Link is back in the second adventure in the epic Legend of Zelda series. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is one of the only games to acknowledge a timeline between the games, taking place seven years after the original.
It’s well known this game took an extremely different approach to the Zelda universe than any other games in the series, but was this a good or bad move on Nintendo’s part?
Link’s back and he’s all grown up! The game kicks off inside Princess Zelda’s castle where, wouldn’t you know it – she has fallen under that sleeping spell again. Link sets off to break the spell and save the princess. Again.
While the story may be somewhat similar to the first game, Zelda II take a vastly different approach. Firstly, there’s a level-up system similar to RPG games where you defeat enemies to power up. Also like RPG titles, the game separates towns and dungeons from the over world. These elements have been done to death these days, but this title was pioneering when it was originally released back in 1987.
Entering a village or dungeon converts the screen to a 2D side scrolling viewpoint. This means there are more characters to talk to and a deeper feeling of exploration than it’s predecessor. It also means more complex and larger dungeons.
This is a refreshing slice of Zelda history for fans looking to go back to it’s roots. Purists will point out it’s shortcomings as a “Zelda game”, but there’s plenty on offer for retro enthusiasts. A real stand out for the game is the soundtrack which is one of the better selections of tracks in any game from the NES era.
The game is quite long, too, with tonnes of things to see and do and certainly worth it’s $5 price tag (on the Wii’s Virtual Console). Like the first Zelda game, reading the instruction manual is vital, as is a sense of patience.