In March of 2012, I started writing about the music from my favorite video game series, The Legend of Zelda. Then I got a new job and felt like I didn’t have time to do as much writing as I used to. Then some co-workers started sharing music and that changed the course of my blog. Today, more than four years later, I move past the Nintendo of the ’80s and on to the still highly digital, midi-esque sounds of the Nintendo of the ’90s.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past came out in 1991 and there may have been people who were so amazed, they may have actually needed to change their pants. This game had graphics and sound quality which were better than anything they had ever seen before. Unless they had seen a movie. Or anything on television. Still, it was cool for gamers.
I never had a Super Nintendo growing up. We were Sega Genesis people at the time. So I didn’t get a Super Nintendo (which means I never played this game) until I was in college. A lot of Zelda fans rank this as one of their favorites, and I think a lot of that is based on nostalgia. For me the game is in the lower half. The original Hyrule Fantasy and Skyward Sword are right in the middle, in terms of how much I want to replay them. A Link to the Past, Twilight Princess and A Link Between Worlds are right below them. I think The Minish Cap, the DS titles and even Four Sword Adventures are better games than A Link to the Past.
But that’s just me. And the point was to say I don’t get waves of nostalgia hearing this music. After 1988, Nintendo’s audio department graduated from bleeps and bloops to computers who tried to sound like real instruments, so that’s a plus. The Overworld theme is a classic, and the added musical textures brought the original theme a long way.
Some of the new songs stuck around, like the peaceful Kakariko Village or the File Select/Fairy Fountain theme. These may not be the definitive version of the song, but this is where they started and it’s a darn good start. Zelda’s Lullaby got its start here, but it wasn’t named until Ocarina of Time. Ganon’s leitmotif also got its start here and still hasn’t been “officially” named.
Other songs didn’t survive. Some of the fanfares are pretty cool, and they’ve had musical cameos since but every game seems to change them up. The Lost Woods ditty is good, but Ocarina of Time came up with a better one. And pretty much all of the music from the dark world hasn’t really seen much use since.
The real highlights for me are the last two tracks, Triforce Chamber and the ending/epilogue/credits/whatever. The music over the end credits of most Zelda games are really good, and A Link to the Past is no exception. I really like the variation of the adventuring spirit of the game which then morphs back into a more regal version of the main theme. Also, the Cave theme isn’t really anything special, but it does have a musical cameo in Majora’s Mask and how it’s used in that game makes me like it a little more.
What about you? Does this game bring waves of nostalgia? Do you have a favorite tune from this game? Let me know in the comments below.