Zelda Dungeon Marathon 2019:

Before anybody asks, I love A Link

to the Past. I’d have to be an idiot not to appreciate its grandeur and

its stature as one of the greatest and most influential games of all time. This

game is the very definition of classic, and it stands as strongly today as it did

on its release, over twenty-two years ago. People still beg, daily, for a remake on the 3DS, even more so since the release of its sequel last November.

I believe this to be a terrible, terrible idea. A re-release for the game,

perhaps bundled with Zelda U or any

future titles, would be excellent, as would some kind of Zelda Mega Collection, in the vein of the Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition for the Nintendo GameCube. A new

release for the 3DS or Wii U Virtual Console would be perhaps even more

welcome. But a fully-fledged remake would be, in my eyes, one of the biggest

mistakes in Nintendo’s history.

The Legend of Zelda: A

Link to the Past was, as we all know, designed and published as a 16-bit game

for the SNES. It was victim to the technological limitations of the era, and it

ended up a better game for it. Too many things would have to change to make the

game viable as a modern gaming experience, and the end result would barely

resemble the original. All we’d end up with would be an emptier, blander Link Between Worlds that would never do

justice to the marvel that was the original.

Perhaps the biggest change would influence dungeon and story

design. A Link to the Past has a way

of plunging you into an unfamiliar, difficult world, where you have to figure

things out by yourself. Where dungeon layout is immense and confusing, and exploration

plagues every moment of the experience. You’re told where to go, and that’s it.

Everything is a challenge. But a revamped Link

to the Past would be forced to hold your hand more, especially in the

confusing dungeons. There would be no wide, expansive paths that take you to

your inevitable doom. The difficulty of the game would have to be severely toned

down, both in and outside of the dungeons, especially with things like the

acquiring of the quake medallion, and the knowledge that light is needed to

summon Blind. These things—these beautifully unfriendly environments, and the

ridiculous amount of exploration—are what made A Link to the Past so great. They’d have to be changed; at the very

least the difficulty would be toned down, and the game would suffer severely.

You see, old devolopers would throw things like exploration and difficulty at you to extend the length of their game, so that the limitations of an NES and SNES cartridge would still convey many hours of gameplay. To make a “modern” gaming experience, a lot of it would have to be removed, which is really a shame in cases like A Link to the Past, where it actually improved the overall quality. Granted, sometimes it was disastrous–the North Palace in Zelda 2 comes to mind–and this in itself shows just how brilliant the original Link to the Past was. It used classic mistakes in game design and blew them out of proportion, to the point that they were actually some of the greatest things in the game. But by today’s standards, these things are considered somewhat boring, annoying, and unevetful. Not a lot of newcomers would be open to long exploration, and to streamline the experience, these things would be probably end up removed.

The control would go from 8-directional movement and 4-way

aiming to the 360 degrees of movement and swordplay with 8-way aiming of A Link Between Worlds, which would severely change gameplay. It seems

like a small deal—it probably is—but the original game would change fundamentally.

This change would influence dungeon design, as well as the general functions of

every item. Remember how the Fire Rod worked in the SNES classic? Remember

battles as frustrating as that of Moldorm? Say goodbye. Several puzzles would

have to change, and the function of the Pegasus Boots would change criminally.

Not to mention the fact that A Link to

the Past was built as a 2D game, with no three-dimensional elements in mind. A

3DS remake, and especially a Wii U remake, would permeate that problem by

getting rid of any charming identity the original had to offer in many ways.

And that leads to the worst problem, by far. 3D models. A real A Link to the Past remake may have been a good idea in the DS era,

when it was enough for a game to feature beautifully reworked 2D sprites, but

that time’s passed. Every enemy, every environment, everything would change to

the look of A Link Between Worlds,

destroying the identity of the original game. The world would be inviting,

friendly, something that A Link to the

Past was clearly against in its alienating of the player. I’ve said it

before, and I’ll say it again; the only thing we’d end up with would be a

smaller, blander, and emptier A Link

Between Worlds, with no identity, no difficulty, and none of the aspects

that made the original game so great, resulting in the very worst thing that could

happen to the classic. It would be the equivalent of Nintendo spitting on the

grave of one of the greatest triumphs in their long history.

Not to mention that the updated soundtrack would pay no justice to the original, and would be seen as “repetitive” and “redundant” in comparison to that of A Link Between Worlds. It would have to be entirely rewritten, at the very least, as the original only had some twenty or thirty songs, which was more than enough for that era, yet way too underwhelming in the scope of a modern experience.

The Legend of Zelda: A

Link to the Past was a masterpiece. It fully deserves its title as one of

the single greatest games of all time. It took the greatest advantage of the

limitations of the SNES era and used them to make an experience that still

challenges most that are offered today.

But in the end, this article doesn’t matter, because I am

100% certain that A Link to the Past 3D

will never happen. We all know that A

Link Between Worlds exists as the result of Miyamoto asking Eiji Aonuma to

remake the original game for the 3DS. I believe that Aonuma realized what a terrible

idea it would be and decided to make an entirely new game, ultimately honoring the

original, perfecting its flaws, and making its own identity. While a lot of you still fight for the

creation of a revamped Link to the Past,

think for a moment about how it would end up looking and playing, and how much

the original would far surpass it.

I realize this is a somewhat unpopular opinion, so feel free to try to prove me wrong in the comments below.

Images from Akiba, DeviantArt and Joystiq.

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