Zelda II: The Adventure of Link- Retroview

The Sequel: Does It Live Up To The Original?

By: Robust Stu

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 5
   Interface 4
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 7
   Plot 5
   Localization 2
   Replay Value 3
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

10 Hours


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

   Zelda II:The Adventure of Link is one of those games that by itself is a great game, but is quite different from the rest of the games in the series, which unfortunately means a lot of people resented/hated/cursed it. However, being a product of the late 1980s Nintendo Power hype machine, I quite enjoyed it, and felt that it was undeservedly bashed by many.

   The story goes that an evil wizard has placed Princess Zelda under a sleeping spell and as the heroic Link, it is your duty to find the Triforce of Courage to go with the Wisdom and Power segments you collected in the first game. The three fragments will allow you to break the curse on the Princess. Your adventure will take to to the furthest corners of Hyrule, in search of the Six Palaces you must make your way through in order to unlock the Great Palace, within which the third Triforce fragment is hidden. Better watch out, though, because if you die, the EVIL Ganon, whom you defeated in the first game, will be revived to once again unleash his wrath upon the countryside.

   The battle system works like a side scrolling fighting game. The enemies walk, run and fly at you, and in some instances even come at you from the trees. You can jump, duck, and use your sword or the magic you learn during the course of the quest against these enemies, which include birds, spiders, moblins, blobs, lizard men and ghosts. You get into battles on the world map by coming into contact with either weak enemies (which look like a blob) or strong enemies (which look like big trolls), or by entering a cave or palace.

Weird place to take a nap...
Weird place to take a nap...  

   The amount of damage you can do, damage you can take, and magic you can cast is dependent on your experience level in Power, Life, and Magic, respectively. These stats can be raised by getting a predetermined number of experience points, at which time you can choose which stat you want to raise.

   The interface is very, very simple. The menu consists of a spell select screen, at the bottom of which is a row showing the items you've collected during your quest. Simply select the spell, back out of the menu, and press select, and the spell is cast. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

   Probably the best thing about this game is the musical score. Every piece in this game is very fitting, from the peaceful, relaxing sound in the towns, to the oppressive music in the palaces, to the awe inspiring score of the Great Palace. And the final boss music, while nothing to write home about for younger gamers, sent chills down my spine back in 1989, and still does today. The sounds were also very good for their time. From the sword strike and casting of a magic spell to the memorable tunes; the aural effects of this game were, and still are, a masterpiece.

   This game was somewhat original, in that it took the side scrolling action genre and combined it with the experience levels and overhead world map roaming of RPGs. This was one of the first games to do so, and as a result deserves a high score for originality.

Hey, what are you doing in my house?
Hey, what are you doing in my house?  

   The localization, on the other hand, wasn't that great. For one there was very little to translate, as most characters in the game had one window to say their piece. These pieces, however, were often poorly translated and you had to do a bit of synonym swapping to get what was really trying to be said in some places. This game really doesn't have much in the way of replay value. Yeah, it's a fun game, but if you've been through it once, you've seen everything, and some of the more frustrating parts of the palaces might make you think twice about going through it all again.

The visuals were very good for an NES game, particularly at that stage of the system's life. In my opinion, the graphics were better than any other RPG on the NES, with the possible exception of Final Fantasy 3j. The overworld map was very beautifully done, and the side scrolling parts (caves, palaces, forests, etc) were very engrossing, and made you feel like you were in the game. While not a game you can beat in one sitting, it's also not quite Xenogears as far as length goes. On average, I'd say you're looking at about ten hours from beginning to end, maxing out all your stats along the way.

As I said before, I don't think this game deserves all the hate heaped upon it. In fact, it's my favorite out of all the Zelda games. Probably hard to find, but definitely grab it if you see it, you'll be glad you did. Recommended.

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