Every Link in the Chain is Strong
When each new Zelda game is released, the Adventure/RPG category is redefined. Zelda’s massive inventory of items, a huge map to explore, and clever dungeons have always brought the genre to its high point. This series continues to out do itself and bring forth new game play elements never seen before. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a straight port of the 1992 SNES version of the same name. A few extra ingredients and side quests add to the favor of this already spicy adventure. Porting classic games seems to be Nintendo’s new high right now, and it’s done very successfully in this adventure. A Link to the Past is one of the best Zelda titles and it works well on the GBA. They even created a new multiplayer quest called The Four Swords.
For the most part, everything remains the same as in the SNES version. Ganon is once again trying to claim the Triforce for himself, and it is up to Link to stop him. This game paces itself nicely by slowly unfolding the map in small increments. As with every Zelda game before it, the more items and abilities Link gains, the further into his quest he can travel. In the beginning, the player must collect three pendants to acquire the Master Sword to fight the rising evil. Just as you think the game is over, Link is transported to the dark world where he must rescue several trapped maidens. This makes the quest long and pleasurable. The dungeons pose quite a challenge and stand firm against any other Zelda game. In each dungeon, a new item must be obtained in order to complete it. Such items include the classic boomerang, the hook shot, magical canes, bottles to store items and small creatures, and much more. These items are used to find a number of hidden extras throughout the world map too. Shovels dig holes to unearth hidden treasures, chickens will suicide bomb you, trees can be bashed to let loose hidden items caught in the branches, and large stones can be picked up to uncover secret tunnels. This Zelda is all about exploring because you never know what you will find. The challenge of locating all the pieces of heart will have you looking in every corner of the map.
Exclusive to the GBA version is a side quest run by the woodcutter located at the top left corner of the map just outside the Lost Woods. Once certain requirements are met, he will send you on a journey to collect small animals and enemies spread throughout the land. If completed, a new sword technique will be learned. This new move can then also be used in The Four Sword. A boss survival mode was also added to the main game. Hidden within the Pyramid of Power, an arena awaits players who have completed specific tasks in the game. Besides these extras, A Link to the Past is exactly the same game that it was on SNES.
The graphics and sound are recreated perfectly on the GBA. Everything looks and sounds exactly as it did on the SNES. Colorful sprites and backgrounds make the quest enjoyable to look at. You will be reliving the past by humming the classic Zelda tune the first time you hear it. The traditional music and sound effects are brought back to life in this GBA recreation. Not only will the music bring back nostalgia, but the sound effects play an important role as well. If you find yourself stuck in your quest, poke your sword again the wall and listen for a hollow sound. If you hear a different pitch, bomb the wall to find a new passage way. The music will bring back the memories while the graphics suit the quest perfectly.
Every Zelda game that ever came out has been strictly for one lone player. Mr. Miyamoto decided to change all that by including a fantastic game called The Four Swords. The only downside is everyone will need his or her own game pak to play. In this game, Zelda is kidnapped by a powerful wind mage and it is up to Link to stop him. The only way to defeat this enemy is to gain the power of the Four Sword. Immediately after taking control of this legendary sword, Link is split into four copies of himself. Each player sports a different colored Link and everyone must work together and use teamwork to achieve the common goal. With the use of four players, new and challenging puzzles can be created. One example would be if a massive rock blocks the path, all the Links must pick it up at the same time in order to remove it from the ground. Another tactic that is used is the ability to pick up one another at will. If a hole prevents the team from traveling any further, one player can pick up another player and toss him to the other side where he can then hit a switch to activate a draw bridge to allow his teammates to join him on the other side.
New items such as the Gnat Hat and Magnetic Glove must also be used effectively to complete levels. Rupees need to be collected in order to fight the level boss and they can be found hidden in bushes or in treasure chests. However, if a player dies, rupees are the only way to revive him and with each passing death the cost for revival increases significantly. Also, once one player dies and can’t be revived, everyone’s game is over. The boss battles are very unique as each player must attack the weak spot on the enemy that corresponds to his Link’s tunic color. Often times, one cannot see his own color on his screen but his teammates can. Players must verbally communicate in order to find out which part of the enemy to attack. However, not every aspect of this game is cooperative. Players are constantly competing to take control of the most rupees as possible. At the end of each level, the player with the most rupees will receive a gold medallion that will unlock a side quest in A Link to the Past. Players can steal each other’s rupees by attacking them with weapons or by unleashing a pesky rupee wraith. Any game that can be so cooperative and so competitive at the same time deservers a great amount of recognition.
If you loved A Link to the Past on SNES, then you’ll love it even more on the GBA. With the inclusion of the side quests and the killer multiplayer aspect, you’ll have enough game here to entertain you for quite a while. This game shouldn’t be passed up, especially if you missed it on the SNES. Encourage all your friends to buy it as well so you can play The Four Swords joint adventure. This new type of multiplayer is worth the purchase of the game itself but the only down fall is trying to find another player (or three) that owns a copy of the game. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is terrific game that will take you through a trip down memory lane. Pick up this game, you’ll be glad that you did.