*The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past* is the 3rd game to be released in the *Legend of Zelda* series, and first game in the Downfall Timeline, following on from events on *Ocarina of Time*. *A Link To The Past* was released in 1991 in Japan and 1992 the rest of the world, and was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
### Development and Release
As the one and only Zelda game released on the massively popular Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), *A Link To The Past* started out as a third NES game, but development switched to the new console. *A Link To The Past* reverted back to the top-down approach originally shown in the NES game, *The Legend of Zelda* instead of the side-scrolling perspective in *The Adventure of Link*. *A Link To The Past* was afforded a bigger budget and development time by Nintendo, including an increase in the standard cartridge size for the SNES, due to the massive success of previous games on the NES platform. Moving from the standard 4Mbit (512KB) cartridges, Nintendo dedicated a 8Mb (1MB) cartridge to *A Link To The Past*, meaning a more expansive world could be portrayed.
Similar to how Nintendo solved the problem of compression with *Super Mario World*, *A Link To The Past* limited the colour depth of many tiles instead of using the SNES’ native 16-bit. These tiles were then decompressed at runtime by adding a leading bit to the pixel’s colour index. Another method also used to save space was eliminating duplication. The Light and Dark worlds within the game are almost identical, and only the differences were saved. If this were not the case, the game would have had to have waited for a 16Mbit cartridge.
<img class="alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-955" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/zeldasdcd-150x150.jpg" alt="zeldasdcd" />Returning from writing the score for the original *Super Mario Bros.* and *The Legend of Zelda*, Koji Kondo re-used many elements from the original NES game, and helped establish the musical core for the Zelda series in *A Link To The Past.* The most notable additions to the Zelda score library were “Zelda’s Lullaby”, “Ganondorf’s Theme”, “Kakariko Village” and the highly recognisable “Select Screen/Fairy Cave” music. An official soundtrack, titled *The Legend of Zelda: Sound and Drama*, was released in Japan which contains rearranged versions of the tracks within the game and a second disc of the original arrangements and tracks from *The Legend of Zelda*.
*<img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-958" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/0776-150x150.jpg" alt="A Link to the Past Game Boy Advance" />A Link To The Past* has since been re-released on many formats since the original release on the SNES. Most notable of these re-releases was the Game Boy Advance release which contained an improved translation, sound effects imported from various newer games and additional content, including an additional dungeon and content which could only be unlocked by completing *Four Swords*, which was contained on the GBA Game Pak. The game has also been available to download on the Wii Virtual Console since 2007.
<img class="alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-956" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/250px-Satellaview_with_Super_Famicom-250x250.jpg" alt="Satellaview with Super Famicom" />Before the announcement of the direct sequel in April 2013 for release on the 3DS, there was a *A Link To The Past* sequel released only for the Satellaview add-on for the SNES and only in Japan. Titled *BS The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets*, the game made notable use of a voice broadcast system, which provided voice-acting for several characters from *A Link To The Past*. Taking place six years after the events of *A Link To The Past* and set in the Light World, the game lacks Link as the main character and instead the player himself is cast as the Hero. The available characters where male and female BS-X avatars that also featured in *BS Zelda no Densetsu*, a Satellaview-exclusive version of the original *Legend of Zelda*. Divided into four-weekly episodes, the episodes were played live along with a voice-acted soundtrack which sometimes contained suggestions, clues and plat development for the game as it was being played. By shrouding certain areas of the Overworld in clouds, Nintendo made portions of the accessible each week, and two dungeons per week were accessible. As the game was played via a broadcast system and could not be saved to the ROM, players had to complete the game only while it was being broadcast, regardless of whether the sections were completed or not.
<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-961" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/15.gif" alt="A Link to the Past" />Returning to the top-down view as seen in the original *Legend of Zelda*, but also takes elements from both the original and the sequel, *The Adventure of Link* such as the magic meter and make special items functional. Also shared from *The Adventure of Link* is the ability to talk to and gather information from non-playable characters to obtain information vital to the quest.
Following previous games, and a trend continued in further entries, the game mechanic of dungeons is well-developed, with *A Link To The Past* containing 12 full dungeons, the most seen in any Zelda game. These comprise of multiple rooms, with a dungeon map and compass to be found within the dungeon, along with small keys to open locked doors, and a larger Big Key which opens the Boos door. As well as these, in the dungeons there is normally a major weapon or upgrade found within, normally after a mini-boss battle. This item helps Link progress through the rest of the dungeon and ultimately helps defeat the dungeon boss.
Similar to the bombs in *The Legend of Zelda* and the magic meter in its sequel, various items in *A Link To The Past* can be upgraded either in capacity or advanced versions. These are normally done via optional side-quests or locating secret places. Other optional weapons and items are also found throughout the world map too.
<img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-953" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Legend_of_Zelda_a_Link_to_the_Past_Screen02-173x300.png" alt="Light vs. Dark Comparison" />The largest section of *A Link To The Past* is the Light and Dark world division, and the subsequent reliance on warping between the two worlds to complete puzzles and quests. Although similar in appearance, there can be subtle differences between the two worlds, for example, by switching from the Dark World to the Light World while standing in an apparently empty dead end, Link can find in the latter world a secret cave or a passage that was otherwise inaccessible, leading to secret prizes. By reversing this technique, the player can access new dungeons which is crucial to progression within the game. This technique has been highly praised, and has since been used in varying forms in further titles.
In addition to the improvement of graphics, sound and scope, *A Link To The Past* features a far weightier storyline than previous titles, again setting the standard for future titles. The dungeons featured in *A Link To The Past* are crucial to the development of the story, with the first three containing the sacred pendants that give Link access to the Master Sword, the fourth setting the scene for a failed attempt at rescuing Princess Zelda, and the next seven housing the imprisoned maidens, who help break the seal on the final dungeons entrance once freed. This style of story/dungeon progression has since been used in nearly every game since, with various twists and plot details added as to not make the mechanic seem overly pedantic.
### Trivia and Facts
*A Link To The Past* is the first game to mention and include the Master Sword. Since this inclusion, the Master Sword has played a role in nearly every Zelda game since, including its origin story in *Skyward Sword*.
*A Link To The Past* is first game in the Zelda series to include the locations of Kakariko Village and Lake Hylia.
This is the first Zelda game where a member of Link’s family is shown. The only other games that do this are *The Wind Waker* and *The Minish Cap*.
<img class="alignleft wp-image-949 size-full" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Cucco-Sprite.png" alt="Cucco" width="60" height="68" />This game introduces the Cucco Revenge Squad, where a flock of Cuccos will attack Link if he attacks one continuously.
## Timeline Information
*The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past* is officially the first game in the Downfall Timeline, after the events of *Ocarina of Time* where the Hero died in his efforts of attempting to defeat Ganon. *A Link To The Past* is the first in the set of games that feature the same Hero, a total of four (5 including the sequel to *A Link To The Past*) entries, which is the longest series of Zelda games to feature the same Hero.
## A Link To The Past Backstory
After the events of *Ocarina of Time*, where the Hero was defeated and Ganondorf was sealed inside a now twisted Sacred Realm, peace returned to Hyrule. Because of the events set in motion by the Evil King, there were many that knew of the location of the entrance to the Sacred Realm and with their lust for power aroused, they fought to gain access to the power of the gods, the Triforce.
Because of the nature of the Sacred Realm reflecting the heart of its occupants, the Realm was now a dangerous place, overrun with monsters and none of the would-be champions returned. While these rivals fought for the sacred power, evil spewed forth from the Sacred Realm until the King of Hyrule ordered the Sages of legend to seal the Sacred Realm, while being protected by the Knights of Hyrule. The Knights of Hyrule were a clan whose primary duty was to protect the Hylian Royal Family. It is believed these heroes were descended from the original hero who held the Crest of Courage, otherwise known as the Triforce of Courage. Legend has it that the Hero would appear once again in its ranks, and it is believed that the Hero of Time came from a family within this group.
While sealing the realm, the Sages and the Knights were overrun by evil monsters from the Sacred Realm, and a fierce battle unfolded in which many of those involved perished. The entrance to the Sacred Realm was once again sealed, tight enough so it should never be reopened.
<img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-975" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Imprisoning_War-300x130.png" alt="The Imprisoning War" />This era was called the Imprisoning War and during this time, the link between the Hylian people and the goddess Hylia was slowly diminishing, and the kingdom of Hyrule fell into disrepair. The original Sages’ power and influence also weakened, and thus the Kingdom of the Gods became nothing more than an ancient legend.
Although falling into ruin and the link to the Goddess becoming weaker and weaker, the Kingdom remained at peace. That is, until the arrival of a man who sought to break the seal on the Sacred Realm and enter the Dark World. This man was called Agahnim, and he was a priest with powerful magic at his disposal.
After killing the King of Hyrule, Agahnim started to kidnap maidens from across the land who blood contained the blood of the original Sages. One by one he sacrificed the girls, sending them to the Dark World, with his next victim the Princess of Hyrule herself - Zelda.
### A Link To The Past Events
Upon her imprisonment, Zelda sends a telepathic message to Link for help, which rouses Link from his sleep. Link attempts to ask his uncle for help, but find him already equipped with sword and shield and sets off for the castle, telling Link to stay at home. Link ignores his advice, and upon reaching the castle finds him gravely wounded. Link’s uncle hands him the sword and shield, and entrusts him to rescue Princess Zelda and passes away. Link eventually finds Zelda within the castle dungeons, and proceeds to escort her out of the castle and into the safety of the Sanctuary to the North.
While safe in the Sanctuary, a priest tells Link that the only way to defeat Agahnim would be with the legendary Master Sword, and sends him to the elder Sahasrahla. Sahasrahla - a descendant of the seven Sages - explains that an ordinary man could not hope to wield the Master Sword, and he must first appear to descended from the Knights of Hyrule. To prove this, Link seeks to find three pendants — the Pendant of Courage, the Pendant of Power, and the Pendant of Wisdom. These make up the Pendants of Virtue and are the sign that the Hero can lift the Master Sword.
<img class="alignleft wp-image-977 size-medium" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Agahnim-235x300.png" alt="Agahnim" width="235" height="300" />After Link travels to the Lost Woods and successfully retrieves the Master Sword, Zelda once again calls out telepathically to Link, to warn him that soldiers are invading the Sanctuary. Hurrying back to the Princess, Link arrives a moment too late and the soldiers have already taken Zelda to the castle. Link rushes to the castle to confront Agahnim, but finds he has already sent Zelda to the Dark World and thus, breaking the Sage’s Seal to the Sacred Realm. Link defeats Agahnim, but upon his defeat, drags Link into the Dark World.
Upon entering the Dark World, which is a transformed Sacred Realm thanks to Ganondorf’s evil wishes, Link is transformed into a bunny. Ordinarily, people entering the Dark World are turned into monsters but as Link possessed the qualities of the Hero, he became an animal, specifically a pink bunny.
While in the Dark World, Link is contacted telepathically by Sahasrahla, who explains what the world is and why it appears as it does. He then commissions Link the task of rescuing the seven maidens sent there by Agahnim, who are being held in dungeons across the land. While freeing the maidens, Link obtains two key items to help his cause: the Moon Pearl and the Magic Mirror.
<img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-954" src="http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Magic_Mirror-198x300.png" alt="Magic Mirror" />The Moon Pearl is an item that allows Link to resume his normal appearance in the Dark World, which also allows him to use his items and traverse the world easier. The Magic Mirror is another magical item which allows Link to freely travel between the Light and Dark Worlds, opening up more areas in both and helping solve inter-dimensional puzzles. In between solving puzzles and freeing the imprisoned maidens, Link meets other people who have fallen to a tragic fate within the Dark World, including Blind the Thief and a boy turned into a fox.
Knowing that if the passage between the worlds were to widen, the Demon King would emerge into the Light World and wreak havoc. Link frees all of the maidens from their dungeons, and travels to Ganon’s Tower where Princess Zelda broke the barrier around the Tower using the power of the Sages. Upon breaking the barrier, Agahnim once again battles Link, whom Link dispatches with aplomb, and the shadow of Ganon rises from the body, transforms into a bat, and flies off into the Pyramid of Power, the site of the decisive battle.
Ganon, in the form of a giant demonic beast, uses his dark magic and trident against Link, who has the power of the Master Sword and Silver Arrows, with the Hero prevailing against the Demon King. Link lays claim to the Triforce, and wishes for peace to return to the land, returns those trapped in the world to their original form and to resurrect those who were sacrificed, including Link’s uncle and the King of Hyrule.
### A Link To The Past Legacy
Once peace had returned to the land of Hyrule, the Triforce returned to the Royal Family’s possession and the world of life given by the Gods once again benefitted and thrived.
The Dark World, so long a place of misery and evil under the rule of the Demon King, slowly became a promised land again, returning to the former glory of the Sacred Realm. This Dark World still exists in parallel to the Light World, however, the means to travel to and fro to it remains to be discovered.