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Retro Fire

Written: 5.3.07
Acquired: 1.25.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $4.99

Pub: NintendoApril '92
Dev: Nintendo EAD8 MEGS

I hang my head in shame. For 15 years I never played, let alone beat, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Never ever rented it, never even borrowed it from a friend. Getting back into the swing of the SNES scene, I knew there were some key classics I had to not just play, but beat. How can I call myself a diehard SNES fan if I never beat the epics? This has been called the best game ever. Now, finally, I can throw my 2 cents on the matter...

The best.... ever?

When I got back into the SNES January 17, 2006, it was a goal of mine to play all the games I missed back in the day. Topping that list were Super Metroid and this. What a crime, eh? After
I beat Super Metroid on February 10, 2007... I couldn't think of a better game to follow it up with than this. So I started my journey to Hyrule on February 20, 2007... nearly 15 years after the game hit US shores and fascinated millions of gamers the world over

Hey -- better late than never!

Honestly, I never really played ANY Zelda game, period. I wasn't a huge RPG/ARPG fan, but in recent years my stance on them has changed. This is actually the first ARPG I've gone through!

Did you know that comedian/actor Robin Williams loved the NES Zelda games so much that he named his daughter Zelda?  If you thought that's crazy, what about the story of the Japanese Zelda fan who burnt down someone's house in a jealous rage, all because Zelda III had sold out before he could manage a copy?

Needless to say, the Zelda series is one of the most beloved of all time. And Link to the Past is often hailed as the greatest not only in the series but in the entire world of video gaming. Mighty praise indeed...

Tonight let us revisit the land of Hyrule...


It's a rather innocent, calm and cool night in Hyrule. Just like any other night. On the surface, at least. But dig a little deeper... put your head to the ground... stand entirely still and listen to the howling of the wind... the leaves dancing on the twisted tree branches... something is happening. Something is coming. Nightfall is quickly approaching, and the stars are out tonight in full force. The wind whips the Weathercock in Kakariko Village around like mad, the elders cease work on their farms and quickly rush inside to take cover. A loud rumbling can
be heard from the far distance, getting closer and closer with each passing second. An ominous banshee-like scream cuts through the night sky like a hot knife going through butter...

Young Link, absorbed by the sight of the moon, senses that tonight is definitely not like any other night. The moon has a strange glow... a very unnatural hue

Suddenly, darkness completely devours the land of Hyrule. A roar from high above echoes throughout the dark land, the sky shakes and forth comes the Celestial beings....

Link knew something was wrong, but he was not sure what. The Celestial beings urge him to go rescue the moon AND Hyrule from a nasty fate

Link boards his hot air balloon and takes off. He's rescued princesses, bratty young girls [meh -- same difference -Ed.] and cats in trees, but nothing like this before!

Link arrives but oh
woe is he, for the
young lad is too
late! The moon
completes its
destiny, shedding
tears of pain all
over Hyrule,
transforming the
landscape of the
peaceful villages.
People turn into
monsters. Crops
die. Dogs turn
into ducks. And
so forth. Chaos

And the prophecy
is coming true... 


[You got it all wrong!  Start over NOW -Ed.]

Right. Let's start at the very beginning... the first Zelda on the NES, then...

           Zelda II on NES

... Where the
townfolk sure
have a quick

NO NO NO!  [Let's try this one more time -Ed.]

Alright, I'm sober now. Let's do this for real...


Although The Legend of Zelda appeared first in the series of Zelda adventures, it actually takes place many years after the third game. In this time, Hyrule had declined, becoming a rustic land with only few remaining signs of its earlier glory. The land was overrun, and Ganon was to blame. At the heart of the conflict lay a missing piece of the Triforce
and Princess Zelda

Of how Ganon came by the Triforce of Power no tale is told. When she discovered that Ganon had acquired a piece of the Triforce, though, Princess Zelda broke the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces and hid them. She knew a hero was needed to challenge Ganon, so she sent her nurse, Impa, to search throughout the land, even as Zelda herself was captured. During her quest, Impa long evaded Ganon's reach, but in a forest glade she too fell into his clutches and would have been carried off if not for the heroic actions of a passing youth named Link. Once the villains had been driven away, Impa told the young man about Zelda's secret. Then, unable to hold back her tears, she told him how the Princess had been taken captive

No sooner had the youth heard the tale of Zelda's sorrow then he pledged to defeat Ganon and rescue the Princess. He set off at once, knowing only that he had to collect the eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom. At every turn in the path he met monsters and other evil soldiers of Ganon who challenged him in battle

Link's first task was to find the hidden dungeons where Zelda had secretly hidden the divided Triforce. Many of the entrances were disguised, and only by using all of his wits and the scraps of hints that he picked up along the way was he able to succeed. Inside the dungeons, he met countless enemies, for Ganon's minions had taken hold of even the most remote chambers

After countless adventures, Link gathered all eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, then he scaled Death Mountain and gained entrance to Spectacle Rock. Ganon's great maze dwarfed any that Link had yet encountered. In a hidden chamber, he discovered a magical Silver Arrow and, taking the prize, he came face-to-face with Ganon himself. The battle between youthful hero and villainous miscreant raged across the chamber, unaffected by the cuts of Link's sword. As Link began to tire, he tried a last desperate strategy, putting the Silver Arrow to the test. The bowstring sang and the arrow flew straight. Ganon was destroyed!

With the defeat of Ganon, Link's mind turned to the purpose that had driven him here -- the rescue of Princess Zelda. One chamber remained to be explored and Link pushed ahead. Here Zelda greeted him and the pieces of the Triforces of Power and Wisdom were reunited

With the destruction of Ganon and the power of the Triforce restored, peace reigned once more in Hyrule. Princess Zelda now ruled the land, and the country prospered. It seemed as if the shadow of Ganon had been destroyed forever. But the youthful hero of the age remained ever vigilant. Wherever Link roamed,
he looked for signs of Ganon's return, for he could not believe that he had truly banished evil from the land


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link takes place several years after The Legend of Zelda. An older, taller and perhaps wiser Link has seen the country prosper and villages spring up.
But peace is a fragile commodity in Hyrule
and history has a way
of repeating itself

Marked by the sign on his hand, Link was destined to become a hero, but in the peaceful days following his first quest, he became restless. He wandered the forests, crossed the deserts and delved into the caverns of Hyrule, looking for clues to explain his feelings of unease. In time he became aware of a whisper that passed between the birds, beasts, and even the blades of grass: there was a new magic in the land, nameless and terrifying

Lying as still as a marble, Princess Zelda slept the dreamless sleep of enchantment. When Link found her thus arrayed in the North Palace, he saw at once that she was spellbound. His greatest fear had come to pass.
By refusing to reveal the secret power of the Triforce to a wizard, Zelda had brought on her own downfall. But all was not lost. If Link somehow unlocked the mystery of the Great Palace, he could save Zelda and the Triforce of Courage

Again Link took to the fields and forests, but these places had become wild and dangerous, inhabited by enemies of old. Link found himself relying on his wits and swordplay at every step. Creatures he had never before seen also waylaid him: spiders called Deelers that dropped from the trees, tall Geldarms that rose from the sands of the Tantari Desert, and of course the Moblins, armed with spears and hatred

Link's mission was to enter each of six palaces and restore a missing crystal to a statue. Together the statues created a magical lock on the Great Palace. Only by replacing the six crystals could Link open the final door. In each palace, however, he had to battle a Statue Guardian of great strength: Barba the Dragon, Ironknuckle the Knight, Carock the Wizard and others

Link came across many strange looking statues and structures. Some had switches that only the brave, OR the foolish, would pull

As he closed the palaces, Link crossed the whole of Hyrule, from Ruto in the northwest to Death Mountain in the south, from the Island Palace in the Stormy Straights to Maze Island in the Far Eastern Sea. He helped villagers when he could, but he never lost sight of his ultimate goal. Finally, after uncovering the secrets of Old Kasuto, Link pushed on to the Great Palace where he met the Thunderbird

Once the Thunderbird was vanquished, Link thought that Zelda and Hyrule would be saved, but it was not to be... not yet. Exhausted from his journeying, Link had one more enemy to defeat -- an enemy so unexpected that he did not know what to do, for the enemy was his own shadow


Back in the mists of time, before the era of The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link, Hyrule was a land of fabulous palaces and magic. It was also a troubled land, and the divisions of Light and Dark were tearing it apart. The origins of this conflict lay even deeper in the shadows of time, with the coming of the Triforce and the greed of Ganondorf, King of Thieves

To comprehend Hyrule and Links's desperate quest, one must first know the ancient legend of the Triforce. In the Golden Land, where it was placed by the creators of the world, the Triforce beckoned to people. Ganon and his band of thieves long searched for the secret entrance to the Golden Land, eventually stumbling upon it. Then Ganon defeated his fellows for possession
of the Triforce

In a period known as the Imprisoning War, the King of Hyrule brought seven wise men together to seal the door to the Golden Land, for Ganon's evil power had been spilling forth, causing corruption and darkness. The once peaceful land became a place of dreadful rumors of the coming of a magical enemy. At this time the Master Sword was forged, but there was no hero valiant enough to wield it

Before the wise men could seal off the Golden Land and the Triforce, Ganon's army surged into Hyrule and besieged the castle. The Knights of Hyrule fought heroically, but the power of the Triforce controlled their enemies, giving them inhuman strength. The battle raged back and forth through the gate. Many foes fell in the tide of battle, but too many Knights also were lost. It seemed that they were beyond hope

Then, at the end of the day, the wise men finally succeeded in blocking the door to Ganon's Realm. With the power of their master removed, the enemies fled or threw themselves into the moat. Hyrule was saved and over the years the Golden Land, which then became known as the Dark World, faded from folks' memories

The people of Hyrule may have forgotten about the Dark World, but the master of that evil land had not forgotten about Hyrule. Ganon brooded in his prison, surrounded by reminders of his fall. He grew ever more bitter as the dark years passed like the wailing of cold winds on a winter's night. Ambition burned in his eyes. He would find a way to wreck vengeance and claim total power

Many centuries passed with Ganon and the Triforce safely locked away. Then the disasters began: plague, drought, quakes and fire. The King sought sage advice and a wizard named Agahnim stepped forth and ended the strange disasters. He became a powerful advisor to the King, but he kept his true plans to himself

It seemed like a Golden Age, but it wouldn't last

Once Agahnim had consolidated his power,
he began to abuse it. First
to fall victim were the ancestors of the seven wise men. The wizard imprisoned six maidens in crystal cocoons and they were never seen again. Then Princess Zelda herself was taken as she sent a telepathic plea into the night. The Hylian gift that enabled Zelda to send her message also allowed Link to hear her

Having received Zelda's message, Link felt compelled to save her, but his uncle forbade him to leave the house. Link's uncle thought that the lad's courage outweighed his common sense, yet he knew that something had to be done to save Zelda. Turning away from Link, he gripped his sword. He knew a secret entrance into the castle, although he didn't know the way out

Link couldn't tell how much time had passed since his Uncle had left -- a minute? An hour? The only thing he knew was that Zelda had spoken to him. He had to help her! Taking a lamp to light his way, Link stepped into the lashing rain and headed toward the castle

As Link floundered about in the storm, he heard a second telepathic message from Zelda telling of a secret route into the castle. When he found the entrance, he also found his uncle inside, wounded and unable to carry on. Link took his Uncle's sword and promised to return...

There! Now that we're all caught up to date with the wonderful world of the Zelda series, let's dig into the game people are calling "the best ever"


Here are some of the cool things Link can do. You'll be doing lots of this, and as you'd expect from Nintendo, the control is crisp and feels spot-on. So far, so good!

And the items you must find in order to complete your quest. Some have multiple uses, some are one time deals, while others act as teleporting devices! Nice...

The Book of Mudora is very
handy indeed. You'll find this
in the library perched atop a
high shelf. Unfortunately there
isn't a step ladder in sight. How
will Link retrieve this invaluable
book?  Hmmmm....

Without the book, you cannot gain access to key areas... so make sure you don't leave the library without it....

The Magic Bottle is an awesome item. You can carry up to four and these babies can hold magic potions (recovering health, magic power or both), fairies (which if you have activated when you die, the fairy will escape the bottle and revive you there on the spot), etc. Can you find all four? Here's my favorite of the four. A hobo living off nature. Totally atmospheric and gives Hyrule a real pulse... 

The hook shot is another cool item. Makes a sweet sound too when you're crossing giant pitfalls and chasms

Like I said, many
items have multiple
uses, which speaks
to Nintendo's ability
to make such playable
games. The hookshot
also acts as a potent
offensive weapon!

Do not relax when you
find baddies imprisoned
in giant chunks of ice in
the deadly Ice Palace...

... For they can quickly spring to life!

Here, Link shows off the powers of the almighty Firerod

                      The Goriya is a
                      tricky foe at first,
                      but his pattern is
                      actually simple,
                      particularly in
                      large-open spaces.
                      The green breed is
                      a push over but the
                      red ones are defiant
                      with their scorching
                      fireballs. Be sure
                      you have a set of
                      arrows on you and
                      be prepare to move
                      your feet...

Hmmm, I wonder what happens when you drop a bomb by crumbling walls? Oh look this is too hard. Back to my RAMPAGE...

Using your net, you can capture a bee and store it in a bottle. They can be unleashed to help you battle Ganon's minions. Did I mention how awesome the bottle is? And recall the multiple uses of the items. Did you know, in addition to the sword deflecting the magic of Agahnim, that the net ALSO works?  Try it...

Hyrule is filled with cool legends and urban myths. Is the Tale of the Good Bee for real? Only weary travelers can tell...

That little swirly spot is the mark of the Magic Mirror which allows you to go from the Light to Dark World. I love this shot. Just look at the billow of smoke blowing from the chimney, the little swords adorning the exterior, and hmmm, I wonder if you smash the stake down with the magic hammer, if you could drop off the ledge into that opening down there... where would it lead? Hmmmm...


The opening scene, with the rain lashing down on Hyrule, is considered one of the most awe-inspiring gaming moments in 1992. It was a simple effect, but it has stuck with a-many SNES players

Your first goal is to head to Hyrule Castle, but you'll need to find an alternative route...

         *scratches chin*

         Where's my copy
         of RAMPAGE?!

Rescuing Princess Zelda is no easy job. First you must come to blows with the Ball and Chain Trooper. His demise comes with the prize of a big key. Congratulations, you've saved the damsel in distress and the game is over! Of course, wouldn't be much of a game, so the silly lass gets kidnapped again. That wacky Miyamoto...

After you retrieve the three pendants (and a host of puzzles and baddies) make your way to the Lost Woods and see if you can't find the mythical Master Sword. Be careful, the Lost Woods is home to weird creatures, thieves hiding behind bushes, and to make matters worse is filled with fog and lots of false swords. Can you find the Real McCoy?

The mist clears and the thieves scramble for cover. The adventure is only beginning...


This nifty in-game map charts your location and has hints of where you should go next once you converse with the elder known as Sahasrahla

       The early dungeon
       maps are relatively

... and not surprisingly, gets much more complex and advanced the further you progress

                                                                   THINGS TO FIND AND DO

In each dungeon a Big Key must be collected in addition to a host of other keys

Other treasure chests
hold not keys, but
valuable goodies. Link
like, oh yes, Link like

Can you find all 24 hearts? You gain an extra heart for each boss defeated, but 24 hearts are scattered throughout Hyrule in the Light and Dark World. Collecting four gives you one full heart. Some are hidden underground, others high above ground... be creative, push and pull any weird looking tombstones, trees, etc.

There's one!  Random games can be played, at the price of some Rupees, and you just might find a piece of a heart...

This is one of my favorite games. It took me like 100 tries before I found the piece of heart!

... While most people prefer this mini-game
the most of them all

Gotta love the sunrays piercing through the room! Villagers can provide for some useful information along your journey. According to legend, Blind the Thief hated bright lights...

Could this be a sign? Hmmm

Along the Swamp Ruins Hyrule historians surmised that the civilization must have cultivated crops and practiced an early form of irrigation

[They what? -Ed.]

Oh look, in layman
terms this is another underground dungeon, but rather than being just another level, they lavished some feeling of history behind it to create its own unique world; such is the love that Miyamoto devoted into the game

[Oh -Ed.]

Before you arrive here you must get by the intricate stonework and maze-like garden of the Dark Palace, which features a unique monkey motif. Due to the passage of time the garden has become unpredictable and thus can prove to be difficult
to navigate...

The only way to enter this dark catacomb was to flip a switch up top. But how can Link get up there? Hmmm. Talk about monkey business....

The very ominous-looking Eastern Palace, with twin gargoyle heads adorning the courtyard, is even more frightening inside. Link entered the stark domain where he soon encountered materializing skeletons and sleeping giants awoke to charge intruders. Here lies the almighty Bow, but it'll awaken the Armos Knights...

Yeah, not a bad idea, young Link

"Bugger hell, I'm going back to my cabin! Sorry Zelda!"

Nowhere in Hyrule was it safe. Agahnim's guards patrolled the castle walls and even on the Sanctuary grounds

Many strange places
call Hyrule home. Few adventurers dare make the trek in some of the more suspicious looking entrances. Thieves carved out this opening in a huge, old redwood stump, then tunneled into the earth to create a cave. Rumor has it, no one who has entered has come out alive.... children are advised to stay far away and that a goblin lives underground...

Speaking of ghouls and goblins, the Hyrulian Cemetery was full of legends and rumors. One of which was that the tombstones didn't always hid bodies, but treasures. Will you go tramping around and risk the chance of disrupting the sleep of the dead? Who knows what spirits you might unleash... or what treasures you might find!

The lightning laser guards Agahnim's Tower. I wonder what you can use to break the seal...

Link can see all over the land of Hyrule atop the pyramid, but an odd sense of clot overcame the young warrior, so he did not linger around those parts for very long. But he also sensed, somehow, that he'd return to the pyramid sooner rather than later...

A tricky section, this. Rather than floors you have intricate catwalks. Torches could be lit via the Lamp or Firerod, and then Link would have to make haste to the next position where he could relight the flame before it went out. You could also use the Magic of Ether to briefly light the way or push a block created by the Cane of Somaria. Or, you could just study this picture

[Ahhhh -Ed.]

                                                                       STRANGE BEINGS....

Across the land of Hyrule there are several fortune tellers. Villagers whisper that these mysterious cloaked figures are not human, that to enter their shops is to take your own life by the throat. In a quaint cottage near one entrance to the Lost Woods you can find one
of them. For a price, he would stare into a magical crystal ball and tell what fate lies in your future. Some people took his predictions seriously and visited often, while others felt that they had wasted their money and claimed their crops never grew again after the visit. Link did not believe in such silly superstitions, and knew that with each fortune telling he also had his health fully restored at the end of each session. How bad could the fortune teller really be?

Many trees litter the landscape
of Hyrule. In the Light World they
don't present any sort of threat.
But in the Dark World some
timbers are rumored to speak.
Explorers claim they've heard
some weird chant emitting from
the trees and believe these trees
to be Golden Land sentries who
were petrified by Ganon's magic.
Link came across hostile trees
and could feel the power of
Ganon growing by the step

         This mischievous monkey, known
         as KiKi, has strange powers and
         is in love with rupees. In exchange
         of a set amount, he promises to
         do a huge favor that will right your
         quest. Can he be trusted? Will he
         steal your money and scamper off
         high in the trees? If you say no,
         will he summon his primate pals
         in a revolt? It's your call...

Life in the Mire is a nasty
place. The Swamolas,
believed to be the cousins
of the Lanmolas, hid below
the mud and slime, surfacing
only to snatch a meal....

The chickens are innocent harmless creatures, that is, until you attack one repeatedly whereby it calls upon its buddies to revolt against you. Useless? Perhaps. Fun to mess around with? You betcha!

In the Dark World, the
Ghostly Garden was
filled with evil, from the
bomb chucking Hinox
to the squirming blobs

Don't be fooled by the Hinox's grin, he is one of the tougher regular baddies in all of LTTP. Thank goodness they
only patrol the Dark World!

The electro-blobs can cause havoc in packs

These menacing creatures guarded Ganon's Tower. Few adventurers made it past them

Can you find the blacksmith's partner? Without him your sword cannot be tempered


Finding the partner will require some wit and cunning skill, nicely done

Sahasrahla the village elder proves to be very helpful throughout your journey

Through various panels found on the walls in the various dungeons Zelda can communicate telepathically with Link, offering handy tips to further your progress

Fairy Fountains are a Godsend, re-energizing weary travelers to full strength

Can you rescue all six trapped maidens?

Oh no problem, hun. It was my pleasure. How about some tea and crumpets? Oh ho ho ho


Many boss battles take place throughout the adventure and I won't spoil all of them, but here
are some to feast your eyes on....

The Armos Knights look intimidating, but they're
a cakewalk. Three well-placed arrows will dispatch of each one, but the last one is double tough. Defeating them earns you the Pendant
of Courage

Moldorm guards the Mountain Palace and can be very tricky. If you fall over you must start over!
I suffered this such fate several times before I got the best of old Moldy. Once you upset him, he slithers really fast! It's almost disturbing in a "It shouldn't LOOK LIKE THAT!" sort of way

Blind the Thief
is very sneaky. Finding him is half the battle... good
luck with that, friend!

Agahnim guards Hyrule Castle and has captured Zelda, the swine

[Zelda or Agahnim? -Ed.]

Hmmm, both, really,
come to think of it

Hint: He can only be harmed by deflecting his magic. Why not try out the bug-catching net?

Oh Lord... this doesn't look too good...

Vitreous [I'm too young to start using that! -Ed.] guards the Misery Mire.
It sees all, har har har. Watch out for the lightning this vile creature emits, and once the giant eye comes after you like such, hack away. Like most of the boss battles, it's easy but nonetheless very satisfying to kill

The fall of Vitreous sees you rescuing the sixth and final maiden, and the location of Princess Zelda will then be disclosed...

Ooooh, that's a nasty looking bugger...

The Helmasaur King is a big bad boy all right, and guards the double tough Dark Palace. He starts
the battle out wearing a gigantic mask. The first step is to remove it, somehow...

Can you destroy the evil Ganon and save all of Hyrule? The quest awaits


LTTP has plenty of legends, rumors and urban myths. It really gives Hyrule a real heart beat, a real pulse. It's the magic that only Nintendo and Miyamoto seem able to craft. I love almost all
of them, but I have to share this one... the good ole LEGEND OF THE FLUTE PLAYER

Witnesses saw animals gather around a fading flute player in a grove in central Hyrule. Others claim they can hear the faint playing of a flute hauntingly swirling from the grove north of the Swamp. They would run in the direction of the sound and then find absolutely nothing. Silence fell over as they approached the stump. Suddenly the music would play again and they ran for their lives, convinced that the grove was haunted. Ever since, everyone knows of the location simply as THE HAUNTED GROVE

One day, Link ran into the Haunted Grove to escape some of Agahnim's soldiers. There he found one of the strangest sights he had ever seen in Hyrule. A ghost-like boy sat on a stump playing a flute. Surrounding the boy was a host of animals. When Link approached, the animals ran away and the boy vanished. Try as he might, he could not catch the animals or the boy and later discovered they were ghosts.....

Later in his journey Link came across townfolk who indulged the youth on the legend of the Flute Boy

In the Dark World, the mystery of the Flute Boy was slowly but surely unraveling...

The Flute Boy gave Link his shovel. Now if Link could only find the lost flute...

Link got to work, in hopes he would find the Flute and discover its magical powers...

I won't say how the tale of the Flute Boy plays out exactly, but it's pretty sad. I grew quite fond of the bloke, blast it to heck...


Boy, clues used to be SO subtle in video games...


Stop the presses! I've got the scoop to end all, er, scoops!  Hidden in the vaults of Nintendo Headquarters I have managed, through my adventurous spirit, (and who says playing games
like Link to the Past teaches you nothing?!) to secure the DIRECTOR'S CUT of how the story
REALLY plays out!

Take a glander...

Yoinks! Looks like when the pressure was on, his Master Sword broke... [Oh dear -Ed.]


  • EGM: 8, 9, 9, 9
  • Super Play: 93%

In their 100th issue, November '97, EGM listed Link to the Past as the 3rd best game of all time

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE SHIGSTER  [Don't call me that -Mr. Miyamoto]

Credit Super Play and Onn Lee of Electric Brain fanzine for their conversation with Zelda brainchild Shigeru Miyamoto!  Circa November 1992

Shigeru Miyamoto has the golden touch. He's directly responsible for both the Zelda and Mario series of games developed at Nintendo's 'Entertainment Analysis And Development' department in Japan, making him perhaps the most important games creator at work in the world today. When a piece of software sells 10,000 copies in Japan it is considered
a hit, but many Mr. Miyamoto has been involved with have shifted millions, as well as become household names worldwide. It all puts him rather in the super-league. Here's a conversation recorded with Mr. Miyamoto earlier this year

What exact role do you take in the games development process?

I don't actually do any of the programming, but I am involved in organizing the programming teams. Instead of imposing deadlines, I find that constant encouragement of your staff is the best way to keep them going. Perhaps it's one of the reasons for our success

Are the Super Famicom and SNES versions of Zelda III the same?

Because the SFC version completely used up all 8 megabits of memory, we originally estimated that we'd need another megabit
to cope with the text being translated into English for the American game. That being the case we'd need a 9Mbit cartridge for America, but wouldn't be using up all the space on it, so we toyed with squeezing in
a few of the spare ideas left out of Zelda I to fill up the space. In the event, though, we managed to fit the English version onto 8 megabits anyway, so any ideas like that went out the window. So yes, both versions should be exactly the same

When was Zelda III originally meant to be released?

We were hoping to release it at the time the Super Famicom itself first came out, back in November 1990 alongside Super Mario World. We couldn't make that, so after that a March '91 release was planned, but the project dragged on beyond that, too. Eventually it became a Super Famicom first anniversary release instead

How many people actually worked on the game?

We started with just a handful for about a year, but then added more as things progressed. Basically the small team works out a rough draft plan, and the large team refines this into a game

What kinds of things did you have in mind when planning the new game?

We wanted to improve on all the short-comings of the 8-bit games that had been imposed on us by the technical limitations of the Famicom. In the 8-bit Zelda the player had to imagine a lot of effects that the graphics couldn't simulate. Also, back in 1987 Zelda had introduced lots of new features to games, like the ability to save your game and buy items, but in the meantime these had become the bog-standard components of any RPG. We knew that to keep
ahead of the pack, Zelda III needed more

How difficult did you want to make Zelda III?

On average it takes about 40 hours to complete, but the fastest recorded time at Nintendo is five hours! We've actually tried to make it as easy as possible. The way the game is structured you can't take alternative routes to finish the game, so we've made it that, for example, if you come across a blocked passage you
will be able to progress further, even if
you have forgotten a certain item. If mainstream gamers could cope with less linear adventures, though, we might have made it a lot harder

Is it true that loads of brilliant ideas had to be dropped because of a shortage of memory space?

No, we dropped the average ideas and picked the best!

And finally, how about the future?

I can't discuss new games at the moment, but we've got lots of plans, at least one of which
is along the same lines as Pilotwings [And that, as one might guess, became most likely....
Star Fox -Me]

Thanks once again to Super Play Magazine and Onn Lee!

Interesting that Shigs [Oh forget it -Mr. Miyamoto] mentioned the average of 40 hours. Here's how I fared on my first go ever...

As you can see Turtle Rock and Dark Palace gave me the most fits. Most Zelda III players complain about Turtle Rock and Ice Palace. Ice Palace wasn't too bad in my view... I had a night class at 7 PM and had an hour to kill. I figure I'd tackle Ice Palace, and I ended up beating it on THAT go just in time before class started. Nothing beats that I tells ya!


On Sunday evening, March 11, 2007... 19 days after I started Link to the Past, I dethroned Ganon and I finally set Hyrule a-straight. It was bittersweet in some respect. Sure it was nice seeing the land blossom again and what have you, but a part of me wanted just one more dungeon to work through, one more boss to crack open, one more item to procure, one more heart piece to discover, one more mini-game to play and one more urban legend to solve. It was 30 hours of bliss, and the more I progressed the more the game grew
on me, until it nearly consumed me, making me even all the more shameful I waited 15 years to finally play through this. Ah, to live and learn eh?

Every little touch in this game is just great. From the hobo taking cover under the bridge, the tale of the quarreling brothers, the bedridden boy, the legend of the Flute Player, the witch, to all the dungeons and bosses... there is so much to do and take in. And take it in you will. Not nearly enough games reach the levels LTTP ascend to. And what a shame that is. This is more than a game -- it's an EXPERIENCE. Corny and cliche, but it's so true. Take it from a converted fan of this genre... I am just beginning to discover the joys this type of game can generate. It's not immediately satisfying maybe, but it doesn't take long before the quest takes over your every waking moment. After I beat the Ice Palace I ran to my night class. As my professor lectured on and on about BICS and CALP, I could only find myself thinking about what horrors the Misery Mire would bring, and counting down the hours until class would end. Is this the sign of a truly captivating game, or a truly sick man? Probably both

Further proof of the latter... something disturbed me deeply regarding the theme of the Dark World. Play through that again and TRY TO TELL ME that the theme doesn't sound like the infamous SNL music skit **** IN A BOX!

[Uh yeah, reminder to self: edit that out.... -Ed.]

Any complaints? Well, there is a hint of slowdown on a few key sections, like the boss fight with Mothula f'rinstance. And while it's relatively clear what you need to do next, a few of the puzzles are slightly, in my opinion, obscure and can be tough to figure out if you don't have a guide on you. The incessant beep that plays when you're on your last heart is annoying. These are minor quips though, quite frankly

Other than that, it's hard to find a real flaw in the armor...

Zelda III
was released in Japan on November 21, 1991, exactly one year after the Super Famicom made its debut. The American release was held back for six months. When it finally did appear it sold 250,000 copies in the first six weeks -- faster than any other Nintendo game in history!  If, by some crazy chance, you've yet to play LTTP I hope you make it a priority to do so. I still have a lot of classics I need to go through, and I can only hope they're half as good as this

For now, the Master Sword rests peacefully, but soon it will rise from the ashes once more...

Yes, I do believe the hype. You cannot call yourself a Super Nintendo fan, hell, forget that, you can't call yourself a VIDEO GAME fan until you've played through...

Graphics: 8
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 9

Overall: 10


One of the best games on the Super Nintendo, heck, on any system ever. Magic, mystery, action, loads of multi-purpose items, puzzles, giant guardians, huge sprawling mazes, it's got the lot!
An epic hall of fame adventure you must go through before you die