Review by Bentone
"Just another Zelda game? Not quite."
Links Adventure : The Legend of Zelda 2 is an often maligned game, one which most people don't have the time, patience, or skill to play all the way through. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most fun Zelda games to play - especially if you like platformers and a heaping helping of challenge.
The one thing that bugs everyone about this game is it's presentation. Instead of one big overworld with enemies to kill in real time, there's a fairly bland looking world map with 'random battles' (small 2D stages full of enemies). Although bland and uninteresting to look at, the map gets the job done, and there are plenty of secrets to discover in it.
Every time you enter a village, cave or random battle the game reverts to traditional sidescrolling. The graphics here range from 'ok' to 'nice'. The towns are welcome breaks in the action (well, most of them) and it's quite fun doing mini quests to gain key items in them. The action stages (ie, caves & castles) are where the game shines. The castles are so much fun to plow through, and they're all just about the right length. Fighting knights & wizards in this game actually requires some skill & craftiness, and once you figure out how to win against them you'll be glad Nintendo went with 2D for this game. And lets not forget the sweet boss characters! Man, talk about packing everything into one awesome cartridge!
As mentioned earlier, the difficulty is pretty high in this game. Some of the secrets are hidden too well, some of the jumps required are insane leaps of faith, and towards the end the action really heats up. Still, Zelda 2 IS BEATABLE without a game genie, contrary to popular belief. It just requires some dedication, skill and a bit of luck. Fortunately, the controls are near perfect, and do not get in the way when you're trying to get past the harder final stages. Basically, if you die or something, you just can't blame the control scheme. Blame it on the faulty controller or something ^_^.
Notice I haven't said anything about sound or music yet. Well, don't take it as a bad sign. Zelda 2 has one of the best soundtracks for an NES game out there. The music fits the game like a glove. The sound effects are crisp and clear too, just like the graphics, so you'll know when you've hurt an enemy and when you just put another dent in his shield.
Final verdict? A classic that is ragged on more than it should be. If there's one problem with Zelda games, it's that after beating them they tend to be too easy to replay. That's certainly not the case for Zelda 2! If you used to hate this game (I know I did) and are bored with the fairly easy games being released today, give this one another try, you might come away surprised.
Annoyance: Trying to make some of the jumps in the action stages before the final castle, having to restart in the same place every time you die (thank God that changes once you make it into the final castle)
Great Moment: Taking out Knucklehead for the first time; the feeling of accomplishment when finally beating the game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/04/01, Updated 10/04/01
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