Review by WhyNotAl
"Reliving a Link from the Past"
The Legend of Zelda for the Gameboy Advance is a direct port of the original NES classic of the same name that was released back in 1987. The original was so successful that many sequels followed. Eventually, a port of the original on the GBA was released alongside with ports of other classic Nintendo games in 2004, collectively called the Classic NES Series. For those new to the Zelda series, most of the games revolve around a young warrior named Link, a princess named Zelda, an evil being named Ganon, and an ancient artifact called the Triforce that is composed of three parts. This game takes place in the kingdom of Hyrule, where the evil being Ganon has stolen one piece of the Triforce. Fearing that Ganon will obtain all the pieces, Princess Zelda splits the Triforce that she has into eight parts and spreads them all over Hyrule, and is kidnapped by Ganon soon afterward. As Link, you must collect the pieces of the split Triforce, defeat Ganon, and save the princess to bring peace to the land.
Ah yes, the one that started it all. As exciting as the story sounds, all of the information of the story is found only in the manual or at the title screen if one does not push any buttons. The game simply starts with Link standing on the screen. Throughout the whole game the story is not followed up until the end. The story would be forgotten if it were not because of the fact that pieces of the Triforce are obtained as the hero progresses through the game.
As Link, the player must battle monsters and venture through dangerous dungeons. On the overworld map, Link can find many secrets, items, and the entrances to dungeons. In the dungeons themselves, Link must pass traps, find artifacts, and beat the boss to gain a piece of the Triforce. Occasionally the player will encounter simple puzzles that must be completed to continue. The gameplay is simple and may get tedious at times, but finding the secrets in the game makes the repetitiveness that may occur more bearable. The difficulty is moderate so practically anyone can play the game. Overall, the gameplay is solid and is a nice introduction to those who are new to the series.
The controls are simple and easy to pick up. The D-pad controls Link's movements, the B button is used for an item from Link's inventory, and the A button is for a sword attack. The item used for the B button can be changed by going to the inventory and changing items. However, it becomes a chore switching items, especially when battling several monsters and because of the fact that it takes time for the inventory screen to appear. Some players may feel hindered in Link's movements because Link can only move up, down, left, or right . The lack of diagonal movement can make it hard for some players to dodge attacks, and prevents from being able to attack diagonally. These problems do not hinder the gameplay experience too much though, and many will have an easy time controlling Link.
The game may have been made in 1987, but the graphics still hold up for a portable game. Although not as impressive as recent GBA games, the graphics are still bearable for today's portable standards and are somewhat nostalgiac. However, the frame rate slows down sometimes when there are several enemies onscreen at once.
The music in the game is good and fits the settings of the locations. Although there are only a few songs in the game, most of it is catchy and memorable, and some are still used and mixed in current Zelda games. The sounds effects are decent, ranging from the sound of throwing a boomerang, the explosion of a bomb, and the roar of a boss monster. Many of the sound effects are simple, but they all fit the game.
Once the game is beaten, the only good incentive to play again is the "hard" version of the game that can be obtained. After that, the only other reasons to play the game is to find all the secrets (some of which aren't worth finding) or for nostalgic purposes.
This port is a good game for those who have played many Zelda games but have not yet played the original, and is a good introduction to those who are new to the series. However, those who have played the original many times should wait for a new Zelda game unless they don't have the original and want a copy of the game, or are a diehard Zelda fan.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/18/04
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.