Wii U
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Game Info:

Zelda: A Link To The Past 
Developed By: Nintendo
Published By: Nintendo
Released:  April 13, 1992 (SNES)
Available On: Game Boy Advance, Super NES, Wii, Wii U
Genre: Action-Adventure
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Number of Players: Single player offline
Price: $7.99 on the Wii U E-Shop, varied price for used original SNES and GBA cartridge (Via Amazon) 

After the arrival of a wizard named Agahnim the kingdom of Hyrule has never been the same. While sleeping you are contacted telepathically by someone who says “Help me... My name is Zelda... I am in the castle dungeon.” Jumping out of bed you notice your uncle leaving, sword and shield in hand. You follow him and as you do your adventure begins!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the Zelda game that pretty much defined what we have come to know and love. This early '90s classic is one of the most influential games that I know about and is debatably one of the best looking, sounding, and definitely well known games from that era on the SNES out there. You play as Link (or whatever you name him) in the isometric top down adventure game, using classic tools such as the bow, boomerang, and hookshot. To this day it still feels smooth to play and rarely ever has frame rate issues. All of the music and sound effects are crisp, with songs that will get stuck in your head for days.

While I don't  want to go overboard on the story, it pretty much sets up what you do in almost every Zelda game out there since. You start by finding out the overarching quest of the game, in this case stop the evil wizard Agahnim and save Hyrule. To achieve this goal you must go to three dungeons so you can get more powerful, in the case you get the master sword (the only weapon that can stop the wizard). At the core of the game is to defeat a ton more dungeons to stop an even bigger bad guy, Ganon after he obtained the Triforce, that you might not have known about in the beginning of the game. While this is somewhat of a retold Zelda story at this point, when the game first came out it was something not as used in video games. 

Highlights:

Strong Points: Timeless game-play mechanics; sharp graphics; influenced the modern adventure game. 
Weak Points: Low replay value and little to no direction on how to get through the game. 
Moral Warnings: Mild spurts of Cartoon Violence (I mean every bad guy dies in a poof of smoke) and weird magic that isn't really explained.

Lets dig a little deeper, shall we? First off I want to talk about the Triforce, or Golden Power as it's known in this game. According to the lore of the game it grants the wish of whomever touches it. In this case Ganon wished for power and made the dark world. As the player you will be traversing both the light world and dark world to complete your quest. As you get closer and closer to defeating Ganon, you will find many items that you are able to use on your journey. Items like bow and arrows, bombs, magic canes that summon blocks for you to push and many more. The locations you visit are just as unique from swamps and deserts, to great lakes and mountains.

After transporting into the dark world once Agahnim is defeated, you discover that the only way to stop Ganon is to save the seven maidens. Each maiden is locked up away in dungeons across the land. Using the powers that Link acquired from earning the pendents you travel between the light and dark world solving puzzles and completing dungeons. These dungeons have specific items such as the hook-shot, Magic Hammer, and other notable weapons in the series that greatly increase Link’s abilities. Each dungeon also has a dungeon map that reveals all the rooms in the dungeon, a compass which reveals all the hidden rooms and chests. To reach the end bosses of every dungeon the player also needed to collect the Big key or whats later known in the series the boss key. After beating each dungeon all you need to do go fight Ganon. 

The music portrays lush stories being told to epic boss battles. Each item has sounds that set them apart distinctively from enemies. If you haven't heard the music from this game I beg that you seek it out even if you don't want to play the game. It has a timeless appeal and still holds up very well to this day. The graphics are nice and vibrant in the light world and dark and muddy tones in the dark world. That being said it is hard to find a good TV to play this game on. The pixel art runs a little blurry on modern day HD TV's if you happen to be playing on the Super Nintendo. 

Now because this is an old game, it is quite hard to get your hands on at a reasonable price if you are looking for the SNES version. But don't worry the game is on the Wii and Wii U virtual market and is scheduled for a release on the Nintendo 3DS (for the new 3DS' only) e-shop spring of 2016. o if you are hungering for a new experience or maybe wanting to relive a classic, I would definitely recommend The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past!

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 94%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 93%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Now my two complaints on this game are the lack of direction to the player and replay value. While this game has a great story and great visual cues it lacks directing the play quite a bit. At certain points in the game it is easy to get lost in what you are doing and the lack of direction to progress the story is hard to find. The only reliable way to get through the game (without a guide) is a fortune teller who you pay for hints.  So for some younger players it may be a little more daunting. It is also super easy to remember for an experienced player. I picked up and beat 3 dungeons in one sit down because I knew every little thing that needed to happen for that to get done. So the replay value is hit drastically for the returning players and almost no direction for the new player. 

Morally this game is overall good in my book. While this is a decent amount of violence, it is often portrayed as cartoon violence or you are fighting some sort of monster. It is not often you fight human type people where you can see their face, the exception to this is are being a couple of bosses. There is also quite a bit of magic portrayed in this game. While I don't believe it is occult magic, it is definitely ingrained into the lore and background of this game. There are witches and wizards, spell's and curses, magic mirror and staffs that have power. But it is portrayed in a way that is almost child like and meant to not be taken seriously. 

Zelda: A Link To The Past is a classic and must play in my book. It was a start of a trend of for a legendary game franchise and something many people look to for inspiration. The art is almost timeless and the sound is just as great. Each slash of your sword is sharp and every enemy is vibrant and alive. The only issue I have with this game is the lack of direction in progression at times, the lack of replay value for some experienced players and the amount of magic that is talked about if one delves into the lore.  

-Kenny “KingDinkleberg” Smith

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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