[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Zelda_SNES.jpg]]

-->''[[ArcWords May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce.]]''

The third game in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series. A {{prequel}} to the NES installments, ''The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past'' (''Triforce of the Gods'' in Japan) returned to the top-down adventure format of the first ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI Zelda]]'', as well as featuring more of an emphasis on puzzles rather than fighting.

The story begins with Link receiving a [[CallToAdventure psychic message]] from Princess Zelda, telling him to come and save her from her imprisonment in the castle dungeon. Link's Uncle also receives the call but dies, so Link must take up the call. He discovers that the evil wizard Agahnim is capturing girls from across Hyrule, and learns that the only way to defeat him is to obtain the three Pendants of Virtue from dungeons across Hyrule, and then collect the Master Sword. Of course, saving the world isn't that easy... Link is eventually forced to travel to the DarkWorld, a parallel version of Hyrule distorted by Ganon's wishes after he was sealed in the Golden Land (that story would later be told in ''[[Videogame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]''), to save the captured maidens and the Princess, and finally defeat Ganon. The basic plot formula of ''A Link to the Past'' (gather three items, get Master Sword, huge plot twist, gather more items, fight final boss), known to some fans as "[[StrictlyFormula the Legend]]," would be repeated many times throughout the series.

It was re-released in 2002 on the GameBoyAdvance, sharing a cartridge with the multiplayer-only ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwords Four Swords.]]'' A sequel for Nintendo3DS, ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'', was announced in a Nintendo Direct on April 17th, 2013. It has the general look and feel of the original except with 3D graphics (though still top-down) and features the same version of Hyrule with completely new dungeons.

There is also a [[Comicbook/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast comic adaption]] and [[http://aeipathyind.com/zeldamotion/ an (unofficial) animated series is in the works]].

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!!This Game Provides Examples Of:

* AllThereInTheManual: The backstory, and a sealed booklet explaining how to beat some of the tougher puzzles.
** It should be mentioned that [[http://www.zeldalegends.net/files/text/z3translation/z3_manual_story.html the translators of the American manual took a few liberties with the text.]] [[DubInducedPlotHole It created a few inconsistencies with later titles]].
* AndIMustScream: Some of the trees in the Dark World are ''actually people'' (and not to mention, they talk to you).
** And the seven maidens, each trapped in a block of crystal after being sent to the Dark World.
* AntlionMonster: Antlion-like enemies called Devalants in Hyrule's desert area. They bury themselves and create sand vortexes that they're visibly at the center of, and they try and get you to fall into. Some also shoot fireballs. You defeat them by attacking their heads while exposed.
* AnimatedAdaptation: An adaptation of the manga is [[http://aeipathyind.com/zeldamotion/ currently in the works]], starring Creator/ToddHaberkorn [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37N4GkFRUoI&feature=player_embedded as the voice of Link.]]
* ArcNumber: The number 8, as pointed out by {{Zetaplays}} in his LP of it.
* ArcWords: See the page quote.
* BadFuture:
** WordOfGod stated in the timeline included in the [[AllThereInTheManual Hyrule Historia]] that ''A Link to the Past'' (and by extension, the ''Oracle'' games, ''Link's Awakening'', the now ''Link Between Worlds'', the first ''Legend of Zelda'', and ''The Adventure of Link'') occurred had Link failed to defeat Ganondorf in the Adult Timeline of ''Ocarina of Time''. While the sages still manage to seal Ganondorf away, presumably the Imprisoning War cost many more lives than would have been lost if Link had won.
** While it is technically an alternate dimension, the Dark World certainly acts as this tonally. A dark copy of Hyrule which Ganon rules with an iron fist. It provides a real threat of what could happen to Hyrule if Link fails.
* BalefulPolymorph: Most residents of the Dark World are at least somewhat displeased with having been transformed against their will. Link the pink bunny arguably handles it well, but given his HeroicMime status, it's hard to know what he really thinks of the situation.
** [[http://www.zeldawiki.org/Bunny_Link He doesn't seem ecstatic]] with the change, if this piece of artwork is any indication.
** The missing [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame dwarven]] blacksmith who works near Kakariko ended up in the Dark World trapped as a frog within a wall of heavy stones. Link has to [[EscortMission escort him back to his partner in the Light World]].
** Use Magic Powder on the Cucco hiding in a pot in the house of the white-haired woman that sics a guard onto you in Kakariko. Said [[HumanityEnsues former]] chicken is ''not'' amused, and tells you so herself.
* BladderOfSteel: Admittedly not as bad as some other examples of the trope. But if you want to have a file with "000" for the "Total Games" count, you'd better have a few hours of time set aside. Dying-and-saving and saving-and-quitting both increase the count.
** The VirtualConsole version makes this task much easier, thanks to save states whenever you quit out of the game using the Wii's Home button.
** It's completely fixed in the GBA version. In that version only dying raises the count.
* BlingBlingBang: Link's strongest sword is made out of (presumably magical) gold.
* BonusBoss: The GBA version has four differently-colored Dark Links as the bosses of the BonusDungeon.
* BonusDungeon: Palace of the Four Sword, in the GBA version.
* BootstrappedTheme: After its absence in ''TheAdventureOfLink'', this game recovered the old ''Title Screen''/''Overworld'' theme from the original [=NES=] game and turned it into the Main Theme of the whole series. A decade later, ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'' turned it into [[BootstrappedLeitmotif Link's leitmotif]] as well; up to this day, the melody still maintains both functions.
* BubblegloopSwamp: It has several examples: The Great Swamp in the Overworld, which is portrayed in a more positive light but has no lack of critters and monsters like other areas. The DarkWorld, however, sports ''two'': The [[SwampsAreEvil Swamp of Evil]] and the unnamed, Dark World version of the Great Swamp, each with its own dungeon.
* CallToAdventure: Zelda telepathically contacts Link in the beginning.
* TheCameo: A pair of [[SuperMarioBros Chain Chomps]] appear in Turtle Rock.
* ChainReactionDestruction: It is known that perfectly good sandworms and other bosses are known to go down with series of small explosions.
* ClearMyName: After helping Princess Zelda escape in the early part of the game, Link is accused of her abduction and the castle guards try to arrest him on sight. Certain villagers will also scream for the guards if Link approaches them, before running indoors and locking themselves in.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: The armor of the enemy soldiers as well as Link himself is green for the weakest form, blue for the stronger version, and red for the even stronger version.
** This also cooresponds the the ascending order of rupee values. Green is worth 1, blue is worth 5, and red is worth 20.
** As well as the [[PlotCoupon pendants]] you collect from the Light World dungeons to get the Master Sword.
* CollisionDamage: Obviously, Link will suffer this if he touches a monster. However, the Cane of Byrna allows Link to generate a magic force field that not only allows ''him'' to inflict this on the enemies, but also protects him from everything up to falling into pits. You'll still bounce (with no damage) off spikeballs, though.
* ComicBookAdaptation: Three of them:
** The western comic adaptation by ShotaroIshinomori serialized in ''Magazine/NintendoPower'' and later published in graphic novel form.
** The first [[Manga/TheLegendOfZelda manga adaptation]] by Ataru Cagiva published in Japan after the SNES release.
** A second manga adaptation, this time by Akira Himekawa. It was originally published after the GBA release and was released in the states in 2010
* CrystalPrison: The first in the series, and perhaps the TropeCodifier. The seven maidens are all put in giant, blue crystals.
* CutscenePowerToTheMax: When Ganon reveals himself in Ganon's Tower, Link uses the flute to summon the bird to give chase and take him to the Pyramid of Power. Not only can the bird not be summoned indoors, it can't be summoned in the Dark World period, being a denizen of the Light World.
* DamselInDistress: Seven of them, each trapped inside a crystal.
* DarkWorld: TropeNamer
* DeathMountain: The TropeNamer returns and even has a DarkWorld counterpart that it shares a name with.[[note]]Well, except in the Japanese version. In it, only one was called Death Mountain, and considering the names of the DarkWorld's locations, naturally it was the DarkWorld version. The Light World mountain was called Mt. Hebra instead, despite being the one of the two that contained the Spectacle Rock feature that was present in the Death Mountain incarnations in the previous two games.[[/note]] (Unlike the Light World counterpart, the DarkWorld counterpart has more ominous (but still [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic catchy]]) music than the rest of its world's overworld to go with its more twisted nature.)
* DecoyDamsel: [[spoiler: Blind]]. You really ought to know better though; Unlike the other Maidens, 'she' is trapped not in a crystal, but a dingy cage, without even bothering with an explanation as to why she isn't in a crystal to boot.
* DiscOneFinalBoss: Aghanim plays the part twice.
* DiscOneFinalDungeon: There's two: Hyrule Castle and Ganon's Tower.
* DisconnectedSideArea: The Swamp of Evil in the Dark World, which even has a sign indicating "No Entry, No Escape." [[spoiler: You have to reach it via a transporter tile in the Light World, which can only be reached via Flute[=/=]bird transport. The Ice Palace requires a similar trick.]] [[AllThereInTheManual According to the lore]], it's because the swamp was overflowing with rain water that threatened to flood the rest of the land, so a mountain range was put up to prevent that from happening.
** And earlier in the game, there's Dark!DeathMountain, which falls under the "sneak preview of a later area" category.
* DistressCall: Zelda psychically sends one to Link and his uncle to start the game.
* DopplegangerAttack: One of Agahnim's moves.
* TheDragon: Agahnim, the first time in the series that Ganon has someone doing his dirty work for him. [[spoiler:It is subverted late in the game that Agahnim is actually Ganon in a form which can travel to the Light World, though only with limited powers. On the other hand, the way Ganon reveals himself (his spirit rising out of Agahnim's body, with the latter not even disappearing when Ganon turns into a bat) would suggest that Agahnim was a victim of (or willing accomplice through) DemonicPossession.]]
** Only semi-subverted. [[spoiler:All adaptations in manga and comics make Agahnim clearly a separate being who serves Ganon. As well, in the original Japanese scripting,the Pre-Battle speech given in each battle have different attitudes toward Link; the first battle in the Light World is almost begrudgingly respectful of all Link has gone through and survived, while the second battle in Ganon's Tower is insulting.]]
* DualWorldGameplay: The Light World and Dark World. This would become a recurring theme in the series.
* DummiedOut: In the original and Virtual Console releases, a skull statue that somewhat resembles the large skulls at the entrance of Yarna Desert in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'' (which didn't get DummiedOut) exists that was apparently planned for DarkWorld dungeons (most likely Skull Woods due to its name), as it is part of the tileset for DarkWorld dungeons, but it was never used... in those versions. About a decade later, these very statues could be seen in the GBA version's added optional dungeon, the Palace of the Four Sword, which is located in the DarkWorld. [[http://zeldawiki.org/Cannon_Soldier There is also a fully working and sprited Soldier with a Cannon, who simply is unused.]]
* EarnYourHappyEnding: SO much so, it practically TastesLikeDiabetes. Put simply, [[spoiler: EVERYONE who was killed because of Ganon is brought back to life and every single person you meet in the game goes on to have happy lives, even the random thief that hangs out in the forest!]] [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], though, given that at the end the pure-hearted Link [[spoiler: reaches the united Triforce and wills everything right.]]
* EasterEgg: The [[http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Chris_Houlihan Chris Houlihan room]], an extremely well-concealed [[note]]The game only sends you there when an error occurs in sending you to wherever you were supposed to go[[/note]] chamber filled with rupees that was named for [[ContestWinnerCameo the winner of a contest]] in ''Nintendo Power''.
* EndOfTheWorldSpecial: [[spoiler: Link gets the full Triforce at the end of the game.]]
* EpunymousTitle: For the English version at least.
* EscortMission: Rather brief compared to most examples of the trope due to how short the walking distance is, but in the Dark World, Link finds the missing blacksmith turned into a frog and trapped behind some heavy rocks (which he can lift with the treasure from the dungeon north of there) and has to take him back to his shop in the Light World. This is of course required to obtain the InfinityMinusOneSword from the blacksmiths (which is upgraded to the InfinityPlusOneSword later).
** Averted when you must "escort" Zelda out of the castle dungeon. In fact, she's 100% invulnerable and the enemies don't even acknowledge her.
** Another brief one is the old man on Death Mountain whom you lead home after he loses his lantern.
** [[spoiler: The disguised thief Blind]] has elements of an escort mission. One of the rare examples of the player [[spoiler: escorting ''an enemy boss'']].
*** Thankfully all of these are very easy because all of the subjects are InvulnerableCivilians , which is GLORIOUS.
** Two non-living examples: at one point, Link has the option to "escort" a locked treasure chest to a man who can open it, and later must "escort" a bomb to destroy a certain wall. Both of these are made slightly difficult because pressing "A" (e.g. to run or lift something) or running off a ledge will "disconnect" the item until Link walks back to retrieve it. And if one is not quick enough, the bomb will explode.
** There is also the monkey that is needed to open the first dark world palace. While not a horrible example of an escort, he does require 10 rupees to just have him follow you and another 100 to open the palace. Compared to the other escorts, getting hurt does cause the monkey to run away. This means having to pay another 10 rupees just to get him back. Thankfully, there are about 3 enemies between finding the monkey and getting to the palace entrance, and it is possible to deny the monkey at first, then go ahead and kill the enemies before coming back.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: You have to bribe a cute little monkey to show you how to find the entrance to one of the dungeons.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: This game introduced the signature Spin Attack, called the "Whirling Blade" in the US manual.
* EvilChancellor: Agahnim. [[AllThereInTheManual According to the manual]], after he miraculously fixed the numerous ills Hyrule was suffering at the time when he appeared, he more or less became the King's right hand man. This transitioned to Agahnim being the de facto ruler and finally "eliminating" the King.
* EvilSorcerer: Ganondorf, Agahnim
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Ganon's Tower.
* FacelessEye: Several of the bosses, most notably Kholdstare and Vitreous, who is nothing but a bunch of eyes in a pile of slime.
* {{Fanfare}}: The first game in the series to play the overworld theme as such.
** Likewise, the ending fanfare.
* FalseInnocenceTrick: This is how you trigger the boss fight with the boss underneath Kakariko Village. You are told he kidnapped one of the maidens, and in some way you can say he ''did'', but he also disguised himself as her.
* ForcedToWatch: Agahnim waits until Link has arrived in his attempt to rescue Zelda before he banishes her, and does it while Link can only watch helplessly.
* FreeSamplePlotCoupon: Unlike in the game, the manga adaptation has Link getting the first pendant from Sahasrahla, instead of getting it after some difficult dungeon exploration as in the case of the other two pendants.
* FisherKing: The Golden Land became the Dark World in reflection of Ganondorf's dark desires.
* FisherKingdom: The Dark World transforms everyone into a form that reflects their heart (except for Link, once he acquires the Moon Pearl).
* GameMod: Parallel Worlds[[note]]Which began as the demo "Tower of the Triforce", and has an updated, slightly easier version known as Parallel Remodel[[/note]] and Goddess of Wisdom, among others. Made possible with Hyrule Magic and [=Black Magic=] editing programs.
* GottaCatchEmAll: The three pendants in the Light World, and the seven maidens in the Dark World.
* GrapplingHookPistol: The Hookshot, the first time such an object shows up in a Zelda game.
* GuideDangIt: Two puzzles of note in Dark World dungeons have hideously obscure solutions[[note]]Pulling the statue's tongue in the Ice Palace and shooting the statue's eye in the second temple[[/note]], the only way to really find them being (a) TryEverything or (b) consult an online guide. What makes them reach the GuideDangIt level is that the solutions to these are not even hinted at during the course of the game and that they're completely arbitrary things to do, especially the first one.
** In a way, the game does sort of hint at the solution for the statue puzzle: The statue is shaped like an Eyegore, an enemy first encountered in the Eastern Palace, one kind of which (the red kind) can only be killed with an arrow to the eye.
** It's much, much worse in some of the fan-made hacks. In Parallel Worlds, the combination for the Lost Woods isn't even hinted at in the game. The only ways to find it out are by trial and error or by looking it up on the internet (and this is even lampshaded in the game, which flat-out ''tells'' you the combination is nowhere in the game). And if you have the misfortune to enter the Ice World without getting the Cane of Byrna (which is only accessible through the Lost Woods), good luck beating the game. You won't be able to return to your homeworld until you've climbed the Parallel Tower, which will be quite a chore without the Cane. Some of the other dungeons are probably impossible without it (or the Magic Cape, which ''is'' in the Ice World, but is probably itself close to impossible to obtain without the Cane of Byrna).
* HeroWithBadPublicity: Link is declared a criminal after he rescues Zelda in the introductory dungeon. Some citizens of Kakariko Village will actually call the guards if Link gets too close to them.
* HijackedByGanon: Apparently played straight, then subverted. Agahnim is the main baddie through much of the early part of the game, but revelations from rescued maidens reveal that Ganon is behind it all, [[spoiler:and finally Ganon himself says Agahnim was his alter-ego, meaning he was a disguise for Ganon, making Ganon the man behind ''himself'' - so there was no new villain, just an old villain in a new hat]]. Then again, the method that Ganon reveals himself does imply DemonicPossession.
* HonestAxe: Used to upgrade the boomerang and basic shield at the beginning of the game, and to obtain the best sword and the silver arrows at the end. Also a way to get free magic-refilling potions if you throw in an empty bottle.
* IconicLogo: The first time the series' distinctive logo appears, with the title in front of a sword and shield.
** Interestingly enough, the original Japanese version had a far more plain in-game logo with the title in front of the Triforce on a black background.
* IFoughtTheLawAndTheLawWon: Averted, the guards who are called to arrest Link in Kakariko Village are some of the weakest enemies in the game, although the rarely-summoned trident-wielding variety is noticeably stronger than the normal variety with swords.
* ImprovisedWeapon: To defeat Agahnim, you need to use the Master Sword to [[TennisBoss deflect his magic blasts back at him]], but in a pinch the bug catcher's net will work just as well. It avoids SequenceBreaking by the fact that you absolutely need the Master Sword to break the seal on his chamber. This concept would become an AscendedGlitch, with ''Ocarina of Time'', ''Wind Waker'' and ''Twilight Princess'' and ''Skyward Sword''.
* InfinityMinusOneSword: The Tempered Sword is a result of skilled dwarven blacksmiths taking the legendary Master Sword and improving it. It even makes a more forceful-sounding sound effect when slashed. However, it would seem the blacksmiths still didn't unlock the sword's full potential:
* InfinityPlusOneSword: In this game, the swords don't get any better than the Golden Sword, which is more than just a prettier version of the Master Sword. One fansite did an analysis of all the swords in the entire series (up to ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' at that time) and found the Golden Sword to be [[http://www.zeldauniverse.net/zelda-news/the-evolution-of-sword/ the strongest of them all]].
* [[InsurmountableWaistHeightFence Insurmountable Waist-Height Stones]]: Par for the course for the series.
* InvincibleMinorMinion: The thieves.
** Also, the Anti-Faeries that circle around blocks or walls in the dungeons.
** The rodent-like Deadrock enemies that roam the Light World's DeathMountain can't be killed normally; they simply turn to stone after being struck. However, sprinkling Magic Powder on them changes them into Slimes, which are not only killable, they're also the least dangerous monsters in the game.
* {{Invisibility}}: The Magic Cape. Comes with invincibility, allowing you to walk on SpikesOfDoom undamaged. Also good for hiding from enemies.
* ItemGet: When Link gets a new item, he usually holds it above his head while victory music plays. This is even {{Lampshaded}} by a merchant. He tells Link to hold the bottle he just bought above his head because it's good for business.
* TheKeyIsBehindTheLock: There's one locked treasure chest whose only key, you are told, is inside the chest, and you can never open it. Fortunately you can drag it with you until you find a master lockpicker.
* KilledMidSentence: Your Uncle survives long enough to give you his sword, but dies as he tries to tell you something very important: "Zelda is your..."
** [[UnexplainedRecovery He gets better]] after you beat the game, presumably because of Link's wish on the Triforce. We never find out what he was going to say, though. Guess it wasn't ''that'' important.
** Averted in the GBA re-release which alters his "dying" speech and he actually manages to finish what he was saying before dying. In the new version, he basically tells Link that it's his destiny to save Zelda and that he really enjoyed their time together.
* LastOfHisKind: Link is "perhaps" the last one to carry the bloodline of the Knights of Hyrule.
* LiteralGenie: When Ganon obtained the Triforce (which, being an inanimate object, couldn't judge between good and evil), he wished to rule the world. So the Triforce made him the ruler of the DarkWorld where he was imprisoned.
* TheLostWoods: As with DeathMountain, the TropeNamer returns. This time, it's significantly creepier in this installment than in their previous appearance in the [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI original]]. Its DarkWorld counterpart, Skeleton Forest, is even creepier (and more confusing) and also shares its ominous-yet-catchy music with the DarkWorld's DeathMountain.
* MagicMirror: Used to create portals between the Light and Dark Worlds.
* MagicMusic: The Flute -- whose design, interestingly, would later be reused for the titular [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]] and other ocarinas appearing in the series.
* MagicWand: The Rods of Ice and Fire and the Staves of Byrna and Somaria.
* MercyInvincibility: Useful for saving time and glitching your way past stronger enemies by getting hit by weaker ones. Also invoked when standing on lowered blue/orange blocks if you raise them by hitting a crystal switch... even though this doesn't actually damage you. This was most likely done to prevent the player from being stuck in a solid object.
** You also get this when you come out of a portal or flute-transport, which is very important since you can easily drop on top of enemies/spikes/whatever.
* MissionControl: Sahasrahla.
* MissionPackSequel: The [[NoExportForYou BS Satellaview Japan-only sequel]], for the Super Famicom add-on. [=ALttP=]'s Link is gone, and you are controlling a hero who must complete 8 dungeons to regain tablets needed to reseal Ganon. Also, you'll have to complete the game [[TimedMission in under 4 hours]]. It featured a [[ScoringPoints score counter]], full voice acting for Zelda and Sahasrahla[[note]]lost forever in the backup roms[[/note]], guided you throughout the game with gameplay advice, sometimes triggered the medallion spells you couldn't use yourself, and rendered your bomb/arrow/heart count to be infinite for a couple of minutes.
* MoneyForNothing: The game can be finished with a minimum of 710 rupees, but the game loves giving out huge sums of money in treasure chests and dungeons throughout the second half.
** Fortunately, there's a convenient and useful MoneySink in the Pond of Happiness. However, this is exhaustible, and once you've finished upgrading your bombs and arrows you'll basically have nothing to spend money on except medicine. If you're particularly obsessive about collecting rupees you'll probably have already bought everything you can buy by about the fourth Dark World dungeon (except for the Super Bomb, which only becomes accessible after completing the fifth and sixth dungeons, but that's only 100 rupees).
* MookBouncer: The Wallmasters. This time, they drop from the ceiling to grab you instead of emerging from the walls. They are sometimes referred to as "Clutch."
* MythologyGag: In the GBA version, Link's Uncle's dying speech is rewritten to omit the infamous line, "Zelda is your...". But in the Palace of the Four Sword, Link will encounter Blind the Thief impersonating Link's Uncle who says the original dialogue including the infamous original line before apparently dying and transforming into Blind's true form. The reference is somewhat lost in the American localization which translates the original words more accurately, "You must rescue Princess Zelda... You are... the Princess's... ... ... ..."
* NeverSayDie: Averted in the Japanese version - in the ''file select screen'' of all things! The "delete a file" option is written as "KILL" and is in English lettering to boot.
** Averted in the American version, too. Death Mountain gets to keep its moniker, even in spite of Nintendo's censorship policies at the time.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: After his first defeat, Agahnim responds by pulling Link into the Dark World...thus enabling Link to rescue the Seven Maidens and foil Agahnim's plot.
* NoDelaysForTheWicked: Subverted twice during the game:
** At the start of the game, Zelda is the last maiden Agahnim needs to banish. When Link rescues her, she hides at the Sanctuary and Agahnim is forced to search for her, giving Link time to find the Master Sword.
** Even when Agahnim banishes Zelda and breaks the Wise Men's seal, it takes time for the gateway between the two worlds to open completely. This gives Link time to rescue the maidens and confront Ganon before he can invade the Light World.
* NotTheIntendedUse: Butterfly net on Agahnim.
* OpeningTheSandbox: After you complete the first Dark World dungeon, the game is as linear as the original Zelda.
** In fact, completing the first dungeon isn't even necessary: once you have the Magic Hammer from it, the sandbox is busted wide open. You can even leave King Helmasaur for until you've gotten everything else in the game short of the Red Mail and a single Heart Container.
* PantsFree: The official artwork for this game makes it pretty clear that Link's not wearing any pants underneath that tunic.
* PlayerNudge: If you fall off the platform when fighting Ganon, you'll see a telepathic tile on the next screen telling you that you need Silver Arrows to defeat him; it's possible to not even ''have'' Silver Arrows yet.
** However, thanks to what may be a glitch, this is actually a lie; if you repeatedly spin attack Ganon while he's attempting to teleport in the last stage of the fight, you can defeat him without Silver Arrows. It takes about five times more hits than if you're using Silver Arrows though.
* {{Prequel}}: To the first two games.
* PrisonEpisode: Early in the game, you break ''into'' prison to save princess Zelda.
* RibcageRidge: Not really a ridge, but the DarkWorld's counterpart to TheLostWoods, Skeleton Forest, is named as such because of the large skeletons, which are in fact ribcages. Fortunately, whatever creature they came from is never seen living.
* SchmuckBait: "Curses to anyone who throws something into my circle of stones." [[spoiler: You have to do it at least once to beat the game, [[TemptingFate though doing it again is rather funny.]]]]
* SealedGoodInACan: Both worlds have an example. In the Light World, the legendary Master Sword is sealed in its pedestal unless the three pendants are gathered. In the DarkWorld, Link has to rescue the seven maidens, who are descended from the seven sages in the game's backstory, due to the fact that Agahnim has imprisoned them in crystals scattered in the dungeons of the DarkWorld.
* SecondComing: Agahnim sets himself up as this [[AllThereInTheManual in the back story]]. In a period where Hyrule is simultaneously ravaged by plagues, famine, drought, and other hardships, he appears out of nowhere and works miracles to set things right. He becomes a hero to the people and the King declares him to be the second coming of the Sages of old and appoints him his priest and second-in-command. Granted, he does herald the return of ''someone'' from the past...
* SequelDifficultyDrop: While not an easy game[[note]]It starts out rather hard, what with the large number of enemies capable of dealing a full heart of damage at a point your health capacity is still low[[/note]], it's still easier than the first two, a trend which has stayed so far.
* SequenceBreaking: Though it seems like you need the Hookshot to access a significant part of the DarkWorld, there's actually a portal that takes you there if you take the time to explore. You also have a lot of freedom in the DarkWorld to complete the dungeons in the order you want, though the Palace of Darkness has to be done first, and most of the DarkWorld dungeon's items are required to either access or finish Turtle Rock (which is labeled in-game as being the last dungeon). In particular, completing Misery Mire (6th dungeon) before the Ice Palace (5th dungeon) gives you the Cane of Somaria, which creates a block when swung. This almost completely eliminates the need to do the block puzzles in the Ice Palace and makes it a lot easier to complete. (It doesn't hurt that the Ice Palace's treasure is just an armor upgrade, which simply reduces the damage Link takes rather than being used to get past obstacles or solve puzzles, so there's no rush to do it before the one listed after it due to this example of SequenceBreaking.)
** The trick with the Pegasus Boots also makes the hookshot unnecessary in several places. Bombs can also be exploited, [[RocketJump since the distance they throw you upon exploding can allow Link to cross gaps]].
** You don't actually ''need'' the [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement Master Sword]] if you know how to do the Death Mountain Descent properly. Complete the Tower of Hera up until finding the Moon Pearl, escape said dungeon without bothering with the boss, descend... And start the Dark World progression as normal. You can upgrade to the Tempered Sword directly from your Uncle's sword, and get Ether for Misery Mire. The only thing that you can't actually get is the Piece of Heart from the Lumberjack's tree in the Light World, but you're otherwise good to go. [[note]]And, even if you do upgrade to the Tempered Sword then to the Golden Sword, ''but then decide to complete the Master Sword plot hook at some point'' you can actually return to the Blacksmiths and the fairy pond and upgrade your sword ''again''. It really is sound[[/note]]
** Aside from the fact that the Palace of Darkness has to be entered first, the order of the DarkWorld dungeons isn't as strict as those of the Light World. A popular order to beat the Dark World dungeons is 1, 4, 2, 6, 3, 7, 5, 8. This requires no backtracking, and gets you the nicest goodies as early as possible without having to half-finish dungeons.
*** Keep in mind also that you need only complete the Palace of Darkness enough to get the Magic Hammer. Actually defeating the boss isn't required to continue to the other dungeons.
* ShiftingSandLand: The Desert of Mystery.
* ShoutOut: The boss of the Desert Palace is a trio of worms named Lanmolas. They resemble the Spice Worms who live in the desert planet Arrakis from ''{{Dune}}''.
** Mothula, the Dark World dungeon 3 boss, is probably based on Film/{{Mothra}}
** In the Japanese version, the Magic Hammer is called "M.C. Hammer".
* SocializationBonus: The BonusDungeon in the GBA version, which can only be unlocked by linking up with someone else with the game and beating Four Swords.
* SpaceFillingPath: Various areas are bordered off by fences, cliffs, and trees, for instance, with only one direct pathway Link must get to in order to reach.
* SpikesOfDoom: Averted; spikes only do minor damage.
* SprintShoes: This was the first appearance of the Pegasus Boots.
* SpritePolygonMix: The Triforce in the intro is made of polygons. The crystals in which the maidens are imprisoned are also made of polygons.
* AStormIsComing: The death of Link's uncle is heralded by a huge thunderstorm.
* StrippedToTheBone: In the game's intro, the King of Hyrule, recently "eliminated" by Agahnim, is shown seated on his throne as a skeleton.
* SwampsAreEvil: It's even called the Swamp of Evil.
* SwordBeam: Link, fill up your hearts, so you can shoot your sword of power...
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: The Master Sword - you're finally worthy to wield the legendary weapon, probably a good time to go SaveThePrincess then, eh? Notable in that this is the first appearance in the series ''of'' the Master Sword.
* TacticalSuicideBoss: You'd think that after the first time you reflect Agahnim's beam back at him, he'd only use the other two non-reflective attacks. It's even worse when you encounter him again in the Dark World, since there's two copies of him and ''all three'' versions still use the reflective attack, with both clones using ''only'' that, meaning that the fight can actually end up being easier than your first encounter with him.
* TakeUpMySword:
** Link's Uncle does this to him as the quest begins.
** This is how Link gets the Bug-Catching Net.
* TeleFrag: Averted; if you teleport via Magic Mirror from the Dark to Light Worlds, you'll be kicked back to the Dark World if you wind up inside a solid object. Can be annoying, since if you first teleport from a spot next to a solid object in the Dark World, and then approach the sparkling gateway from the wrong side, you get forced back to the Light World to try again.
* TennisBoss: One of the oldest examples, and would start a trend in Zelda games.
* TubeTravel: In the Turtle Rock dungeon.
* TurnsRed: Most boss fights have multiple stages (the boss might become faster and more aggressive after taking a certain amount of damage, or Link might have to kill a group of smaller enemies before he can attack the main boss), but the one which adheres most closely to this trope is the fight against the six Armos Knights[[note]]fought twice, once in the Eastern Palace and once in Ganon's Tower[[/note]]. At first, they jump around the room in fixed patterns, but when you have killed five of them, the last one turns from blue to red and actively tries to stomp Link.
* UndergroundMonkey: Stronger varieties of soldiers simply have differently colored armor. Interestingly enough, the color coincides with the colors of Link's own armor upgrades obtained later in the game (green being the standard version, blue being stronger than green, and red being the strongest). The DarkWorld's version of soldiers, Tauruses, come in red and blue varieties, though the red ones are rarer, and unlike the soldiers their weapons are different (they wield tridents instead of spears).
* UnexpectedlyRealisticGameplay: The entrance to the dungeon in the Village of Outcasts is blocked by a trident held by a statue. There's no switches to open it and none of your items can break it, so how do you get past it? ''Just pull it off.''
* UniqueEnemy: The weird blimp-like creature on the southern shore of Lake Hylia is the only one of its kind, and Lynels appear only on two screens of Death Mountain. There are also a few dungeon-specific monsters like Freezors and the unnamed-in-English antlion-like enemies in the Desert Palace.
* TheUnreveal: We never do learn exactly what Link wishes when he touches the Triforce. Clearly it involves restoring Hyrule to its former glory, but it would have been kind of neat to see his actual choice of words.
* UpdatedRerelease: The GameBoyAdvance version released in 2002 added voice bits for Link (taken from Young Link in ''Ocarina of Time,'') and a BonusDungeon unlocked after beating ''Four Swords.'' Also a new riddle sidequest for the Hurricane Spin.
* UselessUsefulStealth: An aversion; the invisibility from the Magic Cape is quite useful to go through certain boss fights and other situations without taking any damage.
* VideoGameCrueltyPunishment: Go ahead. Keep attacking that cucco.
** Also the first appearance of Cuccos ''and'' their punishment.
* VillainBeatingArtifact: The Silver Arrows.
* WarpWhistle: The Flute, again.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Hey [[ThatOneBoss Mothula]], have a look at this cute little bee I've found!
* WeatherControlMachine: The Ether Medallion functions this way to open one dungeon.
* WhereItAllBegan: You have to return to the introductory castle to get to the DiscOneFinalDungeon, and near the end of the game you're transported to the same first location in the Dark World for the final battle as when you were sent there involuntarily.
* WorldHealingWave: With the help of the Triforce.
* YouAreTooLate: Agahnim decides to wait until Link arrives so that he can send Zelda into the Dark World right in front of him. D'oh.
* YouCantThwartStageOne: Rather cleverly subverted. Although Link fails to prevent Stage One, he manages to ''delay'' it by rescuing Zelda from the castle dungeons at the start of the game. Hiding Zelda at the Sanctuary gives Link time to search for the Master Sword, and Agahnim doesn't find and banish Zelda until after Link finds it. [[FridgeBrilliance If Zelda had been banished at the start of the game, Ganon's forces would probably have overrun Hyrule before anyone managed to get all of the Pendants and the Master Sword.]]
* [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair You Gotta Have Pink Hair]]: If you look closely, Link's hair in this game is pink (though official art shows he's ''supposed'' to be a muddy blond). The main reason for this is so that Bunny Link can share the same color palette as regular Link. A happy side effect of this is that his hair is easily distinguished
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Ganondorf killed his followers after they reached the Triforce.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: [=LTTP=] inverts tradition by having Link rescue the princess in the opening act. Later, Agahnim's men storm the Sanctuary and drag her back to Hyrule Castle.
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-->''Do you understand?''
--->''[=->Yes=]''
--->'' [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast Not at all]]''
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