The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Most people by now know the story of Legend of Zelda but for those who aren’t aware please allow me to sum it up for you. Link is a young boy who lives with his uncle. One night he hears a strange voice asking him for help. Following the voice he learns that it belongs to a princess named Zelda who is being held captive. In this particular version of the story, Link must retrieve the Master Sword and rescue the princess from not one but two different villains.
The Good and the Bad
Back in the year 1992, I had a friend who absolutely loved getting his issues of Nintendo Power in the mail. One of the reasons why he loved getting them is because he was following the comic version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past which was a pretty hot game at the time in the US. I personally couldn’t have cared less (I was more of a Sega Genesis kind of a guy) so I ignored his feverish rantings and completely forgot that this comic had ever existed until this collection appeared on my doorstep not too long ago.
Upon reading this book, all of those memories of my friend excitedly telling me about how awesome this comic was came flooding back to me. Sadly as I read it though I found myself less than impressed. It’s not a particularly bad comic but it is very average.
Condensing the story of the Super Nintendo game down into twelve chapters which spans less than 200 pages total, this comic whizzes through the story at a very fast pace leaving no real room for cumbersome things. In order to get through the entire story in time, the comic mostly focuses on the action sequences while throwing in many attempts at comedy to keep the tone light and fun throughout. The result is that there is no real room for drama which is one of the things that The Legend of Zelda has always excelled at.
It’s possible that I am not being entirely fair to this book due to the fact that it’s aimed at two very distinct audiences: younger readers who have never played the game before and the older audience who are looking for a nostalgic trip back to their childhood. Since I do not fit into either of those categories, the book was ultimately fun but nothing that I would refer to as riveting or overly enjoyable. It had its moments but they were few and far between and the comedy never made me laugh.
Those who see the name Shotaro Ishinomori and expect to find a traditional manga version of this game are going to be sadly disappointed. As I read through these pages, the one thought that occurred to me more than once is that this is a book that was obviously aimed at a western audience which makes sense since it was published in an American magazine. The artwork is certainly fine to look at but it very much reminded me of a western cartoon rather than a Japanese comic in terms of the lack of major details within the panels.
As stated earlier, this is a book that is going to be most enjoyed by either younger readers or older readers who just want to revisit the story of the game without actually having to play the game. Perfectly fine but completely average, this isn’t a book that absolutely has to be in the collection of anyone. If you played the game and want to revisit the story, you may find it worth one go around but it’ll likely collect dust on your shelf after that.
Final Grade: C-