it's link to the past. enough said.

The Zelda series didn’t really get its claws into me until Ocarina of Time. Even then, it took a few hours of play before I decided that the game wasn’t too kiddy. I wanted to believe the hype; it took time, but eventually I was totally won over.

That sent me back to looking at the Zeldas of my youth. For most practical purposes, I never had a NES, and I really never had a SNES. I played the original Zelda with a friend, but it was just another game. After being addicted by Ocarina, though, all the old Zeldas took on a new life in my mind.

Virgin Atlantic has these little entertainment systems in their seat backs. They play music, movies, and SNES games. Every time I fly between NYC and LHR, I try to play the SNES. Sometimes I try Wario or Punch-Out, but usually I go right for Link. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a working controller. I’m always forced to give up in disgust after a few minutes. As a result, Link to the Past on GBA is the first time I’ve really played the game.

I know all the stuff I should be expecting. I have to fight stuff. I spin my sword around. There’s a boomerang and a hammer. This doesn’t matter: the game is awesome, despite its predictability. Maybe I’m easy on it because I like the Zelda games, but I think it’s really just that good. Everything feels right.

Again, I ask myself: “Why aren’t there more games like this, now?” The top-down and side-scroller have been made obsolete by the FPS and 3D platformer. Sadly, the new games just don’t seem as tight as the old ones. Link to the Past is a tight game.

So far, I’ve rescued Zelda from the castle and beaten the eastern palace. The only thing that’s bugged me so far is my inability to use my shield effectively, and I think that’s my fault, not the game’s. The graphics are pretty sweet, including the smooth-scrolling overworld map. Yeah, it’s got big blocky pixels. Who cares? Not me.

One of the most interesting things about playing some old school Zelda is that I can think to myself, “Oh. That’s where that came from” when I see Link do something I’ve seen him do a hundred times in Ocarina or Majora. Of course, now I need to get the original Zelda to see the real origins.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll have something bad to say after the next palace, but it seems pretty unlikely.

None of this even touches on The Four Swords, the awesome-looking multiplayer stuff. While the idea of multiplayer Zelda is a little disturbing, I hear good things. I need to find someone with a link cable.

Written on January 8, 2003
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