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Zelda ll The Adventure of Link (3DS VC/NES) 250px-Zelda_II_The_Adventure_of_Link_box

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge Zelda fan. The storylines, puzzles, and goofy, creepy characters always put me off as a kid. Unlike Mario, Zelda games never grabbed me and sucked me in from beginning to end. Actually, Zelda was one of the few big names of gaming that did this. I played The Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, and A Link to the Past, but as great as they are, I never had the tolerance to play them through. First playing Zelda 2, years ago I didn't know how to interpret this game. In other words I didn't like it, just how I didn't like any other Zelda game.

Part of Nintendo's Ambassador Program for 3DS owners, I got my chance to play Zelda 2 again. At my own pace. And while I find this to not only be a very underrated gem, I find this to be the most exotic, daring Zelda, Nintendo has ever crafted.

Zelda 2's storyline is basically this: The Princess of Hyrule, Zelda, is in a deep sleep and it's up to Link to awaken her. The first thing you will notice is that the game now plays like a 2-D side scroller while the world map is the only thing still in a top down perspective. A complete overhaul in a different direction compared to it's predecessor unfortunately puts off many Zelda fans new to the game.

Zelda ll The Adventure of Link (3DS VC/NES) Zelda2g

I'm shocked to say that the world map is much, much larger than the original. Like in Square's early Final Fantasy games, enemies randomly spawn for you to encounter and defeat. Depending on where you exactly are in the world map decides what terrain you'll be enduring such as swamps, grasslands, deserts, etc. Running along the main dirt road will keep you safe from harm. If an enemy runs into you while you're on the dirt roads they won't appear at all. Within secret areas are helpful items like experience bags, heart containers, and magic potions. When crossing bridges and certain unmarked, dangerous parts of the map, you'll be expected to face an undying force that will do anything to kill you. Things like Lizalfos constantly throwing fire balls at you while they are safe behind a wall or spirits crashing into you.

Multiple RPG elements exist within Zelda 2 as well. Leveling up your magic, strength, and health, and casting spells are just a few to list. Going to nearby villages to get clues on where to go and to learn new abilities is essential. The fact that every village is unique in it's own little way makes Zelda 2 feel alive. One village is normal, just a little worried about their surroundings. While another is completely deserted.

The design of the dungeons can get quite tedious. Every dungeon has a different color, and that color is the same throughout the entire area. No life in the background, no miscellaneous objects to set one room from the other, nothing. While dungeons are an eye sore, the enemy placement is quite tedious as well. Fighting three of some of the strongest enemies in the game right before a boss room is inexcusable. Losing all of your lives results in Game Over. When resulting in Game Over you are sent to the beginning of the game where you have to travel once more, to the area you must complete. Very unnecessary to why we can't just start from the beginning of the temple. If we get Game Over anywhere other than a temple, sure, but it being anywhere at any time is a tad ridiculous.

Zelda ll The Adventure of Link (3DS VC/NES) Zelda%20II%20-%20The%20Adventure%20of%20Link-2

Thankfully none of that can be said about the enemies. Certain dungeons introduce new ones, while most mix up the roster. There's a great variety of enemies to encounter and defeat throughout the entire game. For the most part the bosses should receive the same praise. Very difficult, rewarding boss battles, set Zelda 2 way ahead of the original.

Zelda 2 plays more like a Mario sidescroller than any Zelda out there. Jumping from platforms, crouching to strike an enemy, down slashing, all feel natural. Pressing the start button to open up the inventory to select a spell ruins Zelda 2's pace. Going from surviving an onslaught in a temple to a menu screen for a few seconds to heal yourself, depletes what excitement the gameplay has to offer.

Zelda ll The Adventure of Link (3DS VC/NES) Z2town

The score, however, is a different story. Hearing the same songs on the world map, in battle, or in a temple, can really make someone go "Wow, this is getting a little annoying." I'm not saying it's one song altogether but a very limited soundtrack is all. It actually grew to the point I turned off the music for the sake of numbing my headache. Sure the traditional Zelda tune went off every time you found a new or hidden item but nothing stands out.

Zelda 2 looks good for the most part. While Link looks a little goofy, the character animations look great on everyone else especially the enemies. The bosses really standout in this category. The world map is grid based as every area is one block. An entire town equals one block as does Link himself. As unrealistic as this is you can't really complain about it. The Legend of Zelda is a fantasy world. Unlike the incredibly dull temples, certain areas throughout Zelda 2 really standout graphically. Trees have very nice details, towns look great, caves look dreary and treacherous.


The unfair difficulty, lifeless temples, and the repetitive soundtrack are easily overshadowed by the positives. Rewarding challenges, admirable graphics, enjoyable gameplay and an awesome implementation of RPG elements make Zelda 2 a must have for Zelda fans.

9 /10

9- Awesome This game has little in the way of flaws, and is a highly enjoyable experience.

Last edited by ViewtifulJoe on April 4th 2012, 12:27 am; edited 3 times in total
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on January 22nd 2012, 1:17 amAmufungal
This review is really good ViewtifulJoe Surprised
on January 22nd 2012, 1:37 pmChrono_Cross
Thank you! It's one of the many reviews I have on my blog. I'll be sure to get them over here ASAP. Very Happy
on January 22nd 2012, 1:41 pmTowafan7
Nice work viewtifuljoe. Cool
on January 22nd 2012, 2:29 pmMarth
Good review there, VJ. I liked this game on the 3DS much more than the other times I tried to play it. Wouldn't mind another portable Zelda in this style if it was a bit more user friendly.

On a side note, isn't this a Virtual Console review and not a 3DS Ware review? On the home screen the ambassador games still have the VC label on them.
on January 22nd 2012, 2:36 pmChrono_Cross
Considering it came out with the Ambassador program it is considered 3DSWare. Until Nintendo re-releases them for the general public via VC, I won't change it.

But seeing another Zelda like this would go one of two ways: Either fairly well, or really bad. And more user friendly? Ha. This game isn't friendly at all. Very Happy
on January 22nd 2012, 3:10 pmSonicKnuckles
This game is too hard Mad
on January 24th 2012, 9:49 pmFox_McCloud
Good review
on January 27th 2012, 11:45 pmMarioman18
Impressive review ViewtifulJoe I'm looking forward to your next review Cool
Aqua Cherry Blossom
on January 28th 2012, 12:14 amAqua Cherry Blossom
I like your review style, but some pictures would be nice.
on January 29th 2012, 10:07 pmChrono_Cross
Sorry I'm noob at this stuff. Defend Your Castle is my second review. And you will be glad to hear that I put pictures on that one. D:

(I will be sure to edit this and add pictures don't worry!)
on February 5th 2012, 2:13 pmXenobladeYuki
I never got why this game is considered the black sheep of the series because it is a great game Zelda ll The Adventure of Link (3DS VC/NES) 631737971
Ichigo Kurosaki
on February 9th 2012, 1:30 amIchigo Kurosaki
Great reviewers give Zelda II the credit it deserves. king
on July 2nd 2012, 8:38 pmKokorOtaku
A fun game for free as well
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