Today marks a very special birthday for hands down the best top-down The Legend of Zelda title, and arguably the best across the entire franchise: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
On November 21st, 1991, Hyrule hit the SNES for the first and only time. Bringing the franchise to the 16-bit world, A Link to the Past was the first in the series to care deeply about story. The prequel to the original and Zelda II tasked Link with rescuing the descendants of the Seven Sages to rid the land of Hyrule from the spreading threat of the Dark World. With 14 dungeons (Hyrule Castle, three in the Light World, and eight in the Dark World), A Link to the Past was certainly the most expansive in the series at the time. It is a masterclass in design.
The game was universally praised by critics and gamers alike for its enchanting beauty, its clever puzzles, its varied dungeons and boss battles, and its magical soundtrack.
A Link to the Past refined the formula of the NES games, and greatly influenced the jump to 3D with N64’s Ocarina of Time.
In 2002, Nintendo brought the SNES classic to the GBA, introducing it to a new generation of gamers. Utilizing the graphics and design of the original, Nintendo included the cooperative Four Swords mode with this release.
And in 2013, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a spiritual successor to ALTTP was released for the Nintendo 3DS.
Like most Nintendo classics, A Link to the Past holds up remarkably well, even today. It is available for download on both the Wii U and 3DS.
Here’s to you, A Link to the Past, for inspiring multiple generations of gamers.
Perhaps one day you will get the remake service that you deserve. Until then, we will continue to discover new reasons to love you.
Listen to the full soundtrack to celebrate this momentous occasion: