Zelda: A Link to the Past

07 Feb 2017

Unlike the previous Zelda games, I have a history with Link to the Past. When my parents relented and bought me a second hand SNES, it came with a few games - one was LTTP. Out of all the games I had, it was my favourite, and I played it a LOT. Replaying it as an adult brings back very specific memories.

Out of Zelda or Zelda II, it’s clear that Nintendo saw that the first was the template to follow. This game uses the template of the first Zelda and improves every single facet. The 16 bit pixel art is BEAUTIFUL. Hyrule is finally a fleshed out world, full of character. The map feels like a condensed world with distinct areas, and tells a story by itself. Dungeons are intricate and clever, and have overarching themes and puzzles. Exploration is always rewarded, and heaps of fun.

It’s at this point that Nintendo turned Zelda into one of their core franchises - and it shows. They threw their weight behind this, and it feels as polished as any Mario title.

It’s hard for me to comment too much on the difficulty. For newbies, there are moments where the way forward seemed pretty obscure. Since I play through LTTP every 3 or so years now, I can blitz it, and I rarely get stuck. I recall the most difficult moments are finding your way into each different dungeon. Combat is easier, but more varied, and LTTP is much easier compared to the previous two games. Puzzles are easier, but also more varied and rewarding.

This is the entry point for any beginner entering the franchise. I’m astounded at how well it’s aged. The barrier to entry is low, too - any PC will run a SNES emulator, even a Raspberry Pi, or an Android phone. It’s also available for both the 3DS and the Wii!