• The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past


  • Action-Adventure


  • Nintendo


  • Nintendo

Release Date:

  • 4/13/1992 (US), November 21 1991 (JA)


  • Super NES

Box Art Credit:

  • MobyGames

Systems Used:

  • Snes9x

Best Music:

  • The Dark World

On Wikipedia:

The way I see it, like the Triforce, there are three games in the Zelda series that hold it up. The first is, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the second is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword which took the mechanics from OOT and Twilight Princess and perfected them (er, so I've heard?) and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This is the game that accelerated the SNES in the 16-bit wars, the game that introduced the now-common logo, and has the best opening demo (wait for it), a simple but effective opening demo that gives me chills every time I watch it (well, most of the time, at least).

There was a full story given in the intro. No more reading the manual!

Similar to the later Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past features the "two worlds" concept and features a story that's entertaining, fulfilling, and even perhaps a bit sad. (If you've played the game before, feel free to highlight over the next bit of text)

The Light World. Not exactly "light", but certainly a normal one.

It had all the great things about Zelda games to collect (empty bottles and heart pieces) without making them too absurd, as well as no less than 10 full dungeons, three in the Light World, and 7 in the Dark World (a more cynical observer would say that even the great Ocarina of Time, which served as a template for later 3D Zelda games, took a number of features from this game). Additionally, the game is the vital "link" between the original NES Zelda games and the later 3D Zelda games.

The game isn't perfect and there are problems are with it (as much as I love this game, I won't fly into a fanboy-induced rage when you point out problems). This has some grammar/translation errors ("Ganondorf the thief-no") and the fact that the Dark World doesn't have much in the way of people to talk to (even though that's where they all supposedly disappeared to), as well as some other issues. I'm also a bit ashamed to admit that it wasn't until spring 2011 when I finally played A Link to the Past "legitimately" on the SNES and died no more and no less than 100 times.

The Dark World in roughly the same location of above. Great music here.

Sadly, like Disney in the Eisner years, Nintendo is now plundering its better titles for rehashed projects, and so we have The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds which, from what I read, is largely a "second quest" of ALttP crossed with the DS stylus control (which I despise, more on that at yet another review), adding some new mechanics along the way. Thankfully, for the most part, ALttP is unblemished in light of its red-headed stepchild. However, it's not the first time where ALttP was hijacked: 2002 brought The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords, a Game Boy Advance adventure that included a full port of A Link to the Past and a new four-player game, "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords".

Co-developed by Capcom, the port is a mixed bag. The translation/script is changed (though not necessarily for the better), the sound quality is reduced due to the Game Boy Advance's inferior sound chip, and you have to use L and R as there was no X and Y buttons on the GBA (the latter two problems really messed up a lot of the SNES-to-GBA ports). You can also have the shovel and the flute at the same time, which is a plus, and some other stuff was changed too. A lot of these were made to line up with standards in the Zelda series later, but some of them are better off forgotten. The Riddle Quest (mentioned in the link above) is entirely unnecessary (and gets to the point of jarring when most of the denizens from the Light World disappear, including Q. Bumpkin's own brothers), and splicing in the sound effects form OoT's Young Link is extremely annoying. Playing A Link to the Past on the go, though, is still a fantastic experience, and shouldn't be passed up due its numerous flaws, so it's recommended you pick it up if you find it for a good deal, but hopefully the unadulterated will come out on the 3DS soon so you can keep the portability aspect without the annoyances.

June 1 2014