Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1988)

Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG | Players: 1 | Developer: Nintendo R&D4

I respect franchises that are brave enough to change much of their formula, especially early on. Accordingly, Zelda II’s change to a side-scrolling POV for interiors, random enemy encounters, and hidden overworld areas is not something I classify as a problem. It’s a decision; one that I have no qualms with, in a vacuum. The same is true for the brutal difficulty. There are magic drops in carefully doled out supply that will make progression exceedingly possible, if not delectably care-free.

There are RPG elements in play and while you are welcome to grind your heart out there are measures in place to facilitate a relatively swift adventure. You’ll be given a free level-up for completing each temple. If you use the experience-heavy enemies inside them to level just prior to placing the jewel at the end, you’ll be able to make the most out of this boon.

Regardless of my tolerance for these changes, there is a major problem: those very temples. Much like the original Metroid, there is a sameness to each area. Colors change from place to place, but within each temple it’s the same, from the floors to the walls to the bots drop from….the ceilings…The dungeons in the first game are equally guilty, but being presented top-down with a map system forewent the left-right, up-down experimentation necessary to complete these temples. “I went left last time, but I didn’t go up and then right at that elevator I found when I did, right?” is a conversation no one should have to have with themselves. EVER.

As tedious as one of the main focuses of the series is here, there are a few positives: Ocarina’s sages find their origin in the town names of this version of Hyrule. It’s Error and Bagu’s 'hood, yo. Yet most importantly, to me, is the music. There’s something about the tone that makes it haunting, perched on the precipice of madness. I love it. It should also be noted that a New Game+ exists that allows you to keep your levels and spells.

I can’t in good conscience implore anyone to play this in any serious capacity. If someone you know has it, give it a few minutes. Completing the first temple gives a representative enough feel of the experience.

Buyer’s Guide: Originally an NES game, it’s been ported to the GameCube (on the Zelda Collector’s Edition), the GBA, and every version of the Virtual Console currently in existence. It has also been included on the NES mini.

2 Sides of Yourself Enter, One Leaves out of 5


Impudent Urinal said...

2 seems low for what seemed more like limitations instead of shitty design.
The difficulty is really nothing different that that era too.
I would give at least a 3 Snarky death laughs out of 5 for at least the merits you gave it.

Neg said...

They had the means to implement color and design variations, which means I personally can't consider it a limitation. They do it in this very game, only in different areas instead of within each area. There was no reason they couldn't vary the colors within temples, at the very least. Perhaps a different color for each floor or east/west wing. They have curtains, statues and other design accoutrements in the final palace which could have been used everywhere.

cuckoo said...

This and Castlevania II will always be the shittiest 2nd instalments to me.

Same score.