"The jewel in the crown of the Zelda series"

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was a classic game that was extremely popular back in the days of the Super Nintendo. This game is absolutely amazing and this is coming from someone who usually doesn't like the Zelda series that much. It's a shame Nintendo doesn't really recognize how great this game is and how much Zelda fans and video game fans in general adore this game…It did a remake for the Game Boy Advance but it got left out of Zelda: Collector's Edition. How… infuriating.

Story: The story is simple, but then again, all the Zelda series have pretty simple stories. To start, Ganondorf isn't actually the main villain at the beginning. That honor goes to a wizard named Agahnim. 7 maidens (Including Zelda) have been kidnapped and trapped in 7 dungeons with 7 crystals by Agahnim. Basically, you have to travel from dungeon to dungeon and slay the evil beast of the dungeon. Once you do that, you'll get a crystal. Your objective is to ultimately stop Ganondorf from taking over the light world (There's two worlds, light world and dark world). Speaking of light and dark worlds, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past does a damn good job at utilizing this feature. This game is one of the original games to implement this and the whole concept of light and dark worlds is something that would be used for many future games to come. I'd say Link to the Past is truly where the classic Zelda storyline began to shine. The original Legend of Zelda had little sense of urgency and was really often baseless wandering. I won't fault the original Legend of Zelda for this because the original Legend of Zelda started the foundation of the Zelda games. Link to the Past came along and improved in pretty much everyway and added some things, one of them being a storyline. Throughout this game, there is an apparent sense of urgency and this sense of urgency is what caused this game to be much more epic. This type of urgency is what will be used later in games like Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.

Game Play: The game play is simple and has striking similarities to the original Legend of Zelda but with vast improvements of course. You slash enemies with your sword, defend with your shield but you can also use items. Heart containers are still quite prominent with this game as this is a Zelda game. The heart containers are your life basically and the more you collect, the more life you'll gain. A lot of the time you'll just find a fourth of a heart piece so when this occurs you need to collect four of these fourths of a heart piece in order for it to create a full heart and increase your life capacity. Throughout the game you'll collect items (Bombs, bow and arrow, boomerang, magical rods etc) and you can use those too. Like all the other Zelda games, you do a lot of puzzles inside of temples and dungeons. While it can be so darn frustrating sometimes, you can't help but love them. Puzzles could be lighting up torches, moving blocks into proper places or defeating all the enemies in a specific room. You'll be able to control Link pretty good and throughout the game you'll gain outside abilities such as running really fast (It's quite fan ramming your foes) or swimming in a lake. You probably won't be able to beat this game without a guide or some other outside help because sometimes the game is unclear on where exactly you have to do but regardless, the game play is classic and it still rocks even today.

The dungeon design in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is brilliant. It truly is. Unlike the original Legend of Zelda, this game actually has multiple levels, not just a maze-like series of rooms. The puzzles do require you to think and new tasks and challenges get presented in each dungeon. While the original Legend of Zelda was monotonous in its level design, Link to the Past manages to be unique and different. Ocarina of Time may have dungeons in 3-D but they're easy and you feel little sense of accomplishment by completing those really easy dungeons. Legend of Zelda may very well be the best Zelda because it has the best dungeon designs. Majora's Mask has good dungeons too, but there's only four sadly. The boss fights prove to be quite fun too. Despite being at the disadvantage of being 2-D, Link to the Past has some really good epic boss battles, many of them actually involving some strategic weakness and specific action you have to do to counter the poss. Some of the bosses felt a little lame but overall I was pleasantly surprised.

Sound/Music: The sound is pretty good, when you use a sword, it sounds like you use a sword, when you throw a boomerang, it sounds like you throw a boomerang. The music is good too. Personally I'm a big fan of the Dark World overtheme, I find it to be one of gaming's best overworld themes. The boss and dungeon music is also quite good. Just looking back on the SNES games, Legend of Zelda does stand out for soundtracks. It really can't compare with games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI but it really does blow most other games out of the water. Overall, Link o the Past had a fairly good soundtrack.

Graphics: The graphics are good for it's time, you have to remember that this was on the Super Nintendo, not the GameCube so it isn't going to be anything great but these graphics were good for it's time. Even today, I don't find anything wrong with these graphics, I can see Link, I can see the enemy, I can see everything just fine and this game is superb even without all those fancy graphics. The bottom line is these graphics were great for it's time and acceptable by today's standards.

Difficulty: Ah, difficulty. Well, this game is harder than the Game Boy Advance
version. Link to the Past is challenging but far from impossible. Really, after this the Zelda games get pathetically easy. Link to the Past offered a good slice of difficulty without making it too frustrating but as most Lttp fans know, this game was still frustrating at times.

Replay Value: This game has okay replay value. You will play this game several times but you have some long breaks in between them just because you don't feel like going though a dungeon again. The good thing is that this game has replay value...

Rating Breakdown:

Game Play: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Sound/Music: 8/10
Graphics: 4/5
Difficulty: 5/5
Replay Value: 5/10
Total: 45/50 = 90%

There is no doubt in my mind that to me, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the pinnacle of the Zelda series. It blows all previous Zelda games out of the water and remains unrivaled until Ocarina of Time. Ocarina of Time impresses the world with it's 3-D environment. Unfortunately, Ocarina's clunky game play, lessened difficulty and Navi ruin it for Ocarina of Time. Link to the Past remains as the pinnacle of the Zelda games, at least in my opinion. Perhaps Twilight Princess could change that though…. But anyways, Link to the Past is one of those games every gamer needs to play. The weaknesses to this game is that the soundtrack really isn't anything to write home about and the story, while not bad, could have been better. The strengths are of course a satisfactory difficulty level, adequate graphics and excellent game play and dungeon design. Link to the Past is awesome. The Zelda series is popular for a reason and if you weren't satisfied with Ocarina of Time, then try this gem out.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/04/06

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