Skip to content


I guess I just like liking things


This was the one part of the Zelda series that almost killed these articles before I started. My only real memory of this game was a weekend rental that ended in failure. Named the Adventure of Link, Zelda II is the kind of difficult that only NES games were. The game changes the formula of the original Legend of Zelda almost completely, the over-world has something more in common with RPG’s like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. After hitting random encounters, then you battle monsters. The action changes from overhead to side-scrolling, which is a big adjustment.

Though I did finally get around to completing this game, which I own via the Gamecube collection of the NES and the N64 installment, I ended up using an emulator and an array of Game Genie codes that made failure pretty difficult. This was after another attempt at an honest playthrough, one that ended in a lot of words that the editor prefer not appear on his blog. So while I have experience this game, I never really played it.

The game doesn’t take long to explain to you that you are not playing the same Zelda game. You’re presented with Link standing on a side-scrolling screen in front of a sleeping princess. If you read the manual, this is Zelda, but not the same Zelda from the last game. (I guess that they hadn’t worked out that whole Joseph Campbell hero of a generation theory yet.) To awaken the princess and prevent the resurrection of Gannon, you’ll need to put six crystals back in the palaces of Hyrule.

The game establishes some of the game’s lasting mythology. You have Dark Link, which has been a reoccurring enemy in the series. The names of the towns in this game became the names of the NPCs in Link’s hometown in Ocarina of Time. Also rather than a collection of elderly cave dweller, Link’s Adventure has a rich tapestry of NPCs that send you on their own sub-quests. It is obvious that the influence that RPGs had on the second Zelda game, enriched the series.

That said, the game’s adoption of XP and magic over gadgets were a big mis-step. As were the Overworld to Side-Scrolling mechanics. That side-scrolling mechanic is what makes the game so difficult. Link has a comically short sword, and your block is based on how you position his body. In theory this makes combat strategic, but in practice even the early dungeons are excruciatingly slow going. There’s a lot of trial and error here, something that I am not sure will really translate easily into the modern era. It’s an interesting take on the world. Though one best viewed through the lens of game genie codes. The game displays remarkable ambition, but seems limited by the technology of the time. Even Miyamoto sees the game as a bit of a mistep.


Written by: