Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1988 - NES, reviewed by Cramulas)

There are times when, despite a person’s right to an opinion, peoples’ opinions are wrong. Such is the case for many who have played Zelda II: Adventure of Link and spoken poorly about it. You people, to quote Eminem, you make me so fucking sick to my stomach. Zelda II was a sexual revolution for video games and the first side scrolling RPG ever. This game has it all: Romance, Horror, Adventure and even Comedy. Nintendo did indeed take a chance with Zelda II by switching from Zelda I’s topdown/godview to a side scroller, but it worked. This reviewer may be somewhat biased in writing this review but it is for good reason, because this reviewer is right. Another thing, everybody seems to love Adult Link. It should be noted that this is the first Zelda game to use an Adult Link and its because of this game that there is an Adult Link in Zelda 64.


In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Links goal is to awaken Zelda from her slumber by finding the third Triforce. This Triforce, known as the Triforce of Courage, is located deep within a lost and ancient palace. It appears that Ganon is not completely dead after all. Before his death at the hands of Link at Death Mountain, Ganon placed a sleeping spell on Zelda. She now rests in Hyrule Palace and it’s up to you to save her, but can it be done? Ganon’s worshippers are everywhere, and they have discovered that only Links blood can resurrect Ganon from his ashes. You are a wanted man, a glorious wanted man.

Gameplay


Adventure of Link plays like any side-scroller (ex: Ninja Gaiden). Where this game differs compared to all other previously released side-scrollers is the non-linear factor. In games such as Ninja Gaiden, one had no choice but to follow the path of the level from left to right. Adventure of Link molded and evolved this model. One can go anywhere he wants, whenever he wants as long as you have the item required. The overworld is actually top-down view, like Zelda I. The difference is that you do not swing your sword around in the overworld. When one sticks to the yellow paths, no enemies will chase you. If you walk in forests and swamps, enemies may appear and chase you. If a group of enemies catches you then you are thrown into side-scrolling mode and take all these enemies on in an attempt to escape.

There are 6 levels in Zelda II. The purpose of which is to find the secret item, defeat the boss and place a crystal in an altar located at the very end of each level. These altars serve as keys to the ancient barrier that protects the lost palace. There are a variety of items in this game, including power-ups and magic spells. This provides Zelda II with a sense of customizability. Heart and Magic Containers increase your respective stats one point. Magic spells like Shield decrease your damage taken by 50%, and Fire adds a fireball projectile to your sword. Items like the “Handy Glove” allow you to destroy objects that get in your way. There are a variety of side quests as well, many reward with you a heart container or magic spell. Finally, what makes this an RPG is the use of Experience points. Most enemies you kill give you exp. When you gain a level of say 100 exp points, the players will have the option to upgrade his life/armor or save his points towards the next level of 200 points to gain a sword powerup. There are 8 levels or powering up for Links Sword, Armor/Life and Magic.

Graphics


The graphics are pretty impressive for a game from 1988. Each level has its own color scheme which actually gives each level its own personality if you will. Level 5, for example, has a very dark green color scheme. There are a variety of monsters all with decent design, the towns are colorful and the overworld is bright and detailed. There are a number of different backdrops giving this game a larger feel to it. Forests in side-scrolling view are dark and evil feeling, the trees look haunted which adds to the adventure atmosphere of the game.

Sound


Decent sound, excellent music. The sound is very basic, there are a lot of strange sounds for certain things. Links sword projectile doesn’t sound anything like the Zelda I’s sound, and it should. Blocking enemy weapons with your shield lets out a high pitched misplaced sound that cannot be described. It sort of works out in the end. The soundtrack, however, is brilliant. Zelda games are known for their excellent use of music. The dungeon themes and town themes are unforgettable, and you will find yourself humming along to them when in those areas.

Presentation


Unbelievable overworld and level design. The overworld is massive, there are so many places to go and so many things to do. The non-linear style of the game presents gamers with many options of where to go and how to do it. The levels are remarkable. Not to spoil the final level, but the lost palace is quite simply the greatest level every designed in video game history. Hard, challenging and kick-ass. There is an option to do a second quest, just like in Zelda I. The second quest in this game, however, is no different from first quest. You simply start the game fully powered up, making the game a lot easier. Nothing too special, but a nice option to have. There is no multiplayer but that is not the end of the world. This game is meant for the solo adventurer.

Closing Comments


If you have not played this game, then do so immediately. If you have and you liked it, play it again. Finally, if you have and you do not like this game then you are a failure at life. An excellent game that helped propel the Zelda series to the next level of adventuring.

6/7 Yannis:





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