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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Game Boy Advance Version

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A Link to the Past was re-released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002 and came bundled with the multiplayer-only game The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. This version contains numerous changes from the original game.

Audiovisual Changes

English SNES English GBA
Legend of Zelda- A Link to the Past-title.png ALttP Title GBA.png

The title screen has been slightly altered, particularly the appearance of the Master Sword, the different color of the text in the title logo and the addition of a "Press Start" prompt. In addition, when the sword drops down on the title screen, the screen flashes white once. In the original English version, the screen flashes multiple colors.

The player can also skip the Triforce sequence before the title screen appears, which was previously only possible in the Japanese and European versions of the game. The Japanese version also has this title screen background, logo and sword animation, and the intro plays and cannot be skipped when starting a new game.

The background scenery and the "A LINK TO THE PAST" text are kept the same size as the SNES version, but the logo is otherwise re-drawn and the general layout is more compact for the GBA. Also, by default, the palette is lighter than the original.

SNES GBA
ALttP Assistant Original.png ALttP Assistant GBA.png

The witch's assistant was changed to look more like Maple from Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.

The game has a smaller viewing area, sacrificing some height and width, so the position of the icons on top of the screen has been changed to compensate for the smaller screen area. The secondary item is now on the opposite side of the screen, next to the Heart Meter, and the "- Life -" text above the Heart Meter has been removed. When you reach your maximum amount of Rupees, Arrows, and Bombs, the digits changes to yellow. In the original, they remained white. In addition, the digits are no longer italicized, which was originally only the case in the French version of the game.

SFC SNES GBA
LTTPMiseryMireTileJ.gif LTTPMiseryMireTileU.gif LTTPMiseryMireTileGBA.png

The Star of David tile inside the Eastern Temple (Palace) was once again altered to yet another shape, including the Japanese version.

  • The File Select screen is entirely new and is displayed before selecting one of the two games.
  • The green circle cursor in the Item Menu has been changed into green parenthesis.
  • The Maidens' text is now presented like it was in the original Japanese version: each paragraph gets deleted before the next appears instead of scrolling, much like the Essence of the Triforce. The text can also be sped up.
  • When loading a file in the Light World, the Mountain Cave is no longer an option. However, the choice to pick up where you last exited replaces this option and was also added to the Dark World.
  • Link now has a "voice", taken from that of young Link from Ocarina of Time, and will yell when attacking and falling down holes, and grunt when taking damage.
  • Link can now slice down signs like later games, meaning a new sound and graphic was added.
  • In the original game, Link's hands changed color when you got the Power Glove and Titan's Mitt as a small visual indication that he's wearing gloves. This is absent in the GBA version.
  • The music and sound effects have been altered slightly due to the sound capabilities of the GBA, resulting in some lower-quality samples.
  • A sound effect now plays when the save menu appears and disappears.
  • Enemies and bosses now flash white and shake when struck, rather than flash in multiple colors. This difference can also be seen when certain enemies attack such as the Beamos.
  • Certain sprites found in Dark World dungeons use the same green palette that is otherwise used for the overworld, as opposed to the blue palette used in all the original game's dungeons and the Light World. This has the effect of changing the color of certain enemies, such as Bari and Kyameron.
  • When you enter a dungeon, its name (and Level, in the case of the Dark World dungeons) will appear on the screen.
  • In the Dark Palace, there is a dark room with a few fire-breathing enemies you need to go through to reach the chest with the Magic Hammer. In the original version, you could see the enemies' fire in the darkness of the room. Now, you can only see their fire when it's within the cone of light from your lantern.
  • When a bomb or Cane of Somaria block falls down a pit or a hole, it makes a noise. In the original version, there was no sound.
  • The sound Link used to make when walking through Misery Mire has changed. While in the original it was a heavier, deeper sound, it is now the same sound he makes walking through any water.
  • The Super Bomb has a pulsating animation as you drag it along, and its timer has a new font.
  • Some of the items has received slightly different color palettes, such as the regular arrows (including its icon at the top of the screen), the Magic Powder, Magic Hammer, Golden Sword and the Pegasus Shoes.
  • After throwing an item in a Great Fairy's Fountain, the item will appear next to the fairy and floating up and down. In the original version, the item was stationary.
  • A small, broken bridge has been added to the spot where you have to use the Hookshot in order to reach the northwest area of the Dark World. In the original version, there was only a patch of grass in the shape of an arrow pointing at the opening where you had to use your Hookshot to get across.
  • During the prologue sequence, the blue soldiers hold spears rather than swords. Originally, this was only the case in the Japanese version of the game.
  • When you bombed down a wall, dust would fall in the new door in the original version. It no longer does so in the GBA version.
  • The lighting of dark rooms has been changed: in the original, a cone of light would be in front of you until you lit a square torch. Now, the cone of light will remain even after you light a torch.
  • In the original version, if the spinning cluster of stars transform you into a bunny temporarily, the bunny sprite would have green clothes regardless of whether you have the Blue or Red Mail. In the GBA version, the color of your clothes remains.
  • Whenever a Great Fairy appears, the four harp chords will only play the first time. In the original version, the chords play every time the fairy shows up.
  • Unlike the original game, pots make the same sound effect for shattering even if they fall down a pit.
  • In the original version, when an enemy was defeated in water and dropped a bomb, the bomb would have water ripples around it. This graphical effect is gone and they seem to just float above the water instead.
  • An obscure visual bug where it was possible to throw bombs (etc.) onto the clouds of Death Mountain from a bridge (and the clouds would act like shallow water) is fixed.
  • In the original game, the secret chime is absent when you find the portal leading to the Ice Palace on the island of Lake Hylia. This was fixed in the GBA version.
  • When you are walking up the stairs into Ganon's Tower in the original version, there is a point where Link seems to "jump" a part of the stairs when he's under the overhanging balcony. Link now walks under it normally without "jumping".
  • Ganon's arm when holding his trident has been mirrored horizontally, likely a graphical glitch or oversight.
  • The end credits have several name changes due to the different team behind this version.
  • The English translation was revised at some points for consistency and to be slightly closer to the Japanese version (the Japanese version, released a bit afterward, also had its script partly rewritten). Other things include three item names - the Good Bee is now the Golden Bee, Faerie is now Fairy and Pegasus Shoes are Pegasus Boots. Most notably, every instance of "Wise Men" is now "Sages", and the Essence of the Triforce does not say that Ganon was "totally destroyed" at the end. In the game's ending, "Smithery" was changed to "Smithy" and "Venus. Queen of Faeries" was changed to "Venus, Queen of Fairies", and the English version retains the credits changes made in the previous localization (although the infamous "Gannon's Tower" no longer exists in the Japanese version).
  • In the Japanese version only, the Cane of Somaria is renamed to the Cane of Somasoa (ソマソアの杖). This is likely due to the original name (ソマリアの杖) being identical to the Japanese spelling of the real-life Somalia.

Gameplay Changes

  • When you start a new game file, the prologue is displayed (which is unskippable) and segues right into the game proper.
  • Arrows are able to break pots. At first, you can only break one pot with one arrow, but with the Silver Arrows you can go through a whole row of them.
  • Weapons can affect more objects. For example, Link can slice down signs like later games. Other item changes include the Magic Hammer breaking small, light-colored rocks/skulls and bushes, the flames from the Lantern can now cause minor damage to enemies, the Fire Rod can go through a row of bushes (stopping only at enemies), the Magical Boomerang can cut down signs, grass and bushes (the normal Boomerang can only cut the former), and the Golden Sword and Magic Powder can now break pots.
  • The Item Menu has been changed. In the original version, the Bottle would take up one spot, and when selected it would open up a sub-menu to show all four of them. Now, the four Bottles take up one whole column.
  • The Ocarina/Flute originally replaced the Shovel in the inventory. With the extra room, both items are kept at the same time, with the latter taking up the space originally held by the Bottle. Also, unlike the original version, you can now shovel upwards and downwards.
  • Like Link's Awakening, Link can dive for a few seconds with the Zora Flippers, allowing him to dodge enemy attacks.
  • A ninth warp point for the Ocarina/Flute is added once the Dark World teleporter near Turtle Rock is uncovered.
  • The Magic Meter gets filled once a magic item such as the Lantern or Cane of Byrna is obtained.
  • Saving and quitting no longer adds a number next to the save file; like later games (except the recent ones which did away with this feature), it only counts if the player saves after death. The text message was also changed from "Total Games Played" to "Total Lives Used".
  • The bug in the original game that made the boss Mothula immune against the Golden Sword and the spin attack from the Tempered Sword has been fixed.
  • If you save your game in the Light World, you are no longer able to start in the Mountain Cave, although you are allowed to start wherever your last save point was. Even in the Dark World, you can choose to start from your last save point or on top of the Pyramid.
  • You can now "pick up" items (rupees, etc.) with your sword.
  • Sparkling rocks have been added to the overworld where, if you strike them with your sword, Rupees come out. There are sparkling skulls in the Dark World as well, and if you strike them assiduously enough lit bombs come out. This feature replaces the crabs that throw Rupees if you don't attack them, and returned in A Link Between Worlds.
  • In the original version, if you did a spin slash on a 3×3 grid of grass, Link would cut all the grass around him, but the grass he was standing on would remain uncut. In the GBA version, even the grass Link is standing on is cut.
  • When you reveal a landmine then dash through it, it won't explode. In the original version, you could safely detonate landmines by dashing over them.
  • The Fairies that pop out from bushes and enemies have an increased appearance rate.
  • The red rupee you get if you dash into the tree on the northwest side of Kakariko Village can now only be picked up once in a game file. In the original, you could get the red rupee, save, reset, return, and then get the rupee again. The same goes with the two trees that gave red rupees in the Light World's Haunted Grove.
  • A third lumberjack named Q. Bumbkin was added to the game. He appears inside their hut and was added for a new side quest.
  • There's a new shop in the Village of Outcasts that sells Bees, Fairies, and Golden Bees. However, to purchase the Golden Bee, Link must first obtain one from the Light World and show it to the shopkeeper.
  • In the original version, a shop located between the Pyramid and the Village of Outcasts sold a Big Shield, a Bee, and 10 Arrows. This shop has now been changed into a shield shop which sells the Small Shield, the Big Shield, and the Mirror Shield once Link obtains it in Turtle Rock. This is because Link can now lose his Mirror Shield from a new enemy (see below).
  • A new Like Like was introduced, which is more similar in appearance to the ones seen in The Legend of Zelda, and appears in the Palace of the Four Sword and near the shield shop to the east of the Pyramid. They will eat Link's shield much like the other Like Like in the game, but also run away and fly into the sky to stop him from getting it back. They will even eat the Mirror Shield!
  • The unfriendly talking trees in the Dark World will now send a lit bomb at you after they are done talking to you. In the original version, if you ran into any talking tree's snout, a lit bomb would be spit out first.
  • The Ice Palace was altered to make the puzzle requiring Link to push a block to a lower floor easier. As a result, two rooms from the original version were made inaccessible, yet still coded.
  • The cave in the Light World that can be accessed by using the Magic Mirror from outside Turtle Rock contains Eyegores rather than Goriyas, which are normally a Dark World-exclusive enemy.
  • Right after defeating a boss, you can no longer use your secondary item. (Not that you have any use for your secondary item at that point, anyway.)
  • The sand enemies in the Desert of Mystery are much more numerous and faster.
  • Crows are more aggressive, but their Dark World counterparts are less so.
  • The player can cheat in the digging minigame, making the Piece of Heart easier to collect. After digging for 30 seconds, go to the eastern part of the fenced-in area and jump over the fences. After doing so and without leaving the screen, go back and talk to the creature. He will let Link dig again, but all the holes you dug the first time around will still be there, allowing Link to dig the holes you missed. In the original version, the player had to leave the screen and in doing so, reset all the holes, and return to play the game again (although the minigame was a bit easier in the Japanese version due to a bug that allowed you to dash and dig at the same time).
  • Certain glitches were fixed or work differently.

Bonus Content

  • A new riddle sidequest is available from a third lumberjack called Q. Bumpkin once the player has obtained ten Medals of Courage in Four Swords and defeated Agahnim for the first time in the current game. After completing the riddle quest, a new ability, the Hurricane Spin, is obtained.
  • A new dungeon with remixed puzzles and foes, known as the Palace of the Four Sword, can be found on the eastern side of the Pyramid. You can access it once you both complete the game once and defeat Vaati once in Four Swords on the same save file. The guard which only blocked the way will then move for 20 Rupees. The player can also glitch around the guard, skipping Four Swords entirely. The mid-bosses include stronger versions of the bosses of the Swamp Palace, Dark Palace, Skull Woods, and Thieves' Town, and the final boss is four progressively-stronger Dark Links. Beating them gives a different ending sequence showing the levels and Dark World bosses (of said bosses, every name except Agahnim and Ganon was changed to reflect previous English/Japanese guides), including a new Quest Record that displays how many times Link has used certain items.
  • On the reverse side, collecting the Master Sword in A Link to the Past will enable its use in Four Swords. Obviously, this unlockable was redistributed in the ALTTP-less Anniversary Edition.