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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
21 November 1991
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past [ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.09 / 5.0
0.5
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2,313 Ratings / 7 Reviews
#119 All-time
#1 for 1991
Players assume the role of series protagonist Link, a young man living with his uncle south of Hyrule Castle. Princess Zelda, a descendant of the Seven Sages, is held captive in the castle dungeon by Agahnim, a treacherous wizard who has set forth a chain of events to release his dark master.
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And here we have the Super Mario Bros. 3 [スーパーマリオブラザーズ3] of the The Legend of Zelda [ゼルダの伝説] franchise. It builds upon the first game as the basis and expands upon it with so many great changes. It's a borderline excellent game all things considered. I think the greatest praise I have for it is how intuitive everything is in its core design. Link now having an extra spin attack is a fun decision that you can use strategically and he also has many special weapons which can all be used to great effect in the dungeons and overworld. You also have some great mobility and travel options in the form of the Pegasus Boots, Zora Flippers, as well as a sidequest that basically gives you fast travel in the Light World. Traversing both the Light World and the Dark World is really fun too, the areas you go through feel very alive and it's especially helped by the introduction of Kakariko Village as well as other very well themed and beautiful looking areas. A lot of the secrets are very very well hidden, being hidden enough to get you to think but not being so obtuse that you have to look at a guide to solve them.

Finally, there is the dungeon design. The dungeons are EXCELLENT in this game especially when it comes to puzzle solving and it is the biggest step up compared to the original. Instead of opting to use obtuse block solving and rooms filled with 5-7 Blue Darknuts, this game opts to lay out its puzzle and enemy challenges in a way where the difficulty progression feels very natural. I think that's especially evident in the Dark World dungeons such as Swamp Palace, Ganon's Tower, and, possibly a hot take, especially the Ice Palace which are all a blast to play through. I also appreciate the Light World dungeons just the same though, with the Hyrule Castle and Eastern Palace being excellent at teaching you how the game works. These dungeons are also each capped off with a boss battle and every single boss in the game is fun to take down. Yes, even Mothula and Moldorm are still somewhat fun as annoying as they are. Overall, I love the dungeons in this game and it helps that the game around it is so well designed too, complete with great graphics and soundtracks too.

That being said though I do have a few nitpicks with the game. A lot of the secrets and ways to progress are well hidden but maybe some of them are maybe a bit too much so? I'm not sure how anyone, without trial-and-error, was supposed to figure out how to beat the first Agahnim fight. While I praised the dungeons in general too, I didn't exactly enjoy Skull Woods. It's pretty brutal for just being the third Dark World dungeon and the Wallmasters are a little annoying to deal with even though I get their purpose. And yeah part of the reason the Mothula fight of this dungeon is so annoying is the room itself because spikes are going to fly all over the place and the floor is constantly moving in directions you probably don't want it to. Overall, the dungeon is kind of a dud on the design front but it's not bad by any means especially since the rest of the game is designed so well.

Still though, I believe this game aged insanely well and you should all play it. It's excellent and very influential to the rest of the The Legend of Zelda [ゼルダの伝説] franchise
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Sothras 2024-01-08T19:10:19Z
2024-01-08T19:10:19Z
4.5
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very nostalgic :D
i played this game, along with many snes games, a lot as a kid. i got switch online to play snes games on the console and it's very nostalgic. the character sprites are very cute too!!
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sillylittlecat 2024-01-29T15:33:52Z
2024-01-29T15:33:52Z
4.5
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Pink Hair; Don't Care
Introduction:
I would be letting my younger self down If I were to begin reviewing games and not start with my very introduction into this unique medium. There are seldom days that pass that this game doesn’t in some way come to the forefront of my consciousness, or at least the moment in time this game was prevalent. In a time before a nine to five, my only concern was saving a princess and defeating an evil monster. This led to my subsequent real-life responsibilities to seem much more dry and mundane than saving royalty. But, the real world has very little magic and very little damsels distressing. Once I learned this, I could not put the controller down. This bright, digital world seemed far more limitless and interesting than these four, familiar walls confining me. It defined a large part of my childhood and I still play it to completion at least once a year. You may be saying to yourself, “Gray is already talking so highly of the game there is no point in even sticking around to see the rating!” Well my zealous friend, you would be mistaken. Although I do love this game unconditionally, it is not flawless. That is why me starting with A Link to the Past will be such a grand undertaking. I will have to sit down, praise its accolades and unearth its shortcomings. It will be more of a training exercise than a necessity to the gaming community. But, if I can dissect this game looking through a critical and unbiased lens, I can review any piece of media.

On that long-winded note, let us begin!


History:
Harken back to the stark, primitive and inconvenient times of the early 90s. The internet was using its training wheels and video games were still an array of 2D colors; pottering across your very heavy television sets. My existence was nothing but a fluttering fantasy in the minds of my young parents. It soon became Autumn and leaves began changing; 1992 was coming. Nintendo was about to leave the Video Game industry forever changed for the better.

On November 21st 1991, an exact year after the release of the Super Nintendo
Entertainment System, Nintendo dropped its 3rd installment in their illustrious series. Fans had not had their Zelda-thirst quenched in four years and Zelda II had left them more than dehydrated. It was given the title A Link to the Past and it blew past all expectations. The return to the original’s top down perspective was welcomed with open arms. The SNES allowed Zelda to sparkle like it had never sparkled previously.

Link was back with unforgiving fervor! His arsenal of weaponry was vast, his movements fluid and his charm undeniable. This iteration paved the way for numerable mainstays, including the hookshot, hunting heart pieces and the now renowned spin attack. The overworld was massive, for its time, with every nook filled with goodies and secrets just beckoning players to discover. Dungeon design had matured past their copy and paste predecessors and held your hand they did not. They were fair and complex with dastardly villains and enticing loot. A Link to the Past had seemingly improved on the Zelda formula in almost every fashion.

Once the dust had settled, the game had successfully cemented Zelda’s longevity into mainstream media. It also elevated the SNES to one of the best video game systems that had ever been or will be. To be blunt, it was a smash success, selling 4.6 million units and getting godlike acclaim from every source imaginable. But, is it a perfect game? Does it deserve its accolades and glory? Probably, but let us investigate it further.


Story (Spoilers):
“In a realm beyond sight,
The sky shines gold, not blue.
There, the Triforce’s might
Makes mortal dreams come true.”


Page 4, A Link to the Past Manual

Hyrule, although beautiful and vast, is subject to many an evil onslaught and A Link to the Past is no different. Centuries prior to the game’s narrative, a giant scavenger hunt was taking place in the land of Hyrule. The prize was the legendary and powerful Triforce. It is said that whoever touches this gold relic can have their utmost wishes granted and be gifted access into the Golden Land - a parallel counterpart to Hyrule housing all manner of sacred and desirable. A thief named Ganondorf Dragmire manages to get his grubby mitts all over the Triforce and subsequently plunge the Golden Land into darkness. To prevent further chaos, seven wise men lock Ganon away inside the Golden Land never to corrupt Hyrule or its inhabitants.

Centuries later an evil wizard by the name of Agahnim sought mayhem in Hyrule. He manages to achieve it after deceiving and killing the king. But he was not finished yet! He brainwashes the entire royal guard, captures the seven descendants of the seven wise men including Zelda and plans to use them to break the seal thus letting Ganon roam without bound. Such a menace needs to be stopped! But whom is capable?

A boy is awakened suddenly to the sound of a woman's voice. She is beckoning him to the castle. Was it a dream? In the same moment, the boy’s uncle is stepping out into the rain; giving only a brief goodbye before traversing into the night. Did he hear her too?

What is about to transpire is nothing short of an epic adventure. Link must conquer three gargantuan dungeons and slay the nightmares they house. Once done, he is finally able to confront Agahnim himself! Just as Link enters the room, the evil wizard casts a spell that makes the Princess vanish into thin air. Link embroiled with rage, strikes the final blow against the villain, seemingly vanquishing him. What happens instead forever blew my child-mind in the late 90s. Link is teleported to an alternate Hyrule and eight more dungeons stand in his way. The map doubled in size before my eyes. I could not comprehend how unending this game felt.

This new Hyrule was darker and more dangerous. Link’s house was now a bomb shop run by a shady monster and Hyrule castle had become a massive pyramid. Link, using his courage, slowly but surely finds the dungeons, saves the descendants of the sages and kills the multitude of monsters standing in his way. All of these hurdles culminate into a final battle against Agahnim. The fight that transpires is familiar but more difficult. Finally, he is slain. A bat then emerges from his body and takes off into the night sky. It is shown that it crashes through the pyramid, in the center of the dark realm, leaving a massive hole. You betcha Link is going down there! The bat turns out to be Ganon and he is out for blood. The duel is long and challenging. Fiery bats, the floor collapsing and the lights going out are just a few of Ganon’s tricks. The battle concludes and with it waves of relief wash over you. Link vanquishes evil, obtains the Triforce, and saves the day. Hyrule is finally at peace.


Gameplay:
Twenty-seven years later and A Link to the Past holds up astoundingly well. This time ‘round, Link is able to move in eight directions. This seemingly small change made a gargantuan impact on the fluidity and playability of this game. Enemies’ AI were improved upon to compliment Link’s movement changes. If Link was spotted some enemies would pursue him. Changes like these kept the game fresh and challenging to keep up with the aging audiences and skilled newcomers. By the way, this game did not hold your hand whatsoever. I still struggle with some of the bosses and dungeons to this day even though I have beaten this game once-a-year since I was five.

Link’s item trove was greatly expanded. Adding many items that would become staples to the Legend of Zelda series’ future. This game introduced the hookshot: a spike on a retractable chain that would pull Link to the spot shot at, the Pegasus boots that would give you a burst of speed that would not cease until you collided with something, and the illustrious ocarina. Heart pieces and even the classic spin attack made its debut here. A Link to the Past’s ripples are still felt in today’s Zeldas.

The Legend of Zelda series is known for its dungeon design and A Link to the Past’s are top notch. Every one of the twelve dungeons boasts great puzzles, tough bosses and tense exploration. Not to mention, every dungeon looks and feels completely different than the last. From inside a mountain shaped like a turtle to an underground hideout riddled with thieves; variety is prevalent.

It is hard not to talk about A Link to the Past’s music when reviewing it. Koji Kondo was in top form in this iteration. Many of the tracks will prance around in your head long after your SNES has been turned off. Kakariko Village, Dark World theme and the Hyrule Castle theme are standouts that have even been recycled in newer Zelda games. Even if you have never played A Link to the Past, go listen to its soundtrack on Youtube. I assure you that you will know and may even hum along to a few of its banger tunes.


Gripes:
No game is perfect, folks, and my favorite game is no exception. My main gripe is the story. Hear me out; the Zelda series’ stories have never been their best qualities. Even in the early days of 1991; a princess in peril, a courageous rescuer and a baddie bent on world domination was not a groundbreaking narrative. Media has been telling this tale for decades if not centuries. Although not fresh, A Link to the Past’s story still holds up relatively well especially when looking at the entire Zeldaverse as a whole. But, I think it needs to be said that even this astonishing game is not without its flaws. Oh, and fuck the Ice Palace.


Conclusion:
I would argue that A Link to the Past has not only set a high standard, but all Zelda releases afterward are just trying to emulate and improve on its formula and structure. With exceptional dungeons and puzzles, hours of sensational gameplay and a timeless yet varied narrative; this game will still be talked about in the decades to come. ALTTP is like the smart kid in calculus class; copying its process and formula is a simple and guaranteed A+.


Accolades:
I have beaten and completed this game more times than I can count.
I have beaten this game in under 5 minutes.


Favorites:
Dungeon: Thieves’ Town
Song: Triforce Chamber
Item: Bow and Arrows
Boss: Blind


Grade: 97/100
Story - 7/10
Predictable but classic.

Gameplay - 10/10
Fluid controls, fun exploration and a daunting challenge.

Graphics - 10/10
Bright and timeless.

Replayability - 10/10
Many sidequests and items to collect.

Music - 10/10
Diverse and memorable score.

Immersion - 10/10
Easy to pick up and hard to put down. The experience stays with you.

Innovation - 10/10
Added much to the series and its influence is still seen today in newer titles.
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TheGrayWorld 2023-10-09T14:58:39Z
2023-10-09T14:58:39Z
97 /100
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8.5

Some people would have you believe that the jump from Legend of Zelda to Link to the Past lost some of the exploration and magic. I tend to think it’s still there in spades, especially in the overworld and the light/dark connection and on top of that Link to the Past only adds in almost everything that matters to a game. A story, towns, musical themes, more items, secrets and deeper puzzles. No, I don’t think it’s the best game ever made, or the best Zelda ever made, but there are not a lot of games more impressive to me than this SNES classic.
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FatherMcKenzie 2023-09-24T02:18:46Z
2023-09-24T02:18:46Z
4.0
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There's a lot that's already been said about this game that's pretty obvious but still bears repeating because of just how cool it is, especially when it comes to the dramatic leap in scope that this had when compared to its NES counterparts. With that said, one of the biggest things that I kept thinking about throughout my experience with this is the fact that the way the concept of linearity has been made to sound inherently negative, especially in games that lean into exploration, has made discourse a bit more cut and dry in a lot of areas in ways I'm personally not especially fond of. It ties back into Link to the Past with the way that the game is one that by all accounts acts as if it would feel like a stylistic step away from the first game with its stronger emphasis on concrete story and a more rigid order you need to tackle challenges seeming like it'd detract from the total freedom that the original focused on, but it honestly doesn't. This same feeling is applied to basically everything else this has to offer as well, with the various shifts into more direct ways to guide the player and present ideas almost exclusively contributing to a more well rounded, yet still bold experience.

The big way in which this game feels far closer to what the original was doing than I expected is with the way the separation between the overworld and dungeons is handled. While it's true that the way the player needs to approach the dungeons is basically set in stone and outright told to the player through the map they have, the same cannot be said about the way you're expected to traverse the overworld, and this right here is what allows the game to retain a strong sense of exploration. There's a pretty huge portion of the overworld that you're almost immediately able to explore, and this time around there feels like an even greater reason to do so thanks to the densely packed mountains of secrets and cool little setpieces that you can interact with. In a lot of ways I feel like this manages to even do a better job at encouraging the player to get to know the world they've been placed in than the original due to the way that certain areas are gated off by various means that they'll be able to access later, not just giving a reason to return to a lot of locations multiple times, but rewarding those who put the world of Hyrule under closer scrutiny as they're traversing it. This helps solve one problem with the original game's approach where there was a somewhat impersonal atmosphere to most of it as a lot of screens felt almost exclusively just like another way to get from point A to point B.

This becomes even more vital once the 2nd half of the game begins and the dark world opens up, where the goal becomes learning to understand the relationship between these two worlds and how they'll interact with you switching between them. This ultimately results in turning the entire way that you approach moving around this world as a puzzle in its own right and further facilitates a deeper understanding of the most minute details of everything, where by the end of the game you're almost certain to be intensely familiar with both sides of the world and still end up missing a few things because of how well hidden some of the collectibles are. With that said, the way that you're forced to discover so much of this on your own without any major prompting unless you go out of your way to talk to the fortune teller is what ultimately still allows this to all feel so open despite nudging you in the right direction far more often.

On the other side of things, the linearity of the dungeons is one of the game's most valuable assets with the way that the game is paced practically perfectly in regards to having a ramping sense of difficulty and complexity. The game is only able to feel as smooth as it does thanks to this, as you'll often be combining concepts and item usages you learned hours ago in new settings on top of playing around with whatever new gear you picked up along the way, all with combat scenarios that become increasingly hectic and punishing that are bested thanks to the ever-increasing arsenal you pick up along the way. The progression just feels absolutely spot on, and the fact that this game was still decently action oriented unlike the later games that would often take more of a puzzle approach to most situations at hand leads a greater sense of variety that doesn't solely rely on the item you just picked up to succeed. As a result, the boss fights and dungeon layouts end up being pretty varied, and while it sometimes leads to mild travesties like the Moldorm fight, you also end up getting some insanely cool stuff happening, such as the entire skull woods dungeon or the Trinexx fight.

The story mostly being kept in the background was also a cool choice that I appreciate here, with a lot of it being explained through short lore dumps after you accomplish certain goals before moving onwards, keeping this strange sense of isolation intact while being able to convey a sense of narrative as well. This combined with the hostile nature of the dark world encroaching on the world of light ends up providing some very solid context and drive for you to want to take down Ganon too. Not everything works especially well unfortunately, especially with sword hit detection feeling wonky and there being some moments that really could've been conveyed with more clarity, which stop this from being an all time favourite, but in the grand scheme of things they feel minor enough to stop it from affecting things too egregiously either, Everything about the way the game handles its more conventional and accessible aspects as a means to elevate the core experience while only slightly shifting things along is a big part of the genius that brings to the table, and I feel like it's an element that deserves more recognition considering it was able to do all this while also being such an ambitious step forward in basically every category.
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Kempokid 2022-11-16T13:16:48Z
2022-11-16T13:16:48Z
4.0
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Really damn good, probably the best game for the SNES hands down and easily top 3 for its own franchise. But holy hell, it does get bogged down towards the end. Turtlerock is the bane of every 9 year olds existence. Regardless, great atmosphere and music for a 16-bit dungeon crawler. Someday ill get the nerve to sit down and finish the thing.
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_tumbleweed_ 2021-12-11T02:33:46Z
2021-12-11T02:33:46Z
4.5
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kunamon100 ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-24T07:41:15Z
2024-05-24T07:41:15Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Blorgang ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-24T04:23:28Z
2024-05-24T04:23:28Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2024-05-24T01:13:16Z
Switch
2024-05-24T01:13:16Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-24T01:13:08Z
2024-05-24T01:13:08Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
CEPHALOPOX The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2024-05-23T07:29:21Z
Wii U
2024-05-23T07:29:21Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Maliptail ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-23T00:47:59Z
2024-05-23T00:47:59Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BurgurBurgur The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2024-05-22T21:15:50Z
Switch
2024-05-22T21:15:50Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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Bel3 ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-22T00:26:21Z
2024-05-22T00:26:21Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
WhitePaladin ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-21T22:21:54Z
2024-05-21T22:21:54Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
blockhead1110 ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-21T19:28:06Z
2024-05-21T19:28:06Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AnonyMatt ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-21T02:23:45Z
2024-05-21T02:23:45Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MrFlobe ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース 2024-05-20T22:37:30Z
2024-05-20T22:37:30Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Also known as
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Zeruda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Toraifōsu
  • The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods
  • View all [3] Hide

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  • Previous comments (51) Loading...
  • suddenlywolf 2023-07-17 22:53:02.742957+00
    wanted to play this as my first big zelda game (i played phantom hourglass as a kid but nothing else and i never beat that game) but like. i just can't do it. i played two hours but it was just a madly unfun experience. quit during the tower of hera
    reply
    • suddenlywolf 2023-07-17 22:53:36.142277+00
      like i went in fully expecting this to be a chill likeable experience that, at the worst, would be like a 6/10 but i had a downright Unenjoyable time with it
    • white_calx 2024-01-09 10:45:38.406926+00
      couldn’t agree more, it frustrates me no end that i don’t like this game but i really did force myself to finish it :/
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  • Pumas 2023-07-31 22:16:53.789324+00
    Aged shockingly well in many respects, but you can feel that it was made to be played with a strategy guide right next to you. And before you old people tell me that you beat it without one, just know that I do not care
    reply
    • Xantha_Paij 2023-08-05 20:57:42.365656+00
      We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet, although the logos is common to all, most men live as if each of them had a private intelligence of his own. - Heraclitus
    • Pumas 2023-10-04 22:17:33.033328+00
      who knew hercules was so smart
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  • Flux1270 2023-08-15 16:36:54.92838+00
    just bumped this to a 5.0 after playing all the way through it
    reply
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  • foiebump 2023-08-23 17:18:15.488805+00
    this one just didn't really connect with me much. good game, i just like some of the others alot more.
    reply
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  • Tarluk 2023-09-02 18:25:18.635555+00
    the light world section was really good. but I felt so fuckin lost once I got to the dark world that I just ended up dropping it
    reply
    • Gayvyn 2023-10-12 02:40:09.743176+00
      That's interesting, the dark world half is where i think the game got more memorable
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  • MuffinsFan666 2024-01-15 13:29:11.409791+00
    Decided to give this one a shot finally and It's really fun, plays well, looks and sounds great but it feels weird because the story is near non-existent and it just feels off how uninvolved and matter of fact it is, like all the key items are just there for the taking, no fanfare, just like "oh I have this key item that doesn't do anything for a couple of hours"

    It really does feel like a re-imagining of the first Zelda
    reply
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  • anon123 2024-02-18 14:27:12.875882+00
    the rando is fucking amazing
    reply
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  • WhitePaladin 2024-05-21 22:23:00.403732+00
    really frustrating game
    reply
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