The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

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Recently, famine and drought have plagued Hyrule. When all seemed lost, a mysterious wizard, Agahnim, appeared, and stopped these strange happenings from occurring. But there is talk that Agahnim now rules the country with his magic, behind the scenes. And then, one night, the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda, calls out for help - and the one who hears her pleas is a young lad named Link.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a top-down action game with puzzle-solving elements (similar to the original Legend of Zelda). Players assume the role of Link, and their goal is to rescue Princess Zelda and save the land of Hyrule. All combat in the game is action-oriented - the player can make the protagonist swing the sword at enemies with a press of a button, or spin the sword around for a more powerful attack by holding down the button until it is charged.

Progression through the game is done by conquering a series of dungeons - each dungeon has its own special item associated with it, such as the hookshot (which latches onto a far-off object and pulls Link across) or the hammer (which can be used to flatten objects in your way). Most of these dungeons are rendered impassable until the dungeon's particular item is acquired; from there, the rest of the dungeon becomes accessible due to Link's latest new ability. The bosses of each dungeon are also themed to that level's particular item.

Link starts out with only three units of health; however, these can be increased by defeating dungeon bosses, which give one additional heart container, or by finding four 'pieces of heart'; which can be given for anything from passing a small trial to winning a mini-game. Some of Link's items also use magic - this can be refilled with collectible green magic pots. After defeating the initial three dungeons, Link gains access to the Dark World - many puzzles and difficulties come from alternating between the Light World (Hyrule) and the Dark World to make his way past previously impassable obstacles.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past SNES In dungeon
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past SNES With all three Pendants, Link can draw the Master Sword
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past SNES Fighting against a few soldiers
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past SNES death in red

Alternate Titles

  • "ゼルダの伝説・神々のトライフォース" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce" -- Japanese title
  • "Zelda 3" -- Informal title
  • "TLoZ: ALttP" -- Informal abbreviation
  • "A Lenda de Zelda: Um Elo Com O Passado" -- Brazilian title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Perfecting the formula SNES Cor 13 (174202)
Definitely in the top 5 SNES games of all time. SNES OlSkool_Gamer (99)
It's not so bad SNES Pixelspeech (955)
my favourite video game of all time! SNES Big C (49)
Best SNES game ever! SNES darthsith19 (64)
Agahnim and Ganon rock.... SNES Lake Hylia (3)
Zelda games don't get any better than this... SNES Dason Rise (20)
One of the best SNES games SNES gamewarrior (5062)

Critic Reviews

PGNx Media SNES Sep 14, 2002 10 out of 10 100
Nintendo Life Wii Jan 23, 2007 10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars 100 SNES Jun 27, 2009 10 out of 10 100 Wii Mar 05, 2007 9.6 out of 10 96 Wii Jan 15, 2010 19 out of 20 95 SNES Jan 27, 2010 19 out of 20 95
Computer and Video Games (CVG) SNES Feb, 1992 89 out of 100 89
Video Games SNES Apr, 1992 88 out of 100 88
GameSpot Wii Jan 31, 2007 8.5 out of 10 85
WiiDSFrance Wii U Jun 17, 2014 7 out of 10 70


Topic # Posts Last Post
Genre 10 leilei (282)
May 17, 2011
tempering the sword 2 formercontrib (159645)
Apr 01, 2010
Anyone Heard of a Gold Cartridge Version? 3 mobiusclimber (221)
Dec 29, 2007


1001 Video Games

The SNES version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


There is a very well-hidden secret room with the name Chris Houlihan written on a wall tile. He is the winner of a Nintendo Power contest to have his name featured in a game.


The original SNES version of this game took approximately 58,240 hours to program. (Source: Nintendo, World Features Syndicate)


To add to the evidence of the game's popularity and longevity: When Nintendo Power retired their Top Games list for the SNES, A Link To The Past had remained number 1 on the chart for more than five consecutive years.


In various homes across Hyrule, there are pictures of our favorite plumber, Mario on the North wall of each home.

Release date

The Japanese version of the game was released on November 21, 1991. Exactly seven years to the day later, the N64 game Ocarina of Time, was released in the U.S.

Title translation

The English translation of the Japanese title is "The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods".


  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #2 on the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #23 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #28 Top Game of All Time
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #16 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
Information also contributed by Big John WV, CaptainCanuck, Echidna Boy, gamewarrior, Robbb and Tiago Jaques

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Contributed to by Corn Popper (69569), Michael Cassidy (14011) and Satoshi Kunsai (1810)