Welcome back to Retro Review. In today’s blast from the past we’re taking a look at The Legend of Zelda II – Adventures of Link. While bearing the same name as the original, Zelda II is a departure in a number of ways. First and foremost, the point of view is side scrolling rather than top down. Second, there’s a sharp increase in difficulty from the first one. Lastly, there’s not as much emphasis on puzzle solving as the original. All of this makes Zelda II somewhat of an outcast in the Zelda library. Nevertheless, on with the review!
The story begins with Link in Hyrule palace. He’s now tasked with waking the sleeping Zelda by fighting through hordes of enemies and placing 6 crystals in 6 different palaces (I can’t believe the things guys do to impress women, sheesh). Along the way Link acquires familiar tools such as the raft, candle, and flute that aid in his quest. New to this game however is the use of magic. Link acquires spells to jump higher, reflect shots, and even fly. However, each use costs points so it’s necessary to ration your magic accordingly.
Another new element to Zelda II is experience points. Fighting enemies earns Link experience points which he can use to level up Attack, Life (Defense), or Magic, and gives you a choice of which to level up.
Additionally, heart containers and magic containers are found throughout the world to increase your total life and magic. These abilities give the game an rpg feel. However, be prepared for a bit of a grind when it comes to leveling up.
The main emphasis of Zelda II is action. Not only does it challenge you with combat, it challenges your reflexes. A common theme of Zelda II is jumping over pitfalls while dodging enemies. Of course, falling in the pit kills you and costs you a life. At times I found this aspect of Zelda II annoying.
Overall, Zelda II is a fun action game. The side scrolling action is a departure from the original, but its fun once you get the hang of it. The level designs can be a little boring and repetitive, and you should expect to die, a lot. However, if you like a challenge this is definitely the game for you! In particular the last level is very hard. If you want to check it out it’s available through in the Nintendo DS store.