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The 7 - Video Games - It's the return of....The Nasty One's OSVG Review (Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past)!! Register and log in to post!
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El Nastio
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#1 Posted on 3.1.06 1451.03
Reposted on: 3.1.13 1451.15
I don't know if anyone actually remembers that I used to review video games here on The W.

After layoffs everyone gives excuses. After a couple of YEARS what do I have to say for myself? Well considering I write my opinions on VIDEO GAMES I doubt my personal stories will excite people (if you want to know, or if demand asks for it, I'll talk about them).


For those new to the board (or those who forget), here's how it works. The username is El Nastio ("The Nasty"). Offline people call me "Rickard", which isn't my given name but everyone calls me it. I've been playing games for a good chunk of time (ie; Atari 2600), and I enjoy them. I've been writing for a good chunk of time, I enjoy that too. So I write about games. I'm one of those gameplay first kind of fellas, which explains why I go back into the vault sometimes and will do reviews on the classics (or in some cases MASTERPIECES and I don't mean Chris Masters). OSVG stands for "Old School Video games". At the time I started writing reviews, "old school" was a term tossed about a fair amount. Now it sounds cliche. Well, it probably sounded cliche at the time as well. I also do reviews on newer games, but that's dependent on my finances (right now non-existent) my employment (also non-existent) and whether or not I can mooch different systems by going over to friend's houses. Anyway, enough with the intro. Let's talk GAMES. And not just any game, but one I've had a particular fun time with recently....




Title: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (with a Gameboy Advance Version released in 2002).
Designed By: Nintendo
Genre: Adventure.
Requires: 1 Controller.
Players: One
Forefathers of Note: The Legend of Zelda 1 and 2 (both on the Nintendo Entertainment System)
Price: Well, it's hard to find the SNES version these days, unless you go with E-Bay. The GBA version is readily available for around $20.00 US.


Overview: It's the year 1992. 1991 treated Nintendo pretty well, they had a pretty good first year with the SNES. They used 1991 to launch their next-gen Mario title (Super Mario World), so 1992 was going to belong to a different first party title. That one wound being the popular Legend of Zelda series, which enjoyed a lot of success on the NES. The folks at Nintendo were ambitious with this one, as they wanted to keep the Zelda tradition of solid gameplay using many different aspects of many genres (when you think about it, the Zelda series combines aspects from action, adventure, rpg, and puzzle games....and melds them all into the mechanics of one game). They were certainly hoping for a system seller to help with the budding Nintendo/Sega War....did it deliver?

The long story short is YOU are Link, a kid who lives with his uncle. After several years of evil being banished and peace throughout the land, it's up to you to investigate strange things that have been happening in the land, not the least of which is a mysterious wizard who has showed up using unseen/unheard of magic.


Graphics: The SNES set the bar up pretty high when it came to graphics, as Super Mario World set the standard for SNES titles. Zelda definitely met that standard. There was no discolouration, no pixelation, and no slowdown. Smooth was the general word of the day when describing the game, and to this day remains an accurate description. No slowdown and excellent screen movements. There's nothing stunning that screams out "LOOK AT ME I AM GREATEST THE THING SINCE SLICED BREAD", but consistency is the thing which drives games to greatness. Consistently great graphics (rather than moments of excellence interspersed with complete crap). Now, I'm not saying that there can't be moments of excellence interspersed in with greatness, but it's very very rare to find. Zelda, although lacking anything which stands out specifically, does (or should) stand out with it's constantly great graphics. And that's the advantage of first party games. The people who make the games (in theory) know the hardware better than ANYONE else. It's THEIR HARDWARE. An example would be with Sega and the group known as Sonic Team. There's little wonder as to why that the Sonic Series always ranked among the best on the Genesis and how those games always found away around the system's limitations. Nintendo is no different. On a final note, you know a game has aged gracefully when you can put it beside games of today on ANY system and it's presentation is STILL equal or greater to it. 4.5/5


Sound: Easily some of the best sound work around. The sound effects work very well for this game, and you can clearly tell the design team paid close attention. Little things like a sword swishing, clanks when sword hits shields, even the sound it makes when you collect money. Things like that which shows attention to detail is what makes a great game. The music in the game is top of the class on the SNES and until Squaresoft showed up with Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger (both the pinnacle games on the system for ANYTHING, let alone sound), Zelda reigned as the best sounding game on the system. Haunting music at some points, majestic in others. And in one case, heart breaking. And all of this was timed wonderfully. There's no out of place music at all. Personal favorite; Lost Woods before grabbing a certain item. And bear in mind this was on the EARLY days of the system. Chrono Trigger, which has the best sound of any SNES game, beat it....but it came around later. 5/5.


Controls: Ah, the beauty of having more than just two buttons (which is what the NES only had). I have always said that the SNES controller revolutionized ALL controllers and that all of today's controllers must pay their due homage. I stand by that. B is use the sword, A is the action button (talk, swim, pick up hedges and rocks), Y is use special items which have been assigned to the button by using the start menu. And the X button lets you see the map. The top L/R buttons change your map views on the map screen. In retrospect, they could've added a feature to one of the L/R buttons and keep the other for map stuff, but why make things more complicated? Because to be honest, you'll be hard pressed to find a better control scheme. They kept things simple, yet effective. And responsive. VERY responsive. And in this kind of game, you NEED responsive controls. As I mentioned earlier, Nintendo uses the Zelda series to show that you can smash through Genre Barriers. Some games have a horrible time doing that (Sonic leaving the 2d platforming genre for Sonic 3d Blast and Sonic Adventures, for example). Zelda is the KING (er, PRINCESS) of this rare feat. You look at all of the Zelda games, and you can clearly see Nintendo has done a phenomenal job of meshing all of the elements together, and making them work well. If you don't do well in this game, don't look at the controls as a reason. 5/5, and dare I say it? Best controls to be found on the SNES. Yes, that's right, THE BEST. Go ahead, I WANT you to find a Real Time SNES game with better controls. And don't give me menu driven RPG's, because that's COMPLETELY different. Yes, I know Zelda uses a menu (the start menu), but that's to select one item for from your inventory to use. The entire battle(s) in Zelda are not menu driven.



Fun Level: Is the game fun? Let's see. I could get into the excellent storyline, which will pull you in. I could get into the search you can do for all the items, which is good times. I could get into many things, but I'll simply settle for saying the following;

The over-all package and presentation of this game makes it a pure joy to play.

There's no different endings, which makes that aspect linear. But even after you beat the game two or three times, you may find yourself starting a new game after awhile....and all of a sudden you get into it and don't want to stop. Which is why, IMHO, this was an EXCELLENT game for Nintendo to re-release on the Game Boy Advance. I find myself every so often turning on my GBA, and I'll start getting drawn into the game even though I played it so many times. Why? Because it's simply a blast to play.

For those, like myself, who have played this game multiple times and still enjoy it, here's a neat idea. Once you reach the seven dungeons, collect the treasure in each one. Then, before fighting the boss of the dungeon, EXIT. Rinse, wash, repeat. The exception being the two dungeons you need to beat in order to buy the super bomb (which is two of three things you need to do in order get an upgrade on two weapons). Soon, you'll have ALL of the items, and if you use the bomb you get silver arrows and a the best sword. It's funny to face the first dungeon boss with silver arrows. Another idea is to not get any upgrades until the last possible moment in the game to make it harder.

It nags at me though about the linear ending, unlike Chrono Trigger (which to this day I maintain is the greatest game ever made. I even did a review on it many moons ago which you can find by doing the Click Here (The W) thing). But it goes back to how often I pick the game back up after I beat it and how much fun I have while doing so. And this is one game which I have a lot of fun keep on coming back to. 5/5. And this may be the only non-linear game of this type which will land a 5/5 on this catagory (only one I can think of so far).


Final Score; 19.5/20

Final Note; If you have a SNES, get this game. If you have a GBA or a DS (raise your hand if you like backwards compatibility!!), get this game. Get it yesterday. If you can't do that, fear not. This year a truly great thing will be happening. The Nintendo Revolution is coming out this year. And at it's disposal will be DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT which include this game.

In a nut shell, one of the greatest games ever made. Period. You won't regret getting this game.



Next game on deck? At some point soon I'll have to do FInal Fantasy VI in order to justify (in my mind) why this game (Zelda) and Crhono Trigger are both better than it (not by much though, because FF VI is also one of the all-time greats). However, closer on the horizen is probably Metal Gear Solid the Twin Snakes. The next one after that? BLASTER MASTER (yes, it's finally going to happen!!).
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Torchslasher
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#2 Posted on 3.1.06 2004.31
Reposted on: 3.1.13 2007.20
It's really good to see your reviews show up here once again. I hope you continue to do this.

I do wonder where you rank this LoZ game as compared to all the other games in the series? This game will sometimes get forgotten, and I'll admit that I still think the original Zelda game and the Ocarina of Time game are overall better experiences, but all three games are top of the video game class.
El Nastio
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#3 Posted on 3.1.06 2114.25
Reposted on: 3.1.13 2116.26
Torchslasher, thanks for the kind words. It's always great to hear positive reinforcement! =) The plan is to be doing this for awhile (especially after I find work, because then I'll have money to buy some new games). Hopefully one a week, or maybe one every other week.



As for where I rank Link to the Past in regards to other Zelda games? Good question. You can make some very interesting parallels between certain games and genres through the years. Case and point; Mario.


Super Mario Brothers on the NES/Super Mario World on the SNES/Super Mario 64. Each evolved the series to a new level. The same with Zelda, but it's even more refined. You have Zelda on the NES/Zelda 2 on the SNES (they went a whole different approach)/Link to the Past on the SNES/OoT on the N64/Windwaker on the GameCube. That's why Twilight Princess is very exciting. They've had a good chunk of time to work with the GameCube hardware. It reminds me of Metriod on the SNES. They waited until 1994 to bust out that game, and it shows that they did know the limits and capabilities of the hardware of the SNES. Another excellent example is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Really show's the system's muscle, shame it came out late in the system's life (but once again, the GBA comes to rescue!!).

I mention all of this because the Zelda series, by and large, have been groundbreaking and overall excellent. Generally speaking, it's like picking between dutch chocolate and swiss chocolate. It's all good. IMHO, you can break up Zelda into three categories. The "you can't go wrong with this EVER" category, the "Great games which some will love and some won't, but these are still respected by all" category, and the "not as great as the rest but still not by any means bad" category.

These ARE ranked in order of my own personal opinion of which are best. And believe it or not, there's a game which is even MORE largely forgotten than Link to the Past which I find better than OoT (but not as good as Link to the Past).


#1: Link to the Past.
#2: Oracle of Seasons/Ages (THIS one is often forgotten. FOR SHAME. An EXCELLENT EXCELLENT game(s) with a concept I'm surprised was not used more often! And you don't need both games to enjoy it).
#3: OoT
#4: Zelda 1

With these four (five if you treat Oracle separate which you SHOULDN'T) titles you shall never be deserted of a good time.

---------
- Windwaker
- Zelda 2

I happen to think these are both great games, but both are an acquired taste due to either graphics or gameplay mechanics. Either way, all must recognize that they truly are great games.

---------
- Link's Awakening
- Majora's Mask

Simply put, there's better portable Zelda games out there for you to get. Not saying Awakening is bad, just simply saying there's others which are better and are a more complete game (especially with the two of them together). Ditto for Majora's Mask, which if I had to chose between it and OoT, 11 times out of 10 I would chose OoT.


(On a related note, I wouldn't be surprised if I write up a full length article/review on the evolution on series/mascots/genres).
Torchslasher
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#4 Posted on 5.1.06 0910.46
Reposted on: 5.1.13 0913.16
I always thought that Zelda II got a bum rap just because it wasn't exactly like the first game. I LOVED the direction they took, and the game was tough but beatable. People said that Zelda II was overrated, but I now think that this game is underrated. I also liked Wind Waker.

I hope you get to play The Minish Cap sometime, because that was also a good Zelda game, more in line with A Link To The Past than any other game in the Zelda series.
El Nastio
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#5 Posted on 5.1.06 1055.46
Reposted on: 5.1.13 1059.01
While writing the second post, I was going to mention that I didn't have the chance to play Minish Cap yet, just forgot to. I've heard great things about it, and it's certainly on the list of games I'd love to get (along with the INSANELY hard to find Ikaruga for the GameCube).

The Revolution should prove interesting, because a potential game library on release day could include Zelda 1, 2, Link to the Past, AND OoT (because youc an download N64 games) AND Twlight Princess (at this time a casual reminder that TP will be out in April. And y'all heard it here first; Twilight Princess will be AT LEAST the number two best Zelda game ever).

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#6 Posted on 8.1.06 2057.28
Reposted on: 8.1.13 2058.38
I actually randomly just played through this game the other day again and it is a helluva lot easier than I thought. Even the last dungeon (Turtle Rock) seemed so easy.

My advice to anyone who plays this for the first time(I doubt anyone reading this will if they haven't already), don't look for any answers online. The game seems to be pretty big when you don't know the map very well. There is a big world to explore, so explore it. When I replayed it, I just went where I needed to go without figuring out why I needed to go there. It didn't seem as fun because I was only working through dungeon after dungeon.
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