Wednesday 20 November 2013

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review (SNES)

The only Zelda game to appear on the Super Nintendo outside of Japan, A Link to the Past improved and developed upon the ideas set down in the first two games, taking the best from each and forging them into a whole new masterpiece. As the story goes, Gannon has escaped from the world of darkness aided by an altogether nasty wizard named Agahnim. Agahnim kidnaps Zelda and dethrones the king, and its up to Link to restore order to the land. 

Taking the top down perspective of the first in preference over the more side on platform action presented in The Adventure of Link the game has you exploring the land of Hyrule locating dungeons and finding the necessary artifacts to banish evil from the land. What takes this adventure onto a different level though is the sheer depth of the quest. Throughout the land you will encounter countless little side quests and sub plots that will have you playing continually until you discover every single thing it has to offer. 

Graphically the game is excellent, with a rich colour palette being used to create your surroundings. Everything is bright and bold, working extremely well to create the right feeling and atmosphere. All the characters, locations and monsters you encounter all fit seamlessly into the landscape, one section leading into another never leaving you confused how you managed to appear in a certain area. 

Dungeon design is also of the highest standard, with the learning curve being set just right. Each Dungeon becomes a little trickier than the last, needing you to use all the items in your possession to progress to the next area. Puzzles are also excellent thought out, with most requiring logical solutions, meaning that you are never stuck in one point for too long working out why a door won't open. 

Overall though, the dungeons form only a small part of the quest you are undertaking. With areas on top of the ground being used to display just as many inspirational touches as those below it. For example, early on in the game you will come across a magic portal. Walk through it and you find yourself transported to the ‘Dark World’. This gives greater scope to the game as a whole needing you to swap from one world to another in order to progress in your quest, with the added incentive of being transformed into a white rabbit.

A Link to the Past is an absolutely exceptional title and one that every Super Nintendo owner should have. Everything about it is just perfect and it's a true gaming masterpiece . Inspired dungeons, brilliant magic items, huge boss monsters and the odd touch of Zelda humour all add up to what is arguably the most magical of all the Zelda titles. Absolutely essential.

Overall 10/10

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