Sunday, October 21, 2018

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Super NES, 1991)


One thing I've always wondered about the intro: Why is one of the seven sages shorter than the others? Or is he just mired in quicksand, like Atrayu's horse?

You want to talk about movies that have something in common with Zelda: Neverending Story. And Conan the Barbarian and its sequel.

But enough about Brett Kavanaugh! OHHHHHHH!

Timely 2018 slam! That's right, this is an entirely new post. A Link to the Past is the only retro 2D Zelda that I haven't covered on here, and that changes now.

Here's the only shot of the king in the entire game. I think he's a corpse, unless he wears a skull mask like Shao Khan.

This ominous intro would be interesting if one set it to Marilyn Manson's version of "Sweet Dreams". Not even joking. It'd sync up.

Meanwhile, Princess Zelda is incarcerated in the basement. Well, so much for ever being able to vote.

So, if her parents are dead (much like Harry Potter), you'd think Zelda would be pretty upset at the outset of the game, right? never actually comes up. You aren't going to get Skyward Sword level Zelda characterization here, unfortunately. In the SNES era we didn't expect that, though. At the early SNES era. The Final Fantasy series (and other RPGs) did a lot to change that expectation.

Enter Link (he says in parenthesis). Our hero is napping while his uncle lurks nearby. Wait, if he lives with his uncle, why is there only one bed? WHY AM I QUESTIONING SO MUCH THAT I NEVER QUESTIONED IN THE PAST? LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE!

Er, sorry for the caps. In any case, here we go again: Why the ellipsis? The "...something" makes it sound suspect. Did he take their virginities? And why are the descendants of the sages all female? I'm not upset, just legitimately wondering why it shook out that way in the story. The "sequel", Link Between Worlds, has sages of all stripes. I believe they're the descendants of these girls.

...damn, I just spoiled that Link saves all of the missing girls. I'm sorry, everyone.

You're not my father, TODD.

The minute he leaves, Link puts on headphones and blasts Rage Against the Machine.

Link: "f you I won't do what you tell me"

Link: "f you I won't do what you tell me"


Link: "f you I won't do what you tell me"

Here's my favorite screen in the game. It's like this secluded glen, with no NPCs around. Just you and the rain pattering. If this were a real place, I'd find a place to sit where the rain isn't landing on me (to avoid pneumonia) and chill here for a while. When I was a kid I really loved this first part with the pouring rain because of shots like this. It's so atmospheric.

If there's any one thing I'd change about this awesome game, it's that it needed more rainy areas in general.


At this point Link lands in a pool of murky water and emerges covered in grime with a depressed look on his face. This would be the Game Informer cover shot, no doubt.

More alluding with ellipsis. My what? Why even say that? There's no payoff! Is she Link's sister? Doesn't really matter either way, it isn't like they hook up in this game. I mean...she isn't Link's sister. That'd make him an Honest-to-God Prince, and he isn't. So I don't understand this line.

I delay ending the rainstorm portion of the game by practicing swordplay on foliage while listening to "Thinking of You" by A Perfect Circle.

Here's our hero throwing bushes at guards. What a rabble-rouser!

And here's the barrier to the castle tower, where Agahnim is holding Zelda hostage. Can't get past the barrier until I get the Master Sword, which looks like a sweet blue lightsaber so count me in.

A fun thing to do: Knock enemies off of platforms. Why does the castle basement have a damn abyss around the platforms, anyway? Is this where they execute prisoners? ...My God. The kingdom of Hyrule isn't the bastion of civilization that it claimed to be. Truly, the king hath reaped the whirlwind. Die by the sword, indeed.

Fun thing to do: Charge up the sword but don't unleash the spin attack, then tap swords with guards. It's like you're engaged in a Zorro-style swordfight. Link is a true swashbuckler!

Note: It's said that music legend Sting, when he plays A Link to the Past, is able to keep the sword charged for hours without ever unleashing the spin attack.

Got my first item!

"What about me?" says the lantern.

Quiet, you.

The inventory screen is pretty basic now. Later it'll be packed with items.

I find Zelda in prison. No word on how much lesbian sex she had to have in order to get by in here. She's been a bitch, she's had a bitch.

Protip: It's good manners to warn a girl when you're close.

It turns out the king had an escape route built into the back of the throne room. No word on why he didn't use it to get away himself. Maybe he couldn't see the bad guys until it was too late because of his Shao Khan cosplay.

Link turns the rescue mission into a date, taking Zelda on a romantic garden walk in the rain.

"Look, man, we really need to get going" she said when reached for comment on this magical evening.

The secret passage is behind the table there. Our heroes give it a good push, and we've successfully escaped from the castle! The only problem is... we have to go through the sewers. Not only are they full of snakes that take multiple hits to defeat, but you can barely see where you're going.

Over where? She didn't specify which switch to pull! I guess I'll pull the one on the left.



After being nearly murdered, our hero pulls the correct switch and we make it to Sanctuary. Yeah, it's my thanks to Zelda and her vague instructions. Imagine having to live with this woman. "Can you change to that other channel?" followed by an hour of guesswork while she sits there silently. Why do we have 900 channels in the first place, Comcast? And why are two-thirds of them just snakes raining from the ceiling?

I took two screenshots of this same image. I'm not sure why. It was probably drugs.

Again with the ellipsis. Does this imply that he isn't entirely sure Link can stop Agahnim? Like he's trying to convince himself, while knowing the futility of the struggle? Probably not, so again it's an unnecessary use of ellipsis...

A heart upgrade is acquired, and I don't even have to beat a boss for this one! Unless the snake death trap was a boss.

Fun Fact: I've never gotten every heart piece in this game before. Tried a few times and always ended up one short because I missed a couple pieces somewhere. This time I'm going to follow a list and try to keep that from happening. My big goal for this playthrough is to get all of the hearts for the first time ever.

Link steps out into a rain-less world.

Here's the world map. It's pretty iconic, and several other Zeldas have emulated it to varying degrees.

These little hooded bastards don't tell you how much they're going to charge you until it's too late. At least you get a heal out of the deal. The first time I saw a screenshot of one of these guys in Nintendo Power, I thought it was Agahnim. I'd only seen him in the comic at that point.

Speaking of iconic, here's the weathercock. Later on it'll become a literal carrier pigeon in this game's version of fast travel.

I remember this guy. He's too fast to catch now, so you have to come back with the Pegasus Boots later. And the old lady sweeping...yeah, this is bringing back a lot of feels.

The four Bottles are among the most important items in the game, functioning as Sub-Tanks in the Mega Man X sense. The first one here is super-easy to get, too.

The sick kid who gives you the Bug-Catching Net (because he's too sick to go out and catch bugs) is kinda poignant in retrospect.

I borrowed it...but he's never getting it back. This isn't Link Between Worlds, where debt collectors constantly stalk your every move like the Grim Reaper.

It's a metaphor, bro. You know what a metaphor is, don't cha? No one's turning into a fish... at least not in this game.


To be continued.


  1. Nice work with the title screen gif. It was awesome to simulplay this with you and now we can chat about it.

    I always assumed that one sage was just short, but if so the cut/paste is kind of a lazy way to make him so, because it would mean his arms are dragging on the ground all the time. Maybe he is walking up the hill still for the group photo?

    You see the king in the ending credits and he has a friendly round face and white beard. So the skull mask is definitely an aberration, most likely Agahnim pretending to be the king (note the robes are the same color).

    I think the uncle sleeps on the chair all the time? Taking his aspiration to be a watchman super seriously?

    So this "something" can be explained by Agahnim making the girls vanish, so it's unclear if they're dead or alive.

    Great to see you taking advantage of the rain environment while you have it, and that fake date with Zelda you set up was quite funny.

    The "Zelda is your..." line is one I continue to think about because I don't know what he was getting at. Romantic lil me thought, your destiny maybe? I think guys always want/expect Zelda and Link to get together but the games are always discreet about that.

    It's cool that they brought back the snakes from Zelda 1 in the dungeon here.

    I always really liked the sanctuary.

    The Bug-Catching Net being usable against Agahnim is still wild.

  2. The short/sinking guy always bugged me too.

    Link is such a rebel.

    That particular line may be something flubbed in the translation, because I can't think of anything accurate that he might have meant.

    Thinking of You is so good.

    Ha, great ending to this post.

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