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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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I thought this was really cool, but it's not finished and looks pretty buggy. If you jump to the 30 minute mark, you'll see kind of a Super Mario All-Stars take on Zelda 2. I think it even has a new translation, as well as a new menu system. But weirdly, it's still the NES game underneath. I'd love to see it finished!
04/19/23, 16:53   

But... kind of sacrilegious?
04/20/23, 01:17   
Edited: 04/20/23, 01:17
@Anand At this point, I'd take any attempt to modernize Zelda 2. Nintendo hasn't done anything with it since its original release, aside from various versions on other hardware and Virtual Console. The best thing to come out of it since its original release were the incredibly badass paintings posted earlier in this thread. I'd loooove a Zelda that could really invoke those vibes.

There IS a truly great game in Zelda 2...somewhere, and I think it could easily be modified to make a really cool, unique experience. I think unfortunately, the Wonder Boy games did what Zelda 2 was going for a bit better. I've said this before, but I could EASILY see the team behind Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom doing a full on remake of Zelda 2.

Could you imagine? The NPCs could still give some vaguely cryptic hints about where to go, but you could have a map, or warp points, no lives/continues, etc. I could also see them just FULLY GUTTING and redoing all the dungeons to be more of a Zelda/Metroidvania style. There could be nods to the original game, like falling through certain holes, or using the Fairy magic to get through keyholes. But when you look at something like Monster Boy, for instance, you can use your fireball powerup to solve puzzles, like burning ropes or lighting torches. It would be so cool if they revisited the mechanics of Zelda 2, but reinterpreted them through more of a modern Zelda lens. Big, 2D temples that leverage your abilities to navigate and solve puzzles? Sign me up!

Honestly, I think they could probably even gut the experience system altogether, even though that might be a bit of blasphemy in itself. But maybe they could just have a couple sidequests at each third of the game that let you upgrade your armor or weaponry. Go talk to Error or someone about doing some side missions and maybe they'll put you in touch with a blacksmith who can alter your sword. (Maybe there's more of an intentional sidequest that has you revisiting the portion of Zelda 2's map that references the original Zelda)

There is a dream version of this game in my head that looks like the official art in the manuals, but sadly, I don't think we'll ever see it.
04/21/23, 20:32   
There's probably some de-obscuring ROM Hack floating around somewhere for Zelda II.

It's funny, a lot of those "black sheep" games that are "unplayable" now or "don't hold up"... I feel like a couple of minor tweaks would completely resolve most people's issues. Zelda II, add some better signposted at a couple of points, as you mentioned. Simon's Quest, put a literal sign at that one cliff saying "kneel to pray", or something. Metroid 1, restart each life with 100 Health. Kid Icarus, just make the first goddamned level easier.
04/21/23, 20:44   
It’s “signposting”, it’s the continue system, it’s the absurd accuracy of the enemy defense/attacks….I feel like a lot of that could be adjusted to make a better game. Heck, I wonder if giving Link more of swinging sword attack would just make the game easier for most people. It would mess with the game’s combat system, but his short stabby sword definitely makes the game less approachable.

Even just having a map that has some dots as suggestions would be helpful. Maybe when an NPC tells you something important, a little icon could appear on the map indicating you need to check something out. “Someone said to there was an old man in this town.”
04/24/23, 06:31   
I'm fine with the rest of the changes, but that stabby sword combat is the heart of the game! I feel like changing that would make it another game entirely.
04/24/23, 07:39   
@Anand I agree, the required precision of attacking and blocking is what makes the combat what it is. If Link had a wide sword swing, then most fights could just be brute-forced by swinging wildly as in most Zelda games.
04/28/23, 00:50   
Mop it up said:
@Anand I agree, the required precision of attacking and blocking is what makes the combat what it is. If Link had a wide sword swing, then most fights could just be brute-forced by swinging wildly as in most Zelda games.

I think there’s a way to do it and still require skill though. LttP, for instance, has a sword swing attack, but you have to be strategic with it because enemies can often only be attacked from certain directions.

I don’t know exactly how they could do something like this in a Zelda 2 remake, but I imagine there’s some way to make the combat more accessible. A longer sword, or an upgradeable sword, could be one thing. Or maybe magic could regenerate somehow, so you can make better use of Link’s fireballs and whatnot.
05/03/23, 04:03   
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