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Old 11-22-2003, 12:15 AM   #372
Deal with it.
Icarus4578's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,550
That's one long beauty rest

Zelda II ~ The Adventure of Link - NES - Rating 7
Some people love it and think it's one of the best Zelda games ever, and others refuse to even look at it, considering it a travesty to the series. I think of it as a different approach to adventure gaming in general that we don't see enough of. Zelda II is a benchmark title that deserves a second look. Back when it was first released in 1987 nobody had seen anything quite like it (much like the original in this sense, only not quite as revolutionary). Newcomers to gaming that started with the 32/64-bit systems may not welcome this game just because of the 8-bit graphic facade, and that bothers me because it's very well accomplished on many fronts. Behind its ancient mask lies a game of skill and much depth, an adventure worthy of the time invested. After not having experienced this title for about 8 years I was taken aback by the basic-ness of it all. Then again, I didn't remember too much about it. After a few hours I realized just why I fell in love with gaming in the first place - there's something irreducible about the game, an irresistible substance that allows games such as this to never grow tiring. I'm trying to pinpoint, to determine the secret to this formula, and I'm not sure if I've figured it out but at least I believe I have figured out that it has something to do with a steady growth in content and depth which lies within a seemingly simplistic architecture of game design and develops it in a smooth progressiveness, and this, I believe, gives this game its character.
The story is suprisingly in-depth for such an old game, but in order for you to actually get the most out of it you have to read the story from within the game manual or wherever else you can find it. Here's a brief summary: Zelda has been placed under a spell and she cannot awaken unless Link can retrieve the Triforce of Courage to go along with the Triforces of Wisdom and Power and restore peace. In order to accomplish this feat, Link must restore six crystals to their proper statues in order to gain access to the Valley of Death wherein lies the Great Palace which is where the Triforce of Courage is located. Ganon also plays a part in the story; for the more complete story check in here (also includes screenshots, a walkthrough, and other stuff) ~
When you begin you're right by Princess Zelda's bedside on a side-view and so you make your way outside to the underwhelming overworld. However, most all of the game takes place from the side-view which looks relatively well done for an NES game. I cannot stress this enough: look beneath its humble graphics and search for the fun, challenge, and depth instead - your efforts shall be reciprocated. From the start you can make your way to one of two towns at your leisure, those being Rauru and Ruto. Head east for Rauru for now and be sure to meet the wise man who will teach you your first spell - Shield. Go outside and gain experience points by destroying enemies. You don't gain levels in this Zelda game. How it works is like this: in the top-right of the screen is your points and how much you have left to go before you are given a chance to use them to power-up your health meter, magic meter, or sword attack. As you keep powering-up your stats they get more and more costly, just like in an RPG. This is a feature I wish was implemented into more Zelda titles. After you're powered-up Link enough, you should head northeast into the cavern opening you see on the world map. Make your way through the dark cavern and once you're outside don't go directly into the first palace at first. Instead, move east and then south into the green section to collect a heart container. Now, head into the first palace and conquer the relatively easy trails within, find the candle, and fight the boss Horsehead which looks like a soldier's armored body with the head of a horse. He takes no real skill to undo - keep hitting him in his head. After this, you can place the crystal in the statue and exit the palace. The quest continues on through many more towns, palaces, caverns, and more locations. All told, it should take you around 20-25 hours to complete the game.
The gameplay is obviously a bit different than the previous Zeldas but shares many similarities. You're still Link and all with the sword and shield. In order to guard you don't press anything and just stand idle for high defense and duck for low defense. You can also use your sword to 'deflect' some up-close enemy attacks. The B button attacks and the A button jumps. Start will only pause the game on the world map but during the side-view sections you can press start to see all of your current items (and keys in dungeons) and equip magic spells which are used by pressing select. Some of the items you gain include a hammer, a flute, and a glove. Some of the magic spells included are thunder, fairy (Link actually transforms into a fairy!), and fire. When at full health Link can shoot out a beam attack from his sword like in all Zeldas, and of course jump/duck and attack. I was suprised at the enemies because right from the first palace on there are some hard and somewhat resilient foes, and of course you'll eventually see many familiar faces from the past like Octoroks, Armos Knights, and the dreaded Wizzrobes! The bosses get quite challenging as you progress and each displays a life bar to the left of the screen; yet again, another difference from other Zeldas. Palaces get very large and you'll have to be very resourceful to survive the last three or four. One aspect that makes these palaces (or dungeons if you will) so different from in other Zeldas is that you ride elevators between floors and there are blocks for you to destroy later on in order to gain reach to higher sections, as well as other purposes. You can attack some statues and they'll drop stuff like magic potion to restore your magic meter, and if you're lucky you'll find a fairy or two awaiting your presence within the many passages inside. There's a lot more, but you'll just have to play it to find out.
Be prepared to be underwhelmed by the graphics as this is an 8-bit title. Side-scrolling areas such as towns and palaces look ok but are mostly free of more embellishing detail and device. It's pretty basic throughout. What I'd love to see them do is revamp the graphics (and sound quality) for a remake of this game along with the original Zelda, but I doubt that will happen. Oh well. As far as challenge is concerned, prepare to be tested to the fullest! You know where I kept having a hard time? (This doesn't ruin anything so...) Before the final palace you have to make your way through several cavern areas. These are a pain in the ass!! I wanted to take my NES and smash it through the wall but then how would I play Castlequest?
The music is well composed, particularly the palace music and the ending but for the most part I was disinterested, probably because of the hard thought often required to figure out what to do next (like finding friggin' Bagu in the forest area :annoyed: ). It's good but I'd still consider the original to have a better soundtrack. I mean, how on Earth do you beat the dungeon music in the original!?
"Want to listen to MIDI versions of Zelda songs?"
"OK!!" ~
Spiffy indeed! The sound effects are good for an NES game. SHING! SHING!
I hope that if you haven't played Zelda II before you'll give it a chance to grow on you because it really is a great game. It's not among my very favorite Zeldas but as an action/adventure title, particularly one of the side-scrolling breed, it is an enjoyable experience with but a few sore spots. You know what I think of when I see this game? How Ys changed from an top-down view (Ys Book I and II) to a side-scroller (Ys III ~ Wanderers from Ys). If anything, Zelda II and Ys III proved to me that a little change doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Good job Nintendo (and Falcom).

Ready for a ton of great! excellent! fantastic! Zelda sites?
This site rocks and includes tons of cool stuff like animated (and non-animated) gifs, manga translations, wallpapers, a ton of artwork, etc. etc. ~
This next site includes detailed walkthroughs of every Zelda title (Sorry Seska; there's no walkthroughs for the Phillips CD-i versions. J/K), and lots of other stuff ~
This here Zelda site has info, pics, maps, tricks and treats for persons of all ages ~
The final Zelda site isn't really a 'Zelda site' but does have lots of pics from Adventure of Link. You'll need to be a member in order to view the instruction manual ~

Bite your head off man....

Last edited by Icarus4578; 05-09-2004 at 04:41 AM.
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