Review by ZFS
"What could be better than having Link in your pocket?"
The third installment in the Legend of Zelda series is back and this time on the GBA along with a brand new multiplayer adventure, The Four Swords.
What we have here is a Zelda game that plays very similarly to the original Legend of Zelda. But there is much more to it than that. This time around we have a new enemy to deal with Agahnim. Agahnim has decided to imprison the 7 Sages in the Dark World and take over Hyrule so he can have it for himself. Now of course our hero Link comes to save the day. In LttP you play as a Link, a normal everyday boy who is just trying to get some sleep when he hears something telling him to hurry to Hyrule Castle to save the one who is speaking. Yes, you guessed it Zelda has yet again been captured this time, as the aforementioned, by Agahnim. So as Link straps on his gear, collects a few stored Hearts, we begin with the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
What we have in Four Swords is something completely different this time Link has to stop a bad guy named Vaati. The different part about it is that when Link picks up the Master Sword he splits into 4 different Links. Running through dungeons, collecting rupees, finding heart pieces is all apart of the action that you get with Four Swords. And did I mention that you get to play with your friends? Yes, this is the first Zelda game to incorporate playing along with your friends. You must work together with each other to figure out dungeons and puzzles along the way.
Yes the gameplay aspect of LttP is exactly the same as it's predecessor Legend of Zelda, but has been tweaked a bit to make it a ton better. As always you have your trusted sword and shield, but as you progress through the game you will find upgrades and a number of different items as in every Zelda. One thing that stays true to the series is the battle system. While playing as Link you will encounter many different enemies across Hyrule ranging from Tektites to Hylian Guards who want to kill you. Everything basically stays the same though as you slash them a few times and they will die. Although this may sound kind of used don't worry you will soon realize how hard it becomes when there are a massive swarm of guards after you and all you have it your shield to defend against archers, spear guards, and regular sword guards. Now the big guys, the bosses, are a totally different story. The bosses have definitely taken a huge toll for the better; while for its time Legend of Zelda had tough bosses playing against them now is just too easy. But in LttP you will find yourself be ever so close to dieing that it isn't even funny. The bosses range from easy to just plain I don't like you hard. ;D But don't get me wrong hard bosses aren't a bad thing; in fact there a good thing and is what keeps this game lively and action packed.
Now something that definitely needs to be commented on is the massive upgrade in dungeons. In the original Legend of Zelda you could run through the dungeons in oh say 15 minutes average. Not so in LttP the dungeons are so much bigger and the puzzles are so much harder that you may find yourself wondering around for quite a while just to figure out the puzzle that is in the room. And might I add that the enemies inside the dungeon aren't a cake walk. You will find yourself fighting multiple enemies in each room you enter, this keeps the action alive and doesn't leave you bored in every room. A very good plus. Now as I have said before the puzzles are hard, very hard. Now I don't mean to make the game sound impossible, it's not, it's just that the game is done so well that you won't for a moment feel like the game is just becoming too easy. And if that weren't enough the game picks up and becomes harder as you go on, increasingly harder. The dungeons are longer, the enemies are a lot stronger, and the puzzles are indeed harder. All of this adds up to make the gameplay truly unique and just plain fun. There is nothing to be worried about when it comes to game in Link to the Past.
In Four Swords you basically do the same as you would in LttP, except for the fact that now you have to work with your friends in order to beat the dungeon. And for those people who might want to get ahead and beat the dungeon first, that would be a bad idea because once getting to far ahead you will no longer be able to solve the puzzles without your friend to help you. Now another thing is that this isn't just a small little multiplayer tacked on to LttP, but an entire new adventure. While it is not as long as LttP the game definitely sports its length as a good multiplayer add-on. With great puzzles, nicely laid out dungeons, and a whole slew of fighting the game is definitely good and works just like LttP, but with multiplayer.
The graphics in LttP are simply amazing. When you look back on the NES you see very dated, little detailed graphics but of course you have to give the system credit for being able to run those graphics considering how it was made a few years back. Anyway, the graphics in LttP definitely are a lot better than Legend of Zelda. Link has been given a lot more detail, he now has hair. And the environments and dungeons definitely look better. From the paths you walk across in the field to the little bomb crack in the dungeons, everything looks very nice on the GBA. The game uses sprites as the graphical source, but everything looks so great and runs smoothly on the GBA that it is truly amazing.
The most notable thing in LttP is the great character sprites. On the NES Nintendo couldn't put a lot of detail into the characters, but now that they are running it on the Game Boy Advance it allows them to add tons more detail. The enemies' swords and armor are done beautifully. Every ounce of detail that Nintendo could muster to put into those graphics is done so in this game. There are a few other games that rival LttP, but if you're looking for a good graphical game then this will definitely not let you down.
Graphically Four Swords is awesome. Using the same style as that of Wind Waker, the Four Swords looks a lot better than that of LttP. Link no longer looks like sprite, but a drawn 3-D character. Even though the game itself is 2-D, the graphics are just outstanding. It seems Nintendo is trying to keep a certain style from now on or something using the cel-shaded graphics in Wind Waker, Four Swords, and a new game coming up made by Capcom. If you're looking for better graphics than LttP then Four Swords should handle that just fine.
The audio in LttP is the best in a Zelda game, period. Most notably is the great music. The music tracks in LttP are so memorable that throughout the game you will find yourself humming the tracks here in there like you've known them for a long time. The music while doesn't play MP3's plays MIDI's which is a lower form of music, but in no way means that quality of the music in LttP is bad. The music is superb, some of the best music I've heard in a game. The most memorable track that anyone will remember is the Hyrule Field music. It's so great to hear a little too and it never gets to annoying. Always the playing making the game seems more alive and involving. I will say that in a couple of dungeons the music can at times get repetitive, sometimes to the point where you want to turn down your television.
The second half of the audio section, sound, is just as good as the first. The sound of your sword hitting wood or you slashing at an enemy all sound very good. Every sound seems to fit into the game and no sound seems out of place. While I don't exactly talk about sound a lot in anything it is always good to mention and the sound is good.
While the music in Four Swords is good it just isn't quite as good as LttP. The tracks are all good and fit in while your playing you will often find yourself wondering why they picked that track for the dungeon. It is definitely a little weird, but being the original tracks they are and using some old ones too Four Swords is just plain good in the audio section and you probably won't have a problem with it at all.
Now it is known that replaying a Zelda game over and over isn't always fun, but in LttP is sheer fun. Being able to play through the game again get some stuff you might've missed or just continue with the file you have a collect some stuff you missed. Getting all of the heart pieces is always good and gives you bragging right to clear a Zelda game. It is always fun to replay Zelda games just to have the thrill of excitement and enjoyment that they give you.
Having the Four Swords tacked on to LttP is just awesome and definitely increases the replay value by a lot. Being able to play a single player Zelda when your alone and then when your with friends pulling out the same game and playing it with multiplayer, not to mention the whole new adventure that it is, you should definitely be able to keep this game around for a while without getting bored of it.
Final Score: 9.0
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/16/03, Updated 05/30/06
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