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Mario's Shrine to Movies, Video Games, and Animation

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
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Named by The Legend of Zelda fans time and again as the single best entry in the series and possibly one of the best games of all time.  And deservedly so.  The injection of story into the gameplay reached the pinnacle here, eclipsing the previous two games in terms of narrative and character development.  A Link to the Past took everything that made the original Legend of Zelda so great and improved upon the elements.  Better graphics, better dungeons, better items, the same challenging enemies, and the same emphasis on atmosphere and puzzle solving.  A Link to the Past also introduced the concept of using different buttons to access different items that would be used to greater effect in the more modern Zeldas and the concept that the master sword could repel magic, which is also seen in the later games.  A Link to the Past also saw the first use of the fabled mirror shield, some nifty new moves, and the now standard four bottles.  A Link to the Past also did something that most other Zeldas did not.  Instead of starting out with Link, our hero, being faced with his destiny right from the get go, A Link to the Past starts out more naturally, with Link walking out of his house and into the pouring rain to try and track down his uncle.  Meanwhile, Link gets a mysterious telepathic message for help from Zelda.  This is a brilliant opening, and only Wind Waker has touched upon this motif of concern for a family member opening up to something grander.  The heartwarming, touching, and inspirational ending to A Link to the Past must be seen to be believed and is probably the best ending of the entire series.  Everything about A Link to the Past just feels more natural than the other Zeldas, which are already awesome games in their own right.  However, the best element of the entire game lies in its added layer of depth.  The original Legend of Zelda had a second quest.  A Link to the Past had a second world.  I imagine players back then must've done a double take when they found out that after passing the initial quest, they must then do another quest involving the rescue of eight princesses and traverse a dark world that was mirror image of the world Link called home.  A nifty item allowed Link to teleport from the dark world to the corresponding point on the light world.  In fact, this was sometimes necessary to reach various secrets.  All in all, A Link to the Past wove a virtually flawless tapestry, taking the best elements of the series and merging it with a more natural feel and execution into one glorious experience.

Grade: Legendary

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