Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The contoversial sequel to the NES classic, Legend of Zelda.  Due to the reputation of the first Zelda title, this game was in high demand in 1988, so much so that at release the game quickly sold out and Nintendo was in a scramble to create more copies.  In the end, though, many fans disliked the second Zelda title due to its vastly different (and often frustrating) gameplay compared to the rest of the series.

So, Ganon's back, Zelda's in a coma, and I've got to save Hyrule again.  Wait a second...  an experience gauge?!

Zelda II, unlike its predecessor, takes a side-scrolling view for most of the game as you do battle with enemies and make your way through dungeons.  Further seperating the two is a "level-up" system, where Link can increase the amount of damage he can sustain, the amount of magic he can use, and the amount of damage his sword does by defeating enemies and collecting experience points.

The game's overworld is a top-down view, where enemies will occasionally appear in the form of small black creatures.  When you bump into one of these, a side-scrolling sequence will begin, often with you surrounded by monsters and having to fight your way out.  There are also certain points on the map that have monster battles like this every time you walk over them, though these are usually reserved for important places in the game (such as the bridges between continents).

Like the battles on the world map, dungeons were side-scrolling as well, and often had you fighting slimes, finding "P" bags (to gain more experience) and collecting keys to make your way through.  You'd also utilize magical spells at times, such as the "fire" spell which allowed you to launch fireballs from your sword, or the very important "Life" spell to restore your HP.

The first boss, Horsehead.  As his name implies, you must hit him in the head while dodging his mace.

Returning the crystal to the statue will immediately give you enough experience to advance a level.  For this reason, try to go up a level just before defeating the castle's boss so that you can get the most bang for your buck.

What makes Zelda II frustrating, though, is not only the frequency of battles, but the difficulty of the enemies you are pitted against.  Enemies often appear in areas with several pits, so a well-timed hit on their part can destroy you instantly.  This is especially frustrating in the fortresses, for reasons mentioned below.

Not only that, but many enemies in random encounters have attacks that will lower your experience total, which gets annoying very quickly when you've been building experience for several minutes only to have your progress erased by a swarm of birds in several seconds.  And finally, the dungeons are made much more irritating than they should be because of one fact:  if you lose your last life inside, you will be returned to Zelda's shrine and have to walk all the way back there to try again.


-Each town has a spell available, but you'll often have to do some task for someone to meet the guy who teaches it.  So if someone says they need your help, do it.  You'll need all the spells to finish the game.

-If you come across a Link doll, remember where it is, but don't collect it immediately.  These grant you a 1-up, and there are only a few in the game.  Save them for the tough dungeons near the end of the game.

-In the final stretches of the game, the forest near New Kasuto is an ideal place to level up.  You can gain approximately 300 experience per fight, and quickly retreat into Kasuto to restore your magic and health.  Once all three of your attributes are topped off at level eight, you'll be ready for the final dungeon.

-If you're on your last life and only have enough MP for either the Shield or Life spell, use Shield.  Shield halves the damage you take, allowing you to take twice as many hits, whereas Life only erases the damage of three to four hits.

-The Fairy spell can be used to pass through locked doors without using keys.  Just be careful not to trap yourself by running out of magic on the other side.

-The best way to deal with Iron Knuckles (and other shield-happy enemies) is to make a short hop into the air, then time your attack as you come down so that your blade hits their head.  They won't be able to block this attack.

And finally, a glitch.  Thanks to |tsr for this one.

-This trick requires that you have a game that was saved after you finished it (a small triangle will be by Link's portrait on the menu).  Choose that save, finish the first dungeon, and after you place the crystal in the statue immediately pause the game and press Up + A on controller two to quit.  Now start a new game and the experience the other character would have gotten from the statue will transfer to this character, immediately boosting them by about 15 levels!

Rating: 6/10
One-line Synopsis:  It's still a solid Zelda title, but its flaws don't make it as fun to play as the first.

©2003 Spoony