The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (JP) is a Nintendo published and developed title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that was released in 1991. The game is oftentimes considered the best bird's eye view Zelda game with a favorable challenge that will require your aptitude in order to complete the entire adventure that, like almost all Zelda games, stars the silent protagonist Link.

The game is also noted as introducing some of the hallmarks of the entire series including the Master Sword, some gripping gameplay mechanics and simply outstanding stage designs. It was the only Zelda game that was released on the console, and was re-released twice; once on the Game Boy Advance and the other on the Virtual Console for both Wii and Wii U.

The game sold 4.61 million copies worldwide, making it the fifth bestselling game on the SNES.


The game starts with Link in his bed dreaming. In his dream Princess Zelda of Hyrule is calling to him from the castle dungeon. He runs to the castle to find his uncle nearly dead, injured by castle guards. Link takes up his sword to avenge his uncle's death.


One of the most memorable and outstanding gameplay attributes that A Link to the Past featured were the light and dark worlds. During the beginning of the game, you'll mostly venture through the light world, though eventually the main feature of the dark world will be added, which will dramatically and ultimately drastically change the design of the world that you've gotten acclimated with.

Extravagant changes through this new world include brilliant though equally tarnished puzzles and environments, dreary and dull themes that completely contradict that which was found in the light world, and the glaring fact that the main character, Link, turns into a pink rabbit whom is forced to abandon his abilities that he was capable of performing while in the light world.

Engaging in fights is congruent to previous titles in the Zelda series, though unarguably more advanced in the number of ways to attack your opponents. The main option is essentially using your sword to strike enemies, though, like in previous titles, you'll also be able to use your various weapons to completely rid of them. Near the beginning of the game, the amount of weapons that you're able to wield is relatively short from that near the end of the game, and rightfully so.

New Features

A Link to the Past is noted for its contributions to the Zelda series.

  • It is the first game to have a linear plot, with characters guiding the protagonist throughout the story instead of the player relying entirely on maps. In the original game, it was possible to find the eighth dungeon after completing only the first dungeon.
  • The game also relies heavily on dialogue and character interaction, something barely used in the first two games.
  • This is the first game to refer to Link by name. While the original did mention his name in the intro, no names were mentioned throughout the game. Zelda II was also called The Adventure of Link, but again his name was never mentioned within the game. The game also gives the player the ability to name the protagonist, whether Link or a completely different name.
  • This game provides names for the many dungeons throughout the game. In the original, they were simply numbered.
  • This game marked the debut of the spin attack.
  • The projectile sword is limited to the Master Sword

Game Boy Advance

An enhanced port was released to the Game Boy Advance, featuring The Legend of Zelda: the Four Swords as a multiplayer-only bonus game.

Changes to ALTTP include:

  • Sound effects and voice files from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • A new dungeon that can only be accessed after beating the game and having a Four Swords save file.
  • The word "faerie" has been changed to "fairy" in the North American localization, as the word "faerie" is the Commonwealth English spelling.
  • The Triforce intro is now skippable.
  • The game now has a start prompt at the title screen.
  • new spawn points after saving, including where the player last was
  • Remixed music


In 1988, the development of a third Zelda game for the NES started. The project was ultimately brought to the SNES set to release in 1990. Due to the series' success, Nintendo was able to invest a large budget and a long development time into the project. The game was the first SNES game to use a 1 MB cartridge, which allowed it to be more expansive than a lot of its contemporary. The game's scenario was written by Kensuke Tanabe, which served as his first work on a Zelda-related project. Likewise the backstory was written by Yoshiaki Koizumi as his first work for Nintendo. Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka also worked on the game as producer and director respectively.


Other Translations

Languages/Regions: Translates to:
Traditional Chinese Zelda Legend: Divine Triangle of the Gods
Simplified Chinese Zelda Legend: Triangle-Force of the Gods


  • In a building in one town, a picture of Mario can be seen on the back wall.
  • This is the first game to feature the chicken gag. If you attack a chicken continuously, a swarm of chickens will appear and start to hurt you. You cannot harm these chickens. If you do not run, the chickens will kill you.
  • When you buy a bottle, the merchant tells you to "hold it above your head for all to see", which is what Link typically does when he acquires a new item.
  • A Link to the Past was featured on the cover of Nintendo Power V34.
  • The game won 3 awards in the 1992 Nintendo Power Awards: Best Graphics and Sound (SNES), Best Challenge (SNES) and Best Hero (Link).

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