A Link to the Past Is the Definitive Legend of Zelda Game

If you’re anything like me, The Legend of Zelda invokes a lot of different nostalgic feelings and memories. Part of why it stands up so well is that what seems like a simple game series is actually richly complex. There’s dungeon crawling, magical items, and, of course, mcguffin hunting. But when you boil down the series into its base parts, I think it becomes obvious that A Link to the Past is what we think of when we think of The Legend of Zelda.

That’s not to say it’s the best Legend of Zelda game. It’s my personal favorite, but “best” is a subjective term and I’d never try to tell anyone that they’re wrong about their own favorite. What I mean when I say “definitive” is that it most clearly sums up what a Legend of Zelda game has to be in order to feel like a cohesive part of that series.

link to the past

It defined the way the series would do dungeon crawling, as well as the way the series would lay out its enemies. It also showcased the story that would become the cornerstone for every Legend of Zelda game since.

It got rid of the do-dungeons-in-whatever-order-you-feel-like structure of the original game, and didn’t try to resurrect the side-scrolling platforming sequences of the second one. It focused the player by gating off content behind power-ups. It also expanded the single-room dungeon puzzles into much larger affairs that could sprawl across entire dungeons. The blueprint of just about every Legend of Zelda game that would follow exists inside of A Link to the Past.

So the next time someone asks what a Legend of Zelda game has to be in order to be a proper Legend of Zelda game, sit them down in front of A Link to the Past.

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5 years ago

It truly is, it truly is. That game is timeless. I kind of hope they give the base game the “Link Between Worlds” visual upgrade treatment and add the Ancient Stone Tablets to it at some point. This together with Four Swords would be awesome on the WiiU.

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