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V Ideo Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

SEVERAL YEARS AFTER AFTER GANNON WAS DESTROYED, LINK LEARNS FROM IMPA ABOUT THE ANOTHER SLEEPING PRINCESS ZELDA. HE IS TOLD SHE WILL ONLY AWAKEN WITH THE NO.3 TRY-FORCE SEALED IN THE GREAT SANCTUARY AT DISVALLEY. TO REMOVE THE SEAL,CRYSTALS MUST BE EMBEDDED INTO A STONE STATUE STANDING IN SIX SANCTUARIS.
LINK SETS OUT ON AN ADVENTURESOME QUEST...

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link featured an overhead-view map like the first game, but introduced side-scrolling action sequences and RPG Elements such as level ups, magic and health points, and random encounters, as well as more complex world and story elements, including towns filled with characters.

The game definitely left its mark on the franchise: while later games would return to the top-down action-adventure model of the original rather than being more like an RPG, towns filled with NPCs and sidequests would become staples of the series, and the magic meter appeared in a few more games until it was retired after The Wind Waker.

The story basically has two threads. On the one hand, Link, after his defeat of Ganon in the original game, is attempting to collect the third piece of the Triforce: the Triforce of Courage. Doing this will help wake the sleeping Princess Zelda (not the same one from the original) from her long magical sleep. On the other hand, Ganon's followers are trying to resurrect Ganon, and the only way to do that is with the Hero's blood. Thus, there's lots of enemies standing in Link's way as he attempts to deposit six crystals in the six palaces throughout Hyrule and open the path to the Great Palace, where the Triforce of Courage is kept...

Even if The Black Cauldron and Legend didn't influence the first game, they certainly did with this one.

According to Hyrule Historia, this is the last game in the "Link died during Ocarina of Time" timeline.

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The Save the Princess plot, along with the tie to the third Triforce, are given much more detail in the manual. Plus it's noted why the Game Over screen looks like that. It also explains why the princess is named Zelda every time.
  • Animated Adaptation: The cartoon series used elements from this game, and the Captain N: The Game Master episode "Quest for the Potion of Power" was largely based on it.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Running out of lives in the Great Palace will drop you off at the entrance upon continuing instead of all that way back at the start of the game. Given what a pain in the ass it is to trek to the palace in the first place, this an uncharacteristically kind thing to do for an otherwise unforgiving game like Zelda II. Also if you died at Dark Link, therefore having already beaten Thunderbird, you do not have to fight Thunderbird again.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Giant Bubble and the Giant Bot in the final palace. Giant Bubble turns into two bubbles; Giant Bot turns into several small bots that look exactly like regular bots, except they are a LOT harder to kill.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The enemies named "Horsehead" and "Helmethead". Guess where you need to strike? Inverted with Gooma, a boss added to the international releases in place of a second battle with Helmethead, whose weak point is his body and, in contrast to the boss he replaced, whose head is invulnerable.
  • Bigger Bad: Ganon.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: I Am Error, despite being a correct translation, is considered an example, with people assuming his name is supposed to be "Errol" or that "I am Error" is actually an error message. However, his friend, Bagu, is supposed to be transliterated as "Bug", making their names "Bug" and "Error," with the two being named after programming issues. In addition, another NPC mentions Error by name and says to ask him how to find the next palace, and after this is done Error gives advice instead of introducing himself.
    • Most dialogue messages are considerably longer in Japanese as well, leading to newspaper headline-style speech from most NPCs in English. This is probably because the same character limit per text box was kept in the English localization as there was in Japanese despite the difference in information per character.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The most of the entire series. This is a primary reason for the game's difficulty.
    • A more clear example are the Eagle Knightsnote  in the Great Palace. They are similar to the Iron Knuckles, but both types can cast swordbeams at you and leap over you. The Red versions take two to three hits to kill and the blue ones five to six. It doesn't help that they usually appear in a place where it is very difficult to run away from them. The Iron Knuckles can also be this if you don't know the easy way of defeating them (by jumping in the air and striking right before you land). This doesn't really make blue Iron Knuckles much easier to defeat though, thanks to their sword beams.
  • Bowdlerise: The dungeons are called "temples" in Japanese but "palaces" in English, due to Nintendo of America's then-current policy of removing religious references in games. (They left the crosses in, though.) The term "temple" for dungeons persists in later games, and from Ocarina of Time onward the English localizations follow the Japanese lead.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The hammer can break trees. The only thing this is useful for is finding New Kasuto, and that happens so long after you find the hammer that you'll likely have forgotten you can even do that.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: The Valiant Comics series authorized by Nintendo was based on this and the original game.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several.
    • Between the second and third palaces, the player must navigate Death Mountain, a confusing network of caves that...wait, wasn't Death Mountain in the last game?? Sure enough, Zelda 1's overworld is just to the south of it, complete with forests, lakes, a cemetary, and even Spectacle Rock all in the same spots as before. You can even enter where Level 9 was in the last game and find a magic container inside.
    • In the previous game, Link could not defend against energy balls, magic blasts, or sword beams without the Magical Shield. However, Zelda II's manual claims that he begins the game with this shield in tow. True to form, all of the first game's projectiles reappear and can be blocked by default. However, for some reason, Link's Magical Sword (which he is also stated to begin with) is much weaker.
    • When Link turns to face the player after obtaining an item, his eyes are still two brown pixels with odd green pixels above them.
    • Water of Life, a quest item in this game, was also a name for the potion in the first game. The sprites are largely the same as well.
  • Continuing Is Painful: A Game Over reduces Link's XP to zero and sends him all the way back to the Northern Palace in Western Hyrule. In the Japanese version, which allowed players to choose which stats to level up (rather than how international releases leveled up a set stat one at a time), levels are also reduced to whatever the lowest of the three current levels are (e.g. being at level 4-4-3 sends Link back to 3-3-3).
    • Averted in the Great Palace, where a game over puts Link at the beginning of that Palace.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: As in the first game, all the tombstones in the graveyard have crosses on them, as does Link's shield; and in this game, a cross is actually an item retrieved from one of the palaces. Word of God explains that the motif is caused by the fact that the original plan was to have Christianity as the main religion in Hyrule; three goddesses weren't introduced to the backstory until A Link to the Past.
  • Demoted Boss: Rebonack, a mounted Iron Knuckle who starts out as the boss of the Island Palace, appears as a miniboss in later dungeons.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Spell spell.
  • Difficulty By Region: The Famicom version is easier than the NES variants, despite having an additional boss.
    • Nerf: The sixth boss, Volvagia (AKA Barba), is harder to fight in the Famicom version than in its NES counterpart.
    • Buff: The Tektites in the Famicom version are easier to kill than the NES versions.
    • Also, in the Famicom version continuing is even more painful because you also lose any levels that are higher than your minimum level, while in the NES version, the Next Level XP cap has been raised from 4000 to 9000.
  • Door To Before: Of a sort: when you get the hammer, the boulders blocking access to the southern part of the western continent are no longer an issue. This becomes very important when you continue: you can reach the southern area without having to pass through a cave and swamp area (and all the attendant battles you'd have to fight). There are some other, more minor examples as well, such as the Water Walking Boots.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The game has many caves and areas you must travel through in order to get to various dungeons and temples. The game kills you in such efficient ways that you're likely to run out of both health and magic by the temple and dungeon in question, let alone facing the boss.
    • You will not reach The Very Definitely Final Dungeon with more than the shirt on your back. It's not a No-Gear Level thing; the path to it is just that good at demanding everything you've got.
    • The fact that there are no healing item drops is one of the things that makes the entire game such a challenge. If you're slogging through one of the dungeons, the only way to heal is by finding a fairy or using the Life spell.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This is the second game in the series, and plays in ways not seen in any official game since.
  • Enemy Without: Dark Link.
  • Experience Points: Gain enough, and you can raise your defense, reduce magic costs, or raise attack.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Every 9000 experience after maxing out levels gives Link another life.
  • Fairy Battle: You'd be forgiven for thinking this trope was named for this game instead of its usage in Final Fantasy IX, as Zelda II has literal "fairy battles". That is, battle screens with nothing but a healing fairy to pick up. More a wandering monster than a Random Encounter, though.
  • Fan Vid: The Adventures Of Duane And BrandO's gleeful musical retelling of the game, painting Link as a cocky and vaguely confused hero playing through a sequel with completely different gameplay mechanics.
  • Foreshadowing: Beating a boss is the only time Link's shadow is visible.
  • Gender Bender: The artwork makes it look like fairies are female, and the fairy that Link turns into with the fairy spell uses the same graphics as all other fairies. Thus, it seems like Link might change into a female fairy with this spell.
  • Genre Shift: This is the only side-scrolling game in the entire series (not counting two of the CDi Games). This is also the only time you can level up with a certain amount of experience points, expanding on the RPG Elements of the first game.
  • Ghost Town: Old Kasuto.
  • The Goomba: Bits and Bots. (Those red and blue jelly slime things)
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Inverted. You need to return the crystals you have to the palaces, rather than collect them.
  • Guide Dang It: While most things in the game are hinted at in one place or another, many hints are badly translated and only given by NPCs that look exactly like the useless Welcome to Corneria types. Good luck finding New Kasuto based solely on "THE TOWN IS DEAD LOOK EAST IN FOREST", especially since
    • a) You need to know that the hammer destroys trees in addition to rocks
    • b) you must also know to use the hammer to find New Kasuto's tile, instead of merely walking on said tile like every other tile in the game that contains a hidden area
    • c) There are in fact TWO areas of forest to the east of Kasuto, one of which is absolutely gigantic (and not the one New Kasuto is in, which relies on All There in the Manual to identify).
    • In the town, you have to use the "Spell" spell to make a building appear at one point in the game, but the game never even tells you what the "Spell" spell is supposed to do. The only hint you get is a random NPC saying "There is a secret at edge of town."
    • If you haven't beaten the game already, chances are, you're still trying to find the island palace.
  • Heart Container: Despite one of the apparent levels being called "Life," that's just defense. You still use these to increase your life meter. The "Magic" level function similarly; increasing it decreases the cost of some spells, rather than how much magic is available to begin with. Potions increase the magic meter similarly to how Heart Containers increase the life meter.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Zelda's predecessor, the princess you need to awaken, has red hair (in both her sprite and the manual).
  • Hidden Elf Village: New Kasuto. A villager states they had to flee Old Kasuto, so it makes sense for them to hide their new hometown.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Between external sources rather than the game itself, but the dragon boss was referred to as Barba for the original release and Volvagia (which was closer to the original Japanese version's name) for the Collector's Edition release (the latter of which also came with a game with a different Volvagia, whose reference to this installment was lost until the original's name was retranslated).
  • Infinite 1-Ups: After Level Grinding enough, each level-up leads to a 1-up. There is one room in the fifth palace where you can pretty much set your sword beam to turbo to continuously kill Moas (ghosts that yield 50 experience). You'll just have to pick up experience bags and magic refills when enough spawn to get the ghosts to start spawning again. The process is a lot more time-consuming here than in most games with infinite 1-ups, but you'll need every single one of them. A video with a lengthy explanation in the description can be found here.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Key: Like the first game, this game has a magic key which can unlock any door in any palace.
  • Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: The "Thunder" spell severely damages all enemies on screen instantly, but sucks up almost all of your magic. Even when you're completely leveled up and have all the magic containers, it still uses half of them.
    • The mid-boss just before the final boss in the Great Palace requires you to use the Thunder spell to make it vulnerable to your other methods of attack. Given how long the last level is, and how hard the enemies are, it's entirely possible that you'll reach the fight without the magic necessary to effectively do anything.
  • Invisible to Normals: The blue Moa enemies are invisible until you get the Cross in the sixth dungeon.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Link's death is Ganon's return, and there is no longer anything standing in his way. The Famicom version is even worse, displaying a black screen with "RETURN OF GANON: THE END." and playing a digitized dragon roar. Apparently, Hyrule is burning, and that's the last we'll ever see of it.
  • Jump Physics: The only Legend of Zelda game that uses manual jumping without an item.
  • Kid Hero: The manual states that Link is 16 years old, the first time he's ever given a specific age.
  • Kill It with Fire: The fire spell lets your sword shoot fireballs, even when you don't have full energy.
    WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS USE FIRE.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: A curtain drops at the end of the game, and Link and Zelda get to smooching. Although this was likely more due to lack of sprite animations than modesty (you just see the sprites move together).
  • Knockback: It doesn't matter how hardcore you think you are. This game's enemies that move and weave across the screen like Medusa-Heads, will knock you into BottomlessPits time and time again.
  • Lady in Red: In most towns there is a woman in a red dress who will take Link into her house and bring him to full health. This has still lead to some speculation that Link is visiting a prostitute.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Just like in the first game, an enemy's color indicates its strength; orange is the weakest, then red, and finally blue is the strongest version of that enemy.
  • Ledge Bats: There are numerous locations with enemies whose only purpose is to knock you into water or lava.
  • Lethal Lava Land/Mordor: The Valley of Death. Lava is also a common hazard in caves and dungeons, more so than anywhere else in the series. (Literally every dungeon contains lava somewhere.)
  • Level Grinding: From killing loads of slimes, to loads of Tektites, to loads of Orange Lizalfos. You'll still spend a lot of time killing monsters, but you have plenty of options to break up the monotony.
    • A convenient, if risky method of early levelup is killing Bubbles, even in the first Palace. They respawn infinitely, they hold still when you hit them, and they give you a whopping 50 Experience Points. All they ask in return is sore fingers and whatever magic they eat off you if you screw up. Having the downward thrust makes this substantially easier if you time your jump right.
    • You can also skip returning the crystals to the palaces until the last minute, making getting those 5000, 6000, 7000 and 8000 experience levels a lot easier.
    • Slightly easier in the Famicom version where the maximum XP limit for a level up is 4000.
  • Living MacGuffin: The kidnapped child. It's a funny variant on the trope, since the game treats the child just like any other inventory item.
    • This is made worse in the Famicom version: To rescue the child, Link must hit him with his sword.
      • The child is tied-up in ropes which need to be cut to free him, hence the reason why you hit him with your sword.
  • Living Shadow: The Final Boss.
  • Lost Forever: There are some experience bags and a one one-up doll that can be missed because they're in palaces, which become inaccessible after you collect the palace's item and restore the crystal to the palace. Additionally, the one-up dolls only appear once; once you've collected them, they won't appear again unless you revert to an earlier save file.
  • Mana Potion: The blue bottles restore one section of the Mana Meter. Red bottles restore all of it.
  • The Maze: The later palaces. Also the route to the fourth palace.
  • Mirror Match: The fight against Dark Link. Ironically, the fight can be made one of the easiest in the game by exploiting a glitch that allows you to hide in the left corner and stab repeatedly. Various ROM hacks of the game have put lava in the corner to make this impossible.
  • New Game+: Unlike the the first game, this one makes a replay game significantly easier by letting you start over with all your acquired levels and spells from the last playthrough, as well as the upward and downward cleave. With your Life, Magic and Attack maxed-out to level 8, the difficulty curve doesn't catch back up to you until about the fifth palace.
  • Nintendo Hard: Widely considered the hardest of the entire series, with good reason. Blue Iron Knuckles in particular will have you tearing your hair out. The Hawk knights in the Great Palace are even worse.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In the Famicom version, for the Game Over there's just a black screen and a digitized roar. Nothing else.
  • Nuclear Candle: If you don't have a candle, you cannot see any enemies in dark rooms, even if they are inches in front of you. Once you get the candle, they're visible even if Link and the enemy are on opposite sides of the screen.
    • Note that orange Daira and orange Lizalfos enemies are an exception to the "invisible in dark rooms" rule. Presumably Nintendo didn't expect any players to get that far without the candle. Of course, Speedrunners frequently run the entire game without the candle, since it's not technically necessary to beat the game (you just have to be very good and/or lucky to beat it without the candle).
  • Oddball in the Series: Although how "odd" it is tends to vary. Functionally, the main differences between this and other Zelda games is the sidescrolling, platforming, and less focus on sub weapons. It still retains the epic exploration and hack & slash gameplay, and begins the tradition of the various towns with citizens having sidequests you must complete to get items and such.
  • One Time Dungeon: The Palaces become Mountain squares on the overworld map after you beat them, but only after you both defeat the boss and collect the required item, fortunately. The only things that can truly be Lost Forever are some Experience Point bonuses.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: This Zelda's dress is pink with small puff sleeves, a bell skirt, and a ring of white bows and ribbons around the skirt. It's just that way in the manual, but it counts.
  • Power Up Letdown: Just like the previous game, Zelda II lets you shoot beams from your sword when you are at full health. Much unlike the previous game though, most of the enemies are completely immune to it. Additionally, the beam only travels a few feet before it disappears with a graphic like a popped soap bubble.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Zelda's pink dress.
  • Random Effect Spell: Just called "Spell".
  • Regional Bonus: The game received quite a few changes in the localization process; the dungeons are all colored differently, the overworld battle music was changed, Barba/Volvagia is drawn and animated better, the boss Gooma is added to replace what was originally a rematch with Helmethead, etc.
  • RPG Elements: The only game in the series that comes close to being an Action RPG.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Not that the first game was easy itself, but there's a reason why this installment is generally considered to be the hardest.
  • Sequence Breaking: Of a sort. You can collect items from the dungeons and kill the enemies for experience however a valid tactic is to save the boss until you have played through as much of the game as you can, or get tired of Level Grinding. Completing a dungeon automatically builds you up to the next level, so more difficult enemies can be fought and killed, leveled up from, then bosses from earlier dungeons killed easily to power up even further. You cannot enter the Great Palace however unless you first clear the six palaces; you will be obstructed from entry by the "Binding Force", as stated in the instruction manual.
  • Shout-Out: A gravestone in the Japanese version features the epitaph "Here Lies the Hero Loto." There is no equivalent text in the North American version.
    • Similarly, in the Famicom and GBA versions of Final Fantasy I, there is gravestone in Elftown that features the epitaph "Here lies Link". Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any gravestones for Final Fantasy characters in Dragon Quest games... yet. (Though, some versions of Final Fantasy do replace the reference to Link with one to Erdrick, so the opposite is not the case).
  • Simple Yet Opulent: Zelda's pink dress is certainly fancy, but has few enough trimmings to also be this.
  • Smooch of Victory: Link and Zelda, behind the curtain after she's been awakened; at least, such is implied.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Link has two lines of dialogue in the game, although both times it is to the player. Nevertheless, this was pretty nearly the only time in the entire series he gets ANY form of dialogue whatsoever until The Wind Waker had him shouting "Come on!"
  • Super Drowning Skills: In the side-scrolling segments. There is an item you can get that allows you to walk on (certain tiles of) water, but that only works on the overhead map.
  • Sword Fight: This game has some of the most intense sword fighting on the NES when it comes to battling Iron Knuckles. It also illustrates the faster reflex-based combat of this title in comparison to the subdued movement-based combat of the previous game.
  • Theme Naming: Error and Bug. Unfortunately, Bug was mistranslated as Bagu in the American version.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several Mooks that are a non-issue in most games will kill you to death in this one.
    • Tektites especially. Immune to anything but the Fire Spell, and you first run into them before you get it. They hop really high and far, and every part of their body gives Collision Damage (which means with their legs fully extended they are practically boss-sized in terms of do-not-touch radius.) And Zoras, which in this game are little ankylosaurus looking things, also immune to everything except Fire and incredibly durable.
    • Link himself is particularly more badass in this game than the last. With the side-scrolling combat he can now jump, use upward and downward thrusts, and fight enemies in one on one sword fights.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The "Spell" spell has very little real use in the game: it reveals the hidden vault in New Kasuto containing the magic key. At no time is it ever really explained what the spell does.
    • It also turns several enemies into Bots (those little blue blob things, basically Zelda II's Goomba), rendering their butts far more kickable (at the cost of lowering the XP you get from them drastically.) It's a lifesaver in the particularly Mook-heavy rooms. It's basically the poor man's Thunder Spell (Thunder kills every Mook enemy onscreen with full XP... if you don't mind emptying your magic meter. Spell Spell doesn't take much MP at all.) However, enemies killed after being Spelled will respawn as soon as you leave the room, and Spell doesn't work on everything (bird knights, for example).
  • Video Game Lives/1-Up: It's the only game in the series where you have multiple lives, the number of which can be increased by finding little doll versions of Link scattered throughout the countryside. (However, you can't get them back after you've collected them, so they're best saved for the end of the game when you can really use the extra lives.) You also get 1-ups in place of level-ups after maxing out Link's levels.
  • Walk on Water: By means of a pair of magical boots, but it only works on a specific body of water around the fifth palace as well as, for some reason, the river south of the fourth, but the only reason players would ever need to use them for the latter case is when Sequence Breaking.
    • The fourth palace is where the boots are found in a normal game, so the river acts as a Door To Before.
  • Witch Hunt: Two towns in the game, Saria and Darunia, are full of monster spies disguised as non-important NPC's (the kind that just say "Hello!" or "Sorry I know nothing"). Any of these type of NPC's can be revealed as spies if you talk to them once.
    • Oddly enough, whether an NPC turns out to be a spy is determined randomly when you talk to them, so sometimes you can actually talk to an NPC several times before they attack you. However, they never attack if you don't talk to them.
  • When All Else Fails, Go Right:
    • All of the bosses are faced after entering their rooms from the left. Most are considerable distances to the right of the dungeon entrance. Of course, the dungeon's featured item is always to the left.
    • Comes into play in the Death Mountain area. In the overhead view, always choose the caves to the south or east if you want to avoid dead ends.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: The lack of alternate weapons (bombs, bow-and-arrows, etc) put swordplay right at the forefront. Even though you do get a literal hammer, it's used as an overworld item, not as a weapon.

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alternative title(s): The Legend Of Zelda The Adventure Of Link; Zelda II; The Legend Of Zelda II The Adventure Of Link; The Legend Of Zelda II; The Adventure Of Link; Legend Of Zelda2; Legend Of Zelda II; The Legend Of Zelda2; Zelda 2 The Adventure Of Link; Zelda II The Adventure Of Link; The Legend Of Zelda II The Adventure Of Link
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