Zelda II: The Adventure of Link - Retroview

Link's Other Half

By: Desh

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 6
   Plot 5
   Localization 4
   Replay Value 5
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

5-15 hours


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

   In the age of innovation and beginnings, The Legend of Zelda became a hit. It's developers went straight to work on a sequel that could further the "story" put into the first. A mere year after the first, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was released for the Nintendo. For some, it left a bitter taste. For others, it was a pleasant change. For this writer, it was a nice try.

   Zelda II recreated Hyrule in an almost opposite way as its prequel; the battle and town areas became side-scrollers, whereas before everything was from the bird's-eye view. This changed the battle system entirely - the shooting sword could not go all the way across the screen, but Link could duck and jump. Also, it eliminated a working scenario for the bombs and boomerangs we've come to love. So, this game introduced magic to the mix. The battle system still works, and leads to some great heated fights.

   Once again, saving is done by sacrificing yourself. Oops. However, like the original, there is only one menu, except now it displays your magic inventory instead of items. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to accidental uses of magic that you didn't want. Also, this is the first - and last - LoZ game to implement the leveling system. For every creature you kill, you get a certain amount of exp. This goes towards increasing life, magic, and strength. Woop-de-doo.

She's more fun when she's awake, Link!
She's more fun when she's awake, Link!  

   Zelda II offers a few more songs than LoZ. The overworld theme is a variation on the original, and is still well done. And, once again, the labyrinth music is still very atmospheric and exciting. However, nothing here is as memorable as in the original.

   Once again, here we are saving Princess Zelda. Oh my. Oh, and, by the way, Ganon is on the verge of being ressurected. *Gasp!* Seriously, though, the system and plot have been refried. The incorporation of magic into this side-scroller is about as original this game gets. However, the puzzles presented here are still good, and, at the time, fresh.

   My, my... it seems the characters here are even more close-mouthed than in Final Fantasy! In both games, characters had only one box in which to spead their piece... and here the box is tinier with big letters! The lack of quality resulting from this programming misfortune has made players just shake their heads and move on. Cut-off sentences and nonsensical phrases litter the game, leaving much to be desired.

   All right... so the graphics here are a slight improvement over the original. Just slight. The monsters actually look LESS detailed, and the "human" characters look decidedly fuzzy. However, it is enough to distinguish the "bad" things from da "good" things. That, and some of the temples look quite nice, actually.

The not-so-random encounters
The not-so-random encounters  

   Starting, this game can be a bit tough, especially with the new leveling system. Also, it is pretty much necessary to find every heart and magic container to finish the game. Why? Because you can't get a necessary spell without them. That can lead to boatloads of trouble...and then, some puzzles are just mean. It was because of these things that this game can take awhile. Other than that, there aren't any side-quests, as hearts aren't optional anymore.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has been bashed by many a player, some declaring that it should not even be grouped with the other Legend of Zelda games. While it did deviate from what all the other games have done, it was not without purpose. Back in the day, game designers were still experimenting with different systems, and Zelda was no exception. If you take the best of this and its prequel, you get their SNES companion. Without this game, we might have lost out on some of the fun we've seen today.

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