See how Link took down the likes of Ganon, in comic book form!
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past manga book from Viz Media/Perfect Square. The comic adaptation follows the adventures of Link as he tries to rescue Hyrule from the forces of evil. It also tells the story of how Link needs to rescue Princess Zelda from the Dark World. The book loosely follows the events from the Super Nintendo game so fans of the LOZ series will want to get their hands on this!
A brief history lesson before I go any further in the review. Shotaro Ishinomori is the mastermind behind this book and it doesn’t disappoint. The comic was originally run in Nintendo Power from the January 1992 issue through the December issue from the same year. The comic adds new characters that adds to the story and keeps it from being a step-by-step direct retelling of the game.
The book gives the feeling that it’s almost 25 years old by the art style but that isn’t a bad thing. It brings you back to the early 1990’s when the game was released for the Super Nintendo! The first panel brings you right back into the story of a Link to the Past when Link is awakened from a deep sleep by Zelda, telepathically, asking for his help.
A Link to the Past is one of, if not, my favorite game in the Legend of Zelda series and the manga adaptation understands how to translate that into a successful read. It shows enough of the action in each scene and at the same time has enough humor to keep the action from getting a stale feel to it. A prime example of this is when Link arrives at Kakariko Village and the villagers are scared of him. After they realize he isn’t a threat, the young villager helps Link. The kid is a little bit of a smart-ass at times but the delivery works for the time.
Story telling is a major factor and what would you expect from a manga/comic telling of A Link to the Past. The Dark World is shown to be scary and funny by how Link deals with the various monsters! It was also very interesting to see what was added to add to the story, like how Link and Sahasrahla interacted between each other, through the comfork. The best comparison I can come up with to an in game item is the Magic Mirror that allows Link to transport to and from the Dark World
I mentioned before that the book is a loose following of ALttP in terms of events that occurred. Link doesn’t fight all the boss monsters in the book but it doesn’t hurt the story. Link couldn’t fight everything from the game because it would be way too long a story. Link needed to find the three pendants from the game as well as rescue Zelda in the Dark World. Along the way, Link didn’t know where to look for Zelda and thus stopped at different temple locations because he thought Zelda was there. These were fact-finding missions to locate Zelda. One of the bigger features added into the manga was Link’s parents, who were Hyrulean guard and lost in the Dark World. In the game Link’s parents were rarely mentioned, if at all, but adds to the story because it gives Link a more human feeling that he wants to know what happened to his parents and make Agahnim pay for killing his uncle.
I would have to say that I would be open to other comics that were run in Nintendo Power being re-released but I’ll save that for another day. I would have liked to see Link fight all the boss monsters from the game or at lease seen more monster appearances but I mentioned before why they couldn’t all be in the book. I liked the way that Link was shown off as a young kid by his actions and how he had feelings for Zelda, also a younger person. In reality it would be crazy to think a youngster could save the world from evil and Link has done it quite a few times.
Ganon, the pig-like monster, made his way into the Sacred Realm and got his wish granted by the Triforce. It was interesting to see how Ganon looked in the manga as the way Ganon looks is slightly changed each time he appears. It was a more slight change in the older games.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of my favorite games in the Zelda series. I can still remember when I got the game for a Christmas present and fell in love with the game. The Manga/comic is a good companion for the game as it is written very well. It might look like it hasn’t aged well but it should be taken as a history lesson as it was first run in Nintendo Power in 1992. I would have liked to see all the monsters in 1992 art style but I understand why they weren’t in the book. Link uses everything he knows to fight off the forces of evil and rescue Hyrule from evil as well as Zelda from evil too. I’m giving The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past manga/comic an 8/10. Fans will want to get their hands on it as well as Nintendo fans that say they have everything!
Score: 8 / 10