An Unbiased Review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Nice color scheme

Five things that sucked:

1. Sword Beams

Sword beams in Zelda are weak and inconsequential. Check out Crystalis for sword beams done right:

  • More than one type of beam
  • Beams are stronger than standard slashes
  • Multiple levels of beam strength
  • Beams are necessary to progress through the game
  • Beams look like fireballs and lightning bolts, not little sparkly circles
  • Attack range substantially increased in 2D
  • Can shoot without full HP

The only advantage of Zelda’s beams is that you can shoot them without charging up (which you can do in Crystalis once you get the Warrior Ring). Too bad Zelda’s beams are so weak that shooting three times in succession doesn’t beat charging up for three seconds to shoot once.

2. Starting Over

Dying in this game blows. Not that I ever died, of course, but assuming for the sake of argument I did, this is the kind of infuriating bullshit I’d have to put up with:

  • HP begins a touch over 50%
  • MP may not change unless you’re depleted, in which case you might get some tiny amount back (I could be making this up, magic is for pussies so I don’t really check)
  • Used potions aren’t restored
  • You start at a fixed, inconvenient location if you die in the overworld
  • You start all the way back at the entrance point if you die in a dungeon

3. The Ponds

How the hell are you supposed to know what to throw in here? Are you expected to throw every item in your inventory until something works?

4. Magic Powder


How the hell are you supposed to know what to throw it on? Are you expected to throw powder on every single thing in the whole game until something happens?

5. Mothula

Programmer #1: Mothula? More like Bullshitterfly. Is there any way we can make it stronger?

Programmer #2: No. Let’s just add moving spikes on a moving floor to make it as annoying as possible.

Programmer #1: Shouldn’t the hardest part of a boss battle be the boss itself, not the floor it’s flying over?

Programmer #2: You’re fired.

Five things that rocked:

1. The Hookshot

  • Stuns most enemies
  • Kills other enemies
  • Grabs items you’re too lazy to walk to
  • Pulls you across holes you’re too lazy to jump over
  • Holds you in place while using it on a moving surface
  • Costs 0 MP

Is there anything it can’t do?

2. Gargoyle’s Domain

Best dungeon of the game. It may have ripped off Crystalis, but at least it did so tastefully.

“No” means “yes”

The icing on the cake is that the dungeon offends feminists through its portrayal of women, first as helpless damsels in distress, and then as grotesque monsters having multiple floating heads that shoot fireballs.

3. The Chickens

In communist Hyrule, chicken tenders you!

I’ll rue the day when I’m inspired to make that joke about chicken fingers.

4. Parallel Worlds

Always a good idea. Same goes for time travel. Even massive landscape restructurings carry the same charm of familiarity in a fundamentally different world.

5. Limited Bitch Work

Aside from having to restart dungeons all the way from the entrance, the game is pleasantly low on bitch work. You never feel bogged down in any one area or phase of the game. It’s just dungeon to dungeon to dungeon with a few relatively simple side tasks in between. I still can’t believe they crammed nine dungeons into the dark world. It totally makes up for Mothula.

15 Replies to “An Unbiased Review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”

  1. “Bullshitterfly”? Programmer 1 is a genius. =D

    All I remember about this game is using that weird invincibility wand thing to walk over a bunch of spikes in a freaking long cave for the hell of it expecting to die a useless death and actually finding some kinda rare/special item. Unfortunately I think I didn’t have enough magic to get back outta the cave…

    • Programmer #1 went on to work on Chrono Trigger, Shadow of the Colossus, and God Hand.

      The item for getting across the spikes is the Magic Cape. It makes you invisible, which for some reason also makes you invulnerable to spikes. I blame Programmer #2.

      Any treasure you pick up stays with you when you die if you choose the Save & Continue option. Cheap as it may be to die your way out of trouble, I’ll admit it comes in handy here and there.

  2. I gotta admit, Mothula is lame.
    Yet, its dungeon is one of my favorite. A forest-maze with heaps of skeletons, populated with tough ass gibdos and creepy wallmasters can only please me. I liked the puzzles in it, they gave me a run for my money the first time.

    If I was at charge, boss would be a Manticore with a part of its body bogged down in floor.
    It would wave its tails when you approach or hurl tiles at you while trying to keep you away by flapping its wings.
    You’d kill it rather easily with fire rod to realize that the room created this illusion (since you’re trapped within a giant underground plant which left all skeletons after digesting their flesh). Yeah, I’d have liked this kind of shit better.
    That, or a Viking-like creature who tells you he’d surely like to have your bones as part of his huge collection.

    • The dungeon itself was pretty sweet. The overworld/underworld combo dungeon isn’t something I see much. The drawback is that if you’re going to die, you’d better die inside, otherwise you’ve got a long ass walk back. Not that I ever died or anything, but that’s the strategy I had to keep in mind.

      If I were in charge, I’d stick one of these in the game, with a less annoying voice:

  3. Played this after most other Zelda games. Liked the no frills action emphasis, it helps if your mostly dungeon set game has good dungeons. Twilight Princess should have remembered that. Whatever happened to your unbiased Okami review? Sure the game takes like 100 fucking hours to beat, and three of them are spent fighting Orochi, but the total experience was definitely worth it. The constant altruism for retarded humans may piss you off, but you are at least allowed to fuck with them using your God like powers over the environment. Sort of like a theistic GTA where Tommy Vercetti is an immortal Japanese Sun wolf.

    • Okami has been purchased. Once I spend money on a game, I play it. Period. Zelda just happened to be lying around from when I got it 15-something years ago. Link to the Past is the only Zelda I’ve seriously played. I played a little of the NES original Zelda on an emulator before deciding it sucked and quitting to pay more Crystalis. I intend to play Ocarina someday.

    • Starcraft is the only real-time strategy game I’ve played. Other guys in college introduced it to me and I only learned the basics. It was awesome, but I’ll need to go back and play it some more before I can do a review.

  4. HELL YEAH, THE BEST CONSOLE IN THE VIDEO GAME HISTORY. In fact, the only reason why i turn on my Wii nowdays is to play old snes games in the emulator (yes, i hacked my wii) , like Chrono Trigger, Megaman X, Final Fantasy VI, Terranigma, Zelda (now they have roms translated to over 46+ languages) and this list could be endless.

    I also like other Zelda games, for the n64 and the wii of course…fuck that gamecube version.

    • I could bias this review by adding, “6. My SNES and Zelda cartridge still work!” I was not expecting this. My NES and its cartridges were constantly glitchy even when they were still pretty new.

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