Link to the Past (LttP) drops the side scrolling action of Zelda 2, and returns to the traditional 3/4 top down view found in Zelda 1.
LttP is a “direct prequel” to Zelda 1, meaning fanbois will forever argue over the chronology of Zelda…
The evil wizard Agahnim has kidnapped Princess Zelda, and is attempting to unleash Ganon on Hyrule.
It is not made clear if this is the same wizard that put the Zelda in Zelda 2 to sleep.
This is where the game starts, you are awakened from your slumber by Zelda telepathically telling you she has been kidnapped. The first dungeon/training level, you rescue her, and are tasked with finding the three magic pendants to stop Agahnim. Once you get these, from… three dungeons, you go back to Hyrule Castle to defeat Agahnim.
You defeat Agahnim, by playing magic tennis, and you are transported to the “Dark World“.
Then, you must beat 7 dungeons, and save the Seven Sages . Once you rescue the sages, you are then able to storm Ganon’s Tower, and hopefully, save the Princess for the second time in this game.
OK, I’m lost (ish)
In the overworld, I frequently had to look at a guide to figure where I had to go. Dungeons are nicely signposted, meaning you know where you need to go, but frequently the path there is a bit of a head scratcher. Secrets, are difficult to find, and you’ll never find them yourself, but overall, LttP is much easier to navigate than Zelda 1 and 2.
The dungeons are far more intuitive, as you tend to find the map and compass very early on, meaning exploring the dungeon is never too onerous. It is a nice way of doing things, as you feel as though you are exploring a dungeon, rather than simply having to scour every room for checkboxing purposes. Exploration is fun, and a choice, not a grind that has to be carried out.
LttP is easy when you compare it to Zelda 1 and Zelda 2.
The majority of puzzles, and dungeons are very intuitive. Boss fights are fun, and can be difficult the first try, but assuming you have a brain, they are quick to figure out.
The Hookshot is used for a stupidly fun boss fight against a MASSIVE EYE! Rather than just being used to bridge gaps, the hookshot can be used to pull parts of enemies off. Meaning the boss fight you use this on, (kinda) makes sense, or, isn’t simply “CHUCK A BOMB IN THAT BIG HOLE“.
Rarely is the item in the dungeon the one you need to beat the boss. There is the obligatory shoot the thing in the eye boss, but you get the bow 6 levels prior.
And often bosses have a number of forms, meaning you need to change tactic:
The Helmasaur King has a evil Skyrimish mask on, which you need to blow up (or magic hammer) off, before pooning him with your sword. The difference here, is you can use TWO items. You don’t have to rely on the item found two rooms before the boss, to kill said boss.
Other than that, the rule for beating bosses tends to be “take this sharp sword and smack them in the face a whole load.”
LttP only really gets hard on the final fight.
There is just so much to deal with that I failed/died about 30 times. Ganon has three forms, form 1 and 2 are easy, just hit him and avoid the projectiles.
Form 3 ramps up the difficulty, you have to light 2 torches at opposite ends of the room, 1 allows you to see him, and lighting both will allow you to hit Ganon. Only problem is, Ganon Teleports, and aims for where you were. If he hits you, you’ll fall off the ledge, and have to start over again.
You basically have to stand still, run at Ganon, and hit him with your sword. Then in less than a second swap your secondary item to the Bow. and shoot him. When you run at Ganon, he fires a projectile at you, so, if this hits you, you miss your chance. The torches go out, you swap to the magic lamp or fire wand to relight the fire, and then have to swap to the bow again.
It is unbelievably fiddly, and could have been improved with a Mega Man X style “L” “R” hot swapping button use.
For me, LttP is the best Zelda game, it introduced everything people like about the series.
It fixed the issues of the previous games, and set a decent foundation to build a series from.
It did away with the obtuse puzzelling of 1 and 2, it relegated onerous tasks to secrets or extras, rather than core requirements for completion. The music also starts to take shape, and doesn’t deviate much from this point onwards either.
It might not be worth paying the £90 plus for a SNES version, but you can get it for cheap on the virtual console enabled devices. My advice is to buy it. You’ll love it.
Pros: World is fun to explore, dungeons are logical, no silly missable items that are essential, Wizzrobes look like Black Mages from Final Fantasy
Cons: Master Sword is way too over powered, Final boss is a bit too difficult in comparison to rest of game