Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Review Date: April 4, 2021

Release Date: December 1, 1988 (that’s an exact date this time, not an estimate like when I usually put the first)

Platform: NES

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

Let’s see if I can top my previous performance.

Anecdotes: Back in 1988, Nintendo enjoyed tons of success with their golden cartridge, The Legend of Zelda. Logic would dictate that they should make a sequel. However, this was back during the days when developers weren’t sure what to do with sequels. Do they obliterate everything and start over with something totally new like the US version of Super Mario 2 or do they do a nearly identical game with new levels like Japan’s Super Mario 2? Nintendo went with the former for this game before reverting back to what worked in the first game. Fans of the series, to this day, still look down on this game.

The other problem was that Nintendo, for reasons I don’t remember, only produced limited quantities of the cartridges, so the game was hard to find. We had to go to several stores to find it. We did find it and we were surprised at how different it was from the first game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

Description: From the manual, page 13, scanned by gamesdatabase.org: There are six palaces hidden [liars; only one is actually hidden] in Hyrule. Link must gain experience by fighting Ganon’s underlings, and get information while visiting towns here and there. And, after defeating the guardians at the palaces of Death Valley [that’s not the same place as Death Mountain], he must obtain the Triforce of Courage – That is Link’s mission.

In other words, Link has six crystals and must place them into the statues at the end of each palace. Along the way, Link will gain experience, items, and skills. Once all six crystals are placed, the barrier to the Great Palace disappears and Link will be able to finish the quest.

Link has inserted the crystal into the fourth statue. The rest are just palette swaps of this one.


-At first, Link is just another hero with a sword. However, Nintendo made him stand out by giving him a really awesome ability. He can stab up or down with the sword. He learns in Mido how to down thrust first, then later he learns the up thrust in Darunia later. Down stabs are good for taking care of annoying enemies on the floor. Up stabs will be necessary in the Great Palace as they’re about the only efficient way to deal with those Fokkas.

Link learns the upward thrust by playing Santa to the soldier inside.

-Although the graphics aren’t the best, it’s really nice to see what Zelda enemies look like in a platformer style. Tektites now have longer legs. Goriyas are taller. Octoroks can now jump. A few others also returned, plus a nice mix of new enemies.


-By far, the worst thing about this game is the gigantic difficulty spike after the fifth palace. In the fifth palace, Link finds a flute. He then needs to take the flute back to the River Devil, who is south of the raft port in Eastern Hyrule. Then he will have to deal with dinosaurs throwing rocks and red floating eyeballs. Palace six is full of Blue Ironknuckles and other “fun” surprises. Then he’ll have to visit a ghost town, which is full of invisible spiraling eyeballs to get a required spell. The sixth palace item can make them visible, but they’re still quite tough to avoid. After that, it’s time to head to the final dungeon, and that trek is even worse. It’s a gauntlet full of Gerus, Moas, Gilbocks, and other things. There is also a dead end. The route to the palace also has two caves to traverse. At the end of that is the Great Palace, which is even worse.

The pain begins once Link crosses to the south of the River Devil.

-The developers also felt the need to send players back to the North Palace on every game over outside the Great Palace. This is just plain cruel. I don’t know how many times over my childhood that I got within steps of the hammer and got hit by a flying axe and had to start to whole thing again from the start of the game. Dying in palace six is the same thing. Link will have to walk all the way back from the North Palace. The First Zelda game allowed players to continue from the start of the dungeon. Why did they change that?

Be prepared to be sent back here A LOT.

More Screenshots:

Kevin Nealon stops by to offer some advice.
Compare this to Rambo’s dark caves.
This jump leads to SW Hyrule and Death Mountain. The “fun” is just beginning.
Does “River Man” have a name? By the way, where’s Error?
Doesn’t she have one inside somewhere?
I’ve died at this point many times. I’ve even died while holding the hammer.
Red Dairas are no fun. I got by them by jumping over the axes. This one killed me, though.
I’m moving on from Death Mountain. Let’s go check in at Mido.
It’s time to learn a new sword technique.
I feel bad for her, but what exactly can I do?
The Ironknuckle statues at the starts of palaces 2, 3, 4, and 6 can be stabbed. Link will randomly get either a red potion or a red Ironknuckle.
Hey, there’s a Rope and a Bubble. Ropes are awesome.
I’m getting crowded in by Maus. Players will quickly hate those things.
Let’s sail east and see what’s over there.
I’m glad she’s admitting it. Are there no men in this town?
Uh oh. Maybe she meant that literally. I’ll grab her some water here, 25 feet from her house.
There was a water fountain RIGHT NEXT DOOR! She couldn’t just walk 25 feet and get it herself? Lazy.
Ugh, it’s a Wizzrobe.
This joke of a boss (Carock) can be defeated by casting Reflect and crouching in a corner.
Yes, Link can turn himself into a fairy.
Fake walls are very few in this game, but there’s one here and I can run from a Blue Ironknuckle.
Hey, it’s my old skeleton buddy, Stalfos.
Now things are getting real.
There was a tax hike in Kasuto, so everyone left and moved into the middle of the forest.
And this is the only other place the flute does anything. Palace six will appear.
This boss isn’t too bad, but Link must be careful not to fall into the lava.
That’s everything, but now it gets really difficult.
There are about 70 tiles of this ridiculousness, with a minimum of 6 battle scenes.
I’m not kidding about that. I’m surrounded.
Finally. The gate will open if I have used all the crystals.
This Fokka will rip Link apart. I’d tell jokes about its mama, but I don’t want to make fun of the Mother Fokka.
How awesome is this? IT’S A BIG BOT!!! I can’t help it. I like Big Bots and I can not lie.
I admit I can not beat this thing. I give up.

Final Opinion: Being sent back to the start of the game really makes this adventure drag, especially if Link dies on Death Mountain or in the sixth palace. Those enraging areas, along with the brutal path to the Great Palace, let alone what awaits inside, are why I can’t rate it any higher than a C.

Grade: C

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