What counts as a death in A Link to the Past? This is something I have been wondering about ever since I saw a friend of mine complete the game half a year ago. In the credits, where all of your deaths get summed up, we noticed a suspicious death count. It was easy for us to count the amount of deaths while he was playing through the whole game, because he only died once! We were 100% sure the death count was 1, but it was 6...
Confused? Hang on.
We started thinking about how the death count could be 6 when we knew he only died once. Another friend of us said it had to be the fairies, because the friend of mine that completed the game did get revived by a few fairies throughout the game. We agreed, "It must have been the fairies". The thought that getting revived by a fairy counts as a death did not occur to us at all before this moment, because we always thought that would have been insanely stupid. We still thought so. Thus, we thought that getting revived by a fairy counts as a death.
Around a month ago, when I randomly completed the game again, as the Zelda enthusiast I am, I noticed I had 26 deaths at Eastern Palace. I was astonished; because I knew I did not die or get revived by fairies as much as 26 times at that single dungeon. There was something else increasing my death count. On this playthrough, I found out a brilliant way to warp to another place I wanted to go in the overworld before getting the flute. It was to save and quit to get to the main menu, and then start the game again by Link's house, the sanctuary or the mountain cave. I did this all the time before taking on Eastern Palace. The moment I saw I had 26 deaths at Eastern Palace, was when I thought save and quitting also could be the source of the suspicious death counts. I thought, "So what counts? Fairies or save and quits? Maybe both of them count?!" I wanted to find this out.
Therefore, I started my research. I played through the whole game over again, and started taking notes on where I quit, and where I got revived by fairies. Throughout the whole game, I died twice. The first one was because of my stupid lack of magic powder in Eastern Palace, and the second one because of an ant that climbed my leg while I was in a very hard room being in full concentration inside of Turtle Rock. Included these 2 stupid deaths, I got revived by fairies 4 times, and I quit 7 times. When the death count got summed up in the credits after I beat the game, I saw that the dungeon where I saved and quit had one death each, while the three places I got revived by fairies did not have any deaths at all! The overall death count was 9, which includes my two stupid deaths, and my 7 quits. This confirms that save and quitting counts! While getting revived by fairies does not. I also found out that dying or save and quitting in the overworld counts as a death in the next dungeon you beat or enter.
This also means that beating the game with 0 death count, means beating the game without dying or quitting once. You can get revived by fairies as many times as you want. This is what I'm aiming for this summer!