The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past recreated on PC from reverse engineered code

In short: Reverse engineering (RE) is a powerful weapon when used by retrogaming enthusiasts and capable programmers. The new RE project has breathed new life into one of the greatest games of all time, which can now run on modern PCs without the need for third-party SNES emulators.

The Zelda rework scene welcomes a new member with an unofficial port of A Link to the Past, a game originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991 (Japan) and 1992 (North America, Europe). A team of stubborn and passionate programmers took the game’s source code apart, recreated it for PC operating systems, and added only the essential features needed to make life a little easier for users.

As explained in the project official GitHub page, Zelda3 is a “re-release” of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which is the third game in the The Legend of Zelda series and the first to appear on the SNES console. Zelda 3 introduced many of the core elements adopted by later games in the series and is considered one of the best games ever made.

After an initial successful release on the Super Nintendo, A Link to the Past has been re-released over the years on several Nintendo systems, including the Wii, Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS, and finally the modern Switch console. However, the new reverse engineering is something else and does something that no other official reissue has ever done.

Zelda3 programmers disassembled the source code and then turned it into approximately 70-80,000 lines of C code, re-implementing all parts of the original game, which can now be played from start to finish. The RE port includes SNES hardware emulation components (namely PPU and DSP) taken from the open source C-based SNES emulator. LakeSnes.

The port also includes speed optimizations to improve performance over the source code, which removes slowdowns and speeds up transition effects affecting the console version. Other quality of life improvements include support for pixel shaders and modern aspect ratios (16:9, 16:10) for prettier graphics, a higher quality world map, support for external audio tracks, an additional item slot on the X button, and more. .

Zelda3 can be configured to display both the original machine code and the new C code at the same time so that users can compare the RAM states of each version and see how they provide exactly the same gameplay despite being designed to run in two completely different modes. environment.

Zelda3 supports Windows, Linux, macOS, and even homebrew compatible Switch consoles with instructions tailored to install the game on every compatible system. A copy of the game’s original ROM is required (but certainly not provided) to extract game assets (levels, images) that are not in the port code, so Nintendo will not attempt to sue the developers or send a waiver and abstain. letter to GitHub for copyright infringement.

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