The entire Link Between Worlds story is a direct parallel to Link to the Past. Lorule in LBW is similar, if not the same place as the Dark World in LTTP. It’s not really spelled out if Lorule is the exact same place as the Dark World in LTTP but the dungeons line up in location, theme and even boss encounters. Even though there is that built in similarity LBW verges in that it gives Lorule a bit more personality and actual characters. That said, there is a pretty fun story based switcheroo at the end that I won’t spoil even though a few dungeons away from the end I saw coming. The switch at the end isn’t particularly hidden if you are paying attention and is a fun play off the typical Zelda style story.
Like many elements of Link Between Worlds the music is heavily influenced by themes from Link to the Past but breaks new ground stylistically. The music by Ryo Nagamatsu takes the retro SNES bit themes and arranges them with live orchestra, small ensembles and an Celt flavor that really gives the game a much more earthy tone to it. The Hyrule Dungeon theme song in Link Between Worlds is based on the original theme but Nagamatsu arranges it for a modern ensemble and his choices for the natural instruments to play the parts of the 16-bit score are well made. Linked below is the original Hyrule Dungeon theme and Nagamatu’s version that shows off how well he translated and built on the original score.
Link to the Past Dungeon Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1UyVXN13SI
Link Between Worlds Hyrule Dungeon Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dyn4A52jkxg (dat woodblock & trumpet!)
Nagamatu’s original music is also quite good and never felt out of place with the old themes.
Link Between Worlds is a game I plan on coming back to which is one of the highest bits of praise I have. I really hope Nintendo rereleases this on the Switch so more people can play it because it’s such a sharp game worthy of more attention. If the past Zelda games are an indicator Nintendo should rerelease it, it’s just a matter of time. I’m not entirely sure if Link Between Worlds is a reason in itself to buy a 3DS but if you were close to picking one up and were a huge Link to the Past fan, i’d check it out. The Link Between Worlds game cart doesn’t seem to be available from Nintendo new so I picked it up used on Amazon but it’s also available digitally from the 3DS shop.