System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Title: Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Publisher: Nintendo
Circa: 1989
Overall Rating:
81 percent


Anyone who really gets to know learns some facts about me, always.
1)    I’m a blonde and love joking about it
2)    Legend Of Zelda is one my favorite video game series
Going back through my memories, this was among the first games that I played. While I didn’t understand the game as well then nor know what the series would evolve into, I still wanted to get this game. I never did as a kid though. Still, many years later I managed to find it in a Funco Land (now GameStop).  As it was years later and used, the game was notably cheaper, but still somewhat costly because of its popularity. This Zelda is regarded as the Black Sheep (even more than Wind Waker) for a few reasons, some of which do have honest impacts in game play. One last thing of note about this game is that it was the first Zelda to have Magic in it. Still, it’s a good game to play when I want something different from most of what I know as Zelda.

Only a short time has gone past since the event of the original game. With Ganon’s defeat Hyrule was left in chaos thanks to his minions who now bide their time and search for the valiant Link. They know that were they to catch him and sacrifice him over Ganon’s ashes, the King of Evil would be reborn.
One day Link, aiding in the reconstruction efforts, noticed a strange birthmark on his hand appear as he neared the age of 16. Immediately he went to Impa, caretaker of the Royal Family. Impa is shocked and worried at the appearance of this mark, but quickly regained her composure, leading Link to a sealed room which opened to his touch and told Link about the Legend of Zelda.
It was a tale about an old ruler of Hyrule when it was just one land and how when he died the prince, his son, only inherited part of the Triforce. He began to search high and low for it to no result. Then new came from an unexpected source, a Magician whom been close to the King, told him his younger sister, Zelda knew where to find the rest of the pieces. The Prince and Magician confronted Zelda and tried to force her to tell them where to find the remaining pieces. Zelda not relent to the Prince nor did she when the Magician threatened her with a curse of Eternal Sleep. The Magician made good on his threat, casting the spell, sending Zelda into an eternal slumber as he fell dead. The Prince, beside himself in grief, had his sister taken to the room they stood in the hopes she would one day awaken. As an act of penance he made it tradition to name all female descendants of the Royal Family Zelda.
Impa then bestowed on Link 6 crystals and a scroll, written in a text only one with the crest on their hand could read. The scroll spoke of the three pieces of the Triforce: Power, Wisdom and Courage and a spell cast on the whole kingdom to keep the pieces safe from evil. The Triforce and the Hero together would become a beacon of hope for Hyrule. To free it, Link would need to travel to the 6 hidden temples, placing the crystals in the statues, only then would the spell hiding the Triforce be lifted so the people may once again gain hope from it.

This is where the game differs greatly from the one Zelda before and all the Zelda games that followed it. This game can be broken down into a few different parts. The towns, random encounters and temples all use a side scrolling style of play while the Over-world is done solely through a top-down perspective. These two modes had very different things that you could do in each. This is also what marks the game and makes it the Black Sheep of the Zelda series, this is the only entry in the series that took this unique approach. For better or worse, it wasn’t well received and the style was dropped, though several innovations carried over to future Zelda games.
In the Over-world you navigate the land of Hyrule itself, entering towns, palaces and caverns. Monsters appear only as two figures, one more humanoid, the other small like a Gel or Slime. By coming in contact with either off the main road, you enter into an encounter.

top view

In the side-view, you face your enemies, having to defeat them and earn experience points, which are NOT saved with your file! Link has 2 stances; his default is standing where he attacks at his height, but can be hit by lower attacks easily. The second is him crouching, where he can strike at an enemy’s legs, sometimes their own vulnerable point. This also means that Link will vulnerable to attacks that strike at him at his regular height. Later in the game though, you gain 2 of Link’s trademark attacks, the Up-thrust and Down-thrust. These particular attacks, while only appearing in this game, are better known from his appearance in the Smash Brothers Series.

side view

Magic also made its debut in this game. As you progressed though you got various spells that you needed to complete your quest. Using the Start menu, you choose your spell then cast it using the Sel. button. Spells of any duration will last until you exit the current screen. The spells you got were:
Shield – reduces damage taken by half
Life – Recover lost Hit Points
Jump – Increases the height Link can jump incredibly
Fairy – Transforms the caster into a Fairy, useful for crossing WIDE gaps and passing through doors
Fire – Link’s sword shoots Fireballs
Reflect – Bounces blocked spells back at the caster
Spell - The East end of Town. Weird things happen with this spell
Thunder – The most powerful spell, damaging all enemies on screen. Link must be strong in the ways of magic to use this spell.

magic list

As you earn Experience points you can upgrade your Health, Sword and Magic. By increasing Health, you take less damage, by increasing Sword, you do more damage and by increasing Magic it takes less Magic to cast spells. Be warned that some enemies will damage you for Magic or Experience Points!


The D-pad functions much the same in both places,
Until you get Up and Down-Thrust, only down has a use to vary your strike. A is used to jump and B to swing your sword. Start calls up your subscreen which can used to sel. your spells. Sel. is used to cast the spell you’ve chosen

D-pad is used to navigate the world. A is used to blow the whistle once you acquire it as B is used for the Hammer.

Graphically this game was far superior to its predecessor, sporting a taller and more dynamic Link. The variety in game play as well marks it as a big improvement over the original title, though not the greatest. This game is a very good example of some of the graphics that the NES was truly capable of in its time.

Sound Effects & Music
The sound effects themselves aren’t too bad, never getting too annoying. The music on the other hand gets old very fast. My gripe their stems from the tracks being very short, looping quickly back on themselves. Still, they contribute to the atmosphere well in the Over-world and in the Palaces. Town music though gets very old, fast. I recommend some time with game music and some from your own over the course of playing the game.

Legend of Zelda is more associated with the more recent incarnations, Twilight Princess and the Phantom Hourglass than its origins at this point.

Summary/Author’s Take
While not the strongest entry into the series it offered up some new features that would become staples of Link’s arsenal. It remains the only Zelda to take this approach of combining Top-Down with Side-Scrolling points of view. The game still garnered enough attention to be re-released in two formats: once in the classics collection for the GBA and once in the Collector’s Edition for the Gamecube. This isn’t a game to play again and again, but it still merits at least some play time, if only a few hours, to see just how the series had already begun to evolve.


85 percent

Good work of setting.


75 percent

Disorienting going between the two, sometimes clunky, no EXP save.





95 percent

Simple and quick to learn.


90 percent

A vast improvement.

SFX and Music

77 percent

Good SFX, so-so music.


65 percent

You’re NOT talking about Majora’s Mask?


81 percent

The odd one out, take a peek.

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