The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The first couple of Zelda games were pretty good and everything, and even though I liked the second game well enough, I’m relatively certain that I’m in a significant minority. So it’s no big surprise that the game would return to the kind of game that started the series, some kind of overhead-viewed adventure through some dungeons.

The game also tried to give the backstory to the series a little more meat. It established where Ganon came from, told where the ’seven wise men’ came from, and lots of other little tidbits that tried to kind of kick the Zelda mythos into high gear. You can get everything you need to know just from playing through this game. There’s plenty of exposition in just the right places to keep you going.

The game starts on a dark and stormy night (fancy!) with Link getting a telepathic message from the Princess in Distress, Zelda. Link’s uncle also got the message, and he sets out to rescue her first. Incredibly, though, uncle-guy fails at his mission pretty much right away and it falls on Link to take up the family sword and shield and figure out what’s going on.

Eventually, you find out that there is this evil wizard who’s kidnapping girls for some reason, and to get to him, you have to get the Master Sword, and to get that you have to get three pendants hidden away in three separate dungeons all over the known world. Once you get all of that you have to find and rescue each of the kidnapped maidens who are being held in seven separate dungeons in a parallel, corrupt version of the real world.

But, that’s all fine because each time you go into a dungeon you get a special item that you are almost guaranteed to have to use to defeat the master of that dungeon, and just generally gives you more stuff you can do, which, in turn, will let you get to areas in the overworld that you couldn’t get to before. It’s an elegant design, really, the world expands slightly every time you get one. One of the early dungeons, for example, has you finding these gloves that let you lift rocks that were once too heavy to move. Then you think back to a rock that you saw with some tantalizing goodie behind it, and you go back to get it.

I rented this game one time, and was impressed by it. There was no part of this game I didn’t like… with the exception of one puzzle in the Ice Dungeon, it’s got a pretty circuitous solution, but it is solvable. But the rest of the game? Pure gold. Heck, possibly even platinum. The guy that went in with me to rent the thing and I stayed up most of the night playing it, but we weren’t able to fully polish it off. I was not to be deterred, though! I would rent the game again (though from a different place) and play (mostly) though it again. After that I decided that I needed to actually purchase the game to finish it off, and since I didn’t have any kind of money or cash flow source, I decided to get the next best thing, the strategy guide.

I pored over the strategy guide for months, studying all of the nooks and crannies of the game, learning where the hearts were and how to defeat Trinexx and what the names of the enemies are (knowing the difference between a peahat and a leever might come in handy some day). Finally, I was able to finish the game and cross it off the list. But it didn’t really end there. A few years later I found the game in a bin of games on Teh Clearance for a paltry sum, and since my wallet contained exactly that amount, I brought it home with me, and played through it again.

And I never once questioned why Link had pink hair.

One Response to “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”

  1. [...] game takes place in a world that looks a lot like the world in the Link to the Past but with a few tweaks to take advantage of the ‘Cube’s hardware. But, when you go [...]

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