The Legend of Zelda - Link to the Past review - Super Nintendo

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It's dark. You are tucked up in bed and drifting into sleep. The only sound on the lop roof of your forest cabin, and in the gloom you can hear the comforting noise of your father Link moving around. But then, almost inaudibly, comes a faint cry. A girl's voice, distant but earnest - a cry for help.

So begins Zelda 3, a truly epic adventure. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that the strange voice is the distress call of the princess Zelda, who is being held captive by the evil sorcerer, Agahnim, in the palace that used to be the home of her father, King Hylas. The days when he was the benign ruler of the kingdom of Hyrule are long since gone, and there are mounting fears that Agahnim plans to bring some calamity upon the land. Even now, people are looking with dread to the old legends of the land of the Golden power, which unleashed evil upon Hyrule before it was sealed by the seven wise elders. Could Agahnim be foolish enough to join the two worlds?

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" The bottom line is…. Zelda is excellent. I have to say that before I go on to enthuse about countless other things, so that the message stays clear: buy it and you won't regret it. What you will have is a game of enormous depth, excitement, even humour, but more of all quality. It's the quality of design and implementation that is most striking about Zelda. The graphics are stunningly designed to appear 3-dimensional with brilliant colouring and the animation is wonderfully detailed: just witness lever-pulling or combat. Sound is not just superb but atmospherically arranged to suit the phase the game is currently in.

Putting all the technical wizardry aside, Zelda most impresses me as a brilliantly thought out adventure. The puzzles are ingenious and challenging but never too obscure, and the feeling is that progress is always possible. Solving the problem of getting the Moon Pearl or finding secret passages in the Desert Place is so satisfying. But there's still masses of combat action to be had, and you'll have a tough time against some very serious bosses. This is one of the few games that rewards exploration, and there's loads below the exterior still waiting to be discovered (by me!). You don't feel herded into a fixed agenda, and the unlimited continues prevent frustration setting in. As I said at the top - buy Zelda 3. I defy you not to enjoy it. "

" It's always difficult thinking of things to say about games that are virtually perfect. Zelda is a case in point - it's visual appeal will be utterly apparent from the screenshots. It's scale and epicness have already been discussed. What impressed me most though was the tremendous degree of through which has gone into the controls. There's an absolute stack of objects to manipulate, people to talk to and actions to perform, and every last one is logically and friendlily managed.

Considering that Zelda is such an enormous game, it's nothing short of miraculous that such a small amount of game time is spent around waiting for things to happen. The next sub-quest is always explained clearly enough to give a good idea where in the massive map to head next without giving too much away. Anyone with the slightest inclination to investigate the role playing adventure genre should grab this one with both hands, and anyone who lacks that inclination needs their brains testing. "


Overall Score96%

Retrospective comments


It's funny in the PAL review this fine game scored 1% higher than it didn't the first time around when review in Mean Machines on import. Whatever the score this game deserves to be remembered as perhaps the finest game to have arrived in the SNES's lifetime. This is still probably my favourite Zelda adventure. As someone who does not normally like RPGs I can that Zelda offers enough action to not let the 'quest' be a drag. The puzzles are all brilliantly designed. Tapping around with the sword to check for hidden passages is one of my fond memories of this game 'tink, tink'

This is actually a rare case of a 15 year old game that is actually as good as the day it was released. A timeless classic. I would recommend the GBA port as it is spot on. For those who haven't played this title yet please do so now. You are missing out big time!

Scott McPhee - 21 Jul 2011, 12:26 GMT

I loved this game in the early nineties, and I have been wanting to play it again since purchasing my Wii.

I enjoyed reading this review from what was my favourite gaming magazine back in my final years of school.

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The Legend of Zelda - Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda - Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda - Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda - Link to the Past

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