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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41003)
Written on  :  Aug 27, 2019
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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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?