The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the legendary third entry in the iconic Nintendo franchise and the first and only series entry to release on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. As a triumphant return to the series’ roots following the experimentation of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, many consider A Link to the Past to be one of the best games in the entire Zelda series. Arriving in 1991 in Japan, the title would make its way to North America and Europe in the summer of 1992.
Development on A Link to the Past began immediately following the Western release of Zelda II. Despite having intentions to launch a third Zelda game on the NES, the internal development of the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo in the West) gave incentive to the team to develop the title for Nintendo’s new hardware instead. Thanks to the success of the first two Legend of Zelda titles, the team was able to secure a large budget for A Link to the Past‘s development and pool a large amount of manpower and company resources in an attempt to make it the best title in the series yet.
A Link to the Past‘s release was met with near universal acclaim, with many praising the title’s return to form. ALttP would go on to be one of the best-selling games on the SNES as well as one of its most positively received by critics. It is still considered to be one of the best games ever made, Zelda or otherwise. Notably, A Link to the Past establishes several elements that would become series staples moving forward, including the use of parallel worlds and the iconic Master Sword Link wields.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Premise
Much like the series’ first game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a third-person action adventure game taking place from a top-down perspective. Players once again assume the role of Link as he adventures across the land of Hyrule in search of the Triforce. As its name implies, Link to the Past is actually set before the events of the original Legend of Zelda, detailing the earliest meeting of Link and Princess Zelda as well as their first battle against Ganon. The game takes place in Hyrule, with the overworld map containing plenty of secrets and items for Link to discover.
The plot of A Link to the Past takes us back to an era decades before The Legend of Zelda. The Seven Sages, who watch over the Sacred Realm and protect the Triforce, learn of the attempts of the Demon King Ganon to steal the sacred artifact. Ganon is successful, and his posession of the Triforce of Power turns the Sacred Realm into the Dark World. The Sages seal the Dark World and Ganon away from Hyrule, hoping to protect the remaining two Triforce pieces. Hundreds of years pass without incident, until the mysterious wizard Aghanim begins kidnapping the descendants of the Sages, Princess Zelda included.
A Link to the Past is responsible for introducing several elements that have become series mainstays. Returning items include the Boomerang, Shield, and Power Glove, but the now-legendary Hookshot makes its first appearance as well as the series’ most iconic and powerful weapon, The Master Sword. Interestingly, A Link to the Past is one of the only games in the series that lets players upgrade the Master Sword beyond its original form.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Main Characters
A Link to the Past is no different from other games in the series in that it features a familiar cast of recurring characters. Both Link and Princess Zelda feature prominently, as well as the evil Demon King Ganon. That said, there are some new ancillary characters that make an appearance and a new foe makes its first and only series appearance. Main characters in A Link to the Past include:
- Link: The Legendary Hero, Link is the protagonist and player character of A Link to the Past. He appears in his iconic green tunic and wields the Master Sword to stop Ganon and save Princess Zelda once again.
- Princess Zelda: Princess Zelda is the princess of Hyrule and the descendant of one of Hyrule’s Seven Sages. She is the sworn protector of the Triforce, placing her in harm’s way when Ganon attempts to sieze power in the Light World.
- Aghanim: Aghanim is a mysterious wizard that appears in Hyrule and quickly becomes a trusted advisor to the King. Unbeknownst to the King, however, Aghanim is secretly in the service of Ganon to kidnap the descendants of the Seven Sages and help him steal the Triforce.
- Sahasrahla: Sahasrahla is the Elder of Kakariko Village and a source of guidance for Link. Like Princess Zelda, he is a descendant of the Sages and can communicate with Link via telepathy to help him on his quest.
- Ganon: The evil Demon King Ganon is a power-hungry theif who will stop at nothing to claim the Triforce. After stealing the Triforce of Power, he is sealed in the Sacred Realm by the Seven Sages, with his twisted desires transforming the realm to the Dark World. Though he used to be human, his dark heart also changes his appearance to that of a pig-like demon.
Games in The Legend of Zelda Series
Across more than a dozen main entries and more than 35 years of history, The Legend of Zelda series remains one of the most iconic and important first-party Nintendo franchises. A Link to the Past is an importan game in the series’ timeline as the first entry following the timeline divergence at the end of Ocarina of Time, and many consider the SNES classic to be one of the highlights of the franchise. The games in the Legend of Zelda series include:
- The Legend of Zelda (1986)
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987)
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991)
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)
- The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages (2001)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003)
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (2004)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004)
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007)
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (2009)
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (2015)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Cheats and Secrets
While there aren’t any officially supported cheat codes for A Link to the Past, there are plenty of secrets that are baked into the game’s world for players to take advantage of.
Beat the Game in 5 Minutes
Yes it’s true — it’s entirely possible to beat A Link to the Past in less than 5 minutes thanks to an interesting glitch. Simply complete the steps below:
- Start a new game and head straight to Hyrule Castle. Get your sword form your uncle and head inside.
- Inside the first main room, climb the center steps and walk to the ledge just to the left.
- Hop off the ledge and press SELECT in mid-air, then choose to “Save and Quit”
- Reload the save and make your way back into the castle. Do not touch any of the guards along the way. If you do, repeat the previous step.
- Go up the stairs again, but exit through the door on the left.
- Wait for the Blue Guard to turn around and then continuously run Link against the wall on the left as he hits you. Link should now disappear inside the wall.
- Walk straight up until the screen changes, then head up one more screen and stop.
- Head right using the visible portion of Link’s hat as a guide. Stop when the hat disappears into the right wall, don’t go another screen over and don’t leave the wall.
- From here, hold up on the D-Pad. You’ll walk right past Ganon and into the final cutscene of the game.
The Golden Bee
Players head back to the cave where you obtain the Ice Rod to get a bee companion that will fight enemies for you. Enter through the standard opening to the cave (not the one where you get the Ice Rod) and slash the statue at the end of the passage. A golden bee will appear, which Link can capture with the Bug Net and store in a Bottle. Open the bottle around enemies and the bee will help you take them out.
Use the Hookshot to Be Invincible
Players are actually invincible when the hookshot is extended, meaning it’s possible to use the item as a last-ditch effort to get out of a jam when surrounded.
In the Light World, head to the area just west of the swamps and just east of the desert. Lift a large green rock to reveal a cave entrance just underneath it. Enter the cave and collect 50 Rupees, then exit the cave. Every time you reenter the cave the Rupees will respawn. Use this method to quickly fill Link’s wallet.
Flute and Flute Locations
After helping Flute Boy by using the Shovel to locate his missing Flute, he will gift it to you. Head to Kakariko Village and use the Flute in front of the weather vane statue. A duck will appear that Link can now call with the Flute to transport him across Hyrule. The following locations appear on the map as numerical options for Link to fast-travel to:
- 1. Death Mountain
- 2. Witch’s Hut
- 3. Kakariko Village
- 4. Link’s Cottage
- 5. Warp Tile South of Eastern Palace
- 6. Warp Tile in the Desert
- 7. Swamp Ruins
- 8. South of Lake Hylia
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Cheat FAQs
Are there Game Genie Cheats for A Link to the Past?
Yes, like many games on the SNES and NES A Link to the Past has several cheats that are enabled by the Game Genie cheat device. Each of these cheats has a specific code string that must be entered properly into the device before they will work. Additionally, each of these cheats will work on emulated copies of the game as well. A full list of Game Genie cheats for the title can be found here.
What number Zelda is A Link to the Past?
Although it’s the third game in the series to release, A Link to the Past is actually a prequel to the original Legend of Zelda. An overview of the series’ complex timeline further complicates things, placing the game somewhere in the middle of the overall chronology.