The 'Shroom:Issue XXVIII/Non-Mario Review
For the month of July, we will be reviewing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the third game in the Zelda series and the first (and only) one to be released on the SNES. You could describe it as an action-adventure RPG. I feel like this game was the precursor to many recurring themes in future Zelda titles, and is therefore one of the best. Enjoy!
There is a mystical object known as the "Triforce." Whoever obtains the Triforce will have the world recreated in the image of the owner's heart; if a good person touches it, the world will prosper; if a bad person touches it, the world will suffer. The evil king Ganondorf is up to no good again, this time, using the Triforce to create a parallel world to Hyrule known as the Dark World.
One night in Hyrule, a boy named Link wakes up startled by some telepathic messages sent to him from a princess named Zelda, telling him to save her. A wicked sorceror named Agahnim has been kidnapping young maidens from all across Hyrule, in search of Princess Zelda.
Off and on you will warp to the Dark World, a twisted version of Hyrule, using the Mirror. The geology of Hyrule is slightly different in both worlds, and switching back and forth will be required to find new places or talk to new people.
A return to the format of the original Zelda, but expanding upon it a great deal. A Link to the Past is filled with secrets, and the world of Hyrule is bigger than before -- and quite fun to explore. Ramming into trees, cutting bushes, or running into pots will often reward you with helpful items or fairies. Sometimes travel is tedious, however, and it's a chore to go back and forth to different areas (especially when you realize you did something wrong). The combat system is basic and fun but flawed when compared to other entries in the series, which have greatly improved upon it. The dungeons are few, but can be cleared in a good amount of time. ALttP’s length may seem short to modern gamers, but was at the time revolutionary.
Intricate and lush, the graphics of ALttP are quite a step up from the NES Zelda's. Forests actually look like forests, with the massive amount of foliage darkening up the scenery. Characters are well drawn, and the colors bring them out. For an early SNES title, ALttP had already mastered the graphical capabilities of the system, and are still some of the best for their time.
This game didn't just contribute a lot in gameplay and story, but also in sounds. The overworld theme fits just perfectly, sounding triumphant and adventurous. Music also fits various areas or scenes well, such as the music played in the forest, which is full of mystery and suspense. There are plenty of other great tracks, like Kakariko Village and the Dark World themes, all of which have set a standard for Zelda, and have appeared in several other games since.
A Link to the Past is a surprisingly fun game to replay because of its length; not too long, but not short, either, so it should take you a good week to replay (if you already know what you're doing). Believe me, I have replayed this game many, many times and have not gotten bored of it, because it's just so fun to waste time with.
This is one of the most contributal Zelda titles that made ground for other popular games like Ocarina of Time and even The Wind Waker, and I think all Zelda fans need to play it at some point.