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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)

July 16, 2010

10/10 Brave Teenagers

Our generation has many heroes and most of those have stood the test of time: Superman is still flying around in his underwear, Batman is somewhere in the shadows, and I’m sure Flash is around here also, but he is running a little too fast for us to see him or care about him.  We, the video game nerds, have our own heroes: Mario is stealing coins left and right, Samus is blasting baddies in her tight suit, and Donkey Kong has turned a new leaf and started collecting bananas with his family instead of stealing princesses and throwing barrels at plumbers.  But still there is one hero that stands above the rest (in my eyes at least), and that is the courageous Link.

For over 22 years Link has been battling evil, overpowering the dark world, and restoring safety to Hyrule with the trusted Master Sword.  Sure, A Link to the Past isn’t always seen as the best game in the Zelda series (just look at The Poll of the Week for confirmation), but if you give me a couple well-constructed paragraphs, some witty comments, and a heartfelt confession, I believe I can show you why this game deserves a 10 out of 10 and why Ocarina of Time deserves a mere 9 out of 10.

A legacy takes work, it takes years for perfection, it takes ganasA Link to the Past created what would be the blueprint for the following Zelda games, and if it wasn’t for this third installment, the Zelda series would have never become what it is today.  This game brought the dark world into Hyrule, it brought back and kept the top-down perspective (obviously not seen in the 3D games), and it introduced weapons that will forever be included in Zelda games. What would a Zelda game be without the Hookshot?  How would we ever get through the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time without the introduction of the Hookshot in A Link to the Past?  Do I even have to mention the crafty swipe of the sword?  Yeah, it sounds simple, but before A Link to the Past all Link could do was jab, and that didn’t give him much range.

The most important aspect in this game that forever changed the land of Hyrule is the multi-level dungeons.  In A Link to the Past, we finally see the use of intricate puzzles in dungeons, including different keys and specific weapons for specific jobs, and damn these become very hard as the game progresses.  A game gets smarter when it asks you to purposely jump into a hole in a dungeon (which otherwise would kill you) to fall safely into the lower floor in the right spot to obtain the needed key, map, or weapon.  And speaking of dungeons, has anyone else noticed how every single Zelda game has an earth temple, an ice temple, a fire temple, and so on.. does that ring a bell?  Well it should, and it should be noted that these blueprint levels were started in A Link to the Past.

Okay, enough talk about how this game created the series.. but really, it did..  Let’s talk about the amazing story!  Princess gets captured by an evil being, and the hero has to rescue her. Um, that sounds familiar, of course, but I always believed that this Zelda games had a darker image, a little something more than the rest of the games out. (Get ready for the heartfelt confession).  The Marios and Donkey Kongs didn’t do it for me back then, I needed another realm, I needed to go outside the box and outside my universe, and Link let that happen for me.  This game was not just about going from level to level, grabbing the flag and moving on, this game took skill, it took intelligence, it took a lot of time and it took a lot of will-power.  This was not about taking over your world, it was about conquering your world and the evil world, making everything right.  RPGs today would not be what they are if it wasn’t for games like A Link to the Past making you go back and forth from temple to temple, from the woods to the desert and back to the woods, from light world to dark world to find the right piece of the puzzle.  Link took my gaming from the past and upgraded it, hey, let’s be corny and say this game was my link to the past (I know, that’s so cheesy).. but really, it took the adventure that I love in video games and excelled it to the next level.

I truly believe that this game was the start to the next generation of gaming.  For the mainstream games out at the time, A Link to the Past became the standard, and games needed to be smarted from then on.  No more paddles bouncing a ball back and forth, no more stacking weirdly shaped boxes, and certainly no more eating white dots.  A Link to the Past created a new high for me, and I’ll be honest, there has not been a year since I first picked it up that I have not played it.  And that is why it deserves a 10 out of 10, and it is also why it deserves to be the first review of many to come on CTCVGR.

P.S. Aiden, you guessed right, this was going to be my first review.. how did you know?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 8:06 am

    Haha, had a crazy hunch. Played this on an emulator in High School, way after its prime, and while I could admire it, the difficulty was crushing for me. My issue with the game – which is also in a way its strength – is that it’s just so damn hard to know where the fuck to go next, it gives you like NO clues. Honestly, without GameFaqs, I would have NO idea how to get the light arrow to beat Ganon at the end or even know that there was a light arrow to begin with. Nonetheless, I owe it to myself to revisit this. Might revitalize my faith in video games a bit since it’s waning quite heavily at the moment. Solid review, homey.

    • July 16, 2010 11:16 am

      You’ve got a point there A-dawg.. at times this game can be a little vague and hard to understand, but what I have realized is that those little shacks that give you hints on what you should do (I forget what they are called right now.. I just woke up), you know the weird fortune teller guys that every Zelda game has, those are a good way to spend your money.

      It’s not cheating, it’s buying information haha, and they actually do help you out. This way you rid yourself of that cheap feeling you get when you Google “A Link to the Past walk-through.”

    • July 16, 2010 11:20 am

      Oh and P.S. sadly I am stuck in the newest Zelda game (The Phantom Hourglass) and I have been ever since I put it down months ago (since I was stuck and all).. but the worst part is that I can’t find the fortune teller so I have no other option but to Google the walk-through..
      I get a weird, pain-like feeling in my soul when I type those words into Google.. not good

      • July 16, 2010 12:22 pm

        Bummer, man. Heard that game is great, too. Next time I give Link to the Past a go, that’s how I’m cashing in those rupees.

      • July 16, 2010 9:31 pm

        Correction: sorry, I didn’t mean Phantom Hourglass (I already beat that one)…….. I meant Spirit Tracks (the newest Zelda to come out on the DS)

  2. nico permalink
    July 16, 2010 12:00 pm

    a link to the past is THE best game ever made.

  3. Moose permalink
    July 16, 2010 2:09 pm

    For a lot of these same reasons is why the first Legend of Zelda is my (second) favorite game of all time.

    • July 16, 2010 3:18 pm

      I take it the top spot goes to FF7?

      • Moose permalink
        July 16, 2010 3:43 pm

        Right series, wrong game. It’s actually Tactics. 7 isn’t even in my top 3 Final Fantasy games. (Crazy, right?)

      • July 16, 2010 4:07 pm

        Ooo Tactics is a siick game.. I have to find my copy of that and replay it

    • July 16, 2010 3:30 pm

      Aiden, sticking to his FF7 haha.. I can’t wait to review that game!
      And yeah, the original Zelda is good because it is the real start to this amazing series, but I get way too frustrated playing it.. I guess since I started my Zelda Life with ALttP, it made it hard for me to downgrade in systems for the original. I’ve given them all the time they deserve, and the original is probably the third one with most play time for myself.
      My only real problem with the first game is the start.. you are in the middle of a wooded field, you go into a cave, two seconds of text and the adventure starts.. no real story telling and that turns me off from the game.

  4. July 22, 2010 9:04 am

    So after your review, I downloaded this sucker to my Wii, even dropped some extra cash on one of those glorified SNES controllers you hook up to the nunchuck, and while I’m still in the Ocarina crew for the time being, you’re right, this game is fucking awesome. Totally stands the test of time and I’m having an absolute blast with it. AND I’m figuring stuff out all by myself. I feel so smart!

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