Saturday, July 24, 2021

A Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has been one of my favorite games, really since I saw the first screenshot and saw that it was a return to the Zelda 1 style and looked amazing. The SNES graphics create a charming world to explore, and there's so much in it - the game has the most level of any Zelda game, and it started a lot of the conventions they still use in the top-down games, and even some in Breath of the Wild (like certain switches and the sword spin). And the music is super epic - an orchestrated version of the original theme, and probably the best ending sequence of any game. My only real regret about the game is that I read too much before I first played it, so there were a lot of things I didn't get to discover.

I replayed the game again after not having done so for probably 15 years, and it was really fun. I'm surprised at how many things I didn't remember - I'm still not sure where the last 4 heart pieces are. In order to make it challenging, I decided not to power up the Master Sword or my tunic - after all, the green outfit and blue sword look better than the wonky colors you end up with normally. This worked out pretty well.

Here are some screenshots of my journey, along with some random thoughts. (Some spoilers implied)

This is one of my favorite spots. The trees and river create this nice, tranquil vibe. And you passed below it on the way up and saw the heart, but it was inaccessible at the time, so finding the way in is rewarding. It looks like a great spot for a picnic or something.

The Zora king looks cool, and I like how he calls you "little man".

I want a sign like this.

Drat, turned into a bunny again.

Zelda is very quotable.

See that bombed wall in the Tower of Ganon? I had never figured out how to get to it before. But this time I remembered a puzzle I solved (and felt like a genius!) in the extra dungeon of the GBA version of this game, and it hit me! (There's nothing essential in that room, but still!) I will leave it to the reader to figure it out. And no, there is no invisible floor.

This is me fighting Ganon, with the green tunic and blue sword.

... and proof that I won!

Now, a note about where this game falls in the plot. Nintendo has stuck it in the middle of one of three alleged timelines, but I think that's bunk. And A Link Between Worlds positions itself as a sequel to this game, which is also bunk (in part because the state of the Triforce at the start of that game matches the end of Ocarina of Time [split], not A Link to the Past [joined]).

But in any case, this has to be the last Zelda game. Here's why:

See? After this, the Master Sword is never used again. And Ganon is totally destroyed. The Essence of the Triforce said so. I think that precludes putting any other Zelda game after this in the timeline.

Anyway, even though I wasn't surprised by things very often, this game still ranks in my top five ever. Yay Zelda!