Review by camstin187

"The Highlight of the series, and possibly the highlight of gaming in general..."

Introduction

The Legend Of Zelda series started off back on the regular NES, and when the first game in the series, The Legend of Zelda came out, it was a revolutionary step in gaming. The game featured many things not found in regular games. The most noticeable difference was that you played the game from an over-head perspective, which enabled you to see all around your character, not just from in front or of the character. The game featured a huge world for you to explore, Hyrule. The land of Hyrule was filled with secrets, dungeons, and many different monsters that awaited you in your adventure. The game also featured built-in battery back-up technology, that allowed you not only to be able to save your progress in the game, but to have 3 different files to play in as well.

The second game in the series took a different step from the original in terms of design. By saying this I mean that you played most of the game from a side-scrolling perspective, which meant you had to fight monsters and explore dungeons from this perspective. Only when you were traveling across Hyrule did you look at the game from an over-head perspective.

After the NES came the Super NES, which also meant a new Zelda game. What gamers were given was perhaps the greatest achievement in not only 2D gaming, but gaming in general. A Link To The Past not only had a big graphical and sound overhaul, but it featured a huge world to explore, as well as difficult new dungeons, and even bigger enemies to fight. Everything the first game did, A Link To The Past improved upon, and because of that it is considered by some to be the greatest game ever made. The SNES version is now on the Gameboy Advance, and it still has everything that made the original a classic, as well as one of the most fun multi-player modes ever made.

Gameplay

A Link To The Past

There is so much to do in this game that I don't even know where to start. You start out your adventure with nothing but a lantern, but by the end you'll be a master swordsman, a master of magical spells, and even a master in the skill of bug-catching.

Many items await you in your quest, ranging from the Bow and Arrow, all the way to the Magic Hammer. You will use all of these items to do many things, such as getting access to different area's in the game's massive world, defeating monsters, and solving the games many puzzles. Not only do these monsters and puzzles await you in the massive over world, but also in the games devious and cleverly designed dungeons. These dungeons are the games core area, and require a lot of time and thinking to finally complete. The dungeon's puzzles range from dropping into certain area's from another floor, to stepping on certain floor tiles to open different doors in that area. The great thing about these puzzles is that they present a challenge that requires time and thinking to solve, and at some times are very hard to figure out, but once you figure out what to do, the experience is very rewarding. The dungeons not only have puzzles, but also many monsters and obstacles that await you in order to stop you from achieving your goal. At the end of the dungeon lies the dungeons boss. These bosses require quick-thinking and fast finger-work to defeat, and present a great and rewarding challenge.

The game has a very nice, flowing difficulty. Early on in the game you are faced against simple puzzles and weak enemies, but as you go further into your quest, the enemies and puzzles get more and more difficult to overcome. The game's later area's present great challenges that require all that you have learned throughout your adventure, and when you finally complete the game, it is a very good and rewarding experience.

The gameplay for A Link To the Past is absolutely flawless, and has yet to have been surpassed.

The Four Swords

All the gameplay elements in A Link To The Past, but now in a multi-player game that can allow up to 4 players. You play with either 2-4 players, and depending how many people are playing, the game's level design varies. The game is best played with 4 players, as that gives you the full experience of the game. If you are playing with only 3 players, the game's puzzles that require 4 people to solve will be taken out. The same thing goes for people only playing with 2 players, as the puzzles which require 3 people will be taken out.

You play together with your friends as 4 different colored Link's, and must work together not only solve the game's many puzzles, but to defeat the game's many different enemies and bosses. The game is broken up into 5 different levels, all filled with puzzles to solve, enemies to defeat, and rupees to collect. Puzzles range from pulling your friend's character across platforms using a magnet, to hitting your swords with each other and creating a fire to to light a pedestal, allowing access to different parts of the levels. You are also only allowed to carry 1 item at a time (excluding you sword), which means that you are going to have to think about who should carry what different weapons. At the end of the each level lies the boss. The game's bosses are very cleverly designed, and will take quick thinking and teamwork to finally overcome, especially the game's final boss. It is these key gameplay elements that make The Four Swords not only fun and rewarding, but make it one of the best multi-player modes ever conceived.

Story

A Link To The Past

The Golden Land is the resting area of the Triforce, the emblem that represents Power, Courage, and Wisdom. The Golden Land is a sacred place, and is now a place where evil lies. After many years, a seal was opened up that led from Hyrule to the Golden Land. When this seal was opened, many people tried to find the sacred Triforce, but never succeeded, and never returned. The only things that emerged from the Golden Land were beings of great evil. The King of Hyrule needed a way to seal up this entrance to the Golden Land, and did this by gathering seven sages that would hopefully close the seal to the Golden Land forever. The sages succeeded in sealing the entrance, and peace and prosperity returned to Hyrule.

A mysterious wizard known as Aghanim has appeared in Hyrule, and ever since he appeared, strange things has been occurring......

One night, a young boy named Link was sleeping. He was soon woken by a voice of a young girl....She told him that her name was Zelda, and that she was trapped inside the Castle Dungeon. Link did not know if this was a dream of a reality, so he went out of his house and into the storming rains with nothing but his lantern, and so the Legend of Zelda begins...

The Four Swords

A long time ago, in the land of Hyrule, there existed a powerful sorcerer named Vaati. Vaati had the power to manipulate wind, and with his awesome power, terrorized many villages of Hyrule. All of the knight's and swordsmen of Hyrule who tried to destroy Vaati failed, falling at the hands of Vaati and his great power. Legend is told that one day a young boy appeared with his sword, and stated that he was going to defeat Vaati once and for all. The legend states that the young boy did this by using the magic of his sword, which had the ability to break the young boy into 4 exact copies of himself, each one being equipped with the sword. Together, the 4 boys worked together to defeat Vaati, and trapped his soul in the sword. After this, the young boy walked into the woods, and never returned to Hyrule again. People called this story the legend of the Four Sword, and because of this swords sacred power, the people of Hyrule built a shrine to protect it.

The princess of Hyrule, Zelda, had the ability to sense evil , and because of this she was assigned the duty of protecting the Four Sword. Hyrule was a peaceful place, and remained that way for a long time... One day, however, Princess Zelda sensed a great evil lurking in the presence of the Four Sword, and took her trusted friend, a young boy named Link, to come with her and help investigate, and so our legend continues.....

Graphics

A Link To The Past

The graphics in this game are very fitting, and gives the game a very unique ''feel'' to it. Each of the game's different environments look completely different from each other, and you will never feel that different areas look the same as previous ones. The colors in the game are excellent, and that is what makes each environment seem different from the rest. The Light World is filled with bright, vibrant colors, as the Dark World is filled with dark, and murky colors. Some area's, such as the Lost Woods, really give you the feeling that you are actually underneath a sea of tree-tops, and this makes the environments unique and enjoyable. The graphical effects really don't push the GBA's hardware. There are some nice touches, though, such as using warp pads to transport to other area's, as it puts the GBA's sprite capabilities to good use. Sadly, the graphics are still a bit dated, and haven't been improved from the SNES version at all, really... Still, the graphics are great for what they are, and always will be...

The Four Swords

Wonderful. The Four Swords graphics outshine A Link To The Past in almost every way, and it really is shown. The colors are bright and vibrant, and give each environment a unique and different feel. The Forest area is filled with vibrant green grasses, and detailed bushes and tree's, while the Volcano area is filled with dark, brown walls and lava that is a murky orange hue. The animation is superb, and your character shows this a lot in the game, whether it be leaping off a high ledge with a flipping motion, or just simply walking around. The graphics are very detailed in The Four Swords, and it shows.

Sound

A Link To The Past

The sound in this game is outstanding, and is some of the best music that has been put on the GBA, even if it is a port of the SNES version. Each environment has there own great music score, whether it be the intimidating music of being inside Hyrule Castle, to the peaceful music in the Lost Woods. The sound effects are also top-notch. When your sword hits a stone wall or a piece of metal, it makes that necessary ''tink'' noise, and when you are walking on water, your feet make tiny splashing sounds. They even added in some new voices for link from the Nintendo 64 Zelda games, and are a very welcome addition. All in all the sound is perfect, and fits the game perfectly.

The Four Swords

The sound in the Four Swords is great. Each level's music fit's the environment very nicely, and not once will you feel the music sounds the same as the last level's music. The music for when you fight the game's bosses is very nice, and gives you the feeling that you are in real danger when in his presence. Still, as good as the music is, it doesn't push the sound capabilities of the GBA the way A Link To The Past does. The Four Swords also has voice clips from the Nintendo 64 Zelda games, and they are very nice. Sound effects are filled with great detail. If you are shattering a giant stone wall, it sounds like it is really crumbling down, and when you cut through blades of grass, you can hear the sounds of your sword going through the blades of grass. The sound is great, and fits the game nicely.

Replay Value

A Link To The Past

If you haven't played this game before, it is a good 30+ hour quest, but if you have already beaten the game, you will most likely beat this game in a span of about 10+ hours. You can also go back and look for all the heart pieces you missed, as some are very hard to find.

The Four Swords

If you have friends who have the game, then this will last you a very long time, as it is very fun. Replaying levels over and over to compete for medals is great fun, and is a very competitive experience at the same time.

Final Recommendation

One of the best game's ever made, now on the GBA....And what's this?! They throw in one of the best designed multi-player modes ever?! If you are looking for a great Zelda experience, then this is your ticket. Even if you aren't familiar with the series, this game is the perfect start, and will surely last you a long time.

Final Scores

Gameplay
A Link to The Past - 10
The Four Swords - 10
Story
A Link To The Past - 8 1/2
The Four Swords - 9
Graphics
A Link To The Past - 8
The Four Swords - 10
Sound
A Link To The Past - 10
The Four Swords - 8 1/2
Replay Value
A Link To The Past - 9
The Four Swords - 10
Overall Grade - 10

You really can't make A Link To The Past any better than it already is, but when you throw in one of the greatest multi-player games ever made, you got your self another classic. This game is a must-have, and if you haven't already gotten it, go get it now!!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/11/03, Updated 04/11/03


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