Review by fduboo

Reviewed: 02/09/00 | Updated: 02/09/00

The game destined to be a classic.

The Legend of Zelda series has always been Nintendo's pride and joy- the family fun of Mario mixed with a more engaging style of play. The company always goes to great pains to create quality games that endear the plucky Link and damsel in distress Zelda to our hearts. Their SNES update, a Link to the Past, is no exception.

The visuals in this game are beautiful. Hyrule is lush and foreboding at the same time; clearly this is what Miyamoto envisioned when the series made its NES debut so long ago. Areas of the countryside like the Haunted Forest and Zora's Falls are simply breathtaking. Link is much more detailed and his animations are quite sophisticated. He can run, slash, spin, and swim fluidly and easily. The enemies are also quite nicely detailed, and the bosses are just downright spectacular. Other graphical effects like the rainfall in the introduction are extra polish to an already impressive product. Perfection on the Super Nintendo.

The music in this game is also great. The overworld tunes and the dungeon scores are awesome, and they fit the fantasy theme of Hyrule well. The sound effects, such as the slash of the sword, splashing sounds while swimming, and even the clucking of chickens are all right on the money. I especially liked the clinking noise that the game made whenever Link collected Rupies...little touches like this are what make above average games truly great. This is an immersive game.

Control is smooth and intuitive- whether Link is running, slashing woth his sword or playing the Ocarina, you are never ready to throw the controller in frustration. The item selection screens are easy to master, and even in heated battle you can never blame the game for Link making a wrong move. This is important in an action-oriented adventure game.

Gameplay is based directly on the first Legend of Zelda, adopting the overhead view and now allowing Link to move in eight (rather than just four) directions. There are a plethora of magical items that Link may use in conjunction with his sword and shield, including classics like the Boomerang and new innovations like the Hookshot. Each item is seamlessly incorporated into the landscape, forcing you to master them in order to use their abilities to traverse the many hidden paths and corners of Hyrule (and there are many, trust me). In addition, there are two large and developed worlds to conquer, each with unique characteristics that often must be combined in order to reach certain items. Since the two worlds are reflections of each other, Link must often transport between them in specific areas so he may reach otherwise unattainable areas. This may sound confusing but in action it is extremely easy to figure out. The game's bosses are varied and can sometimes be frustrating to defeat, but this is for the most part a minor flaw.

The story is typical Legend of Zelda, in which Link must rescue the Princess. However, the game becomes so much more as the plot is slowly and cleverly revealed. The story slowly grows in scope until it reaches its full revelation, and it does not disappoint. A job well done in the story department, and the dialogue is interesting.

Replay Value
The replay value takes a small dip because this is not the type of game you will want to play ad nauseum. However, there are many secrets to discover in Hyrule, and they will most likely keep you coming back for more.

Average (9/10)...and trust me, I don't usually give games more than an 8 unless they are truly exceptional. Zelda fits that description. It was destined to be a classic and it has all the right elements. Playing this is a treat and all deserve to play it.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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