THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST
DEVELOPED BY: Nintendo EAD
PUBLISHED BY: Nintendo
PLATFORMS: Super NES, Game Boy Advance
RELEASE DATE: (NA) April 13, 1992 (EU) September 24, 1992
25 years ago, Nintendo once again reshaped the history of gaming when they released The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES – but does the game stand the test of time?
Spoiler alert. The answer is yes. Always yes.But for those of you unfamiliar with the game, here’s a brief overview of its legacy, and what it meant for the games of today.
Following the massive success of the first two games, LttP fed on the feedback of fans and the progression of gaming to create the second generation of the franchise. Returning to the 3/4 top-down perspective of the first game also enabled Nintendo to progress from arbitrary directional control to diagonal movement, allowing more flexible combat and speedy navigation throughout the game. In fact, most combat mechanics had been advanced for the ease of the player, with Link now swiping his sword horizontally (instead of just gently poking enemies), and with the creation of arrows as individual items to replace the previous rupee-draining system.
“Every game in a series develops on previous mechanics, what makes this so special?” We hear you nay-sayers ask.
If you think about some of the best items in The Legend of Zelda series, it’s most likely that the Hookshot, the Pegasus Boots, and of course the Master Sword will pop up. All of these originated in LttP and played a fundamental role in the development of more complex and puzzling dungeons. However, perhaps the most iconic addition to the series made through LttP has to be the parallel world feature, manifesting in this game as the Dark World. As the series progressed, one of the recurring themes of the games has been time or multi-dimensional travel, and we all have LttP to thank for that. Throughout the game, Link uses this other dimension as a means of accessing hard-to-find places, collecting hidden items and also as a part of navigating the plotline.
Even without acknowledging the amazing feats achieved by Nintendo through this game, LttP is still an incredible game. The dungeons are challenging, yet not soul-destroying, (GOD DAMN YOU OoT WATER TEMPLE I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU) the enemies and bosses are varied and well-designed, and the plot does more than enough to keep the player motivated and invested in the lives of Link and Zelda.
With the upcoming release of Breath of the Wild set to once more re-ignite the series with innovation and beauty, it’s not hard to see why The Legend of Zelda series is such a fan favourite. Even with the technological advances we have today in 2017, there will always be a certain charm around some of the older games in the series, and it’s safe to say that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past will go down in history as, for turn of phrase, an absolute game-changer.