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Ephraim 225

[table of contents]
BobtheKeeper reviews The Legend of Zelda A Link To The Past (GBA)
A Link to the Past. I almost don't even need to introduce this one. ALTTP is my absolute favorite Zelda game: It's fun, it's challenging, it's very well-designed, I can't stop gushing about it, and it has the best soundtrack in the series, too. It even came out on the GBA a few years or so later, although it wasn't exactly the highest-quality port in the world; the screen size is smaller and the music has reduced quality, though we did get Four Swords along with it, so it's cool.

Oh hey look, this review is at the top and has a star next to it, guess what that means!

I'm willing to bet that everyone who calls A Link to the Past the best Zelda game are the ones who played it as their first Zelda.

Nope, played Zelda 1 first.

Anyone who has played Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, Link's Awakening, or the Oracle of Ages/Seasons—before playing this—will find that going back to A Link to the Past is a tedious experience. No doubt when it first came out it was an incredible game, but with so many better Zelda games out now, it is hard to call this one the best.

ALTTP cemented many series traditions, so really, all of those games are riding off ALTTP's success, in a way. (Also the above quote had the apostrophes removed to allow Wiki Word s)

THE WORST PART...THE MUSIC!

Excuse me? WHAT?

In A Ltt P, the first three dungeons (or, "Levels") all have the same boring music. Then, the last five "Levels" all have the same music. That includes the final level. Level 8, Ganon's Tower (I highly doubt that this is spoiling anything), uses the exact same boring music as the four dungeons I've just trudged through.

Oh, okay, I can understand........ wait a minute you idiot, there are 11 dungeons in the game! (12 if you count Hyrule Castle)

Spending hours solving puzzles in a dungeon makes me sick of the music by the time I'm finished, and when I have to listen to it again in the next dungeon I want to scream.

Except you don't spend hours in the same dungeon, you spend about 45 minutes max in each dungeon BEFORE getting to the boss.

Is it too much to ask that a creepy level called "Misery Mire" have different music than a bright icy level called "Ice Temple"? Or for a labyrinthine cave at the top of a volcano called "Turtle Rock" to have different music from an abandoned city used by thieves? I suppose not, since they all LOOK about the same, too.

Uh, no they don't? The Ice dungeon is frozen over, and the Desert temple has a sand carpet, Turtle Rock's over a volcano...

Music is the most important thing in an epic game like Zelda for creating the atmosphere. I don't see how this Zelda game gripped people back when it came out with such lousy music. I don't see how anyone could still call this the best Zelda.

Are you serious? ALL the music is lousy? Even THIS?! You are awful. I know, I shouldn't insult anyone for not liking the same things I do. Let me do it anyways just this once. Fuck you, Bob.

About mid-way through the game you hopefully find the Ice Rod. You never ever use it until the boss of "Level 7." If you didn't happen to get the Ice Rod in its little out of the way place, then it's going to suck when you get to the boss and have no way to beat him.

Don't act like there was no nudge in that direction. I checked the text dump. Sahasrala, after giving you the Pegasus Boots, tells you that a helpful item is hidden in a cave east of the lake. "Get it." Sure, he doesn't say WHY, or what the item is, but hey, I freeze enemies with the rod all the time, so in no way is it useless, either.

Fairies are free, and work automatically; there is never any need to buy potions.

Unless you want to recover more than 7 hearts per revival or recover magic.

I didn't have the patience to mess around in this Zelda game to get all the stuff, so I looked at a FAQ to find extra junk like the "Magic Cape." With that item, I actually found myself using magic, so I used a FAQ to upgrade my magic meter, or "halve" my magic meter. I knew my magic meter was better because it said '1/2' above it. I didn't know if it was good or bad for some time.

So you didn't know if your magic meter being better was a GOOD thing or not? What the hell? Obviously it's a good thing, since your pansy ass would be allowed to abuse the Cape more!

I learned from Metroid Prime 2 that I do not like switching between two worlds, unless I can do it back and forth at any time and place. In Oracle of Ages, a fully upgraded harp let me do just that.

Which you get after clearing 3/4s of the game. Until then, you basically travel between the two worlds and the two time periods in the SAME WAY.

In all the other Zeldas, I tried to find as much as I possibly could before getting help. With A Ltt P, I was desperate to get it over with and brought up a FAQ as soon as I needed something. It's just an unexciting overworld. It doesn't vary much. The games graphics are good, but it can't have taken the developers long to come up with all of them. Copy...paste...there, Level 3 is ready.

Let's see, the Light World has a desert, a castle, a mountain, a lake, a forest, a temple, and a village. How's that for variety, huh? And the Dark World has a pyramid and swamp, which the Light World doesn't. Nice set of areas, few of which were copypasta'd like everyone enjoys claiming they were.

The dungeons showed some good design. I liked the challenges. But, the annoying music that's been repeating in my head for hours and the beeping of my low health drove me to check a FAQ to solve any puzzle as quickly as possible!

So you also suck at combat, AND you used a walkthrough? You are amusing, you know?

I play Zelda games to test my ingenuity in the dungeons. A Ltt P has some good puzzles, even after seeing it all in the later Zelda games. But, I was not motivated to solve them! And, the dungeons offer too many painful traps and pits more appropriate for a Mario game than a Zelda game.

The key to not sucking is to not get hit. That said, anybody who plays Ocarina of Time before this will not adapt to dodging attacks because enemies do piss poor damage; who cares about dodging? Unfortunately for our reviewer, this lack of any survival instinct transferred over to the Zelda game that actually has threatening enemies. In that situation, who's at fault, you, or the game? Don't worry, you have a 50/50 chance!

The boss battles at the end of each dungeon were usually dull. A giant worm or a blob or an enlarged version of a monster I've already seen.

Oh, except for the Lanmola, Arghus, Mothula, Blind, Kholdstare, Trinexx, the slimy eyeball...in other words, only the Armos, the Moldorm and the Helmasaur King count as larger versions of smaller enemies. Three. Out of twelve.

No part of this Zelda offered the thrill of success that the others did because there was no reward. What, like a cool boss, different music, or new plot twist is too much to ask?

No reward except a Heart Container and more of the backstory revealed.

Link's Awakening was a mystery until the end; it has the best Zelda plot.

Yeah, and it was All Just a Dream.

Ocarina of Time rehashed A Ltt P except it made it feel epic, with characters, dialogue, plot twists, and yes, changing music!

It fucking Retcon s itself.

Wind Waker has a huge fantastic epic feel that all games try but fail to reach.

OBVIOUS PADDING IS EPIC! TINGLE TINGLE KOOLOO LIMPAH~

A Ltt P is the precursor to all of those games, I know that. But hardly ever was there any stuff happening! I expected more! Ganon's final monologue of threats was pathetic after I've seen him in the 3D Zelda games.

At least 2D Ganon has a good shot at killing you, even if you got all the items.

3D IS BETTER THAN 2D

I just wanted to say that to make hardcore fans angry. I'll say it again: three-dimensional games have proved better than two-dimensional games. Particularly for Zelda.

So you admit you're a troll. Know what? YOU KNOW WHAT?! Fuck you.

Sure, maybe I love ALTTP a little too much. But you know what this review all boils down to? It's people reviewing the game for what it is compared to something else, not just for what it is and what it is alone. Also, anyone who ignores the Polygon Ceiling entirely should never ever play another video game ever.
1st May '11 7:49:19 PM flag for mods
comments
"THE WORST PART...THE MUSIC!"

You know what? I was almost agreeing with him. I felt that most Zelda games have improved on the previous ones. I thought LTTP was better than Zelda 1 and 2. And I thought Link's Awakening was better than LTTP (BTW: Link's Awakening cemented a good portion of the modern Zelda game's structure). And Ocarina of Time was better than Link's Awakening.

But this is where the reviewer lost me. This is 100% horseshit. Complaining that there isn't enough music diversity? Really?

Now to be honest, the dungeon music in LTTP sucks. I can't even remember any of it (then again, I can't remember the dungeon music from any of the games except the first and second). Probably because I'm too busy remembering the good music from LTTP.

Yes, it's a legitimate complaint that, due to the hardware limits of the time, they couldn't give each dungeon its own music. But it's such a minor complaint; it's not the kind of thing a reasonable, legitimate review leads off with. It's like reviewing Twilight Princess, and starting it off by bitching about how Link magically got his classic green outfit out of nowhere.

Plus, there's the fact that most modern Zelda games's individual dungeon music is far from memorable.

"So you didn't know if your magic meter being better was a GOOD thing or not?"

To be fair, Ltt P did not explain it well. The text was very unclear, I remember being confused by it myself.

You know, when I was like 10.
Korval 1st May 11
I stumbled upon the Ice Rod by accident.
Emperordaein 1st May 11
"3D IS BETTER THAN 2D"

NO.

That is the worst thing to include in a review ever. He even blatantly said he only said it to piss people off. Not to mention that he's judging a GBA port of a SNES game with modern standards. To me, that is the absolute worst crime you could possibly have as a retro reviewer, saying that it doesn't live up to modern technology! It's made even worse when you consider how any game can be good or bad, even if it's in 3D, depending on how the team works on it!

Also, I might as well say this here, but I have no idea why people say the port is bad. I'll admit, I didn't play the original, but still, it's a good game. If it's ruined because the sound quality is lower, that doesn't change the gameplay, which is what matters. Also, it's inevitable that the screen is smaller, it's a handheld.
AwesomeZombie22 1st May 11
No offense, but I don't appreciate how you support the assertion that LTTP is a good game... by insulting every other game in the series. I don't even know what you're talking about with rupee grinding in Wind Waker; that's got to be the one Zelda game I never had trouble with money in.
EponymousKid 1st May 11
"I don't even know what you're talking about with rupee grinding in Wind Waker; that's got to be the one Zelda game I never had trouble with money in."

He's talking about how, in order to beat WW, you must collect at least 3184 Rupees to pay to that thrice-damned Tingle to decode your maps to get the Triforce of Courage. At some point, you're just going to have to go treasure hunting for 200-Rupee chests. Hence the grinding.

Now, whether you consider this "grinding" or "exploration" primarily depends on whether you're playing the game the first time or the second. The first time, it felt OK to me, but it did seem very artificial. The second time, it was work. And it remains the primary reason why I cannot play the game again: I know I'll have to grind out those fucking rupees.
Korval 1st May 11
@Eponymous Kid: Insults? Mah boi, these are criticisms! Also, I never mentioned Majoras Mask.
Ephraim225 1st May 11
Korval: Oh, that. I literally never had any trouble with that. I've played that game a bunch of times and I never really felt I was "grinding". Hell, I thought it was an excuse to fill out the map and check out all kinds of cool stuff.
EponymousKid 1st May 11
Huh? By the time you get to that part, your rupees should easily be near the cap. I guess it might be a problem if you've been ignoring all the sidequests and islands. The real problem is fishing up the shards.
SpellBlade 1st May 11 (edited by: SpellBlade)
"I guess it might be a problem if you've been ignoring all the sidequests and islands."

Caulk it up to travel time. In Oo T, for example, getting to any particular location was fairly quick with Epona and the various teleporting songs. In WW, it was not. You could travel across Hyrule field in the time it takes you to sail across a single square. Exploration, hunting down sidequests and the like, is a lot harder to justify when you have to spend a long time just sailing around a nearly-featureless blue field. Even after you get the teleportation power, it's still pretty time consuming.

Also, the game seemed to punish exploration early-on. Many of the first islands you can get to (that aren't plot-related) require items you don't have. Or they rely on phases of the moon or other information you don't know yet. After spending 5-7 minutes going to an island, only to find that there is nothing there that you can do yet, you eventually stop exploring altogether.

Lastly, there's the fact that the rewards aren't particularly interesting. You find either charts, pieces of heart, or rupees. Until you've learned of the Tingle side-quest, rupees aren't much of a reward. And while pieces of heart are fine, it's still a lot of time spent for relatively little gain.
Korval 2nd May 11
Sure your rupees could very easily be near the cap, but it costs more than the cap to pay for Tingle's ridiculous prices.
Sabbo 2nd May 11
"Sure your rupees could very easily be near the cap, but it costs more than the cap to pay for Tingle's ridiculous prices. "

Point of order: the largest wallet size in WW is 5000 rupees. Now, when you get that wallet is a good question; it's been long enough that I don't remember when you can actually get that wallet.
Korval 2nd May 11
Caulk it up to travel time. In Oo T, for example, getting to any particular location was fairly quick with Epona and the various teleporting songs. In WW, it was not. You could travel across Hyrule field in the time it takes you to sail across a single square.

That's because Hyrule Field is a featureless tiny empty grassland. The ocean is similar, admittedly, but at least you can make out stuff and sail directly to it, so you know what's important and that it isn't empty.

Exploration, hunting down sidequests and the like, is a lot harder to justify when you have to spend a long time just sailing around a nearly-featureless blue field. Even after you get the teleportation power, it's still pretty time consuming.

Exploration doesn't open up until you get the warping power, and the placement of warp points allows you to access every tile in less then maybe five minutes at the most extreme.

Also, the game seemed to punish exploration early-on. Many of the first islands you can get to (that aren't plot-related) require items you don't have. Or they rely on phases of the moon or other information you don't know yet. After spending 5-7 minutes going to an island, only to find that there is nothing there that you can do yet, you eventually stop exploring altogether.

First of all, the moon phases only effect the placement of the ghost ship. Second, the boat keeps you from exploring until after greatfish island, and the majority of islands you encounter will either be accessible or sealed off because of plot relevance. Third, since you can make out the shape of an island from a distance, you should be able to identify the great fairy islands and avoid the generic reefs. Fourth, why would you continue to cease exploration even after you've gotten the required equipment?

Point of order: the largest wallet size in WW is 5000 rupees. Now, when you get that wallet is a good question; it's been long enough that I don't remember when you can actually get that wallet.

Tingle gives you a chart showing you where the great fairies that expand your wallet are early in the game. You can get the 1000 bag when you return to outset to find Jabu-Jabu, and you can get the 5000 bag after the warp song. This is before the earth/wind temple.

Anyways, this is all off-topic to the liveblog. We have a thread in the forums where we can continue the discussion, if you like.
SpellBlade 2nd May 11
That a bell I hear? Cuz someone just got schooled.
EponymousKid 4th May 11
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