Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Great Playthrough - Game 62: The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past

According to my wife, I look pretty smug. :P

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Released on: SNES
Played on: SNES
Release date: 1992

OK, so it has been over a month since I last posted. I'm sorry about that - things keep getting in the way (like work, social life, etc!) I'm going to try and stick to a more regular schedule, so you ought to start seeing these things more regularly from now on (I hope!)

But anyway, back to today's review. When I reviewed Zelda - Four Swords Adventures a year and a half ago, I discussed my love-hate relationship with the series - as a Nintendo staple I have a soft spot for it, but RPGs do tend to leave me cold, but I do remember spending a lot of time with this game when I was younger. (In fact, it was the exact same cartridge I spent the time with, as this is one of the few games that has stayed with me since my childhood years and I haven't had to replace!)

And while we are on the subject of the physical cartridge itself (rather than the game, which I will get onto in a minute) then I need to give a quick shout-out to my long-standing friend Mr Andrew Gray - as he lent me this cartridge about twenty years ago, and I never gave it back! :P

However, owning the same cartridge for twenty - odd years (and using it semi-regularly over that time) can lead to some minor inconveniences. Most notably, battery issues. I touched on this briefly in my review of Pokemon Silver, but the batteries in cartridges do not last forever, and at some point soon I'm going to need to learn how to replace them, as I discovered when playing this game.

The problem was that I played about twenty minutes before realising I had to go and do something else. So I saved the game and went off to do other things. Then, when I came back... there were no saved games. At all. So I had to start again.

Luckily, that wasn't a huge problem, as this game is a lot of fun. Yes it's an RPG (Role Playing Game - not Rocket Propelled Grenade. An important difference, as confusing the two could get very painful), a genre of game I traditionally enjoy slightly more than FPS's but slightly less than EVERY OTHER GAME GENRE OUT THERE (apart from sports games), but it belongs on my favourite console of all time, and my favourite era of all time. Plus, it balanced out.

You see, normally with RPG's, my big beef (and by that, I mean my biggest problem, not my largest joint of meat) is the ridiculous amount of wandering around required. And (certainly in my playing time), A Link to the Past didn't give me that. In fact (as one expects from a Nintendo first party game) it gave me an exciting and entertaining adventure, leaving me wanting more.

It just seems so well balanced. You have to do a little exploring, but not so much that you are just walking around getting annoyed - and it's always clear what you have to do next. Dungeon exploration is fun, and even though I died more than Captain Jack Harkness (a reference for my Who/Torchwood loving fans there)
at no point did I feel any of my deaths were unfair - I always learned from them, and got a little bit further the next time.

Plot-wise, it's a Zelda game. You are Link, a young boy with a green tunic and hat (not to be confused with any of the other Links in any of the other Zelda games, who are entirely different young boys with green tunics and hats) and you need to rescue Princess Zelda (who is entirely different to any of the other Princess Zeldas in other Zelda games). Your father, after getting into the dungeon but no further, is shocked when you turn up, but then gives you his sword and shield and encourages you to go and rescue her,  Yes, that's right. Your dad arms you and sends you off to fight the palace guards and rescue a princess. Now if that's not responsible parenting, then I don't know what is!

Anyway, it takes about 15 minutes to rescue the princess, at which point you then have to go and find the Village Elder, who tells you all about some things and stuff that you have to find... I'm sure more dramatically awesome stuff happens later in the game, but do you know what? I was quite happy wandering around the 16-Bit world swinging my sword angrily at bushes that happened to be nearby.

Graphically it is beautiful. I have oft-stated my love for 16-Bit graphics on this blog, and these are some of the most polished and perfect ones you have ever seen. And the music is great too, full of memorable snippets of Zelda music.

So as you've probably guessed from reading this, I enjoyed it a lot - and I look forward to turning it back on another day and carrying on (if my save game has survived!).

Rating: 9/10
Time played: 1 Hour and 20 Minutes
Would I play it again? Definitely.

Next time on Brawny's Great Playthrough - it's a couple of Capcom arcade classics. Which ones? You'll have to come back to find out!