When the Super Nintendo came out in the early 90's many games that were big on the NES were remade or had sequels that were bigger and better over they're 8 bit counterparts. Gradius, Castlevania, Mario and others all had big hits on the old console and jumped into the 16 bit lifestyle with both feet to great success. Link, the hero of THE NES search and adventure game got the 16 bit treatment and it is fantastic.
The story opens with Link being awoken in the middle of the night by a voice which beckons him to Hyrule Castle to rescue Princess Zelda. Getting past the guards and rescuing Zelda he learns that Agahnim, the evil wizard is banishing other royal maidens to the Golden Land where a great power rests and that to stop Agahnim, Link will need the Master Sword which is locked away in the Lost Woods and the power to free it comes in the form of three pendants locked in Dungeons. Link must gather items, new weapons and more to find the pendants and learn more about this power that Agahnim seeks. Taking on Agahnim, he banishes Link to the Golden Land that evil has twisted into a Dark World full of monsters and evil. Link must continue his quest there and free the imprisoned maidens and save all of both lands.
The gameplay is overhead view with you moving Link through the map. Explore caves, woods, the local village and the dungeons where more monsters and more tresures and weapons await. The game improves on the original Zelda game with it's action and weapons from bombs, arrows and boomerangs and new ones like the grappling hookshot, hammers and others. Bottles can hold potions for healing and some weapons use magic power to work so watch you levels. There are a total of 12 main dungeons to travel through from the two world maps. The maps have similarities but there are many differences. The quaint village in Hyrule is a shanty town in the Dark World. The dry desert is a rain covered swamp, the atmosphere in the music tracks really effects doing up Death Mountian in the Dark World and it's unsettling.
The Graphics are great. The lollipop trees are a bit lame and rocks look like they have "8's" on them but the drawings and use of palette is great. The rotating triforce peices and overlay effects are fantastic too. The music, and man does the music come into play. Triumphant horn music as you travel Hyrule castle, the adventurous Hyrule overworld theme and the spooky dungeon themes, and thats just in Hyrule. The Dark World's theme has a feeling of the hero on an uphill climb to escape from evil, the dungeons sound downright sinister as if you won't escape from them and your first visit to Death Mountain without a magic protecting you will make you hide under the bed as if your world will come to an end. But it won't, your Link, and your going to save the day.
A Link To the Past got ported to handhelds and in the Zelda series it's great and some say it's the best. I wish the SNES had another Link adventure but since this is the only one we got, they made it worthwhile and worth it's weight in Triforce gold.
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