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.Continue reading