There were many elements in a Link to the Past that seemed unique at the time, of which many have made their transition nicely to 3d Zelda titles and more modern handheld titles. However, there are still numerous things that haven’t quite made the jump and zsaberlink has created an interesting blog discussing some of the great things about a Link to the Past that he hopes to see make a return in the future. He touches upon the idea of unique dungeons with multiple access points, inventory items that are completely optional, and different ways to defeating enemies outside the standard sword slashing. He makes some great points and I highly suggest checking out his blog.
“I personally find these optional weapons as much better rewards and incentives to complete a side-quest/mini-dungeon than a single heart piece or a large quiver/bomb bag. This also encourages exploring the overworld, which would really add to the adventure experience that the series has always tried to provide.”
I cannot agree anymore with this guy. Too many times in recent games such as Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, or Spirit Tracks, I found myself entrenched into an interesting mini-game or a secret cave in the overworld, only to find that the end result is some lousy rupees or a random piece of a treasure. Even worse the mindless quiver and bomb bag upgrades. I don’t think I’ve ever had a shortage of either bombs or arrows in Twilight Princess, so why do they insist on offering me a quiver upgrade that holds 100 arrows? Are we really abusing our arrows so much that we need 100 of them? I really wouldn’t mind these upgrades… if they had other collectible items that were interesting. Twilight Princess didn’t really have this at all. In fact, off the top of my head the only real ‘optional’ items I can think of from Twilight Princess are the Magic Armor and the Hawkeye. Hardly two things that I was excited with joy to use.
Unlike Twilight Princess, a Link to the Past actually did have these types of items. The Bombos Medallion is one of them and it was just absolutely amazing. It wasn’t required in order to complete your quest, but once you got, not only does it look sweet, but it is very useful in many parts of the game. Similarly there was the Cane of Byrna found deep within a cave in the Dark World on top of Death Mountain. It was not glaringly obvious as to where you had to go and that extra empty spot in your inventory really encouraged you to go searching throughout the overworld for that last item. The item didn’t have an exact purpose, but it was sweet enough where you can use it wherever you really wanted. Certain enemies or bosses are much easier to defeat when using the particular item. Overall, these extra items are what really give the game some extra life and replay value, and they are partially why I view a Link to the Past in such high regards.
So what did you guys think of the article? Do you think Zelda needs more unique dungeon experiences like that of Skull Woods and Gargoyles Domain? Does it need interesting optional items out there like the Cane of Byrna and Bombs Medallion? Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air if more unique enemies were out there instead of the standard enemies that are crushed with a single slash of the sword? Let us know what you think in the comments below.