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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Nintendo NES) discussion [game]
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the NES
8.36/10 from 43 user ratings

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Nintendo NES) Review (8.0)  by  

If you ask me, The Legend of Zelda is a stone-cold classic, and fully deserves its own playthrough thread. But the second-largest game in the ambassador giveaway also has its own share of fans. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, despite being the black sheep of the series, has gotten pretty popular over the past few years and its gameplay has generally held up pretty well.

The title is notorious for its difficulty, but personally, I feel that the game is rather fair until the very final areas. While you lose your "unspent" EXP with a game over (and are returned to the starting location), you keep your levels, items, spells, and progress otherwise. And even then, you could always grind a bit to face Zelda II's challenges with greater ease.

So join us, won't you? I'd suggest finishing Zelda 1 first if you've started that, or you can do what I'm doing and run through both games more or less simultaneously--they're different enough that you shouldn't get Zelda fatigue. The appeal of Zelda II is in its challenging combat mixed with rewarding exploration, and it's not nearly as obtuse as some people feel the first title is. Instead, the additional challenge is placed on battling the enemies and surviving long enough to finish each dungeon.

A few hints before you go:

-To start, you'll notice all the caves are rather dark (until you get a special item). You don't have to go through any before you get that item except one in the northeast, above the town of Rauru. But be sure to stop by the town before you head through there, though.

-Make sure you spend your EXP on level-ups when you're getting close to a game over. It stinks losing your last life and subsequently your "loose" EXP. Level-ups, on the other hand, are permanent.

-"LIFE" level-ups increase your defense (not really your life). "MAGIC" level-ups decrease the amount of magic you spend per spell ("16" is one "block" of magic). "SWORD" level-ups increase your attack, and are probably the most valuable.

-Beating a dungeon and putting the crystal in the statue makes your EXP shoot up to the next level, regardless of where it currently is. With clever timing and strategy, you can get a ton of free EXP this way. If you want to wait, you can always jump over the statue area and come back when you want a bigger EXP boost (like if you're getting the last couple levels).

-You can choose to "cancel" level-ups if you're holding out for a different stat, so they don't have to be linear. For instance, if you get 50 EXP and want to save it for the FIGHT level-up at 200 EXP, just hit select to cancel out of the level-up window and bank the excess EXP.

-Some "tiles" on the world map lead to secret areas. Walk all over, especially on tiles that stick out or look suspicious.

Good luck, adventurers, and remember...


Good advice for life.

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09/06/11, 20:25    Edited: 09/06/11, 22:33
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@Guillaume Haha. Well maybe I'll play it again! New Game + (keep all your levels and spells) for the win.

VofEscaflowne started playing FFVI and he's going to pass me before you know it.

But I'm home from work today, so maybe I'll play some of that...

EDIT: I beat it by the way. Six game overs according to the file select screen.
09/07/11, 21:46   
Edited: 09/07/11, 21:48

Yeah, Zelda II is definitely a Graduate course at the ol' Nintendo University. It's not for everybody.

Since you brought up music, if I had to compare it to an album... hmm... it would be something like Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" or No Doubt's "Return of Saturn" or even U2's "Pop". (Side One of "Magical Mystery Tour"?) It's not that there's nothing wonderful about it, it's that there are certain aspects of it that don't work as well as you'd expect, considering the pedigree. None of those will ever be my favorite albums by those artists - and Zelda II will never compete with Wind Waker or or LoZ or Ocarina for my affection - but that doesn't mean they have no virtues.

I hope no one gets me wrong about my feelings for Zelda II. It's a good game, no doubt. It's somewhat rewarding to complete one of the hardest games on the NES (hardest that isn't just totally broken, anyway). And I particularly like the Thunderbird, in concept, design and as a boss battle. Heck, pretty much all of the boss battles are fantastic in this one, apart from Dark Link, since everyone knows the trick at this point and, by the time you've made it there, it's darn near impossible not to default to it. I also deeply respect that there are multiple aspects of play in this game, from the map, to the active combat, to the mazes, to the variety of secrets, to the "dodge the rocks" levels... there's more variety in this game than any other NES game I can think of off the top of my head.

After finishing it a few weeks ago, I started work on a review. Maybe somewhere in here, I'll finish that up and post it.
09/07/11, 22:01   
kriswright said:
After finishing it a few weeks ago, I started work on a review. Maybe somewhere in here, I'll finish that up and post it.

That reminds me, I should link to my review.

I admit the game is flawed, but I still really enjoy it. It's difficult without being broken, it's varied, it's completely different from its predecessor (and from every game to come after). I really like that Skyward Sword's combat kind of makes me think of Zelda II, in the way you need to use MotionPlus to attack enemies in a certain way. The combat is one of Zelda II's biggest strengths, and a huge step up from the first (which was about as basic as you can get). I love the way that Iron Knuckles can both attack and block high and low, and that enemies actually come after you (rather than walking around in circles like the ones in Zelda 1). I look forward to having to actually watch the enemies movements and attack a certain way in Skyward Sword, but obviously to a greater degree.
09/07/11, 22:11   
Edited: 09/07/11, 22:11

Hey, great review, rebonack.
09/07/11, 22:15   
So where is a good place to grind experience in this game before beating the first dungeon? I tried doing it in the dungeon a bit, but nothing respawns except for those kobolds that don't give you any experience, so you have to leave and come back a lot and it is annoying.

@rebonack I went to that town and I sure as heck didn't find an old man or a side quest or gahhhhhhhhh this game is frustrating me already.

@rebonack Me too. I mean the six game overs part. And I mean in the first 30 minutes.
09/08/11, 00:00   
Regarding Zelda 2's music, am I the only one who thinks that it's actually some of the best in the series? The first Zelda game has some classic music, of course, but there's also like, 5 songs in the game (the intro, the overworld, the dungeon, the final dungeon, and the credits/game over). I guess you can count 6 if you count the end level fanfare as well.
09/08/11, 00:11   

I think it's really good, but most of the music, apart from the incredible Palace Theme, doesn't stick in my head the way the very best NES music does (I'm thinking all three Marios, the original Zelda theme, Kid Icarus, Metroid. Castlevania. Bubble Bobble. Contra., etc.)

The Overworld music in Zelda II is particularly mediocre, in my humble opinion. That obnoxious "WEEE-oooo WEEE-oooo" squeal... ugh.
09/08/11, 00:21   
Edited: 09/08/11, 00:22
@kriswright I'll give you the overworld theme and maybe the intro (which I always felt was kind of intentionally subtle), but I'm a huge fan of the cave/battle themes, as well as the town theme and the palace theme.

I'll definitely concede that the game has a pretty obnoxious vibrato throughout though.

09/08/11, 00:26   

Yeah, that Cave theme is pretty badass, now that you mention it.
09/08/11, 00:28   
@Zero In each town you'll have to enter someone's house and the old man will be inside. Each town has three people who come out of buildings: two women who will refill your life and magic, and one who will bring you inside to learn a new spell -- she'll usually give you a hint about what you need to do before she'll let you in. So keep an eye out for people coming out of buildings.

There isn't really a good place to grind before the first dungeon. You can find a heart container, did you get that? It's connected to the desert where the first dungeon is. There's a magic container too, but it's in a cave, so you'll probably want to wait until you get a certain item.
09/08/11, 01:01   
Edited: 09/08/11, 01:04
ploot said:
And take note: Parapa Palace is to THE EAST. That short little guy needs to learn how to say more words.

More words? Try the RIGHT words. The little bastard sent me WEST. Fuck him.

rebonack said:

There's a magic container too, but it's in a cave, so you'll probably want to wait until you get a certain item.

I found that. Because of the tosspot who gave me the wrong directions. Only survived (just) through spamming the shield spell.

What a tosspot.

Guillaume said:
Plans FFVI thread

Depending how much I have on my plate when the time comes I might get in on that. Never played it & it finally released here for the very first time earlier this year, thanks to the magic of VC.
09/08/11, 01:21   
You guys really got confused on the Parapa guy? It seemed clear to me that he was giving two step instructions. Then again I'm literally teaching two step instructions to 2nd graders right now, so I guess that logic is on my mind.
09/08/11, 01:54   

I don't see how that's clear at all. First he makes reference to Parapa, then tells you to go west. Any reasonable person would conclude that one follows from the other, i.e. to get to Parapa, go west.

If you isolate his instructions as two completely unrelated items then you're left with a simple "Go west". Why? What for?

It's crazy.
09/08/11, 02:04   

Ploot warned you about the whole East/West thing on the podcast. Must have stuck.
09/08/11, 02:07   
Yeah but I don't listen to anything Paul says.

...did he really mention it? Either way it didn't seem too confusing to me. Everything else about the game is confusing though.
09/08/11, 02:20   
Hey, I love Side One of Magical Mystery Tour! It IS magical! And charming. La la la la laaaaa...


What was this thread about, again?
09/08/11, 03:29   
@rebonack Ok but I ran through that town like 3 times and I sure as heck am not finding an old man. I found a girl who says to talk to her dad, but I sure as heck did not find her dad either. Or maybe he is the old man, whatever the case, he ain't there.
09/08/11, 04:21   
Edited: 09/08/11, 04:22

You want to sit around listening to "Flying" and "Blue Jay Way" when you could flip the plate over and listen to "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane", then just knock yourself out.
09/08/11, 04:25   

Every town has a woman coming out of the door, then saying either to follow her, or to help her get something ("GORIYA STOLE THE TROPHY"). In Rauru (the first town, to the right of the starting castle), you just follow her inside (press up on the doorway) to meet the old man.

For Ruto, the second town to the northwest of the starting point, you need to head into the cave to the north to get the object required for that town's spell.
09/08/11, 04:25   
@TriforceBun I figured it out.

So I beat the first dungeon.

Then I went north of the starting point into a cave and fought a boomerang guy and got something. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS. Nor does anything seem to have showed up on my menu. I kind of really wish this game explained itself better.

/EDIT Oh I just read it's an item for a subquest or something? Still would be nice if it showed up in my darn menu.
09/08/11, 05:03   
Edited: 09/08/11, 05:04
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