Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past and Four Swords was the Super Nintendo classic ported to the Game Boy Advance (GBA). For the most part, the original game was not changed, just minor fixes and updates. The real draw with this release was the Four Swords add-on. Unfortunately, this meant having at least one more friend with a GBA with link cable and at least one copy of Four Swords.

The 9th Legend of Zelda game

Set before the events that took place in Ocarina of Time, Four Swords is a unique story. Link and Zelda approach a pedestal for the Four Sword. Zelda explains to Link the history of this weapon and that there is a creature, named Vaati, sealed within it. As luck would have it, Vaati uses this moment to escape and kidnaps Zelda. It seems Zelda is off to become the bride of yet another bad guy.

Three fairies make themselves known to Link and explain what he must now do. Accepting the challenge laid before him, Link pulls the Four Sword from the pedestal. This action creates three copies of Link, each color coded appropriately.

The four Links are given access to Vaati’s palace where Link must rescue Zelda.

Bringing Four Swords together

Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past and Four Swords has a unique gameplay element. One that will entice players to complete both games. First, whenever you earn a new sword in either game, that sword becomes available in the other.

Completing Four Swords will unlock a unique dungeon in A Link to the Past. This new dungeon is called “Palace of the Four Sword and is a brand new creation for this release.

Capcom were involved in development

If you were not aware, Capcom also worked on Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages for the Game Boy Color. It seems Capcom impressed Nintendo enough to land more work with this Game Boy Advance port of A Link to the Past.

Considering Four Swords is a multiplayer game there are changes that promote competition. There are four randomized dungeons to trek through with your buddies. The first to reach items is the one to get to use them or see their benefits. Such as heart containers – only one player gets that extra heart on their life bar.

Also, in Four Swords, you can only carry one item at a time. This necessitates working together so you can have a total of four items available. You can only swap out items at item pedestals sporadically placed around the dungeons.

This is the first appearance of the Gnat Hat, later renamed Ezio, in a Zelda game.

Four Swords – digital release gone today

Remember DSiWare? Back in late 2011 to early 2012 Nintendo released Legend of Zelda Four Swords Anniversary Edition. Unfortunately for us today, this was a timed release and is no longer available. Nintendo would repeat this in early 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS handheld. Again, timed release that is gone now.

What was unique about these timed digital only re-releases is the inclusion of a single player mode. Four player mode was still there as well for purists, or those with friends.

There were also two new areas for these digital re-releases. Realm of Memories and the Hero’s Trial. The former resembled A Link to the Past design while the latter favored Link’s Awakening.

If you are in the mood for some Zelda on the go then check out eBay. There are tons of deals available. Amazon may be an option if you prefer.

This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.