"It's an enjoyable game, and everyone should at least try it to see if it's their fancy, but most people will be more disappointed than pleased."
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link features a gameplay experience that's totally different from the other games of the series. However, while innovation is welcomed, it's debatable whether innovation was NEEDED in the case of the Zelda series. The original didn't have a true sequel (gameplay related) until the SNES version. The ''risk'' taken in Zelda 2 wasn't even needed. Nintendo did so anyway, and the result is a very good, but not quite great, game.
In Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, you don't have to rescue Zelda. For once. That loony tart managed not to get kidnapped. However, this time she's fallen under a magical sleeping spell, a la Sleeping Beauty, and it's your job to awaken her. Outside of the instruction manual and the end of the game, the story doesn't come up again, so it's not really an integral part of the game.
The biggest departure from the first Zelda game to the second is the gameplay. Gone is the flat, grid system seen in the first game. In its place is a type of platformer system. Link ventures left to right on most screens, sometimes up or down, defeating enemies and exploring labyrinths.
However, there are some role playing elements thrown in. For each enemy you defeat, you points. These points are used to raise either your spell, life, or strength levels when you collect enough. Also unique is the ability to use magical spells; some enable you to heal yourself, hurt enemies, or allow you to jump higher than Micheal Jordan on speed.
Despite these new gameplay innovations, it doesn't change the fact that Zelda 2 isn't as fun to play as the original, or other games released at the time. The game is prevaded by a ''What do I do now?'' feeling. After you complete a quest, it's not immediately clear what you need to do next. As a result, a lot of time is wasted just wandering around. The same feeling existed in the first game, but not to the same extent as in the second.
Another problem is the new gameplay method, the modified platform style. Most enemies are either unguarded, allowing for an easy kill, or feebly attempt to block your attack. Blocking enemies are supposed to be a challenge, but a steady diet of attacks to one area, then a quick switch will almost always slip through their guard. Excluding the bosses in the game, relatively little strategy is required.
Well, that is until the last dungeon. The last dungeon is a huge curveball; it's huge and expansive, and has more dead ends than a Carrot Top movie. It's a bit unfair actually. The game gives you one moderately harder dungeon after another, then throws a whopper at you. That's not even mentioning the last two bosses.
Graphically, Zelda 2 is quite impressive. Link himself is large and well-detailed, albeit pixelated. Likewise, enemies are much bigger than in the first game, though not overly huge or unrealistic. A big improvement over the squashed look of the first Zelda.
Musically, Zelda 2 is a mixed bag. It's still very very good, and one of the few Nintendo games that I'll listen to. However, it's not great, like the first soundtrack. It's more of a matter of personal taste though.
Overall, Zelda 2 does a lot of things well, or really good... But it doesn't really do anything great, not like the first Zelda did. It's an enjoyable game, and everyone should at least try it to see if it's their fancy, but most people will be more disappointed than pleased.
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)
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