How I Would Fix Zelda II

You know how there are those games that you remember as being impossibly hard when you were a kid, only for you to revisit them as an adult to discover that they really aren’t so hard after all?

Yeah, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is not one of those.

Zelda II is great departure from its big brother, changing the overhead view to a (mostly) side-scrolling perspective, trading in Link’s array of tools and weapons for a list of spells, and laser-focusing on action over exploration. There’s still exploration, but this version of Hyrule is significantly more linear than the last. Also, Link has experience levels and lives now, for some reason?

The most jarring change, however, is that Nintendo ratcheted up the difficulty level to 11 in this sequel. Maybe even to 12. While The Legend of Zelda isn’t an especially easy game to begin with, Zelda II makes it look like an absolute cakewalk. Zelda 1 doesn’t really bear its teeth until Level 6, but there’s a good chance you’ll be killed -possibly multiple times- on the short hike to Zelda II’s first palace.

Having recently completed a full, not-Game-Genie-enhanced playthrough for the first time, I’ve had a lot of time to ponder exactly what it is that makes Zelda II so darned unforgiving. I’ve compiled a list below of a few changes that I would make if I were given the opportunity. No massive shifts, just little tweaks that I think would go a long way in making the game feel a little bit more fair.

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New Ho-RISE-ons

Last night I introduced my Switch to the new capture card – they don’t get along perfectly, but I think it’s be beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I’m also really impressed that my cheap, cheap internet has the fortitude to handle both streaming and playing online at the same time. I don’t know very much about how internets work, but I imagined that doing both at once would cause some degradation to one or the other. Doesn’t seem to be the case, though! So that’s something else I can do now.

Wherein 2021 is Productive

At least, in the sense that I have been creating a lot of product in 2021. It’s only halfway through January and I have already scheduled two videos to go live each week on the TE YouTube channel until the end of February. That probably amounts to more videos than I posted through the entirety of 2020. Not that I’m going to bother counting.

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TE’s Top Games of 2020

2020, as I’m sure you’ve heard many times, was a heck of a strange year. And to cap it off, I’ve got a heck of a strange Top 10 Video Games list for you.

Longtime readers might know that I don’t always play by the same rules for this annual listicle. The rule for candidacy this time around is simple: It must be a game that I played for the first time in 2020. That is it. That is the one and only criteria that I’m using to decide which titles are eligible. I’ve also decided to do away with the “must have beaten it” rule, because it seems unnecessary.

My selection process was this: I made a big spreadsheet of every game I played in 2020 (total of 118), removed any that didn’t meet my specification (47), and then narrowed it down to 28 frontrunners. From there, I simply looked at the list and picked the ones that I had the most positive emotional reactions to while reading their titles. By some wonderful coincidence, that left me with a clean list of 10 games. Neat!

And here are my selections, presented in the order that I played them:

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Project Z35/21

2021 is going to be a good year. Not only because it’s probably going to look that way in relation to the garbage fire that was 2020, but also because I’m going to spend it playing ALL OF THE ZELDAS.

Well, not all of the Zeldas. I’m going to skip all of the spin-offs and games that were never legitimately released. CD-i, I’m looking at you.

So, why am I doing this? 2021 marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, and while I’m sure Nintendo is going to put together a big to-do for it, this is how I’m celebrating one of my favourite video game series. Also I’ve had Zelda on the brain for a couple months now and I figured this is a good way to work that out of my system.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: December 2020

~ Game Over ~

Paratopic (Switch) – I honestly have no idea what happened here. It’s roughly an hour of what I imagine a really low-key drug trip must be like. That said… I liked it. I played it a second time to see if there were different story paths, and you can diverge a bit to find some neat stuff, but it’s a really slow game, which made the replay very tedious.

Spec Ops: The Line (PC) – Pew-pew shootmans game wherein I recorded my playthrough. You can watch it here. (tldw: Game is v good, my recording framerate was v bad.)

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch) – I think that this is an overall better game than the original Hyrule Warriors, though it just didn’t quite click with me in the same way. I liked it, I really did, but mostly it just made me want to play Breath of the Wild again.

A Knight’s Quest (Switch) – An adventure that was clearly inspired by Zelda, but also had a little Mario thrown in for flavour. Buggy as all heck, but still playable and mostly fun. Combat made a hard transition from mindless button mashing to intensely frustrating near the end, and between that and one atrocious boss fight, I just about gave up on the game. The soundtrack is way better than it has any right to be.

The Final Fantasy Legend (GB) – Retro RPG where nothing works the way you expect it to. It’s that way by design, though, because this is a spiritual successor to FF2 and the first game in the SaGa series, known mostly for its obtuse mechanics and punishing difficulty. Still fun, once you figure out how all the systems work. Little bit too grindy, though.

~ Progress Notes ~

DOOM Eternal (PS4) – On stage 6.

Fitness Boxing 2 (Switch) – Achievement collection at 26%.

Witch Hunt (PC) – Defeated the second “boss”.

Picross S4 (Switch) – Mostly done with the regular puzzles.

Robo Recall: Unplugged (Oculus) – Half-done Chapter 2.

SINoALICE (iOS) – Mostly grinding the Xmas event.

Book Learning

I’ve mentioned it in passing on this blog probably many times now, but I don’t know if I’ve ever really written about how over the last five years, I’ve been oh-so-slowly working towards my Accounting certificate. You know, so that I can finally own a paper that says I’m qualified to do accounting.

And while I don’t know for sure when or how I’m going to get said paper, as of December 22, 2020, I handed in my final project and officially finished the program. Hooray me! I did something meaningful with my life!

I could probably write about the long journey, or where I go from here, but I don’t want to. Instead, I’ll just leave this little tidbit: In the last course that I took, I somehow got perfect marks on the gigantic research project. This if baffling because halfway through said project, it was already confirmed that I passed the course, so I half-assed the rest of it. Quarter-assed even, in some parts. And then I got perfect marks. INSANE.

My hypothesis on how this happened is this: The project was supposed to be a group project, but since COVID-19 forced the course to be changed to online, the project was also changed to be completed individually. I think this had the net effect of making the instructor grade the projects a little more leniently, since they were designed to be completed by a three- or four-person team. I’ll gladly accept the grade that I’ve been given, but I don’t actually believe that I earned it.