Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
Box Shot
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
Platform: NES
Publisher: Nintendo
Designer: Nintendo
Genre: Action/Adventure
Players: 1
Published Date 1988
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

It rather irks me when I look around the Internet and see comments on how Zelda 2 sucks. Their only jusification seems to be that it's nothing like the first. Okay, so the Adventure of Link has very little in common with the original. Does that necessarily make it a bad game? Not in my eyes, it doesn't.

The storyline is detailed through a bunch of nifty pictures in the instruction manual (and a small blurb on the title screen, if you let it sit long enough.) Link is now quite a bit older from his experience in The Legend Of Zelda. Yet something very bizarre happens in his sixteenth birthday. This weird insignia shows up on his hand. He seeks Impa (you know, Zelda's aide that sought Link's help in the original?) and learns that this could possibly open a sealed door in the North Palace. Well, the door opens, and inside lies Princess Zelda. No, not the same Zelda that you rescued, but a different Princess Zelda (see, all females in the royal family were to be named Zelda in this sleeping beauty's honor.) Possibly the only way to awaken her is by finding another Triforce. Well, Link is a hero and stuff, so he sets off.

What I didn't mention is that Ganon's followers have decided that its once again time to revive their master. The only way to do this is to kill Link, take his blood and poor it on the remains of Ganon. So in addition to searching for the third Triforce, Link has Ganon's minions to attend to. Things just can't be easy.

You'll first notice that the perspective is entirely different from the original. All the battles take place in a side-scrolling type game, as compared to the overhead battles of the original. To get from place to place, you travel on a birds-eye view map, much like Dragon Warrior. If you stay on the path, you will not be attacked, but once you step off, you will find hordes of enemies to try and attack you. Unlike most RPGs, you can actually see your foes coming, and can try to avoid them if necessary. If you do get attacked, then its off to side-view mode for some good old fashioned killing.

Additionally, instead of earning Rupees, you now ean experience from killing baddies. There are no additional swords, shields, and armor...attack power, defense and magic capabilities are determined from your level. This adds a nice RPG aspect, a bit more than the original. You start with only four bars in health and magic, but heart and magic containers bring the maximum up to eight. There are towns spread throughout the land, where you can get healed. There's usually a task to be performed that will earn you a new magic spell or sword technique. Also, you now have lives...only three, but there are a few hidden throughout (quick tip: don't get them until the end of the game when you need them, because once you get one, it never comes back.) Once you die, you get sent back to the starting point with all the items and levels you had (but lose any experience points you had when going to the next level.

Which leads us to magic: there are now several magic spells, ranging from high jumping, healing, shooting fire and turning into a fairy. You *need* to find almost all of these, as many are required at points in the game. There are also two sword techniques, one which lets you stab upward when jumping, the other is a downward thrust that lets you swing your sword downward when jumping.

Much like dungeons in the original game, there are six castles throughout the game that you must conquer. Once you beat all of them, it's on to the Grand Palace and the final battle of the game. There are certain structural similarities between these castles and the dungeons of the first Zelda. You'll spend much of your time looking for keys to open various doors. There's usually a item hidden within the castle that is required to move on in your quest (for instance, finding a raft to cross the ocean.)

The graphics are only okay in the side scrolling modes. They aren't quite horrible, but nothing spectacular either. The overhead traveling screens are raunchy though, poorly animated and rather pixelated. The music isn't quite as stirring as the tunes found in the first one, but the battle theme in quite catchy, and the castle theme is suitably spooky. It may take a little while to get used to the play control...Link cannont jump very high or far (and even with the Jump spell, he can't leap great distances.) Also, this isn't a plain old hack-and-slash when it comes to fighting. You must several techniques with the controller to defeating bad guys, like learning to hit the Ironknuckles by jumping and attacking at exactly the right time, or by sliding under the shields and attacking with the Stalfos (skeletons.) It adds plenty of thought to the game.

Well, I've gone through about everything that makes Zelda 2 different from its predecessor...the only things that are similar on the surface are the characters, music, and the fact that you can still shoot little sword shadows when you have full life. When probed deeper, much of the atmosphere has also survived...the whole idea of a lone adventurer fighting demons, searching through haunted castles to find his goal, and getting excited when you've solved a puzzle or found a secret. Although The Legend of Zelda is a bit more fun overall, it can't be denied that The Adventure of Link is a worthy follower.