A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Japanese: ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース, Zeruda no Densetsu Kamigami no Toraifōsu), is the third installment in the series. It was released in Japan for the Super Famicom in 1991, and subsequently on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and Europe in 1992. The title was also rereleased on the Game Boy Advance and Wii's Virtual Console.
A Link to the Past introduced many elements to the series that have since become staples in the series such as the Master Sword, multi-level dungeons and parallel worlds (a concept used in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Its top-down perspective was a return to form after The Adventure of Link's scrolling screen perspective. It sold 4.6 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best selling game in the series, and is universally rated along other titles in the series as one of the greatest games of all time, as well as one of the best in the series itself.
According to the Hylian scrolls, the mythical gods descended from a distant nebula to the world and created order and life. The God of Power dyed the mountains red with fire and created land. The God of Wisdom created science and wizardry and brought order to nature. And the God of Courage, through justice and vigor, created life – the animals that crawl the land and the birds that soar in the sky. After the gods had finished their work, they left the world, but not before creating a symbol of their strength, a golden triangle known as the Triforce. A small but powerful portion of the essence of the gods was held in this mighty artifact, which was to guide the intelligent life on the world of Hyrule.
Although it was an inanimate object, the Triforce had the power to bestow three titles which gave the person who received them great powers: "The Forger of Strength", "The Keeper of Knowledge", and "The Juror of Courage". From its hiding place in the so-called Golden Land where the Gods placed it, the Triforce beckoned people from the outside world to seek it in the hope that someone worthy of these titles would find it.
With their magic infused blood, the Hylian people were endowed with psychic powers and skill in wizardry. It was also said that their long, pointed ears enabled them to hear special messages from the gods, so they were held in high esteem by many people in Hyrule. Their descendants settled in various parts of the world and passed on their knowledge and magical lore to all people. But in its passing, the lore was often distorted or lost altogether.
In Hyrule, there are many Hylian buildings which are mentioned repeatedly in the legends. These buildings, which now lie in ruin, pale shadows of their former splendor, are closely tied to the Triforce. Some were even said to house the Triforce…
If it were only a symbol of the gods, the Triforce would be coveted by many. But a verse from the Book of Mudora (a collection of Hylian legends and lore) made the Triforce even more desirable:
In a realm beyond sight,
The Sky shines gold, not blue.
There, the Triorce's might
Makes mortal dreams come true.
Many aggressively searched for the wish-granting Triforce, but no one, not even the Hylian sages, was sure of its location; the knowledge had been lost over time. Some said the Triforce lay under the desert, others said it was in the cemetary in the shadow of Death Mountain, but no one ever found it. That yearning for the Triforce soon turned to lust for power, which in turn led to the spilling of blood. Soon the only motive left among those searching for the Triforce was pure greed.
One day, quite by accident, a gate to the Golden Land of the Triforce was opened by a gang of thieves skilled in the black arts. This land was like no other. In the gathering twilight, the Triforce shone from its resting place high above the world. In a long running battle, the leader of the thieves fought his way past his followers in a lust for the Golden Power. After vanquishing his own followers, the leader stood triumphant over the Triforce and grasped it with his blood-stained hands. He heard a whispered voice: "If thou has a strong desire or dream, wish for it…" And in reply, the roaring laughter of the brigand leader echoed across time and space and even reached the far-off land of Hyrule. The name of this king of thieves is Ganondorf Dragmire, but he is known by his alias, Mandrag Ganon, which means Ganon of the Enchanted Thieves.
I do not know what Ganon wished for from the Triforce. However, in time evil power began to flow from the Golden Land and greedy men were drawn there to become members of Ganon's army. Black clouds permanently darkened the sky, and many disasters beset Hyrule. The lord of Hyrule sent for the Seven Wise Men and the Knights Of Hyrule, and ordered them to seal the entrance to the Golden Land.
The Triforce, being an inanimate object, cannot judge between good and evil. Therefore, it could not know that Ganon's wishes were evil; it merely granted them. Suspecting that Ganon's power was based on the Triforce's magic, the people of Hyrule forged a sword resistant to magic which could repulse even powers granted by the Triforce. This mighty weapon became known as the blade of evil's bane, or the Master Sword. It was so powerful that only one who was pure of heart and strong of body could wield it. As the Seven Wise Men searched for a valiant person to take up the Master Sword, Ganon's evil army swarmed from the tainted Golden Land into Hyrule and attacked the castle. The wise men and the Knights Of Hyrule combined forces to wage war on this evil horde.
The Knights took the full brunt of the fierce attack, and although they fought courageously many a brave soul was lost that day, However, their lives were not lost in vain, for they bought precious time for the Seven Wise Men to magically seal ganon in the Golden land. All of Hyrule rejoiced at the victory that upheld peace and order over Ganon's evil and chaos. This war, which had claimed many lives, became known as the Imprisoning War in stories told in later centuries.
Many centuries have passed since the Imprisoning War. The land of Hyrule healed its wounds and the people lived in peace for a long time. Memories of the vicious Imprisoning War faded over the generations…
So it is no surprise that no one was prepared for the new disasters that have recently struck Hyrule. Pestilence and drought, uncontrollable even by magic, ravaged the land. The King of Hyrule, after counsel with his sages, ordered an investigation of the Imprisoned Dark World (as the Golden land had come to be known) but the wise men's seal was apparently intact. He offered rewards for anyone who could find the source of these troubles. In answer to these summons a stranger named Agahnim came and quelled the disasters witha previously unseen form of magic. As a reward, the king gave him a new position as chief advisor and heir to the Seven Wise Men. The masses proclaimed him their hero. Peace had returned to Hyrule… or had it?
Of late, rumors have traveled their whispering path with alarming frequency. Rumors saying Agahnim now rules the country with his magic… Rumors of strange magical experiments in the castle tower at night… The people of Hyrule were gripped by dread.
One night, a girl's voice awakens you from your sleep.
"Help me… My name is Zelda… I am in the castle dungeon," she telepathically pleads.
You jump out of bed not knowing whether the voice was part of a dream or reality. Upon leaving your bed, you find your uncle, who should be fast asleep at this time, preparing to go out, girded for battle.
"I'll be back by morning," he says as he departs. "Don't leave the house."
You watch him leave with the family sword in hand and shield on arm. This night is like no other… Who is Zelda? Where had your uncle gone and for what reason?