[Now Experiencing] [Computer Gaming]
A while back I commented on how I'd completed Morrowind, and felt let down that it didn't give me a parade and fireworks to commemorate my epic deeds. That experience, coupled with the nostalgia evoked by my recent posts on classic gaming, has led me back to The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, as ported to the GBA in the "Four Swords" edition release.
This is a title I've had sitting on my shelf for a while. I've loaned it out, I've toyed with the multiplayer, but I never actually played the darn game myself. This was partly caused by having been "Zelda-ed out" after completing the original Zelda and the two Capcom "Oracle" Zelda titles in quick succession, and partly by the arrival of shiny new hardware in the form of my laptop, my DS, and my PSP.
Well, I'm playing it now, and it's pretty much as everyone told me - the defining and stand-out title of the 2D Zelda games. It's lacking some of the subtle refinements of the Oracle games in terms of pacing and NPC characterisation, and it has a few points where it will let you make a time-consuming mistake that it probably should have warned you against (such as undertaking a long overworld journey when you don't have the necessary equipment to achieve the objective at the end, or letting you warp back to the beginning of a dungeon using the Magic Mirror without so much as an "Are you sure?"), but on the whole Link to the Past embodies everything that makes 2D Zelda good.
It certainly has the bells and whistles I was missing from Morrowind; never has a game given the player such a sense of satsifaction for finding an empty glass jar. Almost every change in the game state, no matter how insignificant, comes with a palpable sense of accomplishment. It feels epic and heroic merely being able to charge around Kakariko Village at ridiculous speeds in the Pegasus Boots and bump into things hard enough to shake them.
I have every 2D Zelda title sitting on my shelf; I just haven't played them all. Getting really stuck into this gives me hope that some day I'll make my way through Link's Awakening and The Minish Cap. The real question is the future of 3D Zelda: given that I abandoned Ocarina of Time a mere two dungeons from the end, and can't motivate myself to return to it, should I bother being excited about the impending release of Twilight Princess?