I find it hard to type appropriate and meaningful words to describe one of my favorite retro games. The entire Zelda franchise is an almost flawless masterpiece of video gaming and yet there are those out there who would disparage something as classic and groundbreaking as Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Why is that? Well, we answer that very question in this episode.
Mark & Sten sit down to discuss Link’s second amazing outing through the varied landscape of Hyrule. This time a seasoned vet of Ganon’s wiles, Link is introduced to the rich mythos of the ancient history of Hyrule, and sets out on his adventure at once. Armed with a shield and sword from the outset, he’s slightly better equipped then he was in his first undertaking.
As the story goes, Link is now in his teens when a strange symbol appears on his hand. He’s introduced to a sleeping girl, also named Zelda for some reason, and told of his new and altogether similar mission to save her. This game was the follow up to the insanely popular The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo seemed to be struggling on how best to address sequels of their popular IP’s. With Contra, Konami followed up with Super C, a virtual carbon copy of the first game. The same can be said for Capcom’s Mega Man franchise. Each game was very similar to the one before it. It makes sense from a business standpoint. Why change a winning product? Just look how successful its been for Ubisoft and their Assassin’s Creed line of games. But Nintendo’s R&D 1 didn’t want to make the same Zelda game again, especially not for the West. This time they opted for a nearly completely fresh take on the game and what we were given turned out to be somewhat divisive.
The top down view is changed drastically. So much so was it changed that it becomes almost a non-factor in the overall game play. Now the meat and potatoes of game play throughout Hyrule is via a side-scrolling and jumping Link. There’s a leveling system that would never been seen again in a Zelda game and Link talks for crying out loud! Okay, that last one is a stretch. Link has one line when he finds a mirror. Still, he spoke!
We didn’t know any better and therefore this game went down in history as a wonderful and masterful sequel to the first game. For many of us who lived through the early days of Nintendo, games like Zelda II and Simon’s Quest were a blast to play. It would take the next generation of gamers, and some rather hilarious online reviewers, to point out the flaws in the games we treasure. Alas, their nay saying does nothing to sway my thoughts and fond memories surrounding Zelda II and if you have those same thoughts, seek out a copy and take that stroll down memory lane. You’ll be happy you did.
Luckily the game isn’t rare so finding an original cart (gray or gold) is still pretty cheap. Plus the game can be found on pretty much any Nintendo Virtual Console, from the Wii and Wii U to the DS and 3DS. We here at I, Geek hope you do play this game soon. It’s one of our favorites!
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