GSJ10: A hero to the previous era

Greetings, mortals! Here is another article from GameSpite Journal 10. It is a piece about The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It starts on a pretty obscure tangent and I’m no longer sure if the point I was trying to make with this article was a good one. Right on! Score one for self-confidence.

14 thoughts on “GSJ10: A hero to the previous era

  1. No, it’s a fine point! Don’t worry.

    After the excessive handholding of Skyward Sword your message is even more important :p .

  2. I replayed Link to the Past to completion last year for the first since probably the mid 90s. I honestly can’t call myself too much of a Zelda fan, old school or new, but I can tell you that Link to the Past is an absolutely phenomenal game that stands completely on its own.

  3. You pretty much summed up exactly why Link to the Past is my favorite Zelda. You can get straight into the action if you know what to do; no dodging boulders off in some corner and collecting money, no rope swinging and sneaking around in barrels, no getting an ocarina back in a three-day period, no motion-controlled bird catching races, and definitely no squishing bugs as a dog. Just head to the castle garden, pull up a bush, bam! Dying uncle, sword and shield get, into the first dungeon you go.

    The simplicity of the 2D interface is also a thing I really love. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten annoyed with 3D Zeldas because I overlooked some easily missed switch/chest/eye/hookshot point/blahblahblah in a dungeon. Even the dialogue isn’t anywhere near as overbearing as later Zeldas would get, though there’s definitely more of it than the NES games had. I miss the days when more dialogue was a positive trait.

    But yeah, LttP’s still awesome.

  4. Great piece, definitely seems to hit on some of why I prefer the older Zeldas to the newer (though I do have soft spots for Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, and the Four Swords stuff).

    We need more Zelda games which actually are like A Link to the Past, rather than simply trying to be like them.

  5. For around a decade [url=]Crystals of Kakariko[/url] was my favorite piece of music. Probably at least in part because of my love for this game that it recalls.

    And to think, before I heard this I thought I hated saxophones.

  6. For some odd reason it never really registered with me that LttP-Link’s hair is mysteriously pink until reading this article, despite playing the game several times.

  7. I’m in a weird place. Even though the 3D Zeldas are generally much slower than the early 2D ones, I remember Link’s Awakening’s dungeons, and maybe its overworld, being much more convoluted than Link to the Past’s.

    I haven’t played any of the 2D Zelda since Link’s Awakening. How are they?

    I find the pacing of the 3D Mario games to be nearly as brisk as the 2D Marios. Perhaps it helps that you can always see from point A to point B so that you don’t need a map? Even when the controls were bad in Mario Sunshine I never felt lost.

    • Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are amazing; they’re possibly the best games on the Game Boy Color.

      Better than Link’s Awakening? Probably not, but if you’re 95% as good as Link’s Awakening, you’ve done something right.

  8. I’m sorry to point it out, boss, but you probably meant Ocarina’s Water Temple when you said “Ice Temple.”

    A very nice read. I’d be interested to hear more detail some day on how the 2D follow-ups like Minish Cap manifest the quirks of the 3D games. There is a kind of tension in this article with identifying the transition to 3D as the turning point, but then also pointing out that 3D, in and of itself, isn’t the issue.

  9. Excellent writeup. Of course, I think part of the problem with the Zelda series (if it can be considered a _problem_) is that, for the most part, A Link to the Past established the template so well that, quite honestly, it’s hard to figure out where else you can take it and still have it remain quintessentially “Zelda”. Which is probably just a restatement of your overall point, and as you allude to, gives Nintendo some consternation in moving past it. I, personally, am not sure I want them to, but that’s probably just me.

    Interestingly enough, though, even though I’ve always loved A Link to the Past, I’ve always considered Link’s Awakening the best Zelda game of all time. Which means, of course, that as you state, the technology is not the real issue. Assuming, again, that there’s a issue, of course.

    Fun stuff. Keep up the great work!

  10. ALttP is a classic that will not be tarnished. The trouble with translating the series into 3D is that 3D games by nature tend to be very different things. The SNES Zelda had a fully realized world (2 in fact) with plenty of secrets to uncover, but the world itself actually wasn’t all that big. With the Pegasus Boots I think you could run from one corner to the other in less than five minutes. When making a full 3D world everything just slows down as a result and I can’t think of 3D game right now where that whole process feels as slick and clean as the SNES games. It may just be the nature of 2D vs. 3D.

    They could definitely stand to shorten those opening tutorials though, or at least make them feel less “tutorial-ish”.

    • LttP still had a bit of fat in the design, in that there were tree clusters, among other walls and obstacles situated in such a way as to require Link to find another route. Not to mention a bit of empty space here and there. Link’s Awakening had virtually none of that.

      I kind of think including the original and Link’s Awakening would have given a little more to the article as a 2d vs. 3d piece. Nice job though.

  11. I’ve always liked the original Legend of Zelda, Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time better. Granted, I played LTTP a few years after it came out (as I didn’t have a SNES until they were going out of fashion), but I missed the openness of the world from the first game. In hindsight, I realize that the original Zelda was as about as big a game as you can have without needing a bit more hand-holding, or at least more direction, but I still saw it as a negative at the time.

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