RETROspective – Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Pt 1

This is a place to reflect, to remember, to well read about things that almost every 25-35 year old geek has experienced in there life. Sometimes we’ll look back on those games of yesterday and relive the ups and the down. Other times we’ll take a look at those shows and movies from our childhood. And once we’re done taking a stroll down memory lane it’ll be time to see how it stands up to today. This is all from memory, I’m not going to refresh myself I’m going to try and remember as much as I can from past experience but I’m sure I’ll get something wrong but so what?

Now if you’re reading this I’m assuming you’ve played the game, seen the movie, read the comic, you get the point. Basically Spoiler Alert starting now!

So lets begin…

RETROspective –

Main Screen From Legend Of Zelda - A Link To The Past

Part 1 The Light Years

In 1991 I was 5 years old, which honestly is pretty young. Being that young I’m not going to claim that I’ve been playing A Link to the Past since the begining because that would be a load of crap. I honestly don’t remember how old I was when I played this game for the first time, but I’m gonna go ahead and estimate it at about 8 which would be 1994 and for all you mathletes out there that’s 3 years after it came out. Back then though people didn’t have to worry about reading something on every website they frequent that might ruin the story for them. Hell back then most of us barely noticed story beyond the princess is in another castle. But I had this game and it was cool I was a guy with a sword and I killed knights. It wasn’t my first game, like most kids of my generation I started with a NES (if you don’t know what that is Google it and learn your history!). This was different though. This wasn’t a little red and blue man throwing fireballs and jumping on bad guys heads. The characters weren’t faceless pixels. They had real character you could look at someone on the screen and see where it’s hair, face, shirt, shoes all started and ended.

The whole thing was great to me, the only problem was I was 8, I didn’t read things the game told me. So the game starts, you wake up after a creepy voice tells you to save them. You’re obviously a kid and your uncle abandons you at home to go fight a one man war against the castle. I guess he got the same message? I don’t know I thought Link was like the chosen one or something like he was suppose to bring balance to the force, beat Voldmort, and become the next Magnus. Apparently there can be more then one and so your Uncle leaves and tells you to stay in bed, but being a bad kid you take off into the rain, without so much as a plastic bag to keep you dry.

Now for the life of me I don’t remember how I managed to find my way through the castle court yard and to the hidden hole off to the right but I did, I’m guessing I just found out I could lift plants and did it to all of them, found the hole and jumped in. Anyway so you jump down the whole and find your uncle who’s only got this far before being mortally wounded and so he hands you his sword and shield and sends you on your way. Great role model right? So this is where the whole being a kid and not reading what the game tells you really screws you up. I clearly remember wandering aimlessly through the castle A LOT and eventually I found the princess, and along the way the boomarang which is still one of my favorite Zelda weapons. After a while I found the princess, beat the mini-boss that was guarding here and freed her. At this point I’ve managed to kill most of the guards at least once, beat a boss and make my Uncle (RIP) look like a baby. Here is where I hit my first snag with this game, Zelda tells you that there is an exit in the throne room, behind the throne. Now I know this, I’ve played the game Throne Room - A Link To The Pastnumerous times since but back then I just ignored it and ran around poking things. I did eventually end up in the throne room unfortunately I never went to the throne itself like a jackass. It was quite a while down the road that I started a new game with an older friend who did read what the game was saying and after that we found out how to move forward and get the hell out of the castle.

Anyone who can remember being a kid of less then 10 you know it was never an option to be paitent and figure out how to move forward in a game, you either got it right away or you threw the game in a box and forgot about it. Lucky for me when it happened with Link to the Past it was at the top of the box for a while and I was able to pick it up and continue, with a little help from a friend or two. But now lets get back on track. So you finally get out of the castle, and into a sewer system kind of thing with rats and snakes and a princess tagging along. Thank god this isn’t like a later Zelda title that makes you escort a princess through another smelly wet location. I’m looking at you Ocarina of Time. It’s a good thing Jabu Jabu’s Belly is a fun dungeon. Once you get yourself out of the sewer you’re in a church and you ditch Zelda. Now your quest begins for real, you have a mission and you’re gonna need a bigger sword!

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talks a bunch on PodQuest each week. He's also been known to write about stuff from time to time.

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