A LINK TO THE PAST REVIEW
Considering this game is older than I am, and that this is a total video game legend, A Link to the Past is tough to review. If you grew up in the 90’s, you hopefully had a Super Nintendo, and you also hopefully had this game. If you didn’t, well that is a darn shame, and I advice you to go buy a “Retroduo” right now. This is a great device that lets you play all your old vintage SNES and NES games within one compact console, in case your old system has pooped out on ya.
Okay, so to start we see our protagonist Link sleeping. Wait, is this Ocarina of Time? Windwaker? Nope, but it could be, seeing as every Zelda game ever starts this way. Anyways while he is sleeping his uncle tells him he is going out for a bit, and not to worry. So of course we totally don’t follow any of this parental advice and we go after him, only to find him in the castle basement. His uncle tells Link that he must go forth to help Princes Zelda, even though he’s just a kid. It’s hard to tell Link’s age in this game, considering his mediocre graphic quality, but I suppose that’s not the point.
Okay, so eventually after fighting a ton of castle soldiers we find Zelda, who tells us that we must find three pendants to gain access to the master sword. Wow like I haven’t done that before. Once we gain this power we can save the seven maidens from an evil wizard name Agahnim, who is trying to free the powerful Ganon. Now Ganon, or Ganandorf as he’s more commonly known, should be familiar to you if you have played any future Zelda games; he’s that creepy green-faced red haired dude, remember? So yeah basically find pendants, get sword, save ladies, save Zelda, end game.
So we are playing this on the SNES, which has limited buttons, so that means there’s not as many options for combat. You can move, swing your sword, and use one item at a time, which means constantly clicking start to switch inventory. Sounds lame and frustrating, but you just get used to it and really it’s not that big of a deal. There’s no “Z targeting” like other 3D versions of Zelda, it just simply move and hit the enemy in front of you on the aerial-perspective screen. However after completing the first dungeon, Link gains access to the “Pegasus Boots”, which allow him to quick dash, so this is a nice and very unique aspect for this game. Once you get used to these, you will use them constantly to quickly dash away from enemies without taking any damage, and just to get to areas quicker. Link also gets cool weapons like a hookshot, bombs, bow & arrow, and boomerang – all classic Zelda stuff. Link can find the “waterfall of wishing” to upgrade his bomb and arrow capacity, buy flippers to let you swim in deep water, upgrade your health through 24 different heart pieces, discover four different bottles to trap helpless fairies in (what, bottles? In a Zelda game!?), and even temper your sword to make it uber strong and glow bright red. Lots to do for one little magenta haired kid.
Now along with all that, what makes this game awesome is the ability to travel between the “light world” and the “dark world” after gaining the master sword. Like OoT’s time travel component, this gives you twice the amount of ground to cover, and secrets to reveal. The dark world is far more challenging than the light world, with even creepier enemies, and every landmark in the original landscape is altered in this new context. Everything from Link’s House, Hyrule Castle, Lake Hylia, the sanctuary, and Kakoriko village become a different and stranger version in the dark world, and often you have to switch between both worlds using Link’s magic mirror to gain hard to reach items. Really cool concept if you ask me, as each world has it’s own vibe through different colour schemes and music.
I am tempted to say I like this game slightly more than OoT since it has just as many cool dungeons and hidden items, but it doesn’t take nearly as long to complete (or maybe I am just better at this game if we are being honest). Now I am not saying this game isn’t hard, I certainly die a lot when I play it, especially once you get to the dark world, but I find it a bit “lighter” (pardon the pun) than games like Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask. Do keep in mind that could just be the adorable vintage graphics and cutesy music talking. This is definitely one of my favourite SNES games (probably tied with Earthbound), and if you haven’t experienced it, please I beg of you find a way to play it. It will change your life. Well, maybe not change your life, but it should enhance your life for approximately 10 hours of gameplay at the very least.