Things you didn’t know about The Legend of Zelda A Link To The Past

The Legend of Zelda A Link To The Past is arguably one of the best games in the series, this is where the The Legend of Zelda really got into it’s stride in the transition from NES to SNES. Today I’m going to go through some lesser known facts and secrets about The Legend of Zelda A Link To The Past.

Link To The Past was released in Japan in 1991 and North America in 1992 and is set many years before the events of the first two games. Link is once again on an adventure to save Hyrule, save the seven sages and defeat the evil Ganon. Link To The Past returns to the top down version of the game originally introduced by the first game and introduced new concepts to the series like parallel worlds and The Master Sword.

Without futher delay let’s dive into the facts and secrets.

Boomberang glitch

There is a boomerang glitch that can be performed in Kakariko Village that causes Link to not catch the boomerang, but causes the boomerang to go across the screen repeatedly. This can be done in both the SNES and GBA versions.

Fish surprise

There’s a point in the game when you drain the swamp, and a fish is left flopping around in the shallow waters. Link can pick up the fish and throw it back in the water, it’ll then thank Link and give him a rupee. However, you can also carry the fish back to Kakariko Village and give it to the Street Merchant and he’ll give Link rupees, bombs and arrows.

Japanese title

The original Japanese release of the game was called Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods. However the title was changed for the North American release given the tricky nature of religios representation in entertainment in America. The North American release removed the reference to “gods”, plus Nintendo though the North American audience would prefer A Link To The Past.

Catfish

Many of the Legend of Zelda elements or story beats are inspired by Japanese folklore and here in Link To The Past the Catfish found in the swamp of evil is no different. This is inspired by an 18th Century story about a catfish named Namazu. The rocks found in the water as reference to Namazu’s prison in the folklore.

Multiple Worlds

Kensuke Tanabe, Lead Producer for the game, revealed in an interview in 2020 that there were plans for multiple parallel worlds in the game, however, that had to be cut down to just two due to time contraints, so they settled on just the Light and Dark worlds.

“When that happens, I try not to cling to that initial idea too much. For example, this is when I was working on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. At first, we were thinking about structuring the game with numerous parallel worlds. However, in order to establish the gameplay in the end, we decided that it would be better to narrow it down to two worlds: Light and Dark. I think game development involves much work where you never know unless you actually test it out.”

Party system

Miyamoto originally planned to have a party system in this game. Link is normally the lone-hero, but Miyamoto wanted to expand this to a full party. Plans were made to switch between 3 main characters; an Elf, a girl and a magic user. The Elf is very likely to have been Link, but the identities of the other characters are unknown.

Chris Houlihan Room

There’s a secret room called the Chris Houlihan Room. Chris won a contest in Nintendo Power Magazine, which promised him an appearance in the game. The room contains a telepathy tile and 225 rupees. The purpose of the room is error handling, if Link fell through the world and the game couldn’t figure out where you were, then you’d get sent to the Chris Houlihan Room. Nintendo removed references to Chris Houlihan in the GBA port.

Fight Agahnim with the bug net

Towards the end of the game Link faces off against Agahnim, a sorcerer who is trying to bring back Ganon. Agahnim has powerful projectile attacks and Link is supposed to use The Master Sword to reflect these attacks back towards Agahnim. It’s since been found by players that Link can use the bug catching net to reflect these attacks, so if you want to you can defeat Agahnim with the net.

Cuccos introduction

Cuccos are a staple of the Legend of Zelda, but did you know they were first introduced in this game? Cuccos aren’t always peaceful, they will defend themselves. If Link decides to attack them, then they get angry and call on their Cucco friends to attack Link.

Master Sword

A Link To The Past is a game of firsts for the Zelda series, with an important one being the first time The Master Sword appears in the Zelda games. This is Link’s legendary sword, and often referenced as the ultimate weapon to defeat Ganon. Link uses this sword to fight Agahnim and Ganon, however, it’s notable in A Link To The Past that Link gets this sword very early in the game.

Find Mario

In Kakariko village you’ll find a very familiar face, Mario! Many houses in the village have paintings in them, also of Mario. Link can also interact with the paintings, and rupees will drop out.

Futuristic

Original plans for the game were to include futuristic elements. The triforce was going to be a computer chip and the series was going to include fantasy and sci-fi elements. Miyamoto also had plans for A Link To The Past to take place in the past and the future. These are concept that would be picked up later in the series. Ocarina of Time played with time travel, plus the computer chip elements were brought in with Breath of the Wild through the Sheikah Slate and Sheikah Tech.

Cucco Lady

In Kakariko Village, the player can enter the house of a blue dressed woman located at the northwest part of village. Inside, the player can find a Cucco underneath one of the pots. The player can sprinkle some Magic Powder onto the cucco, and it will transform into a woman. This humanoid version of the Cucco explains that it is the Weathercock in the center of village that watches Link harass the Cuccos. This means the Weathercock is responsible for sending Cucco’s to attack Link if Link harasses a Cucco. She also tells Link that the human shape is uncomfortable for her.

Logo

A Link To The Past was the first Zelda game to use the now famous logo for the series. Before A Link To The Past the logo wasn’t standard, with the first two games using a different title. The first game was The Legend of Zelda, then we had Zelda II The Adventure of Link. Nintendo would return to the first game for many inspirations and the pre-fix of The Legend of Zelda was once of them.

Many Dungeons

A Link To The Past has the most dungeons in the series, all except it’s sequel A Link Between Worlds. A Link To The Past has 12 dungeons in total. This is also the first game where dungeons with different themes were introduced.

Heart Pieces

A Link To The Past was also the first Zelda game to introduce heart pieces and heart containers. There are many side quests in the game that reward pieces of heart, which add up to full heart containers.

Link’s Family

This is one of the few Zelda games to feature a member of Link’s family. While Link features in many Zelda games, we don’t know much about him or his family. There are only 3 games that feature members of Link’s family. A Link To The Past includes Link’s Uncle, Wind Waker added Link’s Sister and Grandmother, then Minish Cap added Link’s Grandfather. Link’s Uncle plays a pivotal role in the iconic start to the game, where Link wakes up and makes his way to Hyrule Castle before being instructed with the sword and shield to take on the Evil Sorcerer Agahnim.

Delay

Shigeru Miyamoto revealed in an interview with Famicom Tsuushin magazine Nintendo started development of the game alongside Super Mario World in 1989 and they wanted it to release at the same time for release of the SNES. Nintendo wanted to release in March 1991, but instead they delayed the release to the anniversary of the Super Famicom release on November 21st 1991.

Musical firsts

Some of the most memorable music in the Zelda series was first introduced in A Link To The Past. Zelda’s Lullaby, The Fairy Fountain, Hyrule Castle theme all made their debut here and they have remained throughout the Zelda series for decades.

Excalibur

In the french version of the game the Master Sword is called Excalibur after King Arthur’s famous sword.

Early Master Sword

Link is supposed to go to Hyrule Castle at the start of the game in an attempt to save Zelda, however, if you go and try to get the Master Sword early you’ll find the Master Sword isn’t there, instead there’s a glitched enemy with the bouncing head of a Kakariko Villager. Very strange!

Reggie

Reggie Fils-Aime, former CEO of Nintendo of America once said his favourite game of all time is The Legend of Zelda A Link To The Past.

Ganondorf Dragmire

In the western release’s instruction manual, Ganondorf is addressed by the full name “Ganondorf Dragmire”, while Ganon is addressed by the alias “Mandrag Ganon”, which means “Ganon of the Enchanted Thieves”. This was the result of Nintendo of America’s translation team wanting to make their own contribution to the story. While these names do not appear in any game in the series, Ganondorf Dragmire has been used in Western promotional materials as recently as 2017.

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