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Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past
- What is the game?
As the title shows, it's a game of Legend of Zelda franchise, with such a massive popularity, that also
a lot of non-gamers know something about it. The subtitle below suggests that this game in particular
occurs in the past, like some sort of a back story (at least in my opinion). It was produced in early 90s
by a Japanese Nintendo game company. A Link to the Past is also one of the first LoZ games, which
are definitely successful, because of continuously expanding series.
- What type of game it is?
It is an old Role Playing adventure game settled in a fantasy world of horrific pixel monsters, immoral
evil rulers and princess-kidnapping society. Classic.
- What do you do in the game?
We play as a young elven boy named Link. The story starts when he's fast asleep and has a mental
call of Zelda. She tells him to rescue her from the lowest part in the dungeon. After the message Link
wakes up. Then we are able to pick up a lamp, go outside and destroy the mother nature's children in
hope we will obtain some green gems hidden in these poor bushes.
Every now and then we get a message of princess ordering us to hurry up and sneak into the castle.
We do so (as it is the only one available destination in this moment) without wondering “how the hell
the fearsome wizard doesn't notice us entering there”and “why didn’t Zelda chose anyone else who’s
stronger, smarter and more handsome than me”.
In the sewers we encounter our dad, who before told us not to leave home. He gives us a silver bee
sting and useless plate, so we can irritate guardians and monkey around thinking we are so cool and
As we progress further into the story, there are more ferocious monsters awaiting for our flesh.
Therefore we have to remember that real heroes do not allow any beast to make their innards
become outards. At the very end of slaughter and princess rescue we may happily enjoy the fame
(until the next game where we it’s likely everyone has forgotten us).
- The look of the game
Pixelated simplicity and limited range of colours. There is very little sidescrolling as we walk. We just
walk onto the edge of a screen to arrive on another part of the map. Backgrounds contain mostly
greens and browns, which gives a lively feeling to the game. Characters appear tiny and cute, though
it doesn't mean I'm not scared of some of them. Even as being an old game, sprites of buildings and
landscape are seem to be detailed. I enjoy the basic animations of smal details such as flowers and
The graphics cannot be obviously compared with games nowadays, but we have to remember that
visuals aren't the most important part of a game and it doesn't need to look overly realistic to please
- Mechanics of the game
As in every old-school pixel RPG, there are only four possible ways of moving, respectively - North,
South, East and West. While playing it on SNES console, I used arrow buttons to move, Y (or magic
power/additional weapon and skip texts), B (for fighting with a sword), A (for picking and throwing pots
and bushes) and X (to see the map).
It creates an impression to be so trivial and super-easy for advanced gamers, making them not willing
to play anymore. In practice however, it’s more complicated when, for example, you want to approach
a boss, and we have to develop a strategy.
As far as I have played through the game, the only enemies ecountered were soldiers in the castle.
They appeared in different colours, which I believe classified them onto easy-to-kill (green armour), a-little-
bit-tougher (blue armour) and oh-I-think-I'm-scared (the first 'boss' in dark armour, guarding
Zelda in the prison). There sure are other guardians and more challenging enemies to battle. When
the princess was rescued, she also mentioned the wizard (in case we forgot him while asleep), who
owned the castle and kidnapped her.
- Enemy mechanics
The enemies were wandering mindlessly on castle corridors in the same four-direction possible order,
just like me. What I noticed, most of the time they gave an impression to not notice me at all,
sometimes even when I was next to them stabbing with my shamefully small stick called a
sword. However, when they did somehow notice me, the animation showed their mad expressions
and soldiers ran fast to get me. Fighting with them was easy, but what annoyed me was a fact that
when accidentally I stepped on one, I received damage as well (as if they had spikes all over them).
- Characters development
It’s probably the most crucial part of any game. People look at them first for the final judgment
whether to play this or abandon before even buying a game. And I have to admit they did a pretty
good job with characters of Legend of Zelda.
The very first non-human hero. He has a girlish look (as the fact of being an elf), but we can’t see this
cuteness due to several tiny squares he’s made of. And don’t be misleaded by his fragile body (and
hair dyed hot pink), he’s a hero and fought with thousands of beasts before many of us were born.
With his Santa’s elf costume and mighty stick he’s unbeatable. Beware!
(I would also remind that majority of people who don’t play games very often think that his name is
Every young hero story must to have a beautiful princess, who’s only fate is to be kidnapped and then
rescued at very end. However in this case we came for her just at the beginning, though I was too
scared to survive for the next turn of events. Who knows if she had been kidnapped again?
A villain plays probably the most important role ever. It is he, who triggered all events and caused Link
to awake as hero and be so popular and loved by everyone (except monsters… poor creatures). In
my opinion an elf owes a ‘thank you’ for him, even as he doesn’t perceive it in this point of view. Every
of you owe that to him, and every other villain; without them we wouldn’t have games and
protagonists at all.
Link’s Father (?)
Okay, he is only a background character, though he has his own few seconds of fame. Who’s dad
would be so forgiving of denying his orders of staying at home and not leaving it until the day time?
Instead applying a sort of punishment he gave Link dangerous weapons and let him fight with
dangerous enemies… right, I think it is a punishment (overly) enough.
The world on a map seems to be small and narrow, which is true, due to limited memory space. It
gives an impression of being too square-ish; it's normal for the games made that time, although it
suits well to the four-way mechanics (and you don’t want to imagine the frustration and difficulties if
the world would be round). On the map above we can see the castle and a little below it our house.
There is also one and only town and few more houses settled.
Nowadays it wouldn't be acceptable to design strangely angular forests, mountains and lakes. This
game however has its own charm and looks really interesting, so we don’t bother much about these
issues, also all the locations are unique, none of them is a copy of another.
For me the whole thing looks like an alternative, creative eco version of a computer microchip (just
look at those rectangular straight patches).
- Music and soundtrack
The soundtrack was probably the worst aspect in this game. Consecutive squawks of techno
ancestors could easily cause me an instant headache (if played too loudly). It created a monotonous
feel which made me bored at the very first stage of the story. I understand the limits they have faced
in the earliest computer-made sounds, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
- Evaluate what you found?
I found that this game would be suitable for retro game lovers and people who enjoy completing
quests and slowly approaching to the final boss after defeating all those minions. The narrative is
what drives this game and what people find most interesting about it. Originality is what characterises
the games on the first consoles.
This particular game has developed through the years and is currently played on the modern day
consoles. I think the overall design was very good, though because of the limited memory, the
backgrounds look very similar. This meant that the longer time you spend playing the game, the more
repetitive and lifeless it feels.
- Look at what you saw and played and evaluate it.
I have saw and played enough to judge this particular game. I enjoyed it a bit, mostly the graphics and
easy to follow storyline. I personally like the character design. It’s really character driven; you can see
the characters develop more, especially Link who started as nobody and becomes a hero.
What I would change is music. I found it to be very repetitive and tedious and there seems to be no
point when there was silence. Apart of the rain there seems to be no natural sounds; this felt robotic
and unrealistic. I must confess I like it, and if I wouldn’t have the overwhelming fear of competing with
pixelated monsters I could play the whole game. Old games give me the melancholic impression of
early creativity and are sure original.
This is me playing Legend of Zelda on Super Nintendo
These are my results of a quantitative research.
From the questionnaire results I got, 2 of the respondents are female whereas rest (in ratio 1:3) are
Everyone got to answer the basic question about genres they enjoy to play. The most popular one is
FPS, the second one chosen is RolePlaying game. No one of them has chosen fighting. Two included
a genre MOBA in 'other' section.
This question was probably the most crucial one for the purpose of this research, giving me to know
how many people has played this particular game. Three of them (on female and two males) haven't
play this game (and probably haven't heard about it as well), whereas the rest had played it.
Everyone used computer to run this game, probably because it would be hard to find the original
version of it and old console (as this game is one of the first ones on home consoles), so I'm guessing
they used a simulator allowing to play it on PC.
In this question they were ration the aspects as their own opinion. The graphic design was the most
highly rated - 4 thought it was good, and one rated it as excellent. Second high rated was mechanics -
with 3 good answers, and 2 neutral ones. The most various answers fell on soundtrack. Storyline,
soundtrack and enemies had bad ratings. Some of respondents were neutral about every aspect
except graphic design.
There people could say freely the opinions, what could be improved in this game. Two of them
wanted the soundtrack to be better than it already is. The other propositions of a change included
better storyline (whether not to be confusing or the another reason than a popular rescuing theme),
the change of combat mechanics and clearer locations.
In the last question, the respondents rated the characters appearing in the game in order of their
favourite to the least favourite. Link as a hero and character we help through whole game got the
highest ratings fitting in 1st-3rd most favourite character. Other characters which got the 1st place
were the antagonist Ganon and surprisingly - Link's uncle. Zelda (alongside with Link) was usually
chosen as the 2nd favourite. The ones who were chosen lastly are - wizards Agahnim and
Sahasrahla, Seven Maidens and also Link's uncle.