Review by ND9k
"The best Zelda game available for the Game Boy Advance."
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is often heralded as one of the best Zelda games in the franchise. It was the first Zelda game to make the 16-bit leap onto the Super NES, and in doing so, it introduced a number of new items and characters that would later become staples of the series. So, when Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance in 2001, it seemed to just make perfect sense that A Link to the Past would eventually see a port onto Nintendo's powerful handheld system. In 2002, this came true. And how did it turn out? Very well, it would seem.
Whether you've played A Link to the Past or not, you will already be familiar with its story. Princess Zelda has gone missing, and it's up to Link to find her. But the world of Hyrule is much different than before. Now, there is both a light side and a dark side. On his quest, Link will learn magic skills, find useful items and acquire pendants that will allow him to delver deeper and deeper into Hyrule.
This port of A Link to the Past has not changed much from the Super NES version. The graphics are the same, the gameplay is the same and the sounds are the same. The only real change is that Link now grunts and shouts just as he did in the Nintendo 64 games. It's a minor addition that shouldn't bother anyone. I consider all of this to be a good thing, as A Link to the Past was a very good game, and it's nice to see Nintendo not messing with their successes.
The game is spread out over eight dungeons. In each dungeon, Link will acquire a helpful item that will let him clear each dungeon's boss and move onto the next one. At the end, he will take on the ultimate evil and rescue Zelda. Between each dungeon, Link explores the world of Hyrule and engages in a multitude of side-quests. He will also find ways of powering up his protective armor and magic power.
Everything that's been said about the Super NES version of A Link to the Past, including its weaknesses, also applies to the GBA version. Most glitches, mistakes and weird behavior exist in the GBA port. The only real omission is the infamous "secret room," although this does not affect gameplay in any way.
As an added bonus to the port, Nintendo also threw in a new Capcom-designed Zelda game, called "Four Swords." This is the first-ever multiplayer Zelda game, and it requires at least two players to complete. To be honest, it's not that good, and was obviously included just to sell the port. Nintendo didn't put much thought into Four Swords. The only reason you'd ever want to play this is because completing it will unlock two new bonuses in A Link to the Past: a new sword technique and a new dungeon. Both did not exist in the Super NES version.
I strongly recommend that all Game Boy Advance owners pick up a copy of this port. It's very well done with no real major flaws, and it's long gameplay and somewhat amusing multiplayer should equate to a lot of fun for all involved.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/16/02, Updated 12/23/08
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (US, 12/03/02)
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