The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
- Developers: Nintendo
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Platforms: SNES
- Release Date: 24th September 1992
- Microtransactions: No
A link To the Past
In honour of the release of the new Nintendo Switch console and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild we have decided to take a trip down memory lane. Today’s piece will be on one of the biggest icons of video gaming and my personal favourite game of all time The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past.
This isn’t going to be your standard review as we’ve read countless of these over the years and we don’t need another one. Instead I’m going to talk about the things I enjoy about this game and how it changed the landscape of videogames and ultimately the legacy it left behind and why I love this game above all others.
By the time A Link To The Past was released The Legend of Zelda series was already a well-regarded series for Nintendo with the previous entries in the series The Legend of Zelda and Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. Both games vastly different to one another, the first a top down multi-screen action adventure puzzle hybrid and the second a slightly more open world side-scroller adventure which is highly underrated. Then came along A Link To The Past and Nintendo took elements of both and decided if we merge these together we can have the best of both worlds and my god they did it.
At the time of release ALTTP really used the full stretch of power from Nintendo’s newest system the SNES. You could see the jump up in the graphics with how much more detailed Hyrule was now compared to the original whose different sections on the map whilst impressive for the time didn’t really have much to differentiate from each other. In this game we have a fully breathing different world, whether it’s the living Kakariko Village with its many inhabitants, or the Lost Woods with its darker setting and enemies and maze like structure, all the way to Death Mountain surrounded by caves and secret paths and falling boulders. Every section of this map was well detailed and planned out to really make you feel like you were exploring a huge world for the first time. This was truly the first major open world game.
It followed the same lines of the first game by having you explore dungeons to find new items and collect the magic pendants to different Ganon again but what truly set this apart from the previous entries of the series and other games from the time was the big twist. Once you have seamlessly Finished the game and collected all the pendants and about to fight Ganon – BAMN! you’re in a new world! The game restarted from the Dark World, an evil twisted version of Hyrule.
This sort of twist and switch up of the game whilst done to death nowadays hadn’t been heard of at the time, Nintendo went and through a whole new games worth of material there for you by including this and stepping foot into the Dark World for the first time and seeing the difficulty level rise the way it did was unheard of. Not only was this a massive curve ball but it truly made the game seem an epic size basically doubling the adventure time you expected. Having a more twisted version of the Overworld to run a gauntlet through was incredible, paths you had taken previously where now blocked off, towns and people you had met on your journey ruins and dead, it’s crazy to think how unconventional this seemed at the time but this is where Nintendo have succeeded time and time again and laid the groundwork for video game creators for years to come.
Let’s move on to the soundtrack now. The Legend of Zelda series have always had fantastic musical scores but ALTTP may be the most perfect of these scores with the most memorable songs. For a game on the system Nintendo really utilised as much as they could with the music crafting individual pieces that would years later go on to iconic status.
Hiring legendary video game music composer Koji Kondo who had worked on the original game as well as the Mario series they managed to get another hit out of the gate with this score. The Overworld theme is now synonymous with the series as is Zelda’s Lullaby and The Great Fairy Theŵe. The amount of complicated music they included was astounding at the time and still to this day is one of the most complete soundtracks in video game history and is up there with the soundtracks of games like Mario, Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid on iconic status.
For me this game is about as perfect as a game can get and has been my favourite game of all time my whole life. I have ended up rebuying this game numerous times and played it consistently over the years. Whether it was the original on the SNES, the Four Swords edition on the Gameboy Advance or numerous Virtual Console versions on the Wii, Wii U or New N3DS, the game is timeless. If it wasn’t for this game we wouldn’t have half the games we have had over the past 25 years. From the gameplay to the story, to the soundtrack, the influence of this game is everywhere in modern gaming. From games like the Final Fantasy series all the way to modern classics like The Witcher, the Zelda influence is always there in the background.
Where people tend to credit Ocarina of Time as being the real needle mover in influence of Zelda it is easy to overlook this 2D classic but there is no denying all the groundwork that may have made Ocarina the consensus ‘best game of all time’ started first with A Link To The Past. For me ALTTP was the game that made me fall in love with the series and Nintendo as a whole, and started me on my journey of being a lifelong Nintendo fan. Hopefully Breath of the Wild and the Switch when released will give new gamers playing the series for the first time the same experience of wonder and astonishment I had discovering Zelda when I was younger. Here͛s to another 30 years of magical Zelda games and experiences.
- Revolutionary gameplay mechanics
- One of the best twists in all of videogames by introducing the Dark World
- Iconic soundtrack by Koji Kondo
- Laid the groundwork for videogames to come, influencing the entire market
- Nintendo truly taking gaming to the next-level using the full power of the SNES to incredible results