As Nintendo jumps on board with the game industry’s remake frenzy, there is a missed opportunity here for a Link to the Past remake.
With it being one of best games of all time, A Link to the Past remake is begging to be explored. However, Nintendo made the decision to skip past it to its successor in The Legend of Zelda series with Link’s Awakening Remake.
Don’t get me wrong: it will be wonderful to dive back in to the Game Boy game that continued the Zelda series right off the hot tracks of Link to the Past. There’s nothing wrong with Link’s Awakening Remake being made, and honestly, I’m grateful that Nintendo is taking the time to give a somewhat more niche title in the Zelda series some love.
Will Link’s Awakening Remake sell incredibly well? With Breath of the Wild carrying the Zelda branding strongly into the Nintendo Switch’s launch, there is no doubt that it will be one of the most popular Nintendo Switch titles on the console. Would Link to the Past remake have done even better? As far as I’m concerned, hell yeah.
The mechanic of switching between the Light and Dark worlds in Link to the Past was so revolutionary at the time, seeing as the limited storage space of the SNES cartridges didn’t allow for much ingenuity without a lot of elbow grease. Instead of making another cookie-cutter to the NES Legend of Zelda as Zelda II did, Nintendo decided to do something new and original with Link to the Past, leaving a lasting impression on the game series and industry as a whole.
Combat was updated in Link to the Past to give the player more options to take down knights, moblins, and chuchus. Many of the game’s mechanics, such as the hookshot or arrows as inventory (as opposed to costing a rupee to use) made for a gaming experience that of which has yet to be replicated.
A Link to the Past remake could take the strength of the timeless original and make it into something even more perfect than it already is. The graphic style of the original still holds up incredibly nearly thirty years after it was released. There is a certain magic to games that maintain a 2D sprite art style in the modern age (see: 2018’s Ocotopath Traveler). A Link to the Past remake has every chance of bringing back the magic of the 1991 SNES title on the Nintendo Switch.
The music of the sages
While there have been a few spiritual sequels to the original Link to the Past, the most direct is arguably A Link Between Worlds. With a 3D art style and gimmicky chalk world transformations, that 2013 Nintendo 3DS title was far from the best possible successor to Link to the Past. It had an original story, but relied a little too heavily on the once original gimmicks of Link to the Past‘s dual worlds.
Ocarina of Time is a legendary game that is also considered to be one of the best games of all time; it would not exist without the firm ground established in Link to the Past. A Link to the Past remake is the only way for us to get the same revolutionary feel of the SNES game in a more modern release.
Countless musical themes (“Zelda’s Lullaby,” “Hyrule Castle,” “Select Screen/Fairy Cave”) found their origin in Link to the Past. Story elements, such as the Sages and even the Ocarina (then referred to as being only a “flute”) also come from Link to the Past. There’s an integral part of the Zelda games’ history that needs to be brought back into the fold in a Link to the Past remake.
Keeping Zelda in ‘Zelda’
A plot weakness of Link’s Awakening is the absence of the series’ titular character. It’s okay for a game series to take a break from the main plot for a side adventure or two. But for a title that doesn’t focus as much on the mythos of the Zelda games to receive a remake? That’s a bit of a puzzling decision.
Hey, maybe this will pave the ground for A Link to the Past remake. I don’t really get it if it does, but if Nintendo wanted to test the waters with a remake that would feel unfamiliar and undiscovered for the masses, then this semi-obscure Game Boy title is the way to do it. Never mind the fact that there is already Link’s Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color, but I digress.
Remakes of The Legend of Zelda games are a good thing. The Legend of Zelda games in general are a good thing. Let’s take what we can get, because even if we never do get a Link to the Past remake, the original is always there for us to enjoy, with its spectacular gameplay, story, presentation, and historical importance.