Many of us gamers grew up during the Nintendo versus Sega battle. However, the new generation of gamers didn’t have that luxury. While there were many good games, there were also plenty of overlooked ones that got overshadowed by the greats.
Zelda II: Adventure of Link is one of those great video games that got overlooked. I know you’re probably wondering to yourself how a Zelda game could be underrated or overlooked. But this one was. Zelda II was and still is considered the black sheep of the series. The gameplay changed dramatically from the first one. Instead of taking Link through the Hyrule Field map and the dungeon maps stabbing and using his gadgets to kill the enemies and solving puzzles, the player instead must adventure through the Hyrule Field map until they encounter an enemy. When the player encounters an enemy, he/she is taken to a new screen where they must kill all the enemies on the screen in a side scroll beat them up fashion. When all the enemies are defeated, the player is awarded experience points until gaining a level. When a level is gained, the player will raise Links health, attack or magic power.
Most fans disliked these changes. However, I believe if this game was released under a different name it would have been a big success. Not only was it an enjoyable game, it gave the series great improvements that it still uses today. It brought villages and townsfolk to help you or not help you along your way, magic, different sword attacks for Link to master, as well as introducing Dark Link and palaces or temples to the series.
The only complaint about this game I have is that it really dropped the ball on the difficulty level. Normally games will gradually increase in difficulty, but Zelda II just cranked it up right in the beginning at Death Mountain. Death Mountain is so hard and it’s so early in the game you have to spend hours leveling Link up just to tackle it. Even when leveled up, you can still have trouble with it. Another thing that was an issue was when you died in this game, you had to start over from the very beginning and walk all the way back, even traveling through Death Mountain again. Every other Zelda game, including the first one, let you start back at the beginning of the temple you were in. But in this one you have to walk all the way back, getting pummeled all the way there.
Even with the high difficulty rating, I still highly recommend purchasing and trying out Zelda II for yourself. Don’t focus on the dramatic changes from the rest of the series. Focus on the game as a whole and think about everything it did right. Overall it’s a very good game despite its flaws. In some ways you can say it’s the worst of the series. But if you think of how much it gave the series and how much is still used in the series today, you could say it is the best and is the stepping stone of the great series we know and love today.