Zelda II : The Adventures of Link

Date Completed: November 2nd, 2011

As an apology for releasing the 3DS to the public Nintendo decided to give away 20 free games to early adopters.  Zelda II was included with the first batch of 10 games and it was the first game I played through.

Zelda II : The Adventure of Link was one of the 12 Nintendo games I owned back in the day.  Having a small library of games meant that to fill the hours I had to replay them over and over and over and over and over again.  Back then we didn’t have the internet to supply walkthroughs or maps so to find the way through the game you either needed to find the issue of Nintendo Power that told you how to get past the latest obstacle, or you needed to find a friend who had accidentally found the way to continue to the next part of the game.  It took me YEARS to beat the game for the first time but now I can play it by heart.

It may be the nostalgia talking but in spite of all that is wrong with this title it still manages to be a great game.  The experience point system was ridiculous and has been abandoned in all subsequent Zelda games.  The items in the palace dungeons are all passively activated and can’t be used in combat.  They only serve to help you gain access to the next dungeon.  Spells take so much magic energy that you won’t be able to cast very many of them until later in the game when you don’t need them.  What the game really does well, and what pulls the whole gaming experience together is the action.

This is one of the few Zelda games you can jump in.  Most of the game will consist of you bouncing around hitting stuff with your sword.  There is a wide variety of enemies each with different attack types.  Some enemies attack high, some attack low, some attack from above and some use boomerangs to attack from behind.  The most difficult enemies require you use your shield to block their incoming shots while trying to get your sword past their shields.  There are two expert swordsmen in the game who will teach you the down thrust and up thrust attacks that will be crucial for tackling all of the creatures you will come up against.  The animation is solid and the gameplay implementation has all of the polish that you’d expect from a Nintendo title.

I ended up downloading maps to all of the palaces from the Internet.  The palaces all use the same tiles graphics and several of the rooms look exactly alike.  It can make finding your way around extremely difficult.  Having the maps made this game a lot shorter and even more enjoyable than when I was slogging through the dungeons back in the 80s.

Overall the game has held up well over time.  It’s still fun to play and has several features that are unique to the Zelda series.  Plus it was free.  You can’t beat that.

 * Fun action
 * One of the few Zelda games you can jump in!

* Items can’t be used in combat
* Repetitive level design

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length:  ~5 hours
System: Nintendo 3DS eShop
Genre: Action/RPG

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