(SNES / Super Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

A Link to a Classic

To put it simply, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of the finest RPGs in existence. Everything is perfect - the bold lines and subtle pastel-tones of the graphics, the triumphant rendition of the Zelda theme, the excellent yet simple combat system, the brilliantly conceived logic puzzles. Nintendo left nothing to chance here and crafted one of the greatest pieces of software to grace the SNES.

After tampering with the franchise with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the NES, Nintendo returned to the great adventurous gameplay that made the series famous; Link to the Past is a big game with lots to do and see. It's a great achievement in pretty much every way. You play as Link (or whatever you name him), and you must destroy Ganon who plans on taking over or destroying Hyrule — you start off with little to no skill and earn new abilities as you progress through the game. You'll get many items such as the bow, hammer, and various magical weapons.

Later in the game you'll travel to a different side of Hyrule, the dark side. It's almost identical in design but what sets it apart from the light world of Hyrule is the dark enemies and dungeons. The dungeons in Link to the Past are indeed brilliant. There are plenty of puzzles to put your mind against in these dungeons, some simple, some difficult, and some that will simply give you a headache. At the end of almost every dungeon is a boss, and most of them are gigantic beasts that are extremely challenging.

It's easy to overlook the most important things in Zelda, so you have to be sure to keep your eyes wide open at all times; throughout the land of Hyrule you'll discover new areas and meet new people — some will be helpful, some not, and some just plain weird. Link to the Past has a lot of personality and a good story as well.


Amazingly the game doesn't feel like a retro title, even when played today; that's the sign of a true classic. A welcome addition to the Virtual Console library.

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User Comments (31)



Objection said:

10? The story is weak (even for Zelda) and the game doesn't do that great of a job helping you to figure out where to go while in the overworld, IMO. Dungeons are great, though.



Bass_X0 said:

Yeah, stories were weak for Zelda games back then. Emphasis was on gameplay rather than the story (like the Mario games). You didn't need a story more detailed than "rescue the princess" to enjoy this game. And if you paid attention, you were given some back story into what happened before throughout the game (and especially in the manual).



slangman said:

Kinda like the Mario games. The story in them is very weak. They are great games to play. Zelda is exactly like that, although OOT, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess have stronger stories IMO.



Wesker said:

I don't like this game. IMO Ocarina of Time completely blows this out of the water and Twillight Princess is a bigger and better version of OOT. I don't like This, Windwaker or Phantom Hourglass. They suck! OOT and TP Rule!



Kaeobais said:

Wind waker was one of the best zelda's out there! It's far longer then any of the others. I can see why some don't like it though. TP was amazing and so was ocarina of time, but my fav zelda will always be this one.



NESnes said:

Best Zelda Game Ever. I cannot recommend it enough.

(Yes, it's better than Ocarina of Time, no I don't care to debate it)



MrHeli said:

Downloaded this one the other day and stayed up until 5AM playing it. Can't wait to get back to it and finish it. Never got too far into it back in '92/3. An amazing game.



MekkaGodzilla said:

@Objection_Blaster: I think that the lack of info about where to go next is actually a great feature. You have to explore, make guesses, take wrong paths, and when you finally figure out where to go, it’s a great little discovery. Games nowadays either lead you step by step or are just too linear. I understand that finding dungeons in the very first Zelda was too cryptic, but ALttP is just fine to me!



nice_shirt said:

You can't possibly be on the fence about this game, right? I must have played threw this game no more than ten times since it's 1992 release on multiple systems and it still has a hold on me! No better game exists. I guess I sound a little bias. You're rite, but you have to play this.



jamesslater said:

Forget its place in gaming history, or its ability to evoke childhood memories (wonderful as those things are); ultimately only one question matters here: if this game (or one basically identical to it) were being newly released today (say as a WiiWare download), would it be worth paying the money for? In this case the answer's obvious: this is a remarkably accomplished game that holds up practically flawlessly.

Unlike more recent Zelda games, which have tended to play it safe for accessibility's sake, LTTP feels like a real adventure. There's no "easing into the role" here: in the first minutes you've received a telepathic distress call, stolen a lantern, snuck outdoors at midnight during a thunderstorm, infiltrated a heavily-guarded castle, watched your only guardian die, rescued a princess...and only then does your quest begin. Indeed, the full scale of your adventure does not become apparent until about halfway through.

Talk to a villager, and they may give you helpful (if cryptic) advice...or they may call a guard upon you. Swiping at a bush may reveal a vital heart piece...or a stinging insect. Questing is risky business, especially without a Navi or Midna to guide you.

Is it better than OOT? To me, Link's first 3D adventure trumps it in scope, depth, and cinematic immersiveness. But it would be pointless to ignore the huge debt the former owes to the latter (even if, forgive me, saying that "OOT is nothing but LTTP in 3D" is as accurate and original as saying "the Wii is nothing but GameCube plus waggle").

There are two concrete ways that LTTP is better: firstly, the overworld has less wasted space; secondly, the more "abstract" 2D graphics have aged better.

Obviously there are some very very minor allowances to be made for the game's age: for me the biggest gripe is that enemies respawn when you revisit a "screen", but it's an adjustment rather than a frustration.

To end this on a high note, the game's musical score is possibly the best in a Zelda game (and that's saying something!), testified to by the fact that many of the tracks have found their way virtually intact into subsequent games.



SuperMarioFan1995 said:

One of the best Zelda games released for the SNES. I recently done all 11 dungeons (3 in the Light World and 8 in the Dark World). The replayability is just excellent - achieving the heart containers/pieces and adding every single item to your inventory menu is wonderful. The graphics of course have aged very well.

I don't really know which Zelda game is far better than this. Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask or Twilight Princess. I just cannot pick, I simply can't. Zelda games, to this day, still hold up very well, in my own opinion. Let's see... Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, in which those are very good ones. Twilight Princess (Wii/GCN), fantastic.

...Oh well, I give up. There probably a tie for me at least. A Link to the Past is simply the best Zelda game ever made. Excellent replay value, clean and crisp graphics, great gameplay and a perfect difficulty system. Now enough of this, I must go finish this game 100% fully.

For me, 10/10.



Monsti said:

Ever since 1991 I played through this game aboout once every 2 years....SNES a few times, GBA, Virtual Concole....11 times all in all.

BEST GAME EVER.....and I doubt anything will ever touch that!



SkywardLink98 said:

Well, when you say "Lack of story" Do you mean by todays standards or SNES standards? for the NES you couldn't really put ANY story into it. For SNES not much.



KAHN said:

woah, hey now! i loved the story for LttP! and as for there being no information fed to the user, i totally disgree! the characters in the game all told you exactly where to go, or what to do. the map even told you exactly where every dungeon was! it simply is a classic, whether you like it or not!



Varia01 said:

I am impressed by the genius idea for 3D Nintendo thought of during the 2D era, also the fact that one button was used for cutting and the other used for items, the Dessert Temple had hard but great puzzles and I like the auto guard system.

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