How Did Nintendo’s Enemy Design For “A Link To The Past” Influence Your Experience?

SZU (Signal Zero University): Game Developer Need-to-Knows

by Signal Zero Team

One game enthusiast has gone through the trouble of deconstructing the gameplay of one of the all-time great games, “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” Specifically, Nathan Savant delves into the enemy design — both aesthetically and mechanically — and discusses how one informs the other. Here are a few excerpts from his post in Gamasutra:

First, “enemy” is going to be defined as any entity that the player interacts with by damaging. In other words, anything that the player can attack and see the flashing damage animation is defined as an enemy. Environment objects, such as bushes, that the player can “chop down” with the sword do not play a damage animation, and so do not count. Things like Antifaeries or the Chain Chomps will not be discussed in this article, because the player can never deal damage to them, and so they act more as environmental traps in the dungeons (yes, you can “kill” antifaeries with the magic powder, I realize).
Through play, I based damage on the original sword attack. A sword hit counts as 1, so an enemy with HP of 2 will die after 2 sword attacks with Sword 1. I discovered that the Boomerang deals 1/2 damage (to enemies that take damage from it), and the bow deals 2 damage, so these items were also sometimes used, though less consistently because their damage varies based on the enemy. Fire/Ice attacks seemed to deal a wide range of damage to different enemies, so anything that only takes fire/ice damage is listed below with hp reflecting the number of fire/ice attacks required to kill it. Sword 1 deals 1 damage, as noted previously. Sword 2 deals 2 damage. Sword 3 deals 3 damage. Sword 4, however, seems to deal double damage, meaning that it does 6. It’s somewhat difficult to gauge this information accurately, however, as there are so few enemies in the game with >7 health. I will denote below when I got the various sword upgrades. Also of note, all 3 swords with ranged attacks at full health deal 1 damage via that ranged attack.

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