Welcome back to the Zelda Game Club, this is where we play through games from The Legend of Zelda series as a Triforce Times Community. We’re currently playing through The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, originally released in 1991. This is part 2 of 3, and today we’re in the middle section of the game where we get The Master Sword and explore The Dark World, having collected the 3 pendants in part 1. Today I’m going to cover Hyrule Castle, the Dark Palace, Swamp Palace, Skull Woods and The Gargoyle’s Domain, plus I’m going to pick out some community comments sent in by the Triforce Times Community.
Before we get into it today, let me know in the comments what you think of A Link To The Past. Whether you are playing for the first time for the 50th time, I’d love to hear from you, and share your thoughts on one of the best Legend of Zelda games of all time.
First of all, I want to thank everyone in the Triforce Times Community who has been playing along with A Link To The Past. Thank you to everyone who has played and have been adding your comments onto the video, and thank you for everyone sending comments saying “Sorry I can’t play this time, but next time”. It’s all good. Watching these videos, sharing with a friend or family, and sharing your feedback on how we can make the Zelda Game Club better in the future is what I want to see. This is a community driven feature, and over time it’s going to get better!
Without futher delay let’s get into the detail of out adventures in Hyrule, with the Zelda Game Club for The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past Part 2.
The Master Sword
We left things off in part 1 having collected the 3 pendants, and this gave us the ability to pick up the Master Sword. From Death Mountain we had to find our way to The Lost Woods, make out way through the misty forest and find The Master Sword itself. Getting the Master Sword in any Legend of Zelda game is an epic moment, so let’s take a look at that right now.
Once we have the Master Sword, we’re contacted by Princess Zelda, who tells us soldiers are on their way to the Sanctuary. We get there and find a Sage on the ground, gravely wounded and they tell us that Princess Zelda has been taken to Hyrule Castle.
“I’ve just done gargoyle domain. The most beautiful part of this game is when you pull the master sword and the mist goes away and then the sun come through into the forest. The dark world ain’t beautiful but I do like how creepy its is, though I would liked if they added Skulltulas into the dark world. This game has a lot of items compared to Zelda II the adventure of link like the boomerang, bow and arrow, bombs and more, my favourite item has to be the hookshot and the bow and arrow.”
Next up we have to battle our way into Hyrule Castle and make our way to the second floor. Now we have The Master Sword we can break the seal and enter. What we find in front of us is similar to other dungeons in the game, spraling rooms full of enemies and eventually we find ourself face to face with Agahnim. Princess Zelda is unconcious infront of him, he raises his arms, she floats into the air and he casts a spell and she’s gone! Next we have to fight against the powerful wizard, but he can’t be harmed directly with the Master Sword, so we have to use his own dark magic against him by deflecting it back with the Master Sword when he tried to attack you. After the fight Agahnim escapes, but not before teleporting Link to the Dark World first.
Master Knight DH
For the summary, this is the portion where although Link gets the Master Sword, things become so much harder for him, between the Dark World living up to its name with enemies who prove not so easy to evade and certainly hit harder, with Dactos dealing 3 Hearts for a particularly annoying enemy to deal with without taking a hit; and the Light World involving Agahnim’s brainwashed soldiers enforcing martial law. Ocarina Boy, who shows up in this segment, is not the only Woobie in this game, but thankfully in Link’s case helping us by extension, we get some more equipment for actual variety in combat options, even if the Sword is going to stay as the reliable option.
As for level design, I will say that Gargoyle’s Domain is my favorite dungeon in the entire game for its gameplay AND story design actively working with the thieves element, and the other dungeons in this part do still have their own points. In regards to the bosses, Agahnim and Helmasaur King are fair, balanced fights aside from the latter having a positioning glitch in his transition to his Turns Red phase if you don’t know about it (patched out in the GBA version), but Arrghus has reliance on being a Puzzle Boss, Mothula is cheaply confounding in general, and Blind the Thief has his battle be memorable for questionable reasons with ANY approach regardless of whether or not you agree he should be on That One Boss and I think he should be. At any rate, the game is doing a good job making Link into an Iron Woobie, and there’s still more to go.
I have to agree with you there Master Knight DH, Gargoyle’s Domain is an excellent dungeon (we’ll get to that one later on). Blind is one of the more outrageous bosses I’ve ever faced… seems unfair in a lot of ways and if you don’t have the cape, then I am not sure how you’d beat the boss. Thanks to Master Knight for that comments, more from Master Knight later on!
We’ve made it to the Dark World and this is where the difficulty of the game ramps up. The Dark World is a dangerous place, while it may be similar to the Light World in terms of layout, the enemies hit much harder, so you have to be careful, as Link can die very quickly. Our goal is made clear early on, we have to save seven maidens here in the Dark World to stop the Evil Wizard from breaking through to the Light World. The Dark World used to be The Golden Land, but an evil power turned it into The Dark World, and soon that same fate could happen to the Light World. It’s all down to us to save both worlds, plus the maidens and Princess Zelda along the way.
Our first call is The Dark Palace. We get some help from a familiar monkey called Kiki to enter the Dark Palace, up in the East of Hyrule. The Dunegons in the Dark World are much more complicated, and include mechanics we learnt in part 1 including switches, red and blue blocks as well as being full of powerful enemies that can take you down very quickly. We’re also introduced to a new mechanic in this dungeon, which includes enemies and environments that can be effected with The Hammer. There are stakes in the ground and tortoise-like creatures that cannot be harmed with your sword, so you have to pound them with the hammer, flip them over to reveal their soft under-belly and then kill them.
Before long we find ourselves taking on the boss, The Helmasaur King. This is a large Helmasaur, who attacks with his dangerous tail and its our job to knock off his protective mask with the hammer, so we can attack with the sword. Much like the rest of the Dungeon, this boss is a significant step up from bosses in past Dungeons, so it’s well worth having a few fairies.
Once we save the Maiden we undertsand that Ganon, boss of theives, corrupted The Golden Land. This was where The Triforce was hidden. Ganon wished for The Golden Land to be transformed and it was turned into the Dark World. So Ganon was behind it all, and Agahnim is just his puppet.
Master Knight DH
“Now next on my list is about the combat options from the items. I particularly point to the Hammer as a clear case of what you’d expect from the anti-armor melee option: it has some speed issues making sure that you can’t be careless with positioning or you’ll be getting hit, but it hits hard, dealing twice as much damage as the Master Sword’s regular attack, or in fact the same damage as the Master Sword’s spin attack, without any need to wait for chargeup. I want to further add that in comparison to other items, the Hammer still retains advantages to one extent or another, mostly avoiding MP/ammo consumption, or having raw power in the case of comparison to the Boomerang and Hookshot. It helps that unlike the Sword, the Hammer will not trigger Yomo Medusas (introduced in the Swamp Palace), so combine that with the instant pot breaking and you can see how we have an early 90s game providing TLC to the gameplay by making sure that the anti-armor melee option never gets fully obsoleted.”
Journey To Swamp Palace
After we leave The Dark Palace we can pick up a few useful items around Hyrule. We can pick up The Shovel, which leads us very quickly to the flute. If we take the Flute to Karariko Village back in the Light World and play the Flute infront of the statue in the Town Square, a bird breaks out of the statue and gives us the ability to fast travel around Hyrule. While the map isn’t huge, it saves cruicial time.
We can also make our way to the Graveyard and now teleport from the Dark World to the Light world and run into the grave stone to reveal a secret passage. Here we can find the Magic Cape, which allows us to go invisible. This is really going to come in handy later on when we have to take on tough bosses, also, we can walk on spikes without getting hurt… we just need to make sure we have a good supply of magic.
The Cane of Byrna is another useful item we can pick up, which surrounds Link in a protective light, as well as doubling up as a weapon. Finally, one of the most powerful weapons in the game is the Bombos Medallion, which allows us to inflict massive damage on enemies.
Once we have all these items, then it’s onto the next Dungeon.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying the game but (in my opinion) it’s about to get a little frustrating since the difficulty level increases. Getting the master sword for the first time is such a good feeling, and defeating aganim and gaining access to the dark world just feels epic. Then getting transported to the dark world is so cool, except now you have to be extra careful to avoid hitting enemies (they do a LOT of damage!). On top of that, there is a logical progression on beating the dungeons, but you can actually do skull woods, thieves town (gargoyle’s domain) and palace of darkness in any order [so long as you’re willing to give up the titans mitts]. So there’s a bit more leeway into deciding which dungeons you would like to go to next. Personally, palace of darkness and swamp palace are two pretty good dungeons and are good challenges to prepare you for the harder dungeons, like thieves town and skull woods. The hookshot is useful in stunning the enemies in both, but I would also recommend picking up the cane of bryna beforehand. Once you have the mitts, you can pick up the cape which I recommend before attempting skull woods as it makes mothula slightly easier. If you want to follow the game’s intended path, then make sure your bottles are filled. [edit: just realised you need hammer/hookshot to access the west side of dark world, but you can definitely still choose to switch up thieves town and skull woods]
Outside of dungeon stuff, I love doing the dark world overworld stuff, like returning the frog to the smiths after obtaining the mitts, and talking to the flute boy in the dark world makes me tear up (especially if you go back and play the flute for him).”
The Swamp Palace
Our next Dungeon is called The Swamp Palace, but first of all we have to flood the place once again so we can swim around. This Dunegon also requires the Flippers, so if you haven’t got them by now you have to head back to the Light World and speak to the Zora King and buy the Flippers.
The Swamp Palace is an excellent dungeon, where we have to modify water levels to allow us to navigate the dungeon successfully. There are plenty of secret rooms we have to find with bombs on cracks in the wall, plus The Swamp Palace contains one of the most recognisable items in the whole Zelda series – The Hookshot. This allows us to traverse big gaps in the dungeon, as well as attack enemies from range, stunning some enemies, which allows us to then get in close and finish them off with the sword. Sometimes water temples in Zelda games can be tricky, but this one is excellent, putting together many elements from past dungeons and then layering on the water levels puzzle mechanic. It’s one of my favourite dungeons in the game.
It’s not long before we reach the boss, and this time it’s Arrghus. This is a giant eye and he’s covered in small clouds. We have to use the Hookshot to remove each of the small clouds, and then finish up Arrghus once his protective shield has gone. This is something I miss from Breath of the Wild, and something I hope they bring back into Tears of the Kingdom, finding an item in a Dungeon (like the Hookshot) and then using it against the boss to defeat them. There are many great things about Breath of the Wild, but it was lacking in Dungeons and also unique items, I hope they both make a return.
Finish off the boss, save the Maiden and then it’s time to make your way to Skull Woods.
Master Knight DH
“And speaking of apparent obsoleting, we have the comparison between the Hookshot and the Boomerang. The way the Hookshot behaves, it’s commonly treated as a straight up upgrade of the Boomerang, already still having stun utility AND item grabbing in addition to its own intended purposes, as well as intangibility while it is out, something not covered by Displaced Gamers in their “Facets of the Gem” review of the game. However, the Boomerang still can be thrown over low obstacles, it can still be thrown in diagonals, and perhaps most importantly, you can still move while it is out and the Boomerang will return to you like a good faithful friend. Now the big concern is if the Boomerang could even do anything post-Hookshot that would make it worth bothering with. Fortunately, it turns out that it stuns Gibdos where the Hookshot doesn’t do anything to them. When the Hammer actually challenges the Gibdos’ already absurd durability as it is, you can see the MP-free way of dealing with Gibdos efficiently. The Hookshot still has its obvious advantages and fun factor, but the Boomerang, as has been my favorite item in the game, still proves reasonably useful even later on.”
Very interesting point. I haven’t thought about it like that before, looking at one item making the other obsolete. I found myself upgrading the boomberang very early on, and then not really using it much when I got to the dark world. I did find the boomberang useful for switches in some dungeons. Again, thanks for the comment.
The next Dungeon is in Skull Woods, and this is a unique dungeon as you can access parts of it by falling through the holes in the woods itself, making Skull Woods part of the Dungeon. I found it fairly easy to get lost in this dungeon, plus the enemies here are raised up a notch in terms of how beefy they are and how hard they hit. The item in this Dungeon is The Fire Rod, which is needed to open the final part of the dungeon to access the boss. While it’s a unique dungeon, it doesn’t quite live up to the high standards of the previous dunegon and for me, fell a little flat.
Once we make our way through the dungeon, we fight against the boss. This time it’s a big moth called Mothula. This boss can be taken out relatively easily with the Fire Rod. Beat the boss, save the third maiden, then our next stop is the Dark World version of Karariko Village, although this time it’s called The Village of Outcasts.
There’s a quick puzzle to get into this Dungeon, you have to pull on the Gargoyle in the centre of the town to reveal the staircase down. This is much more like it when it comes to dungeon design in Legend of Zelda games. Once again it includes many mechanics we’ve come across before including the blue and red switches, although it includes one of the coolest mechanics in the game, and that’s related to light. There are various cracks on the floor and we have to destroy them with bombs, so the sun can shine through to lower levels. The item in this dungeon is the Titan’s Mitt, which allows us to pick up heavier items on the floor, meaning we can now pick up the darker blocks we couldn’t budge earlier in the game, allowing us to get to places in Hyrule we couldn’t get to before.
This dungeon also switches up the formula for finding a boss and saving a maiden. This time, we find the maiden in a cell and simply open it with a big key. Much like we had to do earlier in the game with Zelda, we have to escort the maiden out of the Dungeon. However, it turns out we have to escort her into a room with the light shining down, and she reacts pretty badly to the light andf turns into the dungeon boss! I always like mechanics with light, which takes me back to playing Wind Waker and using The Mirror Shield. It’s a great new mechanic, also very clever and managed to change up the mechanics of the game at the right time to keep things fresh.
The Maiden turns into a boss called Blind, and this boss is absolutely no joke. You’ll most likely need a few faries to get through this one, plus the magic cape is invaluable as it allows you to attack while invisible, or until you run out of magic. If you have a few potions of fairies, then it shouldn’t be too long before the boss is defeated and you can breathe a sign of relief!
Master Knight DH
Of course, I do have to talk about Gargoyle’s Domain actively. As I mentioned, it’s my favorite dungeon in the game. It was back when I played LTTP in the 90s and it still is now. The Zazaks are obvious rogues and I eventually realize that this happens in gameplay as well, where in a vacuum they would be cookie-cutter enemies, but they’re usually encountered in terrain that interferes with the player, such as below walkways that interfere with vision, in ambushes, or on conveyer belts. The selling point, of course, is the departures from the formula, in that the Boss Key is obtained early and easily enough to be regarded as a sort of skeleton key, being able to fight the boss involves a puzzle where you put the clues together and work with what is available, and the Compass even plays a role in the latter by hinting where the fight is supposed to happen, as opposed to its underdeveloped role in general in LTTP of just revealing that the boss is in an obvious location. There’s also the nice overworld touch of the building in the northern part of the the Village of Outcasts being shaped like the upper floor of the dungeon. Suffice to say why I would like this dungeon.
And as for Blind the Thief, his fight is unfortunately the low point of Gargoyle’s Domain IMO. You could take him down just using the Magic Cape especially against the third phase, but that quickly removes any challenge. There’s a bit of overemphasis on the Magical Shield to block the fireballs from the detached heads, without which it becomes easy to get confused against all the clutter that is still around, even if Blind does prove to at least be learnable, but Blind can also do occasional laser sniping, which by the way isn’t even blockable by the Magical Shield anyway. And on minimal items and no damage, Blind is about memorization of his pattern quite a bit more than adaptation on the fly. It does not help that different attacks do not do variable damage against Blind, so offense skill incentive is damaged. The fight is still functional and better designed than the one with Mothula, but it has problems that I noticed even back in the day.
Hey Triforce Times, sadly i was not able to participate in the attp game club. I’ve been busy with school and life problems. But the next game club if I can I would definitely play! Attp is one of my favorite games I wish i could’ve participated
Nice video TriforceTimes! Sorry I wasn’t able to join this time around, I just started a new job and I’ve been very busy the past couple of weeks. I’m gonna try to catch up, but if I’m unable to I’ll definitely be there for the next game. Keep up the good work.
That’s it for the gameplay for Part 2, let me know down in the comments what you think. For Part 3, we are now into the home straight. The next step is to finish the game, so that means The Ice Palace, Misery Mire, Turtle Rock and Ganon’s Tower. Once again, I’ll be releasing the video next tuesday for Part 3, the final part of the Zelda Game Club for A Link To The Past. It’s not too late if you want to start now. If you have enjoyed the Zelda Game Club for A Link To The Past and you want to join in, then complete the game and add your comments onto this video by Monday 24th October 2022. I’ll be putting together the video for the 3rd and final part of the Zelda Game Club for A Link To The Past on Tuesday 25th October, and releasing it that day.
The score was composed, arranged, and produced by Koji Kondo. The overworld theme of The Legend of Zelda (“Hyrule Overture”) returns in A Link to the Past, redone in S-SMP style. The theme is also featured in “Light World Overworld” and in “End Credits.” A Link to the Past helped to establish the musical core of the Zelda series. While the first game originated the “Hyrule Overture,” many recurring motifs of the Zelda scores come from A Link to the Past, including “Zelda’s Lullaby” (Princess Zelda’s Theme), “Ganondorf’s Theme,” “Hyrule Castle” (Royal Family Theme), “Kakariko Village” and “Select Screen/Fairy Cave.” These themes have been used in subsequent The Legend of Zelda games.
The English-language localization included changes to the original Japanese game. The most common change was the removal of religious references to conform with Nintendo of America’s content guidelines. The most obvious change was made to the subtitle, which was renamed from Kamigami no Triforce (lit. “Triforce of the Gods”) to A Link to the Past. The “Sanctuary” in which Zelda hides is modeled on the Christian chapel, with rows of pews, stained glass windows, a raised chancel and altar, but it contains no overt religious symbols, and the dialogue of characters within it was simplified to remove any religious implication.
The font used to represent an unreadable language, Hylian, originally had designs of a vulture and an ankh. These designs were based on Egyptian hieroglyphs which carry religious meanings, and they were altered in the English version. The localization also changed plot details included in the instruction manual. The priest Agahnim became a wizard, and his background, which originally implied that he was sent by the gods, was altered to remove any celestial origin.
A Link to the Past was critically acclaimed upon release for its graphics and gameplay, and has since been recognized by critics as one of the greatest video games of all time. It was the first game to receive a near-perfect score of 39 out of 40 from Famitsu magazine. It was awarded Best Sequel of 1992 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. Chicago Tribune selected it as Best Game of the Year, tied with Street Fighter II. A Link to the Past was reviewed in Dragon magazine by Sandy Petersen in 1993, giving it 5 out of 5 stars.
In 1995, Total! listed the game 2nd on its “Top 100 SNES Games.” In 1996, GamesMaster rated the game 80th on their “Top 100 Games of All Time.” In 2005, IGN editors placed it 11th in its “Top 100 Games”, while readers voted it to 5th place, before IGN later ranked it the second best game of all time in 2015 and 2019. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly chose it as the best game of all-time and it was inducted into GameSpot’s list of the greatest games of all time. It has also been listed as the best game of all time by Next Generation and Popular Mechanics magazines, and as the second best game of all time by G4 and Gamereactor. Members of GameFAQs ranked it the 4th best, and readers of Japanese magazine Famitsu ranked it 31st in a 2006 poll. It also placed 3rd in Electronic Gaming Monthly’s list, 23rd in Game Informer’s, and 3rd in a best 200 Nintendo games list by Nintendo Power. In July 2007, readers of the magazine Edge voted it sixth in a poll of the 100 best games of all time. ScrewAttack placed it 2nd on their list of top 20 Super Nintendo games. GamesRadar named A Link to the Past the third best Super NES game of all time, losing only to Chrono Trigger (2nd) and Super Metroid (1st). It placed eighth (the second-highest Zelda game on the list) in Official Nintendo Magazine’s “100 greatest Nintendo games of all time” list. In 2009, Game Informer put A Link to the Past 12th on their list of “The Top 200 Games of All Time”, saying that it “remains a blast today”. This is 11 places ahead of the rank it had back in 2001. In 2018, Complex listed the game 2nd on its “The Best Super Nintendo Games of All Time.” They felt the game is “definitely Nintendo’s best first-party title for the SNES.”
“Randomiser stuff: if you’re interested in getting into rando, just search ‘a link to the past randomiser’ into google and the website should come up. It has information on how to get started on rolling seeds/setting up your emulator and stuff like that. I’d also be happy to help if you have any questions. In some ways, randomiser makes alttp an easier game because locations like kakiriko village, paradox cave, hype cave are all so item dense that you’re usually going to find good items there (and you’re able to get swords/mail/full hearts earlier than usual. It also will randomise the dungeon prizes, so you might have 3 crystals in the light world dungeons and then pendants in dark world (which is good because those dungeons are usually harder/longer). It takes a while to figure out the logic of those seeds, but the community is big and often helpful with helping with stuff like this.”
Let me know in the comments what you think of the Zelda Game Club.
That’s it for The Zelda Game Club A Link To The Past Part 2. For more Legend of Zelda content like this check out Triforce Times on YouTube and subscribe today.