Retro Game Review- Zelda 2: The Adventure of LINK
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Rating Overall: 4 <3<3<3<3/<3<3<3<3<3 5
Rating of how WE Feel: 5/5
Forward: While The Legend of Zelda was many of my generation’s first Adventure games nostalgia sometimes is hyped too far. Many games we play today dwarf what we considered standard in our youth, however, Zelda and Zelda 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System were and still are some of the best and harder titles from the Retro Gaming Hall of Fame. When asked at a Game Development company “What was my favorite game?” Zelda 2 was the answer and I stand by that. Not a game to keep playing over and over again after beating it a few times but for sure a game worth it’s place in the author’s mind.
Game Summary: Once again you assume the role as Link of Hyrule. However, rather than gathering the Triforce this time Ganon enchanted Zelda and she’s been put to sleep. It’s your job to wake her and defeat the evil that plagues the land. This game is broken into 2 parts:
1. A top-down traveling “Overworld” where you go between the various locations and navigate the world at large.
2. A Side-Scrolling Adventure Platformer with unlockable doors, findable items and upgrades, and a Pseudo-RPG Leveling system where you spend experience earned by slaying monsters on Magic, Life and Spells.
Graphics: The Nintendo Entertainment System was put to the test in some of the scenes. You knew there was a problem once too many monsters got on the screen and they started disappearing. That was the systems limitations though. The overall visual was pretty good. The contrasting colors and layout kept to the Fantasy theme and colors made for establishing the visual asthetic of the world of Hyrule. While the sprites were simple you got a pretty good idea of what you were up against. They even forced you to navigate tunnels in the dark until you found the “Torch” which was some interesting world-building at the time. The color palette was stark but that’s what you get in a fantasy world where the ruler’s been K.O.ed by a phantom Pigman.
Music & Sound: Classing for what it was as far as 8-bit chiptunes can go. Sometimes, while I’m driving to conventions or looking for something that tickles the mind for writing fantasy I’ll throw on some of the soundtrack (like the playlist from above). The atmospheric composition and overall field fits the world nearly perfectly. Accompanying the music is the sound; Crisp and percussive. When you got hit you’d hear “OOF” and when you hit metal with your sword you’d hear the clanging of metal or when a fairy was near the soft bell chime. Classing and nearly perfect. Nearly. The low health beep broke the immersion and always added a serious air of tension because you knew “Death was near”.
Replay: If you’re not going to use a Walkthrough or all the various exploits you could be lost for a long time playing this game (thanks to Nintendo Power as a kid I was saved). The NPC’s in the various villages are “hardly helpful” and some even lie to you or try to kill you as I found about quarter of the way into the game. If you have not played, you have to at least try when you get a chance. They released the Classic NES Mini with it and it can be obtained from many retro-resellers for your NES or NES Playing system or the Nintendo Arcade on the Wii-U or Switch.
In the End: Nearly a 5/5 in our eyes here at Chasing Sasquatch, Zelda 2 is a solid Retro Gaming Classic. While it may be a little hard to find a hard-copy and some folks think they can sell it for more than 20 because of the “Gold Cart” that the game is housed in it’s always a nice centerpiece to a collection. Always remember, if it was hard back then it may be still to this day and Zelda 2 is no exception to the rule… The Hyrule.