Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

aka: Zelda II: A Aventura de Link, Zelda II: Link no Bōken
Moby ID: 7296
NES Specs
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Description official descriptions

Link has just turned sixteen, and discovers a strange birthmark on his hand. With the help of Impa, Zelda's nursemaid, Link learns that this mark is the key to unlock a secret room where Princess Zelda lies sleeping. When young, Princess Zelda was given knowledge of the Triforce of power which was used to rule the kingdom of Hyrule, but when a magician unsuccessfully tried to find out about the Triforce from Zelda, he put her into an eternal sleep. In his grief, the prince placed Zelda in this room hoping she may wake some day. He ordered all female children in the royal household to be named Zelda from this point on, so the tragedy would not be forgotten. Now, to bring Princess Zelda back, Link must locate all the pieces of the Triforce which have been hidden throughout the land.

Each piece of the Triforce is in a temple guarded by a powerful monster which must be defeated. At the same time, Ganon's underlings are still around and gaining in strength and number. It is said Ganon could be brought back to life by sprinkling the blood of the one who defeated him on the ashes - which was Link himself.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is an action role-playing game, and a sequel to The Legend Of Zelda. The gameplay alternates between a top-down view (when traveling the land) and side-scrolling perspectives (when fighting, in a temple, or town). In the top-down view, Link cannot do much except for walking: in the side-scrolling action view, however, he can fight, cast spells, collect items and talk to people.

When Link encounters an enemy in the wilderness, or enters a location which contains enemies, he can fight them with his sword. If Link is at full health, his sword can be thrown, but when he is hurt, he can only fight in melee. Link has a shield which protects him against some of the enemies' attacks if they strike the shield. Touching an enemy or getting hit by their attacks decreases Link's health. If he runs out of health, he loses a life. If he loses all his lives, it's Game Over. Link can replenish his health completely by encountering a fairy in the wilderness, or by using the services of a healer in a town.

Link also has a "magic" meter. He can cast spells (as long as he has learned them) if he has some magic power left. Spells cost a various amount of magic power. They have various effects: they cure Link, allow him to jump very high, shoot fireballs etc. The magic power meter can be refilled by collecting blue and red jars sometimes left behind by enemies.

When Link slays an enemy, it might leave behind an item, or give Link some experience. When Link gains enough experience, he gains a level, which allows him to buy weapon power, maximum magic, or maximum health upgrades for his experience points. The player can also decide not to buy anything and stockpile his experience points for later use.

There are some items to be found that are necessary to get past certain points in the game. The Adventure of Link features a battery backup so games can be saved without needing a password system.

Spellings

  • リンクの冒険 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (NES version)

10 People

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 51 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 182 ratings with 11 reviews)

The difficult nature of this game is proof that Nintendo are hypocrites

The Good
The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s popular franchises, with the first game selling over 6.5 million copies. It came as no surprise that a sequel was released a year later subtitled The Adventure of Link, containing similar gameplay mechanics as its predecessor, while introducing new elements that made their way into future Zelda games. As well as the mechanics, the game shares similar box art, similar objective, and similar game mechanics. To top it off, it was even released on a gold cartridge.

The game comes with a 52-page booklet which starts off with a well-written story complete with detailed illustrations. This is followed by everything you need to know about the game, including how to get around Hyrule, the controls and the basic gameplay. There are even a few maps thrown in in case you get lost. This booklet is excellent, I regret not reading it first.

Link is now a teenager who needs to wake Princess Zelda from her slumber, and to do this he must recover the Third Triforce sealed inside the Great Palace, located somewhere in the kingdom of Hyrule. To break the seal, Link must venture inside six other palaces and place crystals inside well-guarded statues. Zelda is also not the same one from the first game, which is probably why this is the only title in the franchise to have numerals.

You begin your adventure inside North Palace. The music here starts off similar to the first game, but branches off in another direction, and that’s the only time you hear that similarity. As soon as you leave North Palace, you are presented with a map of the “overworld” where much of your time is spent following a yellow road to towns, more palaces, or hidden areas. Step off the road and you eventually do battle with monsters in a third-person perspective in a variety of environments such as forests, deserts, plains, swamps, and even graveyards. The purpose of these battles is to gain experience points, and trust me: you’ll need all the experience you can get before you reach the final destination. The music in these battle scenes is great, and the way you can hear Link wad through the swamp water is a nice touch.

A new addition to the Zelda franchise is the addition of non-playable characters. They are usually found in towns, walking around and going about their business. Some of the inhabitants will give you advice that will help you later, while others shrug you off. But in almost every town, one of the inhabitants asks you to find something valuable to them in return for a magic spell that will help you in your adventure, You need all the spells to finish the game. I like that one of them transforms Link into a fairy, allowing you to fly along the top of the screen when you don’t want to deal with an enemy.

As I mentioned, Link must venture inside palaces scattered around Hyrule to reach the statues. Each of the palaces contains textures unique to them, and there are plenty of hallways for you to go through, some of them containing keys that are used to unlock doors. You always know when you are about to approach a boss if there are curtains on the ceiling. As well as taking down the boss, you also need to search for an item that will be used to bypass an obstacle on the overworld, such as the black river monster who is not a fan of music.

The enemies in both the palaces and in “Battle Mode” are similar to those found in The Legend of Zelda, but they take on a different appearance. A few of the enemies are new, such as the Bots, blue blobs that approach Link. Huge versions of the same enemy can be found in the last palace, and are invisible until Link walks under them.

The graphics are on par with the first game. The map of the overworld is a bit zoomed out, allowing you to see much more of it. There are some good animations as well, particularly for Link. It’s funny that he looks as if he is stabbing himself when he takes damage. Also, the game over screen with a silhouette of Ganon appearing below some text looks amazing.

The Bad
Zelda II is extremely difficult. The group of knights that you encounter in the game have the ability to block your shots, no matter where you aim; and Dark Link, the final boss, behaves much the same way. Also, near the middle of the game, you are expected to work through a maze, with each section containing at least three doorways. Take the wrong one, and you’ll be going round in circles.

The Bottom Line
This is the sequel to The Legend of Zelda, and it is impressive. The game mechanics that made the first game great make a return, but there are a few changes, with one being the introduction of non-playable characters that will help you and point you in the right direction; the other being the game changing to a third-person perspective whenever you go into battle or venture inside palaces. The only problem is the difficulty of the game that may turn off players new to the Zelda franchise. Nintendo banned the real version of Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America on the basis that the game was too difficult, so what made Zelda II any different?

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2019

Clearly a separate WIP title with Zelda IP added in late development

The Good
Ever play Cadash? That's a great game. This is a passable Cadash that predates it by about a year, on an 8-bit system!

The gameplay, as previously mentioned, is sidescrolling, with an overland map interlude for getting from place to place. There isn't much else good to be said about this game, though. It is primitive at best, and is stuck somewhere between Phantasy Star and Cadash, without the horsepower in the NES to pull it off properly.

This kind of side scrolling RPG would become very common in the future. What Zelda 2 has going for it is that it is innovative, it's too bad Nintendo didn't release it with its original characters instead of adding a "touch of Zelda" when the real Zelda 2, which I'm convinced was scrapped, didn't work out.

The Bad
Remember Mario 2? Remember the story of how they took a game that was not Mario and overlaid a bunch of Mario sprites to make a funky game that didn't feel right?

I suspect that isn't the only time Nintendo made that mistake. They did it with Zelda, too.

What you have is a game that was clearly not designed as a Zelda title with Zelda sprites and the first 5 seconds of the overland theme grafted on to make it appear "Zeldaish."

The Zelda overland theme, the really cool one that sticks in your head, plays for about 5 seconds and then immediately and rather crudely dissolves into cheesy uninspired 8-bit kazoo box music. That progression in the music describes the rest of the game. 5 seconds of Zelda and 15 hours of some other game that the box lied about. As you go, it just becomes wildly less and less like Zelda until you start wondering how Link got so tall.

Give me a map, or a compass, or rupees or ANYTHING else from the original game and this criticism becomes invalid, but it isn't there. There's no "nightmare key," no master sword, no heart meter. You can't make a "departure" sequel and ditch nearly everything that made the flavour of the original.

This was the 80's, back when they were plastering Erno Rubik's name on every dumb puzzle they could find, yet none of them were "the cube." This kind of "Brand leveraging" proved to be very damaging to the companies that did it, and so you don't see nearly as much of it any more. Nintendo learned and now jealously guards its brands.



The Bottom Line
Zelda sprites added to a perfectly good RPG to increase sales.

You can play the original Zelda and it's all there, in crude form. Everything that would become the rest of the series.

This game doesn't represent a "departure" as so many apologists will tell you. It's a completely different game. It's very difficult, and by today's standard's not terribly innovative, but okay to play if you like a sidescrolling RPG like Cadash. It's amazing they pulled this off on the 8-bit NES.

So when you hear this game get badmouthed, it's mostly because of people who expected a Zelda title and didn't get one. It's Super Mario Bros. 2 all over again. The good news is that there is a title.

Remember, it predates Cadash by a year, is playing on 8-bit hardware, and is a perfectly good RPG.

(Just watch out for the guy who tells you to get the candle at the palace by going "West." The palace is to the NNE.)

Production standards have improved since these days...

(Reviewer played this off the Zelda Collector's Edition GC disc. There may have been a map showing exactly where the candle palace is in the original.)

NES · by Zaghadka (62) · 2006

Will last you a long time

The Good
The world is a lot smaller compared to the first Zelda game and I appreciated that. The world is a lot smaller, but also has more detail. The original had an impressive size, but everything just looked the same with only a few changes per screen. Here the screens have been removed and you just walk around Hyrule's areas, There are; swamps, forests, mountain and of course water. I'd say that sacrificing size for detail is a good thing, especially if the world is still quite huge afterwards.

The gameplay is a lot faster compared to the original Zelda, not only do you walk faster, but the fights are also a lot faster and harder. You have to duck, jump and stab in order to kill your opponent. Later on you also discover magic spells and new moves that make the fights even bigger and of course you run into new enemies with different tactics. Nearing the end of the game, each screen I left without taking damage felt just like beating the final boss.

The game has a nice balance between puzzles and fighting, for me at least, which means barely any puzzles and a lot of fighting. The only "puzzles" you do encounter are the temples which are very hard to navigate through and some areas like Death Mountain. This is the NES, so you can't really demand anything else. There are still a lot of secrets to find though and some are mandatory if you want to progress through the story.

The fact that Hyrule is at war is emphasized more in this game, in the original Zelda there weren't any villages or soldiers or anything else to give you the impression you were really saving something. The people in Zelda II beg for help when you talk to them and the soldiers try to help you by teaching you new moves. It's sad that Nintendo didn't keep using this because it's really nice to have the feeling you are doing something worth doing, Zelda games are still pretty awesome, but why say no to even more atmosphere?

The overall story is a little bit more original than in the first Zelda. In the first Zelda game all you had to do was save the princess from her captor, which wasn't really the best story ever written. Here you are trying to find the Triforce in order to wake up a Princess from a very long time ago. It's still not the most amazing story, but certainly an upgrade. Also nice is that you no longer play as a kid, but as an older Link, this way the evil that threatens to take over the kingdom seems just a little bit more threatening.

The Bad
The difficulty curve is all over the place, you start of pretty easy, aside from having to go through a tunnel which requires you to have the item you'll find in the temple on the other side, but after that there is a giant peak in the middle. After that peak (Death Mountain) it becomes easier again. The final boss is very hard, but it doesn't beat Death Mountain. A lot of people may not even make it to Death Mountain, so if you are planning to play through this, I wish you good luck.

It's you against an army of enemies and if you die three times, you are sent back to the start of the game. This is very annoying because it doesn't make the game harder at all, you just go back to what you were doing with fresh health. In the original Zelda you would just respawn at the start of the dungeon if you died, that was a good way to punish me for dying, this however is way too cruel. It's also a problem that the extra lives you find do not return after you picked them up, so if you die, that live is lost forever.

The Bottom Line
Zelda 2 is (one of) my favorite Zelda game(s) out there and for good reasons; the action is fast, the story is better and the puzzles are do-able. Aside from an unreasonably difficulty curve and some weird choices regarding lives, this is a very good game.

However the difficulty is still too much to ignore, so I have to warn people that unless they truly want to play this and know it is very hard, they might want to stay away from it. It's never fun to buy a game and feel like it wants to punish you for playing it, so if you don't want to put up with that, you might want to stick to the (not as hard) Legend of Zelda.

NES · by Asinine (957) · 2011

[ View all 11 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
So this is the black sheep?.. Unicorn Lynx (181794) May 30, 2012
Only one who like this more than the first? Simoneer (29) Jun 15, 2010

Trivia

Cartridge

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was the only other Nintendo-licensed NES title to have the honor of being a gold cartridge besides the original Legend of Zelda.

ERROR

Inside a house within one of the towns is an NPC who simply says "I AM ERROR" when talked to. While many gamers at first found this to be a mistake in the code, there is another NPC later in the game that tells you Error knows a secret, proving that Error is his name and not an error.

It is possible that Error’s name was originally "Errol" (like the Australian-American actor Errol Flynn), but due to the letters "R" and "L" being allophones in Japanese, the programmers mistyped the name as "Error" in translating the game to English.

Platforming

As of 2005 Zelda II is the only game in the series to use a standard jump button that doesn't require the use of a power-up, or running off the side of a ledge to clear a gap.

Town names

Many of the villages share their names with characters from Ocarina of Time (Ruto, Rauru, Mido and Saria, etc.)

Interestingly enough, Ocarina of Time is considered to be the first Zelda game continuity-wise, so it's possible the villages are named in their honour, at least in the case of the Sages (Rauru, etc.).

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #72 (Best 100 Games of All Time)

Information also contributed by CaptainCanuck and Mark Ennis

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Nintendo 3DS added by ResidentHazard. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Wii, Game Boy Advance added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, Jeanne, Guy Chapman, NH, Alaka, monkeyislandgirl, Pseudo_Intellectual, LepricahnsGold, Perfil Falso, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson.

Game added September 28, 2002. Last modified February 1, 2024.