Zelda Game Club – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link Part Two

Welcome back to Zelda Game Club, where we play through Legend of Zelda games as a Triforce Times community. This is the first Zelda Game Club, focused on one of the most divisive Legend of Zelda Games in the series, and that’s Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Today we’re going to wrap up the first game club, making our way through the final Palaces, and I’m going to tell you what I thought, plus I’ll add in some community comments from those who played through the game and wrote in.

Before I get stuck into Part Two of Zelda Game Club for The Adventure of Link, I want to thank everyone who played through the game and took the time to send in their comments. It’s a big amount of time, the game took about 9-10 hours for me to get through, and that’s no small task. This is a massive thank you to everyone who played through the game, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Let’s kick off with a couple of community comments.

“The difficulty really ramped up after sailing to Eastern Hyrule. Not a fan of Tektites in this game. It’s interesting to note that all but one of the towns in the game has the same name as the sages in Ocarina of Time. Both Kasuto’s are strange towns, one being abandoned and the other hidden in a forest, and I’m sure there’s a bunch of theories out there regarding them.” Ikana

“I’ve just completed the game. This game was hard that without the rewind option I think would take me a year to complete it. My favourite boss is the dragon in the hidden palace its not too hard and not too easy.” BombZeCoffee

Thanks to Both Ikana and BombZeCoffee for playing along. The difficulty sure did ramp up as soon as we got over the water on that raft to Eastern Hyrule. A good spot about the names of the Towns in Ocarina of Time. I did find a good article called a Link between Sages and Towns. I recommend checking out that article, I’ll link it in the description. It’s interesting because while Zelda II came out first in the 80s, followed by Ocarina of Time in the 90s, regarding the Zelda timeline Ocarina was where the timeline split into three, with Zelda II coming after it. Therefore, the towns are named after the Sages, not the other way round. In terms of Kasuto Town and New Kasuto, I loved this idea. Finding New Kasuto with the hammer was a great find.

As for completing the game without a rewind button, I can’t imagine playing this game without the modern conveniences. I held off from rewind until the final level, but I have to admit I used rewind there to get through the final palace and final boss. That would have been so hard on the original, and if you played through it without the rewind feature, I salute you and you have my respect. The Dragon was indeed one of the best bosses. I didn’t think the Dragon was quite as tough as the boss before in the Ocean Palace, the guy with the Mace, he was rock solid. The Dragon was a well-animated boss though and offered up a decent challenge with Link jumping between the platforms.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link Part Two

We left things in the first part of the Zelda Game Club having to beat the Island Palace, we had just got the Raft, meaning we could now continue our adventure in the East of Hyrule. The first thing to do is cross the river and head to the Town of Nabooru. Here you pick up some water from the fountain to give to the elderly woman, who in turn leads you to meet the Old Man for the Fire Spell.

Having got that spell, it’s then to head north, through the caves and towards Maze Island. There are a few items to find here including the Magic Container and the Lost Child, plus there are loads of random battles here. Make your way to the East and you’ll find the Lost Child, he’ll be important when you want to go to the next town.

Once you’ve found the Lost Child it’s a good idea to leave the Maze and make your way to the Mountain Town of Darunia. Here you’ll learn the Upward Strike with the sword, which is going to help you in battles, as well as getting around without taking hits. You’ll also get another spell in this town, a very useful one for the rest of the game and that is Reflect. Now you have your hands full with new spells and attack techniques it’s time to go to the Maze Palace.

“The sword moves help with the difficulty of the game but I would like if the game had another sword instead of having to level up to upgrade the attack damage.” BombZeCoffee

I do like the idea of another Sword. While learning the new techniques is good and useful throughout the game, getting another sword would have been good. This is something we did see in the first game, but Zelda II felt like it was stripped back. I don’t know if that was due to the shorter development time, but it seems like a good idea to improve the game.

Maze Palace

The Maze Palace cranks up the difficulty when it comes to the enemies which include armoured Stalfos, both blue and red. Previously we’ve had Blue Knights as bosses, but they are now relegated to regular enemies, plus you have to look out for the jumping enemies. The item in this Palace, The Boots, allows you to walk on water, so if you can find the item, then getting back to the Palace is nice and easy as you can walk on water, meaning you can miss most of the random battles in the Maze itself, which is good because getting back to a Palace after dying at a crucial point is always frustrating. The boss in the Maze Palace is Carock. He would be very difficult if you had to move around, although there is a way to cheese the boss, by sitting in the corner using the Reflect spell.

The next Palace is very close, and there’s little in the way of adventures to be had before we get to it. All you have to do is go back through the cave and to the mid-point of Eastern Hyrule, and you can then use your newly acquired Boots to get over the water and find the Ocean Palace.

“I felt like this half of the game is when the combat really clicked for me. Combat was still difficult and felt unfair, but I felt like I had a better grasp on the flow of the game in general. The Maze Palace was actually pretty easy, thanks to Carock mostly. The Ocean Palace and Gooma are a different story though. That guy caused me a lot of grief.” Ikana

I agree with that Ikana, this palace was a little easier, definitely helped by the boss fight. You’re right about the next couple of palaces though, they are no joke! I think you’re right, once you get into the combat flow and understand the sword and shield fighting techniques, the game is much more enjoyable.

Ocean Palace

The Ocean Palace once against increases the level of difficulty, mainly due to the frequency of the Blue Iron Knuckles and the boss. The item in this Palace is the Flute, and this is one that’s going to help you traverse Hyrule. We need this one to help remove the big monster from the road, plus reveal the Hidden Palace after this.

This boss in the Ocean Palace is one of the harder bosses in the game. The boss is called Gooma, and he has a deadly Mace. Get too close and he’ll whack you with it, so you have to make sure you are light on your feet. With this one, I definitely found enabling Jump useful. As with many bosses and enemies in this game, you have to be patient. If you run in and get too excited, then you’ll likely lose all coordination and will die. The best thing to do is take is slow, pick your shots against Gooma and then victory is yours.

The build-up to the next palace is a fairly long journey given we have a whole new area of Hyrule to explore. This includes finding the magic key, magic container and also a new spell. Plus we have an eerie town where everyone seems to have left, plus a new town to find.

The first big obstacle in our way is the River Devil, and you play the Flute to remove him from your path. Head down the path in front of you and you find Lizalfos, the rock throwing variant, which is very accurate with their rocks. We also have fire-throwing scorpions and other Lizalfos too.

The best thing to do here is head north, through the cave and to New Kasuto. To find New Kasuto you have to clear an area of trees with the hammer on the overworld map. The surprise and delight when you first find that town, having cleared all the other areas of trees is pretty special.

Once you get into the town itself, it’s a good town to be in because of the number of items it has. First, you have to have enough magic containers to get into the house, where the Elderly Woman then informs you there is a secret at the edge of Town. You also learn the new Spell. Given the proximity of learning this new spell, with the secret at the edge of town, they naturally go together. Say the magic word at the edge of town and it reveals a secret building, where you find the magic key, an item which negates the need for smaller keys found in Palaces.

To get to the next Palace we have to call on a previous item, and that’s the Flute. Play the Flute at the 3 rock formations in the South East of Hyrule and that reveals the Hidden Palace.

Hidden Palace

The Hidden Palace is good fun and brings back some enemies we’ve seen before in the game. Our good friend Blue Knight on horseback, who was the boss of the Island Palace, he’s back, this time as a regular enemy. Given we’re a little more powerful thanks to levelling up, he’s much easier to fight this time. Wizzrobes are all over the place in this Palace, so make sure you have to Reflect on hand, as that’s the only way to beat them.

The Cross is the item in this Palace, which is going to make invisible enemies visible in the future. There’s an interesting puzzle here in this Palace. Fall down a particular hole and you won’t die, you’ll go into a loop, where you have to find the right exit. Once again, without a guide, this one would have been near impossible to test or find. On modern consoles, you have a way to rewind if you die, but back in the day, there was no rewind. No internet to look up the solution, only a Nintendo Hotline which charged by the minute… no wonder they made a bunch of money.

After fighting our Blue Knuckle on Horseback again and some nifty platforming as the fairy it’s time to face the boss of this Palace, which is Barba. This is a dragon who comes out of the lava and proceeds to shoot fire at you. Once again patience is needed, but this boss isn’t too difficult, dispose of the Dragon and it’s onto the final Palace.

The final Palace goes down as one of the hardest things I have done in gaming. The rest of this game is only really building up to this moment. The journey to the Great Palace, through the Valley of Death, is a tough affair and grind. But we’re so close, so it’s no time to give up now! Before you get to the Valley of Death you have to get one more spell and that’s the Thunder Spell. This is the most powerful spell in the game, and also the key to defeating the final boss.

The Valley of Death is a good description of what you’ll be going through, and it took me a few goes to get through in one piece. Your reward for getting through the valley of death though is the Great Palace, which is good fun, plus you’ll start again at the beginning of the Great Palace, rather than go back to the start of the game next to Princess Zelda. This benefit is offset against the difficulty of the Great Palace itself, with the new enemy types around almost every corner. While the journey to the Great Palace is long, don’t give up because the end of the game is in sight.

Great Palace

“The Great Palace beat me down over and over again. That thing was long and arduous, although I don’t think Thunderbird was that bad compared to some of the other bosses. Dark Link was really hard for me, and I had to resort to the crouching in the corner trick to beat him.” Ikana

Totally agree Ikana, this was a long Palace. I found Thunderbird very tricky, and Dark Link was a massive surprise for me and I did the same, resorted to standing over by one side and slashing until Dark Link was defeated. I had very little energy left from my fight with Thunderbird and I was mashing the button and hoping Dark Link wouldn’t be able to damage me!

“I do like the palaces the music is great and the bosses are good though the last palace took me a while because I forgot the thunder spell. A remake will be cool though I don’t know what it would be like.” BombZeCoffee

Ahh man, getting all the way to the boss and then not being able to use the Thunder Spell must have been a kick in the teeth. I’m glad you stuck with it though BombZeCoffee and beat that boss. I would love to see a remake, although I’m not sure how that would work either… personally, I’d love to see an anime version, similar to the opening to Link’s Awakening.

The Great Palace has a load of new enemies including the Fokka, which are jumping enemies who shoot blades at you and come in red and blue variants. There are also jumping, and fire-breathing enemies too. All in all the enemies in this Palace are new, they are tough, and they are not happy to see you. While this is a tough Palace, I think it’s a fitting end to the game.

There is no item in this Palace, given it’s the final Palace. We also have two final bosses. Going into the final boss fight it’s a good idea to have a good amount of health, as you have to get through the first boss, which is Thunderbird, and then fight the ultimate test, Dark Link. Dark Link is one of my favourite characters or concepts in the Legend of Zelda.

When you first run into the final boss you have to use the Thunder Spell, otherwise, the boss is immune to damage. Thunder takes a lot of your magic, so it’s a good idea to level up your magic as much as possible. It goes to level 8. I managed to beat the boss with level 6 magic, so it is possible, but I would recommend getting more magic and levelling that up, as anything to make your life easier for the final boss is going to be good. Thunderbird hovers around the screen and shoots our fireballs, which cannot be blocked, only dodged and the more you damage them the more fire they spit out, making it very hard to survive towards the end.

Beating Thunderbird is a massive thrill, and you think you have done it, and you’ll get your hands on the Triforce of Courage. Unfortunately, this success is short-lived because the little imp with the Triforce runs away, and Dark Link appears instead. Dark Link is a tough battle, although once again there is a cheese for Dark Link where you can stab from the side of the screen to defeat him.

Then we get a nice cutscene where Link holds the Triforce up in front of Princess Zelda, this wakes her up and she says “You saved Hyrule and you are a real hero”. The curtains close, and she hugs Link, with the credits rolling.

“Having beaten the game (a goal of mine since I was a kid), I still say that Adventure of Link is one of the worse Zelda titles. It has its good parts and introduced mechanics to the series that would become staples for years to come, like magic. I do think that it is over-hated, and had it come out in a different era of gaming, I think it would have done quite well. Well, the Princess is saved and Hyrule is secure. Can’t wait for Link to the Past.” Ikana

Compared to the other Zelda titles, it’s definitely not up there with the best ones like Breath of the Wild, Ocarina and Link to the Past, these are my favourites. I’d love more people to be able to play it and I think the NES style puts a lot of people off. Both this one and the original are well worth playing.

Development and releases

A new team was put together for the second Legend of Zelda in the series, although Miyamoto himself provided some continuity – he is credited under the pseudonym “Miyahon”. Takashi Tezuka wrote the story and there were two directors; Tadashi Sugiyama and Yasuhisa Yamamura. The wonderful music in the game is down to composer Akito Nakatsuka.

The game was originally released on the Japan-only Family Computer Disk System before it was released worldwide. In 1988, there was a shortage of ROM chips which held Nintendo back from releasing the game on its original schedule (parallels could be drawn to 2022 with the shortage of parts to make Nintendo Switch consoles and could be behind the delay with Breath of the Wild 2, but we’ll only find out sometime in the future).

The Famicom Disk System release was an early build of the game with all the Palaces being the same grey colour, whereas in the final release they all had their own distinct colour palettes. Two bosses even had different sprites; Carrok and Barba.

Reception

When it was first released in North America it was met with mostly positive reviews and became one of the most popular NES titles of 1988. Famitsu gave it 36 out of 40, making it their second highest-rated title in 1987, behind Dragon Quest II. Nintendo Power said “an entertaining and natural step in the franchise’s evolution” and gave it Game of the Year in 1988.

In 1997 Electronic Gaming Monthly listed Zelda II as number 72 on the 100 Best Games of All Time list, saying that the other then-released titles, The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, and Link’s Awakening were all better and all placed in the top 30. In 2008 Nintendo Power listed it as the 12th best NES game, describing it as a radical and refreshing departure from the original.

Legacy

Zelda II introduced features that would live on in other Legend of Zelda games. For example, a wide variety of NPC characters, with their own stories and world-building. These NPCs appear to have their own lives and help Hyrule seem more alive, rather than everything being set up for Link. A Magic meter was introduced here too, which would live on in other Zelda titles. The Triforce of Courage is first introduced here, which would go on to appear in other Zelda games, and is generally associated with Link. This is also the first time we meet Dark Link, after the final boss battle. Dark Link would return in Ocarina of Time and also Four Swords Adventures, plus Spirit Tracks and A Link Between Worlds.

Most of the sages in Ocarina of Time bear the same names as towns from The Adventure of Link (Rauru, Ruto, Saria, Nabooru, and Darunia). The town of Mido shares the name of a character in Kokiri Forest.

While there are some small side-scrolling parts to Link’s Awakening, the series went back to the top-down version of the Legend of Zelda, made famous by the furst entry. Nintendo then transitioned to 3D with Ocarina of Time in 1998 on the N64.

That’s it for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and also our first Zelda Game Club. Thank you once again if you played through the game with us. Games are always better when you can share your experience with someone, and knowing others were going through what I was going through in the tough moments here really made it better. Also, I love reading the community comments. I hope in the future we can get more of the community involved and keep playing through the Legend of Zelda series together. Next up will be A Link To The Past, I don’t have an exact time for that one just yet, it’s likely to be when I get back from holiday later on in September. Rather than start the game and then stop for a break, I’d like to play the game all the way through with no breaks, that way its fresh in our minds. I’ll put out a video announcing the next Zelda Game Club, and I’ll give everyone a good bit of notice.

I would like your feedback on this Zelda Game Club. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Was it too short, was it too long? I imagine the next Zelda Game Clubs will be longer because the games are longer. Legend of Zelda games on the NES are quite short, but once we get into the bigger games, the Zelda Game Clubs will have more parts. It really helps me out to know what works and what doesn’t work about these, so let me know in the comments.

That’s it for this Zelda Game Club for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. For more content like this checkout Triforce Times on YouTube and subscribe today.

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