Posted on October 14 2017 by Rod Lloyd
Zelda II: The Adventure of a Link is a weird game. Released at a time when video game sequels rarely stuck to formula, this follow-up to the 1986 classic bucked many its predecessor’s defining qualities. The Zelda series had no set identity at that time, allowing Nintendo to experiment with drastic design changes and new gameplay ideas. And while the series eventually committed to the template set by the original game, Zelda II remains an intriguing oddity among the most devoted of fans. I personally believe now is the time for Nintendo to devote resources to a Zelda II remake, but would that really be the right decision?
I very much appreciate The Adventure of Link for what it is, perhaps not as a Zelda title per se, but as its own unique experience unlike anything else seen in Nintendo’s wheelhouse. The game is refreshingly difficult, its level progression is well-constructed, and it actually resembles modern RPG’s more than one might think. The dark horse of the Zelda series may have gone under-appreciated when it was initially released, and overwhelmingly forgotten as the series progressed, but today’s gaming landscape is no doubt ready for its re-emergence.
I just finished playing through Ska Studios’ Salt and Sanctuary, a rather tough 2D RPG with magic, swordplay, and exploration. And while it was clearly modeled after the acclaimed gameplay of the Dark Souls series, I actually saw a lot of Zelda 2 within Salt and Sanctuary as well. Both challenged players to press on through a series of dangerous encounters, all the while growing in experience little by little. Though a player may die many times to reach the next checkpoint or safe zone, they grow in level and get more comfortable with the dangers that befall them. And eventually the player will find that they have learned a new ability or opened a new path, thus reducing the hardships of areas so far travelled.
Games like Dark Souls and Salt and Sanctuary — and the growing popularity of their kind — make me think that Zelda II could earn another shot in the limelight. In today’s gaming environment, the oft-forgotten sequel feels less and less out of place. It’s my opinion that there’s no better time for a Zelda II remake than right now. Heck, its success could even open the door for an entirely new series inspired by it, completely independent of the Zelda series.
But I’ll stop trying to convince you and let you decide. Do you think that Zelda II could reasonably survive if remade today? Is there enough interest in this Zelda oddity? Share your thoughts or refute my arguments in the comments below!