Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
January 14, 1987
A little under a year after the international first installment of the series, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, taking the series in a different direction with this side-scrolling adventure. There were many changes in this new adventure; most notable being the side scrolling perspective for all of the battle sequences, towns, caves, dungeons, and temples, while only the overworld exploration used the overhead perspective which was prominent in the The Legend of Zelda. This new gameplay mechanic introduced jumping, along with intense sword battles to the series, with a much heavier reliance on using Link's shield as well as introducing the use of magic and certain spells.
This title is often considered "the black sheep" of the series. The Adventure of Link is without a doubt the hardest Zelda game to date according to most fans of the series. One of these challenges was the aspect of introducing a "lives system" that further made the game frustrating when the player ran out of lives and was forced to return to the starting area, having to traverse across Hyrule and back into the treacherous dungeons where they fell. Many fans of the series were very disappointed with this rendition of the game and don't believe it accurately represents what The Legend of Zelda series was meant to be. Having said that, there are still many fans of this game regardless of its poor critical status.
Aside from trying to live up to the expectations of its predecessor, The Adventure of Link is still one of the highest rated games for the Nintendo Entertainment System and a great game of its time. It has been released multiple times for various other Nintendo consoles such as the Game Boy Advance, the Nintendo GameCube's Collector's Disc, the Wii Virtual Console, and now the Wii U Virtual Console, where Off-TV Play via the Wii U GamePad has been introduced.
- Main article: The Adventure of Link Story
Hyrule was on the road to ruin; though Ganon had been defeated, his evil influence remained, and his underlings now sought the blood of Link, the hero who had defeated Ganon, so they could use it to revive him.
Link lent his hand to the kingdom's restoration, but one day near his 16th birthday, he discovered a mark on the back of his hand that was identical to the kingdom's crest. Worried, he visited Princess Zelda's nursemaid, Impa, who was shocked by the mark and took Link to North Palace, where Link opened a door that only he could open, and found a sleeping woman. The woman was the princess, Zelda. Impa then told Link the legend of Zelda handed down in Hyrule:
Long ago a great ruler of Hyrule maintained peace using the Triforce, but once he died the Prince took over but only inherited the Triforce in part. A magician told him that before dying, the king told the Prince's sister, Princess Zelda, something about the Triforce. The Prince and the magician inquired about this, but she would say nothing. Against the Prince's orders, the magician put Zelda into a sleep from which she was not supposed to awake. In his grief, the Prince placed Zelda in the room where Link and Impa now stood and ordered that all female children of the royal household were to be named Zelda.
In a scroll only he could read, Link read of the three types of Triforce: Power, Wisdom, and Courage. The Triforce will show its true power when the three are brought together. Power and Wisdom were left in the kingdom, but Courage was hidden away until such a time as someone with extremely noble character appears. It is hidden in the Great Palace in the Valley of Death on Hyrule's largest island. Link must defeat the guardians and place the crystals in all of the palaces, then defeat the final guardian to reclaim the Triforce of Courage, thereby wake Zelda from her slumber and restoring peace to Hyrule.
- Main article: The Adventure of Link Characters
- Main article: Attack Level
- Main article: Magic Level
- Main article: Life Level
In stark contrast to other games in the series, Adventure of Link incorporates an RPG-equse leveling system by which Link improves his skills via gaining experience instead of equipment upgrades.
By gaining experience through defeating enemies or finding Point Bags Link is able to upgrade his three principle stats: Attack, Magic, and Life. This system stands in place of equipment upgrades that increase Link's attack and defense found in The Legend of Zelda like the Blue Ring or Magical Sword.
Upon reaching specific experience thresholds (represented by the NEXT number in the upper right corner of the screen), Link is given the option to "buy" an upgrade where a stat's level is raised by one and that quantity of experience is deducted from the total earned. Each stat can be upgraded to a maximum level of eight. Once a skill has reached the maximum level, its next level up becomes 9000 experience and selecting that upgrade will give Link one extra life.
Order of Upgrades
Link is not required to upgrade in any specific order and can pass up an opportunity to raise a stat until later by selecting CANCEL. At that point, the experience required to level up is raised to the next threshold.
Consequences of Death
If Link loses all of his lives and the game ends, all earned upgrades are kept, but his current experience is reset to zero.
Hit Points and Magic Points
The Adventure of Link stands as the only game in the series where both the life of Link and monsters, as well as Link's magic power, are calculated more like HP and MP in RPGs. Rather than the basic Heart Container accounting of 1/4, 1/2, and whole damage, each container in The Adventure of Link represents 16 points, with a maximum of 128 points. How much damage Link receives from enemies and spell costs are affected by his Life Level and Magic Level respectively.
- Main article: The Adventure of Link Enemies
- Main article: Gallery of The Adventure of Link Enemies
- List of enemies that appear in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
Items and Magic
- Main article: The Adventure of Link Items
- Main article: The Adventure of Link Locations
- In 1989, Nintendo of America released a Link Figurine as part of a 12-piece set consisting of characters from other Nintendo franchises.
- In 1989, a licensed Zelda II: The Adventure of Link Assorted Real Fruit Snacks was marketed by Thomas J. Lipton Co. as part of Nintendo's Assorted Real Fruit Snacks.