Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adventure Awaits!

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
A review and playthrough by Darris Pratt

Released in 1987 and 1988 (in Japan and the United States), Zelda II is a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda, an adventure game released on the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System. It's hero was the same Link of the first game, set several seasons after the events of the first Zelda title, but with a different Princess Zelda, as this Princess had been cursed to sleep for generations. As the brave hero Link, you travel through the world, discovering different cities, dungeons, and crystals used to free Zelda from her many years of slumber.

This Zelda was different from the first in a varaity of ways. There was an overhead view, like in the first, but this acted only as a sort of world view as Link traveled around the land. As you would walk around, walking into towns, enemies, or caves would send Link to an area where the camera is to the side of the player, much like a side-scrolling arcade game. In this mode, Link has many different things he can do. He can attack, duck and attack, jump and attack, thrust upward and downward in the air, and use quite a large list of spells once he learns them all.

While fighting against enemies, when they are defeated, a number is shown. This is how much experiance Link gains from the enemy. This plays heavy into the RPG aspect of the game, which allows you to upgrade your health, magic, or sword power. While the first Zelda game had some RPG elements with leveling up, they had more to do with finding the right items instead of with killing enemies. For this fact, this adds a good deal of depth to the gameplay in Zelda II, as maxing these skills as needed for survival. While in a dungeon, defeating the level boss automaticly brings your EXP to the next possible level-up position. because of this, you want to be sure to level up right before facing the boss, as it makes a big difference in the amount of EXP gained.

While Zelda II may seem to be more Action-RPG than Adventure-RPG, there is more than enough puzzle solving and traveling to get you scratching your head. Some puzzles are simple (get a hammer to break a bolder in the road), while some will make you wonder how the hell you were suppost to figure that out (Take flute, stand in specific spot in town, and play it to make a dungeon appear). Oh course, there are plenty of moments like this in the first game, almost to the point of being cryptic as all hell, but maybe because of the fact that I've play the first game more I don't mind as much.

The object of the game is simple. Go to the many different dungeons in Hyrule and place crystals there. After all the crystals are placed, the path to the Great Palace opens up, allowing Link to go and claim the Triforce of Courage, which will allow Link a wish to wake the sleeping princess. So why is Link getting attacked every step of the way? Because even though Ganon is dead, his minions have collected his ashes. Once they kill Link, they would sprinkle his blood on the ashes of Ganon, allowing him to return to life, which is a big no-no. That's the plot in a nutshell.

Link goes through many hardships on his journey to free the Princess. He travels through Death Mountain, saves a lost child, and finally makes it to the Grand Palace. And who is the boss of this game? Why it's the hardest boss of all: yourself. Shadow Link makes his very first appearance in the Zelda series, and god damn if he's not the hardest boss to face. He can counter just about all of your moves, and attackes faster than you would think possible. As word spread about how hard this boss was to kill, another rumor spread as well: there is an easy and cheap way to kill him. Alas, this rumor is true, which is too bad, as he could of gone down as one of the hardest bosses of all time if it wasn't for one small flaw. Standing in the bottom left corner of the screen, face left and crouch. Constantly attack. For some reason, Shadow Link's AI can't counter this, and will continue to run right into your sword.
With Shadow Link felled and the Triforce of Courage in the hands of Link, he makes his wish, bringing the Princess out of he deep sleep. You are given your "Game Over" screen as a curtain drops down, with Link and Zelda embracing, almost exactly like the first game.

With a heavy heart, you turn off your NES (or if you're like me, Gamecube) and plan for the next game in the series. If you were playing on the NES, there was probably a good chance you wanted the next Zelda right away, but at that moment, you didn't know what game was in your future. The bad news? You would have to wait FOUR YEARS. The good news? The next Zelda game was without a doubt one of the best ever made. And not just as a game in the series, but as a game in general.

Next Time: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

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