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The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past (GBA)

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5 Reviews

"Adventure game A Link to the Past seamlessly mixes brain-bending puzzles and supreme swashbuckling action; as hero Link travels between the Light World and the Dark World; conquering fierce monsters and uncovering Hyrule's deepest secrets along the way."

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    5 Reviews
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      08.08.2010 15:10
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      Doing quite well for an 18 year old adventure.

      After having a great time writing my nostalgia inducing review of the Game Boy Advance a few days ago I ended up cracking out my old game collection. I have a whole bundle of Game Boy Advance cartridges in an old shoebox, saving them for a hundred hour rainy day. It was probably a mistake sticking in A Link to the Past and having a play because it's a time consuming now as it was back in 1992. I made a point in my Game Boy Advance review that one of the strengths of the console was in bringing console level graphics to the handheld for the first time. This allowed ports of full colour, 16 bit games from the not too distant SNES era to be enjoyed on a train, in bed or even just scrunched up in an armchair while someone watches TV. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of the ports, and a very well deserving one. A Link to the Past is probably my favourite game in the Zelda series. Released firmly in the 2D years and before Ocarina of Time sent its reputation into orbit, the game feels as though it has something to prove. Nintendo offers us so much in the way of innovation here. Dungeons, forests, castles all beautifully presented and a storyline evocative of what we've seen before but grounded in a believable world for the first time. From the first few seconds the game carries you through a great adventure with some of the best puzzles in the series and never falters. It's also one of the strongest games for newcomers to the series, never overcrowding them with references or backstory that they don't need (Something of a strength to the series as a whole) In recent years Nintendo has come under fire somewhat for its continuous rehashing of franchises. Its biggest titles have all seen second, perhaps third releases or makeovers and there is probably a feeling of over saturation. It doesn't help that most of Nintendo's new games tend to be based on old properties too, with new Zelda titles flying out alongside old ones that have had a polish. I've seen new versions of Mario Kart announced so many times now that it seems routine. This was already a growing concern in the Game Boy Advance and Gamecube era and something that has always bothered me, however I think Nintendo can be reasonably excused for criticism when it comes to releasing ports for handheld consoles. Games such as Zelda on the SNES or Super Mario 64 on the N64 are titles that in many ways lend themselves to portable gaming through innovative, pick up and play styles and a focus on exploration and collection. As A Link to the Past was released on the Game Boy Advance, Mario 64 has recently seen a port to the DS and in both cases it shows not only a strong market but a strong benefit to releasing older titles in a handheld format and for a newer audience. There are the added benefits of convenience and certainly aren't as redundant as the continual re-release on home consoles we still see. As a port, A Link to the Past still holds up pretty well. The beautiful graphical style of the original title is fully replicated from the SNES console and the smaller screen actually helps smooth things out a little. I was surprised just how well preserved the game's atmospheric opening was on a little console and really enjoyed getting into the story again. Animation is very smooth and I gained a whole new respect for the designers this time around. This game pushes the limits of 2D RPGs and is probably as close to perfect visually and in gameplay as you can expect to get. Were this game to receive any kind of makeover in future, I would only expect sprites to be retraced in high definition as everything else has aged so well. I must admit, it's been many years since a played A Link to the Past on a SNES so I couldn't tell you how the control system differs but here it is functional and intuitive. The game is likely to be exactly as you remember it and I certainly don't see anyone being disappointed in this release. If A Link to the Past is a game you enjoyed in 1992, it's a game you'll still enjoy today. As a bonus, A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance also includes Four Swords. This is a multiplayer game with classic Zelda gameplay and requires the use of a Game Boy Advance link cable. I'm not wildly interested in multiplayer, know few other people with Game Boy Advances and never owned a link cable so I have no idea about this other than I heard it was fun. Not very helpful, I know but I imagine most people are interested in the main game anyway. Players of the original will probably have a lot of fun with this and players who jumped on board with Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker or Twilight Princess and want to check out the series' roots will probably have a blast too. If you've never played a Zelda game before then they're great for fans of other Role Playing Games such as the Final Fantasy series or even the Pokemon games. However, they do not feature turn based combat and have a greater focus on puzzle solving. A Link to the Past was a decent seller on the Game Boy Advance, it turns up in the used sections of game stores periodically and can be grabbed on Amazon of eBay. However, it is something of a collector's item now and so goes for the slightly pricey range of £10-£15. It's not just Game Boy Advance owners who can get in on the fun, owners of an original DS or DSLite can play this (and any GBA game) via the cartridge slot on the back. DSi or DSiXL owners are out of luck, I'm afraid.

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        13.02.2009 22:26

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        Buy this if you love Zelda

        Right let's get a few things out of the way. Ok so if you love Zelda you are going to HAVE to buy this game. If you sort of like Zelda but wanted to do a bit more, you SHOULD buy this game. If you own a Gameboy Advance and have three friends who also do, and own two GBA Link cables and they also own copies of The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past w/Four Swords, then you ABSOLUTELY NEED to buy this game. You can still find it new, and actually I recommend it to the dodgy copies floating about on ebay and amazon. Bottom line is, MULTIPLAYER! Four friends playing with their own version of Link doing content not found anywhere else. The game is very much like the SNES version but with improved graphics. Also this can be used in conjunction with Gameboy to Gamecube link cable and 4 swords on there as well.

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        08.12.2006 22:09
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        Brilliant Zelda game with plenty to do and wonderful graphics

        I bought my copy of this game fairly recently, and was glad that there was a new version released. The game was originally released for the SNES, or Super Nintendo, in 1992. Since I don't own, or have ever owned a SNES console, I was planning on buying one so that I would be able to play A Link to the Past, because I'm a big fan of the Legend of Zelda series, as many gamers are. This new version is a more updated version, and was released in 2003. When the game was first released, I was made to be more like the original Legend of Zelda game (released 1986 for the NES - Nintendo Entertainment System). The second Zelda game, the Adventure of Link, used a different "camera" system which many found difficult to use. I haven't heard many good reports on the 2nd Zelda game. However, A Link to the Past used the controlling system of the original Legend of Zelda, and improved on it. The land you the game is set in is called Hyrule, and in this game there is much more of it to explore. As well as this, the graphics improved, there were more items, better background music and an improved storyline. In the gameboy advance version, the graphics and gameplay are pretty much the same. The colours in this updated version are brighter, and there is also a new multi-player adventure called Four Swords. For Swords uses new graphics with character designs very similar to those of Wind Waker, the Zelda game released for Gamecube in the same year. You control the character Link in the game, who wakes one night and has to find his uncle, who has disappeared. This takes you inside Hyrule Castle, where you must rescue Princess Zelda from the dungeon and lead her safely out of the castle to a sanctuary. Then you progress through a series of dungeons and quests in your battle to save Hyrule from the evil Ganondorf - a villian who appears in several of the Zelda games. Link's Awakening was the first 2D Zelda game I bought, and playing it proved to me that the 2D games weren't worse than the later 3D games due to their graphics. It's a lot different to playing 3D games which are more atmospheric because of their enhanced graphics and sound. I haven't yet completed this game because there is a lot to it, as I find with most games that may appear easy because they're older, or because they're aimed at younger gamers eg. Banjo-Kazooie, which took me years to complete (see my review on the game). Because it expanded on the original Legend of Zelda, there is a lot more to explore, more enemies to defeat and more characters to meet. The story continues on from the first two Zelda games and also sets the scene for future Zelda games eg. Ocarina of Time - 1998. It had a big impact on the series after the "flop" (I can't personallu rate AoL as I've yet to play it) that was Adventure of Link and Many Zelda fans consider it one of the best Zelda games. Being able to play it on the Gameboy Advance helped introduce more people to the Legend of Zelda series the way it originally was as well as allowing fans of the series, like myself, a chance to own a copy. The original copies for the SNES are quite rare now. Anyone who was a fan of the original will know it well and be used to the controls, so I recommend it for them as they can relive it all again. The control systems for those new to the Legend of Zelda series are easy to master. Moving around is easy enough with the cross shaped pad, and items can be equipped to the A and B buttons. The first items you get are a sword and shield. The most common way to equip them is by using B for the sword and A for the shield, as B is usually used as the "attack" button in a lot of games, not just in the Zelda series, so it will help you get used to this if you're new to gaming. If you've played a lot of games before, it will most likely also be easier as you will already be used to using B to attack - I know I find it easier since with other Zelda games you have to used your sword on the B button. You need to collect other items as you progress through the game, and you'll find that after you collect a new item you'll need it for your next dungeon or quest. Other items include the Hookshot, which you use to attack enemies from afar and also to pull yourself to other locations by attaching it to a tree or pole. Another useful item is the lantern, which you find early in the game. This allows you to see better in dark places. Other buttons are the L and R buttons (left and right). R does different things depending on where you are while L brings the map onto the screen to allow you to navigate your way throught the vast land of Hyrule. There are also other items which you don't equip, such as keys and maps which are used in dungeons. Usually you have to defeat an enemy to get a key, which will open a locked door somewhere else in the dungeon. The dungeons themselves are pretty challenging, and get more and more difficult as the game goes on. My advice is to explore as much as you can as you go along and make sure you try to find everything in each room eg. every key. Otherwise it gets more difficult as you may find a locked door and have no key for it, and then need to go back and forth through the dungeon trying to find it which gets very frustrating. Dungeons have various rooms, many of which have puzzles which you must solve in order to progress through to the next rooms or to find a new item or key. There are also rooms with enemies to defeat and after going through the dungeon you need to defeat it's boss which is a monster that has a specific way of defeating it that you need to figure out. In this game you have no guardian fairy as you do in Ocarina of Time, so you can't find out the weaknesses of any enemies before you attack them. This itself makes the game more challenging than other Zelda games. (Even though a lot of fans find these fairies irritating, they provide useful help when you need it.) I found that there was less guidance and help from characters in this game than there is in Ocarina of Time. The game has plenty to keep you busy, whether you're completing dungeons or just exploring the area. Or, you can try the all new Four Swords adventure. The only disadvantage to this is that you need more than one player and if you're using a Gameboy Advance this means you're opponents need their own copy of the game as well. Because of this I haven't been able to play it myself but I'll tell you what I know about it through researching it. First of all, it has it's own new storyline. It begins with a sorcerer named Vaati, who kidnaps young girls. Nobody has been able to rescue them except for one boy whose sword had the power to split him into four equal copies of himself, who all worked together to defeat the sorcerer. The sword was named the Four Sword, hence the title of the game. There was a shrine built for the sword which Princess Zelda has the duty of protecting. Zelda asks Link (the hero) to meet her at this shrine after she has sensed that something bad is happening there. When they meet however, Vaati returns and kidnaps Zelda. Link then uses the power of the Four Sword to split into four in order to defeat the sorcerer and rescue Zelda. The players must then co-operate to progress through the game and defeat enemies while at the same time competing to collect the most rupees - the currency used in Hyrule. The game uses cel-shading graphics like those used in Wind Waker. This caused controversy among fans at the time of release of Wind Waker as many believed that Zelda should be a more realistic looking game as it had previously been. I was one of the fans who agreed with this, until I finally played the game. The graphics really work on Gamecube, and on Gameboy Advance. As I said I really don't know much about this game so I can't give a proper review on it, but it sounds like it would be great fun to play with friends, and I've seen the graphics for myself which are brilliant. Overall this game is a great buy, whether or not you're a gaming fan. It's a very complex and graphically stunning game which will keep you entertained for hours. It's just as challening, and in some ways more challening than other Zelda games but with easy to use controls and it's not so difficult that it would put people off it. The original was a turning point for the Zelda series - so play it to see why! I bought my copy second hand but in good condition with box and instructions from ebay for about £15 including postage, which is less than the original retail price. Ebay is probably the best place to look, and you can choose to buy it just as a cart or with a box and instruction book. As with all ebay items, make sure the seller can be trusted - check their feedback and make sure they aren't ripping you off on postage price. Anything more than £2.50 with a box and instructions is too much. Amazon marketplace also has a few used copies from £16 not including postage. And there's also some new ones. At the moment there's a new one but it says it's the cart only so how can it be new? Make sure to check these things too. Hope my review has been helpful. I highly recommend this game, it's an especially good one to start with if you're thinking about buying a Zelda game.

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          04.08.2005 18:43
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          Ingenious multiplayer game, but without friends, it's much of the same old SNES game.

          Zelda has long been one of the best series of Nintendo's along with Mario. I fell that this title is a disappointment however. It ports the older version from the SNES then adds the new multiplayer game Four Swords. Firstly Four Swords. This is really where your proper money has been spent with on this title. The graphics have been designed to look similar to those of the Wind Waker on Gamecube. It looks very pleasing to the eye. Best played with four friends, the game adapts it's puzzles to however many players are currently playing. With four 'worlds', there are really 12 different levels, the four main ones, each slightly different with a different number of players. The techniques used to keep players entertained are also very pleasing, each deciding who should have the next heart, weapon upgrade, magic potion etc. The real let-down to me came when I discovered that the main game was really just a port from the SNES' version. This was a real letdown. Although I played it through, there were only really minor changes. It seems to follow Nintendo these days, using their own older prducts to attract new gamers. I would advise not spending too much on this game but rather wait until it is better priced.

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            20.04.2004 04:58

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            Great Game - Advantages: Lots to do - Disadvantages: None

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