The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review

A Link to the Past is still great, and it hasn't been rereleased to death like some of Nintendo's other games, making it a great choice for Virtual Console fans.

While Nintendo's last two console platforms have had to wait for a good, long time before getting a game in the Legend of Zelda series, the Wii is already thick with Zelda action. A Link to the Past is the third Zelda game to appear on the platform. While that's a whole lot of Zelda in a very short time, it's hard to argue with the glut when the games are so good. A Link to the Past is, arguably, the greatest Zelda game ever released. And unless you still have a Super Nintendo handy, or you purchased the relatively recent rerelease for the Game Boy Advance, you should lay down some virtual cash and pick this up.

The third Zelda game took things back to the perspective of the original, but it also made the game much more involved.
The third Zelda game took things back to the perspective of the original, but it also made the game much more involved.

The story's roughly what you'd expect from the series. Link's a simple guy who lives in a small house in the middle of a forest. He's awoken one rainy night by the voice of Princess Zelda, who has been imprisoned in her castle by an evil wizard. This sets the tale in motion and sets you off on a large adventure in the traditional Zelda style. There are plenty of dungeons to explore and a large overworld to navigate. There's also a dark world to visit, which is a not-quite-right version of the regular, light world. In case you're unfamiliar with the game, this dual-dimension action is much like the young Link/old Link change in Ocarina, or, to a lesser extent, the human/wolf form changes in Twilight Princess. You'll occasionally need to visit the dark side to navigate passages that are blocked on the light side, and vice versa. A Link to the Past is a lengthy adventure, even if you sort of remember what to do from a past play-through. There's a lot to do and see before you reach the final confrontation, and almost all of it is of the highest quality.

As you'd expect from a Super Nintendo game on the Virtual Console, the emulation is just fine from a speed, graphics, and sound perspective. This game contains some fantastic music, and in its day, the graphics were also fantastic. Those graphics still hold up pretty well, and there's a certain sense of charm to its look that doesn't fade with time. You'll need to use either a GameCube controller or a Classic Controller for the game, and the Classic Controller wins out due to its more Super Nintendo-like button layout.

If you enjoyed playing Twilight Princess but aren't familiar with many of the other games in the series, you should definitely go back and give A Link to the Past a shot. It won't take long for you to see why many regard this game as the best in the series.

The Good

  • A fantastic adventure, faithfully emulated
  • Still holds up as a quality product, with charming graphics and sound

The Bad

  • N/A

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About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

First Released Apr 13, 1992
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Super Nintendo

The third Zelda game from Nintendo returns to its isometric roots, offering a new challenge across worlds of light and dark.


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Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Mild Violence