Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Replaying A Link to the Past on the Wii U


After skipping over Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, which I just beat in August, my journey through the Wii U Virtual Console continued with A Link to the Past. I've already beaten the game on Nintendo 3DS earlier this year and directly compared it to A Link Between Worlds, so you should read that instead, because the playthrough was a little bit more interesting.

This time it felt more like a chore to be honest. I'm going through my backlog of Wii U games now and the redundancy towards the 3DS library really shows here, where the motivation for some of the stuff is quite low. At least with the NES and N64 Classics I have certain goals for my replay sessions, but A Link to the Past was just there, waiting to be completed yet another time.

I don't feel as strongly about A Link to the Past as the other classic Zelda games, most likely because I never owned a Super Nintendo as a kid and I wasn't able to play it before the GameBoy Advance times. I still see it as a great game, it has one of the best overworlds in the series, which Nintendo has reused twice over the years (in Ancient Stone Tablets and A Link Between Worlds), the visuals are nice, the music is great and it invented so many things for the Zelda series. Treasure chests, cutting grass, dashing into trees, lighting torches, Cucco Revenge Squads and so much more... A Link to the Past certainly defined the series.

But after a strong beginning, the second half of the game really is just dungeon crawling and most of the Dark World dungeons aren't as enjoyable. Of course they aren't supposed to be nice places, but they also didn't have to be as annoying, especially with letting you run in circles.

This time I played Misery Mire early (after Thieves' Town and the Swamp Palace), so that I wouldn't have to take to do the complicated backtracking in the Ice Palace. However, when I reached the end, where I could have just placed the block, I realized that I missed a key and since I always do 100% runs with the dungeons fully explored and cleared, I had to go through the entire Ice Palace again looking for said key. I also tend to always miss a key somewhere in Misery Mire, but it's not as terrible there.

Another troll moment is in Ganon's Tower, where you defeat the Armos after that long and complicated room with the invisible bridge. You now have the choice to go either up or left. The way up brings you to the Big Key, while the way left locks you out and then you have to do it all over again, both the puzzle and the Armos fight. Not nice, Nintendo!

At least I've learned something new this time. You can actually turn the "Rabbit Beams" (the rotating stars that follow you around and turn you into a rabbit) into a fairy by sprinkling Magic Powder on them, exactly like with a Anti Fairy. That was news to me and sadly I only learned this in Ganon's Tower. I'll try to use this to my advantage the next time, whenever I decide to play A Link to the Past again, probably on the Switch.


Eduardo Jencarelli said...

A Link to the Past is special to me. Even though it wasn't the first Zelda I played, it was the first one I've managed to beat, back in 1995. I feel the graphics have aged beautifully (Four Swords Adventures is living proof of that). It set the tone and depth for the entire series.

I replay it every year. While not as long as the subsequent 2D games, it balances an impressive amount of content with a world that's easy to navigate.

I definitely prefer the game's second half, particularly given that the first half is extremely linear. Whenever I replay the game, I try to mix up the dungeons following the Dark Palace. My favorite order is playing levels 1, 4, 2, 6, 3, 5 and 7.

I prefer to do Level 4 right after Level 1, so I can get the Titan's Mitt, and get the Tempered Sword out of the way. You can access every dungeon right away by doing this. Then I get the Hookshot on Level 2 (which allows me to bypass the first room on Misery Mire). Then it's on to Level 6 and beyond, in any order.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Adding to my comment, the Tempered Sword kills both Arrghus and Mothula insanely fast*. And you can do Level 5 even after 7, since the Blue Mail isn't a major item.

*Don't use the Golden Sword on Mothula. There's a bug that renders the boss invincible.