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RELEASE DATE (NA): April 13, 1992 GENRE: Action/Adventure
// review by Stingray

Yes, there's a pun in the title.

Growing up there was a trio of games that took a dramatic left turn for the sequel. In hindsight, they had their reasons. We must remember, when looking back at these games, that the franchise was not yet established at the time these sequels were made. I try to applaud the efforts made by these companies in trying something new rather than copy and pasting the games as is done so often today.

The Zelda series is one of these that made a dramatic change in the sequel. Instead of abandoning it all together, Nintendo successfully combined the good parts of the two first games into the third. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was originally released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, being the only Zelda game released for the console.

A Link to the Past is an action-adventure game in which you control Link on his journey to save the world. This time Link gets a telepathic message from Zelda in which she states that she is held captive in a nearby castle. Link, as only Link can, jumps into action without much thought. After rescuing her, you learn of Agahnim who is trying to break into the Sacred Realm. Agahnim can only be killed by the Master Sword, of course. In order to get the Master Sword you must collect three medallions. Because why not? Can't just let anyone get it. While you are off gallivanting for medallions, Agahnim has trapped the Seven Sages and broken the seal into the Sacred Realm. You must now go rescue the sages so that you can break into the Sacred Realm and defeat Agahnim.

Link, did... did you just dash into a fence?

Link to the Past has a top-down perspective similar to that of the original Legend of Zelda. But this time we get an overworld map. Yay! Instead of going in a different direction, Link to the Past improves on almost all aspects of the original game. You swing your sword in a natural arc instead of jabbing it out in front of you. The arrows are now a separate item that can be found. But it also brings in some good elements from The Adventure of Link such as the magic bar. The game even includes new mechanics that have become staples of the Zelda series such as the spin sword attack.

As only one of two Zelda games that I have beaten, I feel it is hard to compare them to others in the series. The overworld map shows the locations of the dungeons, which is nice, but the game on a whole is still very explorative and leaves the player to figure out most of the game. This explorative nature can be fun, but it's also frustrating when you have no idea how to obtain that specific item.

Even though I got a lot of help from friends, I found this game very fun to play as I experienced the new and updated mechanics. The game had great graphics and music that is typical of the Zelda series. Link controlled just as you'd expect. The dungeon design was just on the right level of frustration. I really enjoyed how they were able to create two levels for the floors of the dungeons. It was a nice addition that added complexity to the dungeons.

I consider this a must have for all Zelda enthusiasts as it not only improves on the original but also introduces many staples for future games. Action-adventure enthusiasts should also take a look as it's a solid entry for the genre.

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