this game for his Super Nintendo as a kid, but had since lost it, and since I'd seen it was available on the VC, I was determined to buy it. After I finally did, I knew that the game was special to the point where I would have to review it for a special occasion, and what better occasion than my 75th review??

I actually ended up having to wait a few days before finally writing this so that I could get a true idea of how the game was as a whole. Now that I have, I understand why the masses view this game as a true pioneer of gaming. Where so much simpler games had come before, A Link to the Past revolutionized the Zelda series by taking full advantage of what the SNES could do, and it did it masterfully.

What exactly are the things I like particularly better about this game? Well, let's start off with the music. Up until now, I thought that Ocarina of Time was the title that gave rise to songs like the Kakariko Village and Great Fairy's Fountain Themes, but now I find out that not only did this game start them, they did a really detailed and beautiful job! Plus, when you have a title screen song like this..

Zelda - A Link To The Past Music - Title Screen

Zelda - A Link To The Past Music - Title Screen

how bad can the game be?

The second feature that comes right to mind is the fact that this game had a full map of the overworld! Granted it was quite as detailed as some, but it gave you a perfect idea of the direction you had to go in any case, and even allowed you to scroll around or get a full-on overhead view. Considering how this is still relatively early Nintendo-tech, it's amazing that you can get a function like that. Given that in Zelda games, your always given side-quests to go fetch something across the the world from where you are, this is just the kind of advantage you needed; not too easy, not too hard.

Still, the best thing about this game to me, as with so many other ones (Twilight Princess, I'm looking at you), is the enhanced combat. For one thing, this game allowed you to move in diagonal directions, which is a huge upgrade as far as combat is concern, because it means easier maneuvering; but now you also have the spin attack at your disposal right from the start! The history of this move alone is worth the price of admission, and it's executed amazingly even from the start. My only wish is that you didn't have to face to one side if you have it fully charged, because it makes you pretty vulnerable unless you move around your opponent and run into him. That could get annoying, but it's not that much of a disadvantage in the long run.

What's more is that you gain more moves as you go along; my experience so far is the first upgrade, the Pegasus Shoes, which let you do a dash charge to both do damage and make it to the other end of a screen. These are very helpful to have as you go along, because as you're forced to move further and further out of your comfort zone, you may have to use some special tactics.

A major thing I think this game did that makes it superior to the other games is it started you off easy, without the annoyances that Ocarina of Time burdened you with. In this game, you get your shield immediately, only have to get one more sword, and are able to hold 1000 Rupees right off the bat! This meant that as long as you could find shops, you would pretty much always be able to get the little things that you need. I find that very comforting, because it means you can focus more on the task at hand without the need to slash bushes just to get money.

A Link to the Past is a true turning the point in gaming history; it propelled The Legend of Zelda into the next level and paved the way for future titles, as well as new heights of the industry as a whole. This game is one of the biggest recommendations I can possibly make for an SNES title. If you have 800 Wii Points to spend, this is the investment to make, you can believe that. I don't regret my decision.