Posted by: pop-break | May 2, 2013

Remembering The Classics: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

luke kalamar draws his sword …

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Several months ago, Nintendo teased that one of their older Legend of Zelda titles was going to get a brand new update. Whether or not this meant a sequel or a full HD remake wasn’t revealed, but we did know that the two games in question were The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Both were wildly successful titles and fans have been eagerly waiting for any more news on this subject. The wait ended on April 17th when news broke that A Link to the Past was chosen as the game to get a sequel, and the entire Legend of Zelda fanbase exploded with joy. The working title right now is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 and it takes place immediately after the events of the first game. As a diehard fan of this entire franchise, I knew that writing an article about it was a definite must.

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A Link to the Past first graced the Super Nintendo back in 1991 in Japan and 1992 for the rest of the world. It stars a young boy named Link who sets off on an adventure throughout the land of Hyrule to save Princess Zelda from the evil wizard Agahnim and to prevent the resurrection of Ganon. During the game, Link travels between the Dark and Light World to rescue Seven Sages, get the Master Sword, and use the Triforce to save everyone. The game has the same overhead perspective style that The Legend of Zelda had, but with advanced graphics thanks to the stronger Super Nintendo system. The game received beyond critical acclaim upon its release for its graphics and gameplay, and many still regard it as one of the greatest games of all time. Its subsequent re-release on the Game Boy Advance with the new multiplayer game Four Swords in 2002 and 2003 also received many positive reviews.

When I first heard that either A Link to the Past or Majora’s Mask was going to get a new update, I was as excited as any other fan. However, I’m definitely in the minority when I say that I was hoping for something from Majora’s Mask more as opposed to A Link to the Past. My feelings on the matter completely stem from my experiences playing the games. When it came to Majora’s Mask, that game came off the heels of another widely praised Legend of Zelda title, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. Ocarina of Time first came out in 1998 and I absolutely loved it. It’s the game that got me hooked on the franchise! I still love the game to this day and it made getting Majora’s Mask in 2000 a no-brainer. I loved Majora’s Mask all the same and any reason to go back to that time is always fine by me.

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A Link to the Past is a different story however. You see, I actually wasn’t a huge fan of the game when I first played it. Please, hear me out before you burn me at the stake. Even though A Link to the Past came to North America in 1992, I didn’t get the game and the Super Nintendo until around 1995 or so. I had only played a Legend of Zelda game in passing at my relative’s house, so A Link to the Past was technically the first one I ever owned. I had no idea what to expect with the game, and since I was about 5 or 6 years old, could not figure out what to do. Seriously, that game was IMPOSSIBLE. After several tries, I eventually gave up on the title and left it as a game that was simply too difficult for me to beat. Not exactly a great start to a franchise! Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda title I actually beat and I only moved up the franchise from there, never really looking back to A Link to the Past and truly experiencing it.

If it wasn’t for the Game Boy Advance remake, it probably would have taken me even more years to revisit the game. By the time A Link to the Past came to the GBA with Four Swords, I was several years older and had four Zelda titles under my belt. I wouldn’t say I was an expert at the series by any means but I was definitely experienced enough to know what I was doing. Needless to say, I actually beat A Link to the Past this time around and finally understood what all the fuss was about. The gameplay still held up after all those years, the story was engrossing, and the music was perfect. It still felt like a brand new title even though it was a decade after the first release date. I had a tough time putting the game down, and even brought it with me to school so I could play it at lunch with my friends. It was still a challenge to play, but it was that good kind of challenge that doesn’t make you rage quit. It makes you want more and it gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment when you finally beat this surprisingly long game.

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If you’ve never played A Link to the Past before, you’ve missed out on one of the finest games to ever exist. It’s had plenty of re-releases now so your opportunities to check it out are plenty. It’s about time Nintendo decided to revisit this record breaking title. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 is planned for a late 2013 or 2014 release date on the Nintendo 3DS.

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