Remember your second trip to Hyrule? When you first fired up Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the Nintendo Entertainment System and were shocked to find it was a side-scrolling platformer game at heart? IGN takes a walk down Memory Lane with a look back at this often neglected entry in the Zelda series, a game that's only crime was being different than its predecessor.
Then we left the building and witnessed the unfathomable. "What the hell, Zelda II is an RPG!" Or at least, it looked like one. Instead of doing all the exploring, puzzle solving and fighting in the Overworld, Zelda II shrinks down Link when you're outside. Like in Final Fantasy, you essentially navigate a glorified map without the ability to use your sword or magic. As you walk around, you will see black "monster icons," move across the map. If you bump into them, the game switches to a side-scrolling battle where you face off against multiple enemies.
Zelda II was a gift from my parents back in the day. I hadn't played the original Zelda at the time, so Zelda II's new controversial elements were nothing shocking to me. If anything, I felt right at home with the game because of its basic similarity to Super Mario Bros. with all the walking and jumping. Unfortunately, as a child I was unable to get very far in the game. It took me two months and a stack of Nintendo Power magazines to finish the first palace, another month to reach the second palace, and eventually my progress came to a halt when after nearly a year of tackling Death Mountain, I was unable to collect the hammer needed to progress to the rest of the game.
I started lending the game out to friends (who played on a special FRIENDS character file I'd created), and by the time the game came back to me FRIENDS was nearing the end of the game. I was no match for the long walk to the final palace though. It would be nearly a decade before I finished the game on my own. Looking back on it today I can say that it's a fun game and I certainly enjoy it now (I still make a point to replay it once a year or so), but as a child it was the most frustrating game with which I'd ever crossed paths. If you put the game aside in 1989, consider picking it up again. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Unless you can't collect that #%!@ hammer.