“The Adventure of Link” (NES)

The Adventure of Link


Curveball! On my Twitter, I said the next post would be about the SNES Zelda entry, but this post, much like this game for the NES, is exactly just that: a curveball.

Originally released for the NES in 1988 (1987 in Japan), The Adventure of Link was a huge departure from the gameplay style and formula set forth in the original entry. While the original game had a top-down perspective with real-time combat, this game utilized a top-down perspective with real-time combat. So…what’s the actual difference? Well, for one, the top-down perspective of this game wasn’t contained in a single screen. Instead, you could move all about the map with the “camera” following you as you moved, kinda like in Pokémon. And, much like Pokémon, you could encounter random monster battles–although the actual mechanic of encountering said battles was a little different.

It wasn’t just this small change of separating the battle screens from the world exploration screen, however, as the real-time combat in this game took on a side-scrolling aspect. So, instead of using your D-Pad to move up, down, left, or right, you’d use it to move left or right, and Link could now jump. Who does he think he is? Mario? Now, with this change to the gameplay, Zelda 2 felt more like a Metroid or Castlevania kind of game; the combat could be anywhere from simply stabbing the enemy in front of you to having to jump over them and thrust downward with your sword, to even having to attack either high or low to work around their shield. It was this drastic change over the last game that basically made this one a “black sheep” in the whole series. But you can’t really blame Nintendo for doing this, really! Back in the day, when there was only the one Zelda game, they didn’t want to just make another Zelda title with new weapons and dungeons; they wanted to make something fresh, to justify you buying a second Zelda on the NES.

Considering that, after this Zelda entry, they went straight back to their previous “top-down all the time” gameplay, it’s safe to say that Zelda 2‘s style wasn’t received very well. That, in itself, is actually kind of a shame. I’m not saying more Zelda games should’ve been side-scrolling, but I think at least one or two of them could have been. It opened up a whole new dimension to swordplay and gave new depth for traversing dungeons. And this is ignoring what else it added: exp and levels! (But that’s honestly something I could tackle in a whole nother article completely dedicated to just Zelda 2 that wouldn’t be limited to a more strict word count.)

Honestly, if you wanted to sum up Zelda 2 in a small label, it’d be:

          “Action Adventure RPG”

However, if you wanted to call it nicely what it is, it’d be:

          “Something actually different”*

Whatever you wanna call Zelda 2, at least try to refrain from calling it “a bad game” or “the bad Zelda”; While there’s certainly a lot that it did far different from the previous entry, as well as the proceeding ones, The Adventure of Link will always stand out as one of the most difficult–if not the hardest–side scrolling NES games you can ever try to tackle. Probably the hardest “Zelda”, at that!


*Editor’s Note: I mean it’s “actually different” in terms of Zelda’s usual gameplay               (excluding the 3D entries)

A quick look at the 2nd NES Zelda entry.
Nintendo Fever


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Author: Arthur6413 View all posts by
Hey, y'all. I'm just here making little articles about various topics! :D I hope y'all enjoy reading what all I post, and I appreciate you for having me. I'm on Twitter, and I'm super into: Nintendo, Pokemon, and Yugioh! I'm dating the most absolutely gorgeous girl on the planet!