It’s in the Zelda series, and Link is there, and he has an adventure. The end.
You’re off to a running start with Princess Zelda napping in the background. Link must retrieve a piece of the Triforce in order to wake her up, by uniting all pieces of the Triforce. Remember: these games took place a long time ago, a real long time ago, way before Levi Hutchins invented alarm clocks. They had to do some complicated Rube Goldberg Machine stuff in order to wake up, made even more complicated by the fact that Goldberg hadn’t debuted yet.
Hmmmm… Goldberg… Zelda 2 came in a gold cartridge… the opening notes for the music when you enter a village sound like notes from the song “Goldfinger”… the Triforce is golden… the final castle has a golden hue to it… all of the pieces fit Robin! Ganon plans to steal the Triforce from Fort Knox!
Speaking of Bat-Logic
I just want to point out that I cheated a little and used an online strategy guide. In my defense, there is no way that some of these puzzles could have been solved without one, unless there was something in the instruction manual (which I don’t have). Seriously- to get to a vital town you need to hack a forest to bits. Except in this game, the only hackable trees are the ones in that small area surrounding the hidden village, and at no point are you told or even given a hint that you even can hack trees, let alone that particular grouping.
Same goes for a monster sitting in the middle of the road. If this weren’t a carbon copy of waking Snorlax, complete with Pokeflute, I’d have had no idea about what I needed to do. I guess eventually I’d figure it out, by standing there and mashing buttons after obtaining the flute.
As I was reviewing the palace 6 section of the guide, I noticed that it was saying the
knights on horseback you face there are repeats of an earlier boss. I didn’t remember it, but attributed that to the 2 year gap between now and when I last put the game down. Turns out that I didn’t remember it because it was the boss of palace 3, the only boss that I skipped, probably because I wandered into the palace, grabbed the raft, then left thinking I could skip the boss. Or died and was curious about where the raft would take me and forgot all about beating the boss. If you get to palace 7 and the shield refuses to lower, then check how many crystals you have left (the blue circle icon on the start menu, you lose one after beating a palace).
My point is- make sure you get the required item from the palace AND defeat the boss. I don’t know what happens if you skip the item and beat the boss, but having to restart the game is not a risk worth taking.
You are also best served by using the guide to locate vital items like the 4 magic containers and the 4 heart containers. And level all the way up as soon as you can. It helps. You max out at level 8, by the way. Leveling up after that just gives you an extra life. There are also extra lives to be found throughout the overworld, but they can only be grabbed once. Come to think of it… while writing this I just solved a 2 year old mystery. I grabbed one of the extra lives and had no idea I had done so, because it was absolutely useless to me.
Also, be skeptical of any boss strategies the guides give you. For example, the one I used
said that the final battle (spoiler alert: it was against The Enemy Within) could easily be won by standing in a corner. I had no health and no magic left, but I thought it’d be a piece of cake since all I had to do was stand in the corner. The first thing the opponent did was jump up and stab me from above. So much for the guide’s credibility. Plus if you stay crouched in the corner, eventually that boss will just stand in the middle of the screen and do nothing for long periods.
Fortunately for the final palace, which I found rather difficult to get to, unlike with the other palaces once you enter it if you run out of lives you can just select “continue” and you will start out at the entrance to it. Be advised: any of the red magic potions you pickup will still be gone after you lose all your lives and hit “continue”. They only come back if you restart the game. Luckily the fairy stays. Since I found a way to budget lives and magic, you should be able to too. I say this with full confidence in the certainty that I am terrible at video games. Another convenience is that when you beat the first of the two bosses at the final palace it stays dead even if you run out of lives. I know because when The Enemy Within killed me it was my last life. It took the last health of my last life.
Everything mentioned above as such, of course.
The version I played fixed the following issue: on the NES release, the only way to save is to lose all of your lives. On the Game Boy Advance version you just pause the game on the overworld and press up plus either a or b. Or just buy the Famicom Disk version.
I won’t mention the lack of a second quest. I mean, there is one, but unlike the first Zelda game everything this time around is exactly the same as it was before. The only difference is you start with all of the spells and fully levelled up. You will still have to hunt for the 4 magic extenders and 4 life extenders. So aside from that it’s pretty much what happens in Super Mario 64 once you get all the stars- no new quests, but you can play the old ones over again with a fancy skill you didn’t have the first go-around.
I guess I ended up mentioning the lack of a second quest anyway, but I don’t see that as a
problem since the game’s big enough for just one playthrough to feel sufficient (I think, my playthrough took 2 years… technically, 22 years given that I first played the game in the 90s), leading into another nitpicking- the entirety of the map for the first game, that you spend hours wandering through, is scaled down and displayed as a few tiles towards the bottom of Zelda 2’s expansive overworld. Part of me likes the reference, but part of me thinks that sort of trivializes everything from the first game. That adventure seems so small now. No… the adventure is big, it’s the overworld that got small.
But in-universe, in Zelda 2, how did Link so easily work his Peter Pan/Legolas-lovechild-twink self through the Zelda 1 overworld when in Zelda 1 you couldn’t go beyond that area? Hyrulean magic and technology were not up to the task of building a path! Either that or one of the cave shopkeepers or palaces was blocking the route, and Hyrulean officials decided to exercise their eminent domain powers to seize those areas and open them up for public travel.
You might expect me to rip on the change in format from the first and third game (and the Game Boy games) like everyone else does. Battles fought in a sidescroller style, leveling up, stuff like that. Nope. I had no problem with this.
“I had no problem with this.” – Mr. Flagg