Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gaming Gold vs. Gaming Old: My review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Virtual Console)

Around two weeks ago, Rob and I went over to Gamestop and he brought in 5 games to trade in towards Burnout Paradise. He didn't have an Edge card, so I let him use mine. He got an extra $27 in trade-in value. With that, I went and grabbed X-Squad for the PS2. It was the first game that I ever played for the PS2 and really wanted to go through it again to see the ending (and to put it up on You Tube). I got home and played it for about 1 hour. Let's just say that I did not have that good of a time. It definitely proved that is was a first gen title. So, disappointed, I decided to bring out the Wii and play a Virtual Console game, and it turned out to be A Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Here is my review:

At the beginning of A Link to the Past, a young boy named Link is awakened by a telepathic message from Princess Zelda, who says that she is locked in the dungeon of Hyrule Castle. As the message closes, Link finds his uncle ready for battle, telling Link to remain in bed. After his uncle leaves, however, Link ignores his uncle's command and follows him to Hyrule Castle. When he arrives, he finds his uncle seriously wounded. Link's uncle tells Link to rescue Princess Zelda from her prison, giving him a sword and shield. Link navigates the castle and rescues Zelda from her cell, and the two escape into a secret passage through the sewers that leads to a sanctuary.

Link is told by a man in the sanctuary that Ahganim, a wizard who has usurped the throne, is planning to break a seal made hundreds of years ago by seven wise men. The seal was placed to imprison a dark wizard named Ganon in the Dark World, which was once the Sacred Realm before Ganon invaded, obtained the legendary Triforce and used its power to turn the realm into a land of darkness. And the rest is only known once you play it.

Graphics – The SNES graphics for ALttP is pretty good. The view is from a top down view. Every part of this game screams of beauty. The problem with many games that have dungeons is that they all look the same and the 10 or so dungeons here are very well done. One stage was filled with water while another was mostly covered in ice. The two different worlds were definitely different (say that three times fast). While the light world was full of bright colors and many people (though you don't get to talk to many people), the dark world was...dark. Rocks were replaced with skulls and the enemies were more difficult on the other side. The enemies looked and acted like they have always had. Most any Zelda enemy that was known is in this game and you can tell right away who they are. Overall, pleasing to the eye.

Grade – No grade given (too long ago to be fair)

Controls – A good thing about playing games on the Virtual Console is that you have a choice between the Classic Controller or the Gamecube controller. I tried to play first with the Classic controller and that just did not feel that good in my hands. I tried it with the Wavebird Gamecube controller and it was actually really responsive. You can move with the analog stick or the directional pad. You swipe with the sword using the B button while the A button is used to do odds and ends, such as picking up rocks, running using the Pegasus boots, or others. You use the Y button to use a secondary item, like the ice rod, etc. The Z button is used as a pause button. It brings up the the “Continue Game” and the “Save & Quit” option. The Start button is used to bring up the menu to set which item to use in the Y slot. The L, R, and X buttons are not used. The buttons do feel really responsive. The only times that the buttons would not work was because my genius did not allow me to remember that the batteries were actually dying in the Wavebird. Like I always say, “If you don't remember anything bad about the controls, they did their job.

Grade – A

Sound – The sound of ALttP is very good as well. When you are outside in the Light and Dark Worlds, the sound is very suitable to both. Dungeon music is what you would expect in dungeons very dark and depressing. Animal noises and sword thrusts are very true to what you would expect. The music does set the mood for everything well, but it has been 3 days since I completed AlttP and I can't remember a single note from it, which is disappointing. You would like to remember a tune from it at least.

Grade – B

Challenge – Of course I used a strategy guide for it and it took me around 11 hours to complete it. Challenges were all around you. There were challenges such as finding a heart piece by digging up a field and you only had 30 second and 80 rupees each to do it or you would pay 80 more rupees. There puzzles that you had to be quick on to get through a door and it was challenging, but not impossible. There were enemies that you needed to find the right weapon to use against. There were times when a fairy in a bottle was very helpful. I died 8 times total and that was actually pretty good. Without that and it would have been double easily. All of the enemies were good, if not challenging. The bosses, on the other hand, needed some work. All of the bosses, minus one, had patterns that were learned very quickly. The weapon that you got in the dungeon was used to weaken, if not kill, the boss. That is something that I did not really like about Zelda games. I wish that there were times when you could go to one dungeon and grab and item, but could not finish that portion until you defeated the next dungeon's boss. Just a thought. Ganon took about 2 minutes to figure out and about 2 minutes beat. The only time I had a problem with a boss was with one that requires two different weapons that require magic and I was out and had to be killed.

Grade – A-

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a prime example of what should be released for the Virtual Console. Solid graphics with a playable game. Not memorable, but competent music, and a good challenge makes this game definitely worth 800 points. Now where the fuck is Majora's Mask?

Final Grade - A-

Phil-N Rob'd moment: I completely forgot to do this when writing my review and I started slapping myself (mentally). My moment had to easily be in the dark world, there is a place where you can dig for 30 seconds. It cost 80 rupees and there was a heart container in the area. I spent 2 hours trying to dig a small area and I finally gave up. Further along in the game, that was the last heart piece that I did not have. I went back to it and started to dig. The last dig in the first attempt gave me the final heart piece. Bastards.


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