Review by Stinger31383
"The ultimate game for the ultimate system"
Once upon a time, there was a system known as the Super Nintendo. Back before the time anyone gave a crap about how "realistic" games looked and game creators gave much more attention to the playbility and fun of games over how nice it looked, the SNES gave the world a mixture of games that were very appealing to the eye, while at the same time bringing vast amounts of entertainment to the player. Classics such as Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy III (FFVI), and Super Metroid were all given birth to this system. Yet, even among these elites came one above all others: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
There really is not "greatest game ever made." Arguments, battles, and wars have been raged over the topic, only to come at stalemates. However, after playing so many different games on so many different systems since the Atari, my decision has been made up. LttP definitely is the greatest game made to me, and with extremely good reason.
We aren't talking about the most technologically advanced graphics ever. However, LttP is by far one of the most best looking SNES games out there, and its graphics still stand out today. Most evident is the impression of the worlds and dungeons that you enter and the atmospheres they exhibit. From the brightly colored trees and landscape of Hyrule, to the craggy and mountainous Death Mountain path, to the death and decay of the Dark World, to the marshy wetlands of Misery Mire, to even the dark and stormy night you enter from the beginning, LttP traps you into its world in all of its colorful 2D glory. Sprites themselves are also very clear and very colorful. You will experience a wide variety of weird-looking creatures, most of which are completely different from one another and not just different color schemes as done in the original Zelda or even in Ocarina of Time.
What can be commented on is that the game itself looks cartoonish (Wind Waker anyone?). The vibrant colors, the vibrant sprites, even some of the more cartoonish animations such as when Link gets hit and his eyes slightly bluge out, give the game entertainment and a light-heartedness, while at the same time keeping a darker atmosphere in some of the darker locations.
Music and Sound: 10/10
The original Zelda had a very few actual songs, but the tunes, especially the main Zelda theme, has lasted throughout the franchise's lifetime. LttP also has only a mediocre-sized soundtrack, but the content of the music is much more than just "mediocre." The main Zelda theme that you hear has been highly revamped since it first came out in LoZ, with much more fanfare in the tone of the music. Other themes, such as the Kakariko Village theme and the Dark World theme, are just as memorable. These themes also work very well in again instilling the atmosphere of the game, such as the theme of Hyrule Castle giving off a sense of grandeur, while the dungeons give an atmosphere of tension. Probably the best indicator of the music's greatness is how long the music has lasted since the game's creation in 1991/1992, in which the game has had several of its themes repeated throughout several of the sequels, including OoT and WW.
Sounds in the game are also well done and detailed, especially in small places. You can actually hear the power of your sword increasing as you move on from the standard sword to the Master Sword. Standing on water gives a sound of you walking on puddles. Striking the sword to the wall gives a hollow sound if there's anything on the other side. These little details all contribute to the environment of the game and immersing you into the small, top-down, 2D world.
When I first started playing the game, I thought nothing of the story. Three jewels? What happened to you getting the Triforce? And you save Zelda right off the bat? Wow, this is going to be a short game, especially when you go through most of Hyrule in the first couple hours.
Then you realize that there's far more than meets the eye.
This is more than just the "save the princess story," though in the end that's what it ends up becoming. L:ttle details in the story and the history of what is going on start popping up into the picture. In the end, the game becomes more detailed than one may expect initially.
However, one should not expect the story to be of Final Fantasy proportions. The brunt of the game is not dependent on the story, but there is still a very strong story with some great details put into the game for you to learn what is going on in your journey than just beating an evil madman that you have no idea why you're destroying him.
LttP is great because of the detail put into the graphics, music, and story.
LttP is the greatest game ever made in most people's books because of the gameplay.
This is where the game shines. The massive size of the Light World and the Dark World, the size of the dungeons, the detail put into every little bit of the game, the different things you can pick up, the various minigames, the exploration, the actual difficulty of the enemies and puzzles (ok, this isn't the hardest game ever, but believe me on this one as I will clarify later). This game packages all of that good stuff and some more.
In essence, LttP packaged in the best parts of the original Zelda and Zelda 2 (namely the magic), then added some of its own twists to the game to make it even better than its predecessors.
The actual use of the Light World/Dark World idea all started from this game, and the creators definitely used every advantage they could find with it. The puzzles involved with just getting into some of the dungeons, or access to some of the secrets, are executed very well using this system. Exploration alone brings about two different worlds, worlds that look very similar but at the same time are very different. It is not just the size, but the execution; the fact that both worlds are connected, that you're constantly going from one world to another to find solutions to various problems.
Items in this game are also top notch and extremely well executed. The boomerang and bow and arrow make their galant returns, the hookshot, pegasus boots, and jars are first introduced here, and also items such as the the canes of somaria and byrna and the magic cape are all in this game. The game also exhibits some of the most interesting villains that you'll see, ranging from the Helmasaur King to Arrghus to Trinexx, all with completely different styles of attacks and looks, all with a fatal weakness.
The first time through, the game is definitely quite a challenge. Some of the puzzles are very well executed, and just as difficult are some of the enemies you encounter. Link may be slightly sluggish, but actual controller handling and avoiding hits is a must. We are also talking about a pretty large game, one that is gigantic in proportion to games in 1992, and one that is still pretty-good sized for today's gamers. The first time through may take as long as 10 to 15 hours, and getting all of the items may take even longer, upwards to 20 hours. The game's difficulty, however, definitely decreases after you have beaten it once, especially with the knowledge of know heart piece locations and such. However, the game can still pose a challenge against some of the more difficult enemies and bosses, especially if you become careless. It is not uncommon for people beating the game in less than 5 or 6 hours after the first playthrough.
There definitely is plenty of replay value of the game to go around; finding all of the items alone will take time. Also, the order of which the levels can be beaten can also be altered to suit the needs of the player. Experimenting around with what you can and cannot do is also entertaining. Again, LttP is FILLED with details, even little things such as seeing what you can sprinkle the magic powder on or seeing what weapons enemies are most succeptible. The game is also not so long that you will be deterred from playing it over and over again. Over the years I have found myself coming back to LttP, keeping me entertained enough to play through the entire game in its large and complex world, while not being so long that I lose interest.
Fun Factor: 10/10
Little else to say other than the fact that the game is just extremely entertaining. The parts of the game are extremely well put together as a whole, with little to no flaws. The only real problem I may have is just the slight sluggishness of Link, but even then you eventually realize the abilities of Link's movements and see his limitations.
In the end, what makes this game so great is the reason why any game that can be called "incredible" is called just that: because of the details. The details of the the Light World and the Dark World, the details of the enemies and the items, the details of the music and the look of the worlds, they all contribute to the game's greatness. The completeness of the game is unparalleled; it drives you in with its environment and world, and keeps you playing by the sheer fun and playability of the game. This is the game which future games such as OoT have tried to mimic.
If you are looking for the greatest game ever made, look no further: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is your answer.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/04
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