Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Review

posted 12/6/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: GBA
Back in the day there was a little system called the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Things were quite different back then, systems came packaged with games (yes, free games!), two controllers (what?!) and a whole lot of excitement. In the heyday of gaming, pretentious characteristics such as flashy visuals didn’t factor too much into whether or not a game would be successful. It was through word of mouth, passed on by gamers who had experienced the magic for themselves to the less fortunate who have yet to experience it. Of course enclaves of gamers would gather together to be regaled by those tales, sucking in each and every single word and making it their own. Oh yes, the good ol’ SNES, the hotbed for RPGs, Sports games and perhaps the pinnacle of all Zelda titles, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

There’s no need to waste your time with any more anecdotes, lets head right in to the review. Want to know what you’ll get from the recently released Link to the Past? You’ll get a pixel-for-pixel conversion of the 1993 classic that rivals the visual quality of the SNES original. If you ask me, the game actually looks better on the GBA because all of the visuals have been shrunk down to fit onto the relatively small screen. What you have is a game that looks so amazing, so beautiful that you’ll probably wonder how the designers managed to cram so much quality into such a confined space. Everything has been recreated beautifully as the artists used the original artwork from the SNES game to recreate this port. Some may say that the visuals look a bit dated in comparison to the GBA’s graphical prowess, I say to hell with those people, this is one excellent looking game.

In case the past 9 years haven’t been too kind on your memory, allow me to fill you in on the storyline. Of course you’re Link, the lovable little elf-looking boy who’s small in size, but big on adventure. The game begins on a dark and stormy night, you’re relaxing in bed when suddenly a voice beckons to you. Princess Zelda is being held in the castle’s dungeon and as Link, you’ll take it upon yourself to rescue her. As you enter the castle (through a conveniently hidden secret path of course) you’ll learn that evil is afoot and that an evil wizard has placed the entire land under a spell. It’s then your duty to accost the land of this dastardly evil and restore order and peace. It’s a journey that takes place across a wide variety of landscapes and environments and in the end, it’ll take a novice gamer upwards of 20 hours.

The major changes come in the form of the Four Swords, the multiplayer component of the cartridge. When it was debuted at a press conference before this year’s E3, the press was given a small sample of the dungeon romping action that would be included in this cartridge. The concept behind the game is simple, yet inventive, you and up to three friends can hook up and compete with each other. In order to succeed you’ll need to utilize teamwork but at the same time, you’ll be in competition. Many of the puzzles require teamwork to be successful. For instance, there may be a gap that can only be crossed via platform that moves when one player is activating the switch. As the other player reaches the other side he will need to activate the other switch so that his companion can cross and they can continue along the way. Sometimes you’ll come across a boulder that requires the strength of two people to move it. The puzzles are fun and tend to incorporate elements from past Zelda games.
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