At the beginning of A Link to the Past, a young boy named Link is awakened by a telepathic message from Princess Zelda, who says that she is locked in the dungeon of Hyrule Castle. As the message closes, Link finds his uncle ready for battle, telling Link to remain in bed. After his uncle leaves, however, Link ignores his uncle’s command and follows him to Hyrule Castle. When he arrives, he finds his uncle seriously wounded. Link’s uncle tells Link to rescue Princess Zelda from her prison, giving him a sword and shield. Link navigates the castle and rescues Zelda from her cell, and the two escape into a secret passage through the sewers that leads to a sanctuary.
According to the text on the back of the game’s packaging (US Version), A Link to the Past precedes the events of the NES games The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link. This was contradicted by a 1998 interview with Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto, in which he stated: “Ocarina of Time is the first story, then the original The Legend of Zeldathen Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and finally A Link to the Past
Link is told by a man in the sanctuary that Agahnim, a wizard who has usurped the throne, is planning to break a seal made hundreds of years ago by seven wise men. The seal was placed to imprison a dark wizard named Ganon in the Dark World, which was once the Sacred Realm before Ganon invaded, obtained the legendary Triforce and used its power to turn the realm into a land of darkness. Agahnim intends to break the seal by sending the descendants of the Seven Sages who made the seal into the Dark World. The only thing that can defeat him is the Master Sword, a sword forged to combat evil. To prove that he is worthy to wield it, Link needs three magic pendants. After retrieving the pendants, Link takes them to the resting place of the Master Sword. As Link draws the sword from its pedestal, Zelda telepathically calls him to the Sanctuary, informing him that soldiers of Hyrule Castle have arrived. Link arrives at the Sanctuary moments after the soldiers have vacated, where he learns from the dying man that Zelda has been taken to Hyrule Castle. Link goes to rescue her but arrives too late; Agahnim sends Zelda to the Dark World. Link then defeats Agahnim in battle but is subsequently also sent to the Dark World.
To save Hyrule, Link is required to rescue the seven descendants of the Seven Sages from dungeons scattered across the Dark World. Once the seven maidens are freed, they use their power to break the barrier around Ganon’s Tower, where Link faces Agahnim again. After Link battles Agahnim for a second time, Ganon rises up from Agahnim’s body, turns into a bat, and flies away. Link chases him, finally confronting him inside the Pyramid of Power in the Dark World. After a battle resulting in Ganon’s demise, Link touches the Triforce and restores Hyrule to how it was before Ganon intervened
Players play as Link in A Link to the Past. He is a young man living with his uncle in a house, south of Hyrule Castle. One night, he is telepathically contacted by Princess Zelda, a descendant of the seven sages who banished Ganon to the Golden Realm, and she pleads for his help rescuing her from the evil wizard, Agahnim. After his uncle fails to return from his own attempt to save Zelda, Link goes to the castle himself, and after escaping with Zelda he begins a quest to stop Agahnim. Link meets other helpful souls during his quest, such as Sahasrahla, a descendant of the sages that forged the Master Sword. Sahasrahla advises Link to find the Master Sword, and also speaks telepathically to Link to guide him through the game’s various dungeons.