A top-down action/adventure title in which Link, a blacksmith's nephew living in the fantastical land of Hyrule, must free the land from the evildoings of Ganon by taking up the mythical Master Sword and collecting the three Triforces in order to free the Seven Maidens, including the princess of Hyrule, Zelda, from the dungeons and castles of the Dark World.
Reviews View More
Played this game for the first time. It really took me by surprise regarding the difficulty. I am so used to the difficulty being so easy for Zelda games, that I found myself dying a good bit in this one.
I am glad they put a hint system in this game, as that helps it out immensely when you do not know what to do or where to go, although the game through the story lets you know on the mini-map where you need to be. There's a lot of optional things you can collect and do. I was more surprised at how chock-full this game is for it being so old. I definitely see why it's held in such a high regard. If I played this game when it first came out, I am sure I would give it a perfect score, but some things haven't aged too well when comparing it with modern games and many quality of life things that have come about.
Yeah yeah, this is the best Zelda game ever made and I say that while also not owning a switch, it’s one of the best SNES games of all time, it’s a masterpiece and all that. You've read a review of this game before, I don't need to mention any of that again. Instead, what I want to do is talk about walkthroughs. Folks, do not ever try to shame me for religiously seeking out a walkthrough whenever I play a long game, as I am at this point in my life impervious to such barbs. You want to know why? This fucking game is why.
I received this game for my thirteenth birthday, and I completed it... on my fifteenth. That's right, it took me two straight years to finally beat The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This was a time where I had no internet, you see, and sad to say I did not even have a dedicated power guide available to me. I had a subscription to Nintendo Power, true, but hints were scant and scattered, and I could neither pinpoint hints that were helpful to my situation nor muster up the courage to ask my mom permission to call the hotline to ask for specific hints. So when I got stuck, I got thoroughly stuck.
I would take hiatuses on this game that lasted for months at a time. I would then one day fondly remember the fun times I had back when I knew what I was doing, and decide to venture once more into the breach. And man, in terms of what the fresh hell this game could possibly want me to do to progress, I stretched my imagination to its very goddamn limits. The first time this happened, I needed to get to the castle on Death Mountain to get the third medallion for the Master Sword. I scoured the whole world map, and while I found plenty of heart pieces, and I even found the ice rod, I found no item that would let me access that damn castle. I even thought I needed to go to the side of the mountain with a collapsed bridge, and then use the ice rod to create like an ice bridge to maybe walk over it to the other side and then climb up to the third dungeon. Fuck man, how was I supposed to know? And then guess what? After a time of maybe eight more months of guessing and banging my head on the wall and taking long breaks, I finally figured out, completely on accident, that you're just supposed to stand on a different-colored patch of ground and use the mirror to warp back and forth to reach the Light-World castle. Fuck. I didn't feel gratified for finally solving a hard puzzle at all, I felt mad that it took me so long to find something so stupidly simple.
Well, whatever, at least now I get to keep playing and finish this thing, right? That's what I thought. Now we're at the second dungeon in the Dark World, and I guess I'm supposed to fill the ditches with water or something. Well, fine, but how? What, with this thing here? What even is it? It's a gray square brick with a thing sticking out of it? What do I do? Reader, I pushed this thing, grabbed it, dashed into it, shot arrows at it, bombed it, hammered it, I thought maybe there's a cracked wall I need to bomb out with another switch somewhere... nothing. For another goddamn year, nothing. I even remember asking a buddy of mine from school who had beaten it before, and all he said was I dunno man, you just throw the switch, and I was like where? Which one? How??!?!? And then, once again, JUST like before, I accidentally ran up against the switch, made it rumble with the sound effect that happens when you push other heavy things. I kept pushing, and it finally flooded the hallways. Well... great. Again, I don't feel proud of myself, I just feel stupid.
The third time is what did it, what made me bite the bullet and just ask my mom to get me a goddamn strategy guide. I don't even remember what it was exactly, but it had something to do in the Turtle Rock dungeon in the room with the chomp-chomps (on a side note, what are chomp-chomps doing here? That's Mario shit, not to mention that's the only time in the game that they show up). Then I finally blaze through Turtle Rock, then Ganon's tower, and then I finally beat Ganon and save the world of light. Was it a satisfying ending? Sure. Worth two goddamn years of being stuck? I dunno.
Cut to a year later, I'm in high school and playing one of the PSX Final Fantasies. I'm stuck again, and I am dreading a repeat of Link to the Past. I'm going to spend three goddamn years hugging and kissing and cuddling my copy of 7 like a teddy bear when I go to bed, all until I finally get through the damn thing. It was my mom who suggested that maybe there's something on the internet (which we now have, thankfully). I searched online and couldn't believe what I saw! There are people who write out entire walkthroughs of any game you can think of, all in their spare time! Well, guess what. I found out I needed to breed a black chocobo before I could spam Sephiroth with Knights of the Round. I did it, and from that moment on I never looked back.
Folks, I'm gonna use a walkthrough whenever I damn well please. Is it nice when a game is so intuitive that you can not use one and still have fun playing it? Sure, but that happens far too rarely to count on it, and so what, do I just never play any of those other games? Or do I spend years going back and forth on everything, like A Link to the Past, because it's not gentlemanly or some shit unless I beat a game entirely unassisted with only my big brain and the force of my own will? No. I mean, why would I do that? Spoilers? What the hell is there even to spoil in this game? You get medallions, you get a sword, you get seven crystals, you get a silver arrow, you beat Ganon. No one’s playing a Zelda game for its prose!
But even if there was, do you really ruin the game for yourself if you spoil it with a walkthrough? I truly believe in the deepest recesses of my heart that spoilers are overrated. It's true, I more often than not spoil a movie for myself before I watch it, 99% of the time. I just do. First of all, I personally don't like the feeling of not knowing what's going to happen and being in suspense the whole time. And second, when I know what's going to happen, I can focus on other aspects of the storytelling, like hey, it's kind of sad/funny that this character thinks or feels a certain way, especially in light of what I know is going to happen. So it is with me and games. Yeah, a walkthrough can spoil the surprise in a game, but who cares, surprises are superficial. "Sephiroth kills Aeris" is a spoiler, sure, but it doesn't spoil the experience for you of the heartache you feel between Cloud and Aeris' time together knowing what's to come, of Sephiroth gliding down and plunging his sword into her heart from behind, of the sad music as Cloud gently places her body into the water and lets her sink to the bottom as he tearfully says goodbye.
And meanwhile, spoilers can also let me know what I need to do so I'm not grinding my ass trying to figure it out like when I was thirteen with A Link to the Past. Not to mention, if a game is also going to have the audacity to hide things that depend on a "good" ending, or else just include missable content, then it's only thanks to a walkthrough that I'm going to find this stuff. Whenever I figure out a puzzle that takes me forever, or I deign to try a pointless challenge for the sake of achievements, there is something about the way I'm wired that never allows me to say "wow, I did it, I'm so proud of myself!" but always instead, "thank God that's finally over, it was a pain in the ass and I could have been doing anything else instead." And that kind of stress, actually any kind of willful stress like that, is bad for your health, so if I both enjoy games but also want to take measures so I never say that to myself again, well, that's my business.
Am I just showing my ass here because maybe these puzzles weren't all that hard and I was just really dumb as a kid? Yeah, maybe, and what do you care? This isn't a MENSA application, I'm not interviewing with you for a job, I'm not trying to impress anyone on here. You know what, I was kind of dumb as a kid, and truth be told I'm still kind of dumb. You know what I also am? Mortal. I have a finite amount of time and I am never going to waste it again being stuck like I was with ALTTP. There are so many games out there I want to play, and not to mention, so many books, movies, music, and places to travel that I want to experience as well, and I only have a lifetime to catch as much of it as I can. You want to hide your "true" ending behind an easter-egg hunt with no hints whatsoever? I'm gonna look up where they all are on youtube. You want to make your gameplay willfully obtuse because you're banking on me being a salaryman in Osaka who needs an RPG to waste his own time on the Shinkansen before he punches in for work? Well, I'm not, so I'm gonna look it all up in a walkthrough. Do you have an ultimate weapon that I can only get if I spend hours on a casino minigame that takes no skill to complete, but only luck and hours and hours of your own freetime? Thanks, but I think instead I'm going to plug in a code that will give unlimited tokens to get that weapon anyway. Fuck all that bullshit, I don't have time.
And that goes for all of you on this site, especially if you're primarily into retro games like myself. Remember, developers back then deliberately made games either more challenging than they needed to be, or more obtuse than they had to be, all to justify the $60 a pop pricetag for these things. You don't have to play their little game anymore, we have the technology where you can bypass all that shit and experience games like these as fun and playable and approachable. And you owe it to yourself. Just like me, one day you are going to die too. Do you really want to tell St. Peter at the pearly gates that you spent a year of your life playing Ninja Gaiden II over and over again so you could beat it on a no-hit let's play video, do you really think he'll be impressed when you tell him you finally got the pink tail in Final Fantasy IV, or do you maybe, just maybe, want to tell him that you broadened your horizons and played a whole slew of games, and also had time to read books and listen to symphonies and even get out of your house once in a while and see incredible vistas and experience cultures around the world you never thought were possible?
Think about it.