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.
Question. I'm up to the third palace and have just obtained the raft.
Now my way is blocked by a locked door. I can see a key earlier on in the palace but I believe I need the downward thrust ability to obtain it? I'm assuming that this is something you learn and not something that I should have been able to do from the start (and me just being too unco to pull off.)
Given that, I headed across to the eastern area to explore ahead. Got the Fire spell (nice!). But am I in the right area to find the thrust ability? Should I still be looking back around where I came from or was I right to skip ahead?
If I recall correctly, getting the hidden sword skills sometimes requires you to go look for alternative ways of entering houses in some towns. To put it another way... the big guy in the red and white suit has the right idea.
I played this on the plane until my batteries ran out. Now, I only did the first dungeon and grinded and explored a bit but, so far, I like it better than LoZ. The enemies and Game Overs taking away XP is just evil, but I don't actually mind that much. Now with the healing spell I have more of a chance when I venture far away too. The combat and platforming are fun!