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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
This hub is going to review The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of the best action adventure videogames of all time, developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (and remade for the Game Boy Advance) and arguably a poster child of the action adventure genre.
When The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released in 1992 in North America and Europe (after having been released a year earlier in Japan), it quickly achieved popularity. You see, it was different. It wasn't exactly a role playing game, but it wasn't some generic hack and slash game either. It was a little of both, and I believe that this had an influence on its success.
So, read on as I talk about this game that could also be called The Link To The Past (why are you all groaning; the pun wasn't that bad! :P).
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Title Screen
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The story of A Link to the Past has you taking the role of a young boy (who you could name whatever you wanted, but his canon name is Link.) that's the nephew of a swordsman. You wake up in his cabin to find him gone. The only thing left in the cabin of note is a magic lantern (which will be quite useful in that very early part of the game). You quickly find your uncle seriously injured, as he tasks you with saving the princess of Hyrule Castle (named Zelda; for whom the series is named). You grab his sword and shield and that's where your adventure begins.
After saving the princess and taking her to the sanctuary, you are tasked with finding three pendants, each symbolizing one part of the Triforce (Power, Courage and Wisdom). However, there is more to it than meets the eye, and the game is far from over once you complete this...
Nintendo's stance with the Zelda series (which is noticeable in A Link to the Past as well) has always been to work on the gameplay first, the story second. While this game's story isn't likely to win awards, it gets the job done. This, combined with minor details that add to the in-game immersion, actually makes you feel like you're a part of the game. The first time a Hyrule guard chases you down in Kakariko Village (after a villager snitches on you, no less!) is awe-inspiring. You actually feel like you have to make the world of Hyrule a better place.
The gameplay is pretty simple. You face your enemy, press the attack button and swing. Once you get usable items, you can press the item button to use those. The variety of items and their uses (a decent amount of which are actually optional) adds a level of complexity that you wouldn't expect from a game like this. For example, early on you get a Boomerang that can be used to trigger switches from afar. However, it can also be used to stun enemies or even grab objects from a distance.
The simplicity of the gameplay hides the difficulty this game can have for inexperienced players. You start the game with 3 Heart Containers (these symbolize your character's health; if these run out, you're dead) and can get more by defeating bosses and finding Pieces of Heart scattered around the world of Hyrule. In addition, you will acquire Bottles during your adventure that will allow you to carry potions that can restore your Hearts and your magic power (which is used for spells and some items). Your trusty sword, shield and tunic can be upgraded as well (the sword does more damage, the shield gets bigger and gains the ability to block more types of attacks and the tunic reduces the damage you suffer from attack). As you can see, there's a lot more to this game than meets the eye at first sight.
The soundtrack is classic, and most people must have heard at least the overland theme. The overland theme is a staple of most older Zelda games. (It plays from 0:22 to about 1:10) Other memorable songs include the dungeon boss theme and the Dark World theme (which is a variation of the normal overland theme).
All in all, it's considered one of the best videogame soundtracks of all time. This game isn't a classic for nothing!
By today's standards this game isn't so spectacular, but perhaps the fact that this game has withstood the test of time and even got a (relatively) recent remake into the Game Boy Advance portable system is credit enough to how great it still is. :)
If you have a chance to buy this game, then do so, because it's definitely worth at least one playthrough!
Until the next time, take care and have fun!