Co-Opting the Legend of Zelda Series With My Spouse – Part 3: A Link to the Past

By JP
November 8, 2019

 
This is the 3rd in this series. With the first boot up of this game, and the little music that happens when the Triforce comes together then the title screen appears I am all pumped to get into it. We start up and I make a deal with my spouse. I will read the lines for the male characters, but she has to read the ones for the female characters. With some reluctance she agrees and off we go. Into the castle, find the dead uncle for our weapon, then off to rescue the princess. It’s like putting on comfortable clothing how I play this game. Having my spouse switch off reading the dialog with me is great and definitely adds a little something. The beginning goes quickly and then we are out & about. I plan on sequence breaking later a lot, but right now at the beginning, I want to show her as much of the story in game as possible. So we head off for Kakariko village. Being a Zelda nerd I tell her that this is the first time in the series that Kakariko shows up. So we go to the elder’s house, then to the chicken herder. I show what happens if you talk to the wrong people in town, and futilely try to get the guy who runs away.

So I run around town getting items, then head out for the sage by the Eastern Palace. With bottle and bug net in tow, we work our way over to the sage Sahasrahla. We meet up with him and then into the first dungeon, the Eastern Palace. It’s pretty straightforward, and before you know it we have the bow and are taking on the boss, the Armos Knights. I shoot down most of them with the bow pretty quickly, but for the last one, I whip out the boomerang to put him down. While the bow is more powerful, the boomerang keeps him at a distance until it goes down.

We go back to the sage to get the Pegasus Boots. Finally we can dash around everywhere. We make sure to get every heart piece we can before going to the next dungeon in the desert. We also make a side trip specifically to the library to pick up the Book of Midora which we need to get into the Desert Palace. I dash all over the place, and get the Power Glove as soon as possible. Having this thing opens up so much more that I think hard about popping out to go get more things before dealing with the boss. We have two fairies in bottles though, so we can handle it. The only part of the boss, Lanmolas, that is a big pain is the rocks that launch when their head burrows out of the ground. It takes at least one fairy/extra life to pull it off, but the boss goes down. Now with the Power Glove, our first stop is getting those flippers so we can swim.

We have more than enough rupees by this point. So we get the flippers and a few more heart containers. One more dungeon before the Master Sword is ours, the Tower of Hera/Mountain Dungeon. We head on up Death Mountain, help an old man back to his home, and pick up the crucial item that is the mirror. We work on through and up the tower to get the Moon Pearl, then I show my spouse off something that isn’t in the guide: falling through the right hole on the level right before the boss makes you fall down a series of hollow columns, all the way down to a secret room to replenish life and bottles with fairies. That taken care of, we go on up for one of the most annoying bosses in the game, Moldorm. It isn’t that the boss is hard per se, more that its room is. It keeps knocking me off and down a floor multiple times before I put an end to the monster. Now it’s off for the moment of awesome that is pulling out the Master Sword for the first time in the series.

It is truly an epic moment, and the change in lighting and music really brings it. No sooner than we leave and go back into Lost Woods proper than we get the message that Zelda’s hiding spot has been found out. We hightail it back to the Sanctuary just in time to see the Priest give his dying words. It’s on now Agahnim! I first try a glitch to get into the Dark World off of Death Mountain, but it isn’t happening. We just give up on that and make a beeline for Hyrule Castle. The castle itself is fairly linear, My spouse gives me a heads on each room before I get to it though just in case of surprises. Then comes the Agahnim fight. I let him get off at least one of each of his attacks, then take him down.

Once in the Dark World, we pick up another heart piece and head for the Palace of Darkness- Level 1. Yes, that is its name. Everything up to that point and just been the prologue for the real game. As I go over that with my spouse, it gets her grinning. So she guides me though the Palace, we get the hammer and to take on the first boss in the Dark World, the Helmasaur King. I barely beat him with 1 heart left and no fairies, I’m more rusty than I thought I was! But now that we have the hammer let the sequence breaking begin! I use the hammer to get into Thieves’ Village, then sneak into Thieves’ Den – Level 4. I dodge like a boss killing enemies only when necessary until I make may way to the big key and the Titan’s Mitt. With that now I go though the processes to get the Master Sword its first upgrade into the Tempered Sword. I also pick up the shovel, flute, fast travel via duck, and 4th bottle. I also get the very confused demon bat to reduce my magic cost by half for all items. We chuckle as we are now pretty overpowered for not having done the 2nd level in the dark world yet, and talk about sneaking into the another dungeon just for the blue armor. That particular level is a pain though, so we decide to wait until after the next dungeon at least.

So we head off to the Swamp Palace – Level 2. A little world-hopping and the lake is drained, and in we go. We head in and have no trouble wiping the floor with any enemy that can be killed. And just as in the previous games, with my spouse guiding me, I don’t get turned around or forget a crucial key somewhere. We pick up the Hookshot, remarking that it changes a lot in later games. Then we take down the boss, Arrghus. We talk about how similar mini-bosses in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are to this one, but with the Tempered Master Sword he’s a wimp. With the Hookshot now we can legitimately get to most anywhere in the Dark World. We pick up some more heart pieces, go to the graveyard for the Magic Cape, make sure we have the Magical Bee in a bottle, then off to the 3rd level, Skull Woods. Honestly I hated this level back in the day, too easy to get stuck, didn’t know how to sequence break so the Master Sword felt weak by this dungeon, and the boss was very very annoying. This time around, with my spouse on point, we pick up the Fire Rod and blow though the dungeon straight to the boss, Mothula. I unleash the bee at it, then swich to the Fire Rod for backup. While the Bee vs Moth fight goes on I dance around the frigging spikes along the conveyor belt, while dodging Mothula as well. The bee goes down before the Moth does, but weakens it up enough that the Fire Rod can finish it off.

Now we head into the 4th level properly, and again the talk about sneaking ahead for the Blue Armor comes up, but we handled the Skull Woods level pretty well, so I say we just keep pressing forward. We go in, deal with Blind, and go right for the Ice Palace after refilling fairies. Now this one was a real maze, and even my spouse got lost on the guide once on where we were. But we push onward and finally get the Blue Armor. We make our way down to Kholdstare, and joke about how it looks like an old Kirby boss. One fight later and we’re looking good. With her to guide me we stay on top of getting all the heart pieces and head to Misery Mire. Using any of the medallions is always flashy, but using them to open a way into the dungeon is very cool. We pick up one of the two magic canes in the game, the Cane of Somaria, here. While it has practical uses, at this point it is kinda meh compared to last few dungeon items. The boss here, Vitreous, also reminds us of mini-boss tactics from later games, and is easily dispatched. Now we go to free Zelda from the infamous Turtle Rock!

We head back to the Death Mountain, and with some world hopping, pick up the other magical cane, the Cane of Byrna. It is a heck of a magic drain, but invincibility is nothing to sneeze at. Before we head up there I check the Dark World bomb shop, but no super bomb yet. I have my spouse check, as I could have sworn that it shows up before Turtle Rock, but it isn’t there. So we leave and head out for Level 7-Turtle Rock. Now it is a really cool level, and getting the mirror shield there really shores up our defense more. Now the boss here, Trinexx, is a fun one. It practically used up all our magic, but we take out its two elemental heads and then attack the core body, out of its shell. With Zelda rescued, it’s time to finish this! We head back to the bomb shop, and now the super bomb is there. We get it and blow open the Fairy Queen’s room in the Great Pyramid. Golden Master Sword and Silver Arrows time! Now we are loaded for war. We go back to Death Mountain again for Level 8-Ganon’s Tower. We approach each level carefully, as I recall the bottom levels in the Tower are a major pain. We pick up the Red Mail, do some re-matches with the first three bosses, and even find a secret room as we scale the tower. At the top, Agahnim is there instead of Ganon! We face off with him again. Even with his new tricks we bat his blasts back at him until Ganon rises!

He becomes some bat thing and flies off, but we follow via Flue Duck (don’t question it!). We land on top of the Great Pyramid just after Ganon crashes down though the top of it. We take minute to go do fairy refills, and I leave one bottle open to get a blue potion just in case we need more magic. So the final battle begins. Unlike later fights, and I point this out to my spouse, Ganon here is the last time in the series where you can just hit him anywhere with your sword and arrow. Later on it’s all weak points and timed hits etc… It is a struggle, and he does knock me off the ledge once or twice when he pulls out his darkness attack. But we finally weaken him, sword slice to freeze him, then Silver Arrow to the face! Finally he goes down, and we sit back to enjoy our ending.

Of the three games we have done in this series so far, this is by far the most cinematic ending. With the Triforce actually talking to Link (unique to this game), and then Link making the Happy Ending for Everyone Wish. We get to see everyone restored, revived etc… and after that we even see how many times we died in each area. Surprisingly only once, early on. I remember that death count being much higher when I was doing this on my own. All in all a truly great game with a story more in the game than in the manual for the first time in the series, and it pulled it off beautifully.

Next time, We head out to Kolohint for Link’s Awakening, the original version: no DX or Switch remake. Our final thoughts on this game was it was fun to play though together, sequence breaking was awesome, and having the story in game instead of in manual definitely raised the experience. Until next time everyone!