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Zelda 2 Misconceptions Debunked

Joined
May 4, 2014
Location
California
Zelda 2 is a bad game. It deviates from the Zelda formula and is the hardest game ever! Its bad and impossible cuz I say so.

That's usually the kinda crap I hear when being told this is one of the worst Zeldas ever. Lets examine the criticisms against it shall we?

It deviates from the Zelda formula:

Mmm no. There was no Zelda formula. It was the second game in the series. Get over yourselves.

The leveling is unfair!:

You have 3 stats that you can level, all maxed out to 8. The enemies in each area are appropriate for your level of strength and give you an increasing amount of exp. They can drop p bags which can contain anywhere between 50-200 experience points. Plus there are quite a few of these scattered all over the overworld and in the dungeons. If that's an unfair leveling system in your eyes, then you must find games like modern Pokemon, and modern rpgs excruciating, because they follow a similar formula. Minus the free points.

Its the hardest game ever!:

Its tough in some spots yes, but it is certainly not the hardest NES game ever made. Its pretty fair in most areas.

It doesn't feel like a Zelda game. Therefore its not a Zelda game:

Hyrule? Check
Dungeons? Check
Ganon? Check
Items? Check
Triforce? Check
Nintendo says so? Check.
Sounds like a Zelda game to me.

Its stupid because you hafta start at the beginning when you lose all your lives:

A ton of NES games make you start over if you lose all your lives. Even the original Zelda, yet I never hear people whining about those games. Checkpoints and autosaves weren't invented back then people. Plus the NES Zeldas saved your progress and you didn't hafta write down passwords or play it all the way through in one sitting. Nowadays you can even play old NES games with save states.

No one liked it back then!:

True, there probably were plenty of people who didn't really care for it. But there were also lots of people who did enjoy it. It was a fairly liked game.

The controls are bad:

The controls are responsive, simple and intuitive. I have never had a problem with Zelda II's controls.

Its too esoteric:

Okay how? Please give me examples.

You are told to go North of the River to find the Master.

You are told to ask Error of Ruto about the palace.

You are told to place the crystals in the palace.

You are told the river devil doesn't like noise.

You are told there are false walls and holes in the floors of some palaces.

Aside from one or two mysterious sentences, the townsfolk are pretty straight forward with their hints. I think people who've never played either automatically lump it in with TLoZ and Simon's Quest.

Unfair random encounters: It doesn't have random encounters. Random encounters are in traditional RPGs, (i.e. Golden Sun, Final Fantasy) where invisible enemies can hit you at any time. These enemies are visible in a similar way that Earthbound/Mother 2 would do later on, and there's only a handful of enemies in the biomes of each area. You could see precisely what was coming after you in caves and dungeons. You can also dodge them by stepping on a road most of the time. You can even back out of a battle if you're low on health.
 
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Joined
May 4, 2014
Location
California
Zelda 2 didn't add anything to later games: That's one I've been hearing lately. That's bull too.

Jumping- It was the first Zelda to add jumping. Not jumping with an item, not hopping off cliffs or over gaps. Just jumping whenever you want.

Transformation: You think Past or Majora was the first to do transformation? Think again bucko! That honor belongs to Zelda 2 with the fairy spell. There was no timed levitation in the air, like with Kid Icarus's Feather, or Faxanadu's wingboots. Nope. His sprite turned into an actual fairy and it didn't stop until the next screen, and like an 8-bit hummingbird, you could move in any cardinal direction. Nifty. That's one I'd like to see brought back.

Sword moves: It was the first Zelda to add sword moves. Sure, you didn't learn learn them, like you did with Twilight Princess, or Windwaker and there were only 2, but the Upward Stab and Downward Thrust, put you on better footing with overhead enemies, and the downward thrust has been brought back in several games. Its also easier to pull off here then it is in Minish Cap. Plus, who doesn't enjoy pogoing off a line of enemies heads? I do.

Towns-BotW was not the first to have multiple towns scattered over large lands. Zelda 2 did. Though I'm pretty sure Breath and the Oracles have more towns, (I haven't finished any of those games yet) Zelda 2 boasted an impressive 8 at the time. And for those of you started gaming in the N64 era and haven't tried this one yet, you may find those town names awfully familiar. Kasuto/New Kasuto, is the only town that has yet to be homaged by name. To my knowledge.

More engaging combat-While the 3D Zeldas are perfect for introducing all kindsa cool techniques and enemies, Zelda 2 started refining it, though it is very simple by today's standards. Blocking high and low, the aforementioned sword techniques, enemies that could only be hurt by certain spells, watching enemies attack and defense patterns.

It was the first to introduce the Magic Meter.

Talking Link: We all know and love Link. You could say he's a man of few words, and while he wasn't particularly chatty in Zelda 2, he did speak a little with actual text. Something we didn't see again till Skyward Sword. (Unless he spoke in the FS games or PH. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)
 
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thePlinko

What’s the character limit on this? Aksnfiskwjfjsk
I agree with almost everything you said. The only points that I will debate you on are:



It deviates from the Zelda formula:

Mmm no. There was no Zelda formula. It was the second game in the series. Get over yourselves.
There was a Zelda formula at the time, LttP didn’t invent it. There was a set method to Zelda 1s design and it’s been used in literally every singleplayer title in the series prior to BotW.

That being said, if anything this is actually in support of Zelda 2. It not only adhered to the formula set in Zelda 1, but I’d argue that it adds even more to it than LttP did.


Its tough in some spots yes, but it is certainly not the hardest NES game ever made. Its pretty fair in most areas.
While it’s certainly not the hardest game on the NES, I certainly wouldn’t call it fair in any regard. Most dungeons, particularly after palace 1, are specifically designed with enemies that are nearly unavoidable due to how they spawn off camera and attack you in spots where you don’t have much of a choice when dodging. It doesn’t help that magic is in incredibly short supply all throughout the game and is required in multiple places, so even if you could heal with magic you probably will never want to unless you just happen to have enough during a boss fight.


It doesn't feel like a Zelda game. Therefore its not a Zelda game:

Hyrule? Check
Dungeons? Check
Ganon? Check
Items? Check
Triforce? Check
Nintendo says so? Check.
Sounds like a Zelda game to me.
While I agree that saying “Zelda 2 doesn’t feel like a Zelda game” is stupid, I’d argue that that specific checklist is a very weak argument as to what counts as a Zelda game. I wouldn’t call Hyrule Warriors a Zelda game, yet it checks off every one of those.


Its stupid because you hafta start at the beginning when you lose all your lives:

A ton of NES games make you start over if you lose all your lives. Even the original Zelda, yet I never hear people whining about those games. Checkpoints and autosaves weren't invented back then people. Plus the NES Zeldas saved your progress and you didn't hafta write down passwords or play it all the way through in one sitting. Nowadays you can even play old NES games with save states.
This right here is the thing I disagree with you the most on.

Here’s the thing: the Zelda formula doesn’t lend itself well to a lives system. The reason it’s ok in SMB is because the entire game is linear to the point where it’s a simple matter of playing the same levels. With Zelda 2, if you lose all of your lives you have to crawl your way through whatever confusing dungeon you were in just to get back to the place you were at. Yes you should be punished for dying, but requiring the player to walk all the way back from the beginning of the game is simply adding insult to injury.

In Zelda 1, when you died you were always sent back to the beginning of the dungeon you were in. Hell, even the original Super Mario Bros at least had a cheat code that let you restart from the world you were in when you got a game over. Zelda 2 doesn’t have anything like that. No matter where you are in the game, if you lose all of your lives you spawned at the beginning of the game, with the only exception being the great palace. They were very clearly able to make this not the case, so the hardware of the time is absolutely not an excuse, nor is the fact that using save states “fixes” it.


Apart from that, yeah I agree that Zelda 2 is far from a bad game. It’s not amazing, I’d still put it on the lower end of the franchise, but it’s still leagues better than the multiplayer games, Twilight Princess, and the Oracle games.





Talking Link: We all know and love Link. You could say he's a man of few words, and while he wasn't particularly chatty in Zelda 2, he did speak a little with actual text. Something we didn't see again till Skyward Sword. (Unless he spoke in the FS games or PH. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)
Technically nearly every game since LttP has also had Link give yes/no responses, with WW actually giving Link almost as many as SS did. In addition to that, WW link actually has 1 or 2 voice lines where he talks. I don’t remember off the top of my head if he had lines in either of the FS games, but he certainly did in PH.
 
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Jimmu

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I am of the belief that Zelda II isn't a really a bad game and they did a relatively good job with the resources and power they were working with at the time.

It is for sure a hard game and while yes there may be more difficult games out there, when you compare it with other Zelda titles it is very unforgiving. Most Zelda fans probably never owned an NES and Zelda & Zelda II may be the only or some of the only few games they have experienced from that era so it makes sense that most fans would be comparing it to their experience with other Zelda games rather than their experience with other NES games.

I think the level of difficulty has been a barrier to enjoyment for many people and that's fine - I never even completed this game until somewhat recently on my switch. The level of difficulty in terms of gameplay and in figuring out where to go feels right for the era in which the game was created where kids had endless hours to sit in-front of the TV. Where they were without internet to quickly find the answers (but rather discussed secrets and strategies in the school playground).

I don't think most people have the attention span or time nowadays to try and brute force their way through sections like in the past so the addition of save states in newer versions is something that makes the game worth a revisit for those who tried it in the past but were frustrated by how unforgiving or difficult they found it to be. I found that using them allowed me to appreciate the other aspects of the game more by choosing my own level of "punishment" for dying rather than having it forced upon me by the standards of the time the game was released.
 
Joined
May 4, 2014
Location
California
As for that, there's been you know cough cough other ways to play old titles for a long time. Not to mention, Nintendo ports their old games over alot. The grinding as mentioned, is pretty fast paced compared to full blown RPGs. Unless the player is deliberately running from most battles, there is no reason they shouldn't be maxed out, with maybe an extra life tacked on by the time they reach the Great Palace.

It has two difficult overworld areas, and the last two dungeons are a pain, but it's mostly pretty fair and a few areas do not a hard game make. Otherwise using that logic, you could argue that SMW is one of the hardest videogames on the SNES because of its special levels alone. Most of the areas and dungeons in Z2 are pretty fair.

Compared to other Zeldas yes, it's probably the most challenging, although I find Zelda 1's second quest more frustrating. But compared to the NES library, it's not even up there. A lot of the misconceptions are blown wildly out of proportion.
 

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