Retro Review: An Underrated Gem – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Nov, 2017 At 06:03 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 2 Comments

No Gravatar

 

The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s premiere series and one beloved by gamers worldwide. However, there is one game in the series that tends to be poorly regarded. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was the first sequel in the series but made drastic changes to the gameplay. Instead of playing from a bird’s eye view like the first game,  Zelda II only uses that for the over world, while using side-scrolling gameplay for towns and dungeons. This brought platforming to the series which made for a very different game. In addition, the game had an RPG style levelling system that hasn’t really be done in the series since. It is definitely the odd one out, but is it a bad game?

I have a confession to make. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, is actually my favourite NES game. In fact, it is my favourite game in the Zelda series altogether ( I could not get into Breath of the Wild at all but I did try). I first played it when I was twelve, well after Majora’s Mask came out. My mother got it for me from a pawn shop, and I spent the summer playing it. Playing that classic game long after I played Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask was quite an interesting experience.

I can see the complaints people had about how different the game was, but I do not agree with them. The game is different yes, but at the time it came out, there was only one other game to compare it to. I actually feel the fact that it is so unlike the other games makes Zelda II unique in a good way. This isn’t to mention that the game actually introduced many ideas that remained in later games, such as Dark Link, names of characters in Ocarina of Time being taken from names of towns in this game, and on that point, towns first appeared in this game and have been a key part of every Zelda game since. Furthermore, the magic system in later games is directly based on the magic system in this one. Zelda II contributed a lot more to the series than people realize.

There are issues of course, mainly the difficulty. The game gets very hard very early on, before most would be ready for it. Getting to Death Mountain means reaching a point of vastly increased challenge and its still an early part of the game. The platforming is not especially difficult due to controls but only when enemies get involved similar to the early Castlevania games. But even then, I don’t feel the difficulty is something that should detract from the game itself. When I think of the game, I just think of fun, because even going back to this game last year, I still got that same sense of joy.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is one of the most underrated games of all time. It has gotten a lot of hatred that is simply undeserved and unmerited. If anything, I would love to see the game get a remake with a modern look, and maybe tweaking the difficulty to manageable levels. The UbiArt Framework would be amazing for such a remake but there are of course other engines and styles that could be used for a remake. It would give people a chance to finally see why this game is truly amazing.

If you have only heard the negatives about the game and have never played it yourself, I urge you to try it for yourself. It may not be a traditional Zelda, but neither was Breath of The Wild. It is a truly excellent experience.

Displaying 4 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. landkrakenNo Gravatar says:

    Always love hearing position reviews of my favorite (and first) game for the NES. Thanks for the well-written article! We’ll be doing a tribute podcast episode for Zelda II in December ’17. We’d love to get an audio recording of you sharing what it was like playing this game when you were 12. Just shoot us an email land_kraken@sharesquid.com with the subject, ‘I remember zelda 2’ so we’ll remember to reach out to you in December. Thanks!

  2. landkrakenNo Gravatar says:

    Always love hearing positive reviews of my favorite (and first) game for the NES. Thanks for the well-written article! We’ll be doing a tribute podcast episode for Zelda II in December ’17. We’d love to get an audio recording of you sharing what it was like playing this game when you were 12. Just shoot us an email land_kraken@sharesquid.com with the subject, ‘I remember zelda 2’ so we’ll remember to reach out to you in December. Thanks!

  3. RodNo Gravatar says:

    Until BOTW, it was my favorite Zelda too … music, mixed view, difficulty and … real RPG spirit !

    I got it when it came out … so in 1987, I was 11 … and for me, it’s still one the best RPG of the 8/16 bits era.

    Cheers from France ! 🙂 (and this is with this game and Castlevania II, Simon’s Quest, I started to learn english, because the games were not translated, although they were inside the booklet)

  4. Zelda II has gotten a bad reputation over the years because of how different it is from other Zelda titles, but if you look at it from the perspective of when it originally came out, the game was actually quite well-received. At the time, there was no established formula for a Zelda game (probably a good thing, really) and so Nintendo was just trying to follow up to the first game with an equally fun and unique experience.

    One of the things I love about Zelda II is the scale of the game. Considering that all of the original Zelda (as well as A Link to the Past, for that matter) takes place in a small pocket area south of Death Mountain, Zelda II gives us a much larger look at what we consider Hyrule and its surrounding areas. It has towns, dungeons, a varied landscape, and you even cross a large body of water to a large island/small continent beyond it.

    Add to this that the gameplay is fun, there’s a lot to explore and find, and the story itself is pretty interesting, I think it all adds up to a recipe for success!

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


%d bloggers like this: