Retro Rehab: A Link to the Past

I have a confession: I was a deprived as a child. I wasn’t deprived of food or shelter, but of video games. Though I begged my parents ever since the moment I could first speak for a Super Nintendo to call my very own, they refused to break. In fact, I think they derived just a little bit of enjoyment out of watching me suffer through a childhood without a SNES to keep me company. And though I finally broke my parents by the Christmas of 1997, the Super Nintendo had all but faded into irrelevance. My parents were seduced by the allure of 3D, and though I loved my new Nintendo 64, I’ve been chasing the dragon that is the Super Nintendo ever since. With the love and support of my bros, I’ve admitted myself into the Retro Rehab 10-Step Program:

  1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  2. Super Mario World
  3. Disney’s Aladdin
  4. WWF Royal Rumble
  5. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong-Quest
  6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
  7. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  8. Super Metroid
  9. Mega Man X
  10. Chrono Trigger

I will be playing each of these ten games to completion to once and for all exorcise the Super Nintendo demon that has haunted me for almost the entirety of my 27 years on this planet. To keep me accountable, I will be posting videos of each of the ten final boss fights along with some general thoughts on the games.

Step 1: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was a revitalizing experience for me. I’ve recently been pretty disheartened with the homogenous nature of most AAA games being released today, and though a game like this was somewhat commonplace 25 years ago, it’s now refreshing thanks in large part to a lack of handholding. As Link, I had to find my way through Hyrule without a nagging fairy or spirit-inhabited sword to heavily hint at where I had  to go next. And though that caught me off-guard at first considering the impressive scope of the game by 1992 standards, it ended up enhancing the experience for me as all of my progress felt entirely earned. The dungeons themselves felt unique with varied, rewarding puzzles that hooked me to the game almost immediately. Still, the game is not perfect. This is not a great looking game. The dungeons look all but identical and Hyrule is a mundane mix of greens and browns. The combat leaves a little to be desired. With the top-down view, there’s no real way to perceive depth and the game can become incredibly frustrating when you need to attack a jumping enemy. The pacing of this game leaves a little to be desired, too. For me, the last 10 or so hours of the game was just slamming through seven dungeons with little to no narrative. Even with those minor gripes, however, the greatness of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past single-handedly justifies my decision to enter into Retro Rehab.


COST: $28.50

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