The best Nintendo game. Why I love: Zelda, A Link to the Past

So what is it about Zelda, A Link to the Past?  This game is by far my favorite old-school console game and in my opinion the best game Nintendo has ever done.  I keep coming back to it.  Whenever I become jaded with games or think I’ve outgrown Nintendo then it’s a good reminder to pick this game up again to realize it’s not that…it’s just that Nintendo aren’t making games like this anymore (with the exception of Super Mario Galaxy).  Well actually most games aren’t close to this, with the most recent exception being Dark Souls, which for me is basically this game but darker, more complex and tougher.

For me Link to the Past does everything right.   It has great mechanics and a great setting, freedom of exploration, great art and music… and surprising twists and turns.  It’s not nostalgia for me, since I discovered this game around 2000, when I was in my twenties…the game is just plain great and expertly designed and it really shows all it’s qualities right away…in the first dungeon:

One of the best starting screens.  Sunny sky, nice castle and the Master Sword.  Great and simple 2D art.  Anyways..onto the game!

It starts dark.  The game is surprisingly dark to begin with, which is something Nintendo seem to have forgotten.  You hear a desperate cry for help in your sleep.  The weather is terrible and your guardian (father, uncle..who knows?) goes out on an errand.  You are left alone.  After you wake up you decide to venture outside into the rain…

It’s raining and it’s dark.  There’s a thunderstorm.  No sign of your guardian.  You walk around but there is danger everywhere. Eventually you find a heavily guarded castle and sneak in through a hole in the ground.

You find your guardian.  Seems like he has met with the palace guards.  He also meets with his death.  Seems like he was on a quest to free princess Zelda from something evil.  If this was a movie this would be the grimmest beginning…however it’s a pretty 2D video game which tones it down a bit.  You take his sword after he passes away and continue his quest.

You run around killing palace guards in your search for Zelda.  This is one tough kid!  Eventually you find her locked away in the deepest dungeon.  After killing her morning star wielding guard you free her.  Now you have the task of keeping her safe.  She knows the way to freedom…

However this isn’t an easy route.  You stumble through grim darkness with only a lantern to help you.  There’s snakes and spiders hidden in the darkness.  Your only way is to find torches and light them, but they usually go out very quickly.  In the end however you reach freedom…

You are a hero!  And to really underline that as soon as you go outside this heroic theme starts and follows you around while you explore the world: (until you reach the darkworld that is… which has an equally memorable overworld theme)

And now I think I’m just going to finish this game again.  It’s like my warm cup of gaming cocoa 🙂  There’s a huge world to explore yet again, secrets to find, gadgets to use and monsters to kill!

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