Review by Serge16

"Wow, Zelda must really be stupid to get kidnapped twice in the same game..."

When I think of Link to the Past, many words come to mind; Sweet, awesome, and excellent are just a few. Link to the Past, the third game in the Legend of Zelda series, is a huge game starring Link; The Hyrulian badass who always seems to have some version of him around whenever Hyrule is in trouble, and this time around he has his work cut out for him.

The story starts off with Link receiving a telepathic message from the Princess Zelda, who is currently being held hostage in Hyrule Castle. Link manages to rescue her, and is then appointed the task of collecting 3 pendants so he can wield the legendary Master Sword, a blade that can conquer all evil. Unfortunately for Link, as soon as he finds the 3 pendants and retrieves the Master Sword, the Princess gets herself captured again, so Link must go and rescue her, as well as seven other maidens who got themselves captured. Only when he rescues all everybody can he take on Gannon, and save Hyrule.

Link to the Past’s gameplay is similar to that of the original Legend of Zelda, in that the game is played from an overhead view, and you select from a variety of weapons to use against the enemies. Your basic concept is to maneuver through the world, killing enemies with your sword and various weapons, while solving puzzles in the dungeons, so you can fight the boss and recover a pendant or a maiden. The puzzles in Link to the Past are not challenging with the right gear in hand, but you will find that if you lack the proper equipment, some of them are not even possible.

Combat is done in real-time, similar to Secret of Mana. When you see an enemy, you can walk up to it and hit it with your sword or another weapon of your choice, or you can choose to attack from a distance. Most monsters are rather easy to kill, and you won’t be finding a challenge when fighting them. Boss combat, while harder then the normal enemies, is not challenging either if you prepare yourself properly. Similar to Ocarina of Time, as long as you have a Fairy in a bottle, you can’t die. Granted you won’t be given a full refill on life as seen in other games in the series, you are granted enough to get back into the battle and kill the boss. Considering you can carry up to four fairies, you can revive yourself four times, while the boss can never heal himself.

The arsenal of weapons available to you is large, and you’ll see the origins of some of the weapons that are seen in other games that come later in the series, such as the hookshot, and the Hammer. You’ll also have weapons that consume Magic Power, such as the Fire and Ice Rods, or the Magic Cape, which makes you invisible. Also available are 3 magic spells, but you probably won’t be using them, due to the fact that they are kind of a waste of Magic Power and there are better weapons around.

The game is quite lengthy to newcomers, spawning across 2 different worlds with a total of 13 dungeons. This was the first game to introduce the Pieces of Heart, so you’re going to be collecting those all throughout the game. There are several mini-games, such as target shooting, or digging for treasure, but none of them are really fun to play over and over again. But the fun is in the game, not it’s mini-games.

The graphics of Link to the Past are very colorful, and the world is full of detail. I’m glad Nintendo went with the overhead approach as seen in the original, as that’s the best way to play a Zelda game. The animation is fluid, and you won’t see any slow down in the game, no matter how many creatures or other sprites are on the screen.

The controls are pretty basic, and are easy to learn. One button swings the sword, another uses the equipped item, and another dashes. The other buttons are used for various tasks such as the map, and opening the item selection screen. The games controls are very responsive, so you won’t find yourself tapping left repeatedly only to see Link move half an inch across the screen.

The music in Link to the Past is very good, and I’m sure you’ll find one or two tunes that you’ll love. You will also find that the classic Zelda theme is back, and sounding better then ever. The sound effects in Link to the Past are also pretty good, from the swoosh when you swing your sword, or to the crumble when you throw a rock.

Overall, Link to the past was a great game. Although it lacks challenge, even more so to people who are replaying it, It more then makes up for it with it’s long length, excellent gameplay, and the fact that you can have fun with it again and again. More likely then not, you will be playing it over again. It’s the type of game where you can pick it up any time and just replay the whole thing. If you see this game for sale, you should pick it up, since it’s a great game. If you lack a Super Nintendo, they recently re-released it for Gameboy Advance, and it’s pretty much a direct port, so pick it up for that.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/03/03, Updated 02/03/03

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