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I guess I just like liking things

linktothepastThere are two games that vie for the title of best Zelda game: Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past. I would imagine that it is more of a generational divide, whether your developmental gaming period was spent with a SNES or an N64. I can safely say that I come down with the latter as the greatest game of all time, I’ve replayed this game so many times that I can play through most of it by memory.

This is the point where much of the mythology of the Zelda franchise begins to come together. You have the origin story, the idea of the generational Link and Zelda, the Sacred Realm/Dark World, and the Master Sword. However, if this was simply a collection of the early errata, this wouldn’t be a classic game. As far as the 2D Zelda games go, this is as good as it gets.

While the first two games are great games, this is where Zelda begins to hit its stride in world building. Though each of these titles are set in the same world, each has a unique feel. The first time you leave the darkened, thank you Mode 7, shadows of the Lost Woods and enter the grove where the Master Sword lies, it’s amazing. That is still one of my favorite moments in gaming. The NPCs here are more than just random bits of advice, instead there are sub-quests you can find in town. The game uses the Dark World to create some crafty puzzles, which furthered the need to explore the entire world.

The dungeons ramp up in difficulty very slowly until midway through the Dark World, where you’ll notice that you’re being boiled alive. On the other hand, this doesn’t have the punishing difficulty of Link’s Adventure. This manages to find a nice balance between challenge and accessibility, something that defines the series. It does bear mention that Link to the Past does not have a second quest, departing from the first two games.

This is a great game, and one that stands out in a great generation. Though there will never be an end to the arguments about A Link to the Past versus Ocarina of Time, it is safe to say that this is one of the best games in the franchise.


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