The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

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Title Screen

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Also known as: Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce (JP)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: SNES
Released in JP: November 21, 1991
Released in US: April 13, 1992
Released in EU: September 24, 1992


EnemyIcon.png This game has unused enemies.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the third game in the long-running Zelda series, and the first (and with the exception of a few BSX titles, only) 16-bit entry. Featuring two large worlds to explore, loads of secrets, and a fun assortment of items, this game is a fan-favorite.

It was later re-released on Game Boy Advance, bundled with the multiplayer-only (for some reason) The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords.

Contents

Subpages

Blank.png
Game Boy Advance Version

Debugging Features

Full Inventory/Walk Through Walls

Use Pro Action Replay code 0083F8EA, then create a file with a name beginning with B in the first save slot to enable the following debugging features:

  • You start with 15 hearts, 255 rupees, 50 bombs, and 50 arrows in the Light World.
  • You have a complete inventory. The Bottles are filled with a Fairy and one each of the Red, Green, and Blue Potions. Additionally, you have the Pegasus Boots, Flippers, Titan's Mitt, Moon Pearl, Fighter's Sword, and Blue Shield.
  • Press B on Controller 2 to enable free-movement mode, which will allow Link to freely pass through obstacles. It will also allow you to use the Magic Mirror anywhere on the overworld, even to warp from the Light World to the Dark World (which is not normally possible).
  • Press R on Controller 2 to remove the selected item or weapon while the status sub-screen is displayed.

Full Restore/Equipment Upgrade

Use PAR code 0683C1EA, then create a file named BAGE (JP: ンルルル) in the first save slot to enable the following debugging features:

  • Press R on Controller 1 to permanently cut magic consumption in half.
  • Hold R and press B on Controller 1 to enable free-movement mode, which will allow Link to freely pass through obstacles. It will also allow you to use the Magic Mirror anywhere on the overworld, even to warp from the Light World to the Dark World.
  • Hold R and press A on Controller 1 to upgrade your sword, armor, and shield by one step. Once the sword is upgraded to Level 4, pressing A again will reset all three items to Level 1.
  • Hold R and press Y on Controller 1 to max out your life, magic, arrows, bombs, and keys, as well as add 255 Rupees.
  • Hold R and press Select on Controller 1 to access to the Triforce after the fight against Ganon. Works for three save slots and with any name.

Frame Advance

Use PAR code 00803A00. Press L on Controller 1 to freeze the game; while frozen, press R to advance one frame and press L again to resume normal play.

Unused Graphics

Dungeon Features

Skull Statue

See? See? I do exist!

Boo.

The Skull Woods dungeon tileset contains an unused large skull statue object. This can be seen in a tile viewer, but it's also possible to cause the game to load them into other dungeons via glitching. This tile was eventually used in the GBA remake for the Palace of the Four Sword, accessible by beating Four Swords.

The screenshot shows the skull tile loaded into the Dark Palace dungeon, replacing the Rocklops statues in the first room. An explanation of how to perform this glitch can be found here.

(Source: Flying Omelette)

Sanctuary Entrance

ALTTPSanct 2.png
ALTTPSanct 1.png

Every dungeon entrance has a specially-decorated entrance doorway, the only exception being the Sanctuary. There is an entrance doorway for the Sanctuary, but it can only be seen by either moving through certain walls or via Hyrule Magic's map editor.

Keyhole

Not opening, sorry

Unused graphics for a keyhole object. Could have been used in any number of places.

Items

Meat

A small hunk of meat. Yummy.

Stored with the graphics for the large and small magic refill decanters are sprites for a large and small piece of meat on a bone, looking extremely similar to the Bait from The Legend of Zelda. Whether it would have worked in the same manner is unclear. It takes up the space that graphics for the fish appear normally, but is loaded in indoor areas, so it may have simply been some kind of object for use in houses. Perhaps it was an alternate health-restoring item found indoors, much like the Apples that appear from trees outside.

This may have been originally planned for enemies to drop large and small meat chunks for health refills, with the larger one restoring more life hearts than the smaller one. In the final game, enemies drop hearts instead of meat, and they only ever refill one life heart at a time.

Magical Clock

Time's up!

An unused stopwatch object! This would presumably work like the Magical Clock in Zelda 1, freezing any onscreen enemies. It appears alongside graphics such as Rupees, so it was probably intended to be dropped by enemies in the same manner as the original game. It may have been removed because the Quake Medallion performs a similar effect.

Sword Text

Ken Tsurugi, expert swordsman.

Japanese text for "ken/tsurugi", which means "sword", and is fittingly found near the sword graphics in memory.

Letter

Not a map.

The Letter (called てがみ (tegami) in the Japanese version, but untranslated and blank in the English version) is another item making a return from Zelda 1. As in that game, it uses the same sprite as the Map. It can actually be added to the inventory in all versions of the game; it occupies the spot of the Magic Mirror, suggesting that you needed the Letter to acquire the Mirror at some point in development, in the same way you need the Shovel to acquire the Flute, which then takes the Shovel's spot in the inventory. It's unknown exactly why the letter was canned.

To add it to your inventory, use PAR code 7EF35301. In both versions, the item acts exactly like the Magic Mirror when used.

Unused Graphical Effects

Kholdstare's Shell "Melting"

That's quite an absorbent floor you got there, guys.
Download.png Download Kholdstare Melting Shell Restoration Patch (U)
File: Kholdstare_shell.ips (28 KB) (info)
Current version: 1.0

A close inspection of Kholdstare's logic indicates that its shell was intended to gradually fade out after being defeated with fire-based weapons. Normally, it just abruptly disappears several frames after being destroyed. The sudden disappearance of the shell is not aesthetically pleasing, so it's not surprising that this transitioning effect was implemented. Unfortunately, a coding bug accidentally disabled the effect. A fairly simple patch has been created to restore this effect, a link to which can be found above.

As for an explanation of how it was accidentally disabled, it turns out that the palette that was supposed to be manipulated to achieve the fadeout was not correctly invoked. Instead, a neighboring palette was selected for fading. Regrettably, there were no graphics visible in that scene that also used the palette being faded. Thus, this bug understandably slipped through play-testing due to a lack of obvious side effects, visual or otherwise. This bug is known to be present in all SNES releases of the game. Interestingly enough, the shell's fade effect was restored when the game was ported to the Game Boy Advance.

(Source: MathOnNapkins)

NPC Sprites

Duck Sprites

Quack.Fly away!

The duck has an additional frame of flying animation that is only used in the GBA version. While the latter sprite is used, it appears extremely briefly after Link lands from a flight.

Sad Blob

Wah

While this pink blob does appear in the game, he never changes from his standard, happy expression. These graphics can only be found in the Japanese version.

Ending Character

Various colors work for this NPC.

This NPC appears alongside the graphics for "The End", which would imply that he was originally meant to appear in the ending sequence somewhere. It's possible he was a Kakariko villager, or potentially a Dark World resident who had returned to normal. He appears to be jumping, which would make sense if he was celebrating in the ending.

Enemy Sprites

Unused Soldier Helmet

Hello. My name is Link. You killed my uncle. Prepare to die.
Alternate palettes.

An alternate helmet for a soldier enemy is present alongside the body graphics for the short blade-wielding regular Soldier, those met early in the game. The other helmets used in-game appear alongside their respective body graphics, so this implies that the weak, less intelligent soldiers originally used this graphic for their helmets.

Why it was removed is unknown, but possibly because it looks more threatening than it should for such weak enemies, or because it's the only helmet that makes it clear there's a human body still within the armor and Nintendo didn't like the idea of Link hurting brainwashed humans. While the game implies that the soldiers were merely brainwashed, other material such as the comic and manga suggest that the enemy soldiers are simply living armor, which might explain why they seem to outnumber the rest of Hyrule's population ten-to-one.

Dark World Bat

Batted awayDriven battyUh...Bat Masterson?

An odd, unused Dark World enemy. Some kind of bat thing. Its programming doesn't seem to exist in the game anymore, and its graphics can only be found in the Japanese versions of the game.

Up to bat! Wait

Apparently, it would have shot fireballs at Link.

Miscellaneous

Faces

Grr... Yay!

A "mean" face and a "happy" face that can be found stored with the menu graphics.

Bomb Shop Sign Women

Link and the sprite with index 0x3D have had a strained relationship over the years. It normally manifests as a lady in a white headscarf pacing back and forth in front of her house in Kakariko Village. If Link gets too close, she'll call out for soldiers to come arrest him and bolt inside her home, locking the door.

If this same sprite is spawned indoors, however, she's a different woman altogether – in fact, she's downright weird. This sprite will turn to face the player like many other NPCs in the game, but the only thing she seems to want to talk about is that the Bomb Shop is somewhere west of Link's current position. This mildly suggests that the Bomb Shop was originally in the Light World; or perhaps that there were multiple Bomb Shops.

One could speculate that this sprite's indoor logic was used in the production phase to test out various text messages, or that perhaps the Bomb Shop had multiple rooms. Maybe it was intended at some point to have an indoor sprite direct Link towards the Bomb Shop within a network of rooms. It's also possible that the message index used for the Bomb Shop sign once held entirely different text.

The red-haired woman (sprite index 0x34) in the village, who also spends her time looking for people to narc on, behaves identically to the scarved woman when placed indoors. As the scarved woman retains her appearance indoors, so too does the red-haired woman. This is due to the fact that that these two sprites share the same logic, except for the subroutines called to render them to the screen.

(Source: MathOnNapkins)

Dialogue Tester Sprite

The sprite entity with index 0xB8 appears to be a leftover debug feature for testing the game's dialogue messages. While it was previously thought that the sprite had some sort of menu for selecting the next message to be displayed, this is a misconception due to the fact that the templates for some of the game menus are found at some of the lowest message indices. Without other logic driving the sequencing of those menu templates, they have no effect.

The sprite initializes its message index to 0x0000 and will increment this index after each message is displayed, which also causes its physical orientation to cycle to another cardinal direction. Each message is triggered automatically when the player gets close enough to the sprite, so the A button is not used to interact in this situation. This effectively prevents the player from passing through the sprite.

There is no bounds checking performed on the message index. Therefore, if the player reads until all of the valid message indices are exhausted, the game will crash, as the next message index will reference data that is not valid for the dialogue system.

When spawned in most indoor rooms, the sprite doesn't look properly constructed. It was later discovered that the Priest ['Sage' in the North American release] sprite and the dialogue tester call the same subroutine to be drawn to the screen. The color of the sprite's garb and skin tone is different from that of the priest, however.

Unused Enemies

Cannon Trooper

Got his boomstick handy.

A Hyrulean soldier with a portable cannon is fully coded and functional, and would fit quite well in areas like Agahnim's Tower.

Chris Houlihan room

ALTTP Houlihan1.png

The Chris Houlihan room (ID: 82) is used as an error handler if you fall into a hole and the game cannot find a proper destination. It is a single cave room and contains a telepathic tile, as well as 225 Rupees. If you exit the cave, you will be warped to the front of Link's House, regardless of which world you were in before entering the room.

ALTTP Houlihan2.png

There is a bug in the game which can lead you to this room, related to screen transitions using the Pegasus Boots: go to the area to the left of Hyrule Castle and go up. After the transition has ended, drop a bomb in front of you and wait until it explodes. It will hurt you, and push you against the bottom of the screen. Now, charge up the Pegasus Boots, and turn to the bottom while charging up, so you will immediately move down to the next screen. Now, go to the hole at Hyrule Castle which leads to the secret passage and fall into it, and you will appear in the Chris Houlihan room.

Chris Houlihan is a kid who participated at a Nintendo Power event and received the honor to appear in a future Zelda game, with the telepathic tile being a message from Chris (the only such tile that isn't a message from Sahasrahla or Zelda). Note that the GBA remake fixed this glitch, so there's no known way to get into this room, and even if you could there's no longer any mention of Chris.

Japanese: 「ここは、秘密の部屋だよ~ん。みんなにはないしょだよ~ん。」 (Koko wa, himitsu no heya da yoon. Minna ni hanaisho da yoon. (This is a secret room~ It's a secret to everyone~))

English: My name is Chris Houlihan. This is my top secret room. Keep it between us, OK?

French: C'est ma pièce la plus secrète. Que cela reste entre nous, ok ?

German: Dies ist mein ganz geheimes Zimmer. Das bleibt aber unter uns, ja?

(Source: GlitterBerri (Japanese text translation))

GBA Version

Hmmm...
To do:
  • Need a "Four Swords" page to add on this?
  • Need a correction.
  • Video or info about accessing this room by using the Mirror glitch?
  • Per gamewinners.com: "Using the "Mirror glitch", find your way to the church. From the church, move one screen right and one screen up. You should see the Chris Houlihan room."
FS Houlihan1.png

In the GBA version, the room is slightly different. The telepathic tile and the blue floor no longer exist. Only the rupees remained in place. While it may no longer be possible to access the room without codes, it still has the ID 82.

The only known method to access this room is to use this code when entering a door or falling into a hole:

Version Code
All Versions 03002C4C 82
(Source: Dark Linkaël (GBA version code))

Regional Differences

Japan US Europe
Lttp-jpntitle.png Legend of Zelda- A Link to the Past-title.png ALttP title EU.png

The Japanese title screen has neither the sword nor the castle background seen in the English title screens. The European titlescreen replaced the ® with a ™. In the Japanese and European versions, you can go straight to the File Select by pressing Start. In the US version, this option is only offered to you after using "Save & Quit" - if you start the game normally, you have to wait until the title screen actually displays the title before you can go to the File Select.

Japanese English
ALttP Japanese Blue Soldiers.png ALttP English Blue Soldiers.png
ALttP Japanese Blue Soldiers 2.png ALttP English Blue Soldiers 2.png

The blue soldiers have spears in the Japanese prologue, which were most likely replaced with swords in the English prologue because that soldier type isn't actually used during gameplay. That said, the fact they're used in the prologue suggests that type was present during gameplay at one point in development.

Japanese English
I don't know who E - I"- is, so why should he be killed? At least we don't put spaces between each symbol.

The Japanese File Select has a stark black-and-white contrast not unlike that of the first The Legend of Zelda. The English version uses some nice graphics instead.

Japanese English
Did that bottom row just laugh at me? Why is ours smaller? :(

File names in the Japanese versions can only be four characters long. In the English version, this limit has been generously raised to six.

Japan US Europe
ALttP arrow marks JAP.png ALttP arrow marks US.png ALttP arrow marks EU.png

The arrow marks on the signs were altered between versions. The text boxes were also slightly expanded for the English versions.

Japan US Europe
ALttP cursor JAP.png ALttP cursor US.png ALttP cursor EU.png

The cursor was tweaked between versions as well.

Japanese English
ALttPHylianJap.png ALttPHylianUSA.png
In the Japanese version, the Hylian script's hieroglyphic font is much larger and more detailed than in the English version.
(Source: Killer Bob)
Japanese English
LTTPMiseryMireTileJ.gif LTTPMiseryMireTileU.gif

This tile in the Eastern Temple (Palace) was changed from a Star of David to a generic symbol due to Nintendo of America's policies on religious imagery.

US Europe
ALttP ellipsis US.png ALttP ellipsis EU.png

The ellipsis character was for some reason changed into an interpunct character in the European version.

Japanese English
おたずね者 Linkhead.png "File Name"
ゼルダ姫を城よりさらった犯人
みつけたら大声でしらせよ!
Linkhead.png WANTED! This is the
criminal who kidnapped Zelda.
Call a soldier if you see him!

In the Japanese version, the wanted signs of Link in Kakariko Village display your file name next to the portrait.

Some lines of the ending sequence were altered between releases:

Japanese English
ALttP Loyal Priest.png ALttP Loyal Sage.png

This was changed to remove another religious reference.

Japanese English
ALttP Finger Webs.png ALttP Flippers.png

A typical case of Engrish. Fixed up in the English version. However, they forgot to re-center the text when doing so (this can be seen in the other text revisions as well but not as clear as in this example).

Japanese English
ALttP Ocarina Boy.png ALttP Flute Boy.png

Changed since the Ocarina is called Flute in the English version (why? we'll never know).


ALttP Script Writers.png

An extra script credit for the localization effort was added to the English version.

Japanese English
ALttP Gannon's Tower.png ALttP Ganon's Tower.png

More Engrish fix-up in the Quest History.

Also, all text in the game was drawn a few pixels higher in frame in the English version to allow space for the lowercase characters, as a result of this, the Quest History stats came out looking a little bit awkward - the regular text isn't correctly aligned with the smaller secondary text that is otherwise only present in the ending of the game.


  • In the Japanese version, the messages from the maidens you rescue differ from the regular dialogue text in the game - each paragraph gets deleted before the next one appear instead of scrolling. This style is only present in the message the spirit of the Triforce gives you near the end in the English version.
  • The text speed is a lot faster in several places in the Japanese version, such as in the prologue.

Revisional Differences

Glitches in Japanese v1.0

Glitches in Japanese v1.0 and v1.1

  • In the Tower of Hera, on floor 3F, there's a hole at the very right that's next to the wall. Drop down the right side of it to end up on 2F, inside the wall. Jump off to the right and you're "under the floor", from where you can just run straight to the ending! The hole was moved to the left in later versions, to fix this bug.
  • In the Dark World, killing yourself inside a shop or house will cause Link to reappear on the Pyramid of Power with no music. Switching the screens afterwards causes the Light World music to play, rather than the Dark World music.
(Source: darkeye14)
  • If you make a regular slash with your sword against bombable walls, you'll hear the same sound effect as when you cut bushes, this of course didn't make much sense and was corrected in v1.2. (Not to be confused with the "hollow" sound effect you get when you "thrust" your sword against those same walls, which was already in place.)