3DS Virtual Console Forum

Topic: Reflections on beating Zelda II for the first time

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Philip_J_Reed

1. Posted:

Why not? I did it for Metroid here: http://www.nintendolife.com/forums/3dsvc/reflections_on_beati...

So...

Zelda II and I definitely had a love-hate relationship when I was a kid. I loved the original Zelda so much...but I didn't own it. When the sequel came out, I figured, hey, why not pester my parents for that instead? It seemed like the safer bet.

Then I got it for Christmas. And...I hated it.

I played it. ALL THE TIME. I played that game constantly, so much so that I remember every room of the first couple of palaces, every line of dialogue from the first couple of towns, and where to find the first couple of hidden items.

Notice anything about that sentence, though? Yeah...I never got very far. I played it a lot, but never got all that good at it, and so I missed nearly all of the game. I think the hammer was the furthest I ever got. Something after that must have frustrated me, because to this day I can remember how to get through the cave maze that leads to the hammer, but everything else is really hazy.

I've written about my disappointment with Zelda II before, mainly here:
http://www.noisetosignal.org/2008/08/legends-of-zelda-the-adv...

...but I'm sure I've also griped on and on about it on these forums as well. I distinctly remember telling Weird Adam he was UTTERLY WRONG for liking it so much. Not in so many words of course...

So like Metroid, this was a game I had spent a good deal of time with as a kid, but I could never get it to click. Also like Metroid, it was given to me free by Nintendo for being a 3DS early adopter. So I figured I'd give it a spin.

And, again, like Metroid, I was completely wrong in my original appraisal.

I loved this game. Nearly none of my original complaints were valid anymore, but at least one of those is due to the specific port. I'll get to that in a moment.

I remember being irritated by how oblique the game was. The hints were vague and often useless. Some woman in town says I need to bring her a trophy, or some medicine. Where do I find this crap? As a kid, this frustrated me. As an adult, I'm smart enough to just explore whatever small number of caves has been opened to me recently; logically, it'd have to be in one of those. (I was not a very smart kid, I guess.) The game doesn't give you much direction, but it does such a good job of unfolding in small chunks that the area you need to search is never as large as it seems. That was deliberate, and such a good choice.

Another complaint I had was the leveling. I didn't like fighting blobs for a measly few experience points each. And here's the kicker...when I got the Wind Waker pre-order disc, it had Zelda II on it, so I tried to revisit the game with fresh, adult eyes...and this is what turned me off. I hated grinding. I think I made it through the fourth palace and then couldn't do the fifth, so I grinded like a b**tard. I got to within a few points of the next level, did something stupid, died, and lost every point.

LOST. EVERY. POINT.

I shut it off in irritation and figured I'd go back to it again at some point, and never did. That was it. I had tried to experience the game anew and give it another chance, and the game decided it would rather be a jerk.

Well, this time around, the grinding didn't bother me at all. That's in part because I leveled up more smartly, I think...with the exception of a few hundred points here and there (a brief few minutes of grinding) I didn't need to do it at all. I felt prepared for everything but the final palace, but by that point my stats were maxed anyway so there was nothing I could really do.

It's also, however, due to this port. Zelda II is now portable, which means I can play for a few minutes on the bus during my commute (perfect for a level up), and also suspend my game rather than shut it down. Shutting it down between levels erases your experience points...but suspending the game does not. And that made a world of difference.

I don't really know why this game never clicked with me before, but I had a blast this time around. The controls are tight, the game design almost perfect, and apart from some irritating quirks (like having to stand on a precise overworld tile for the flute to open one of the palaces...why?) I thought it was brilliant. In fact, I think it just beat out a few other Zelda games on my all-time-favorites list, which says a lot.

This wasn't the kind of world-changing perspective that finally beating Metroid offered me, but it was a long-delayed redemption for a game that never deserved the venom I heaped upon it. Most of my issues with Zelda II were really my own issues. The game itself was one hell of an experience, and I'm already excited for the New Game+. It won't make the final palace any easier, but that's okay. We all need some punishment once in a while.

And maybe I knew that as a kid.

Why else would I have logged hundreds of hours with a game I could barely make progress in?

Perhaps that's what frustrated me most of all. Even though I hated the game as a kid — hated it for not being the Zelda game I really wanted for Christmas — I couldn't keep myself away. I knew there was something there.

It just took me 20 years to find it.

NL Forum Moderator / Part-Time Reviewer / One-Track Lover
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Adam

2. Posted:

Congratulations, you are now a man.

The leveling is not so bad in the original version. One thing I like to do that makes it easier: You know how when you beat a temple boss you get your exp maxed out to the nearest level up? If you are trying to max out one stat (early on, Attack is best), just constantly level up that one and when you get to the boss make sure you're just barely over the next lowest stat so that you get a ton of free exp. On my 3DS VC copy, I am now at Attack 4, Magic 1, Life 1 and I just beat the first boss. The rest of the early game should be smooth sailing.

Hard games like this are really rewarding to finish. I first beat it maybe eight years ago after playing the heck out of it as a kid (but like you never getting far), and when I got to the final boss (well, what I thought was the final boss... forgot about the second boss), I called people and told them to come over and watch. And to my surprise, at least one person did. It was a big deal. As much as I look forward to Skyward Sword, I really don't expect anything like that moment to ever repeat itself in a Zelda game. Not a chance.

Edited on by Adam

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theblackdragon

3. Posted:

Adam wrote:

Congratulations, you are now a man.

Adam's sig wrote:

All men must die.

I think he's trying to tell you something, Phil... D:

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Aviator

4. Posted:

Adam wrote:

Congratulations, you are now a rooster.

In a way exhausting
we're problem solving
Drink 'til she's attractive
We're PARTYNAUSEOUS
Talking 'bout diplomatic
I brought my plastic
Making that peace attractive
We're PARTYNAUSEOUS
PSN: naviator_9

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Adam

5. Posted:

It's Zelda II. He already knows all men must die.

Plus, you forget, TBD, we are a team:

Untitled

Edited on by Adam

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Philip_J_Reed

6. Posted:

Adam wrote:

Hard games like this are really rewarding to finish. I first beat it maybe eight years ago after playing the heck out of it as a kid (but like you never getting far), and when I got to the final boss (well, what I thought was the final boss... forgot about the second boss), I called people and told them to come over and watch. And to my surprise, at least one person did. It was a big deal. As much as I look forward to Skyward Sword, I really don't expect anything like that moment to ever repeat itself in a Zelda game. Not a chance.

That was beautiful.

NL Forum Moderator / Part-Time Reviewer / One-Track Lover
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Adam

7. Posted:

I... I wrote it for you.

Edited on by Adam

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FloY

8. Posted:

i love this game as well.
i havnt beat it though...the last boss kills me too much ..

Edited on by FloY

FloY

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SuperToad

9. Posted:

I can beat this game on command. Anyone who can't even get past the first palace is doing it wrong.

SuperToad

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Tasuki

10. Posted:

Congratulations CB.

I have tried many a times to get into Zelda 2. Like you I got it for a present (cant remember if it was for a birthday or Christmas) and I remember how annoying it was. The vague clues the grinding and of course some of the enemies like Iron Knuckle (Ohhh how I still curse you to this day).

I have the Zelda Collection disc on GC and several times I have tried it again and again only to get annoyed by the leveling up and the fact that it goes to zero if you get a game over. The last time I played which was a few months ago I got lossed in the maze on the way to find the hammer. Maybe I will give it a try in a few months.

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sykotek

11. Posted:

Did you really beat it? ...or did you cheat and hide in the corner?

I admit, I cheated. F*CK YOU Dark Link!! F*CK YOU for making me cheat!!

What is the meaning of life? That's so easy, the answer is TETRIS.

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Vellosira

12. Posted:

SuperToad wrote:

I can beat this game on command. Anyone who can't even get past the first palace is doing it wrong.

don't get butthurt if u get memed on

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grumblebuzzz

13. Posted:

After the terribly grueling trip up to the final palace, the traps and hell spawn of maneuvering the palace itself and then the abhorrently punishing battle with Thunderbird, I think you have every right in the world to crouch in the corner like a scared little girl and stab Dark Link repeatedly. If your life meter isn't beeping by then, you're one hell of a player.

Edited on by grumblebuzzz

When I close my eyes, I see pixilated blood.

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SuperToad

14. Posted:

Yeah, I have no beef with anyone who did it after getting that far. Thunderbird was a harder fight anyway. You can have full magic against Shadow Link if you still have a life to spare after Thunderbird, while against Thunderbird you need to use Thunder and that costs a lot.

Edited on by SuperToad

SuperToad

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grumblebuzzz

15. Posted:

@Chicken_Brutus Your description of Zelda II is exactly the same as my experience with the game, although I finally beat it when it came out on Wii's VC. Like you, it took me roughly twenty years to both complete the game and also to understand why I both loved and hated it so much as a kid. It now rests among some of my all time favorites too. I danced and called people and posted pictures of the screen all over the internet when I finally saw the end of that game. It was kind of one of my defining moments as a gamer.

Edited on by grumblebuzzz

When I close my eyes, I see pixilated blood.

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SuperToad

16. Posted:

I wonder what game he will make a monument of next. :p

SuperToad

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Geonjaha

17. Posted:

No one wants a game that you have to play for hundreds of hours, experiencing more and more misery until your brain just snaps and starts to tell you "Oh - its actually fun" just to save you the pain. You lovers of the game love it now because you know everything about it, and can beat it easily because of all that experience, but that hardly defines a good game. Any game that people can only see as enjoyable once they know every secret deserves no praise. There are always some people that will like a game - especially those that are masters at it, but dont let your experience blind you to the games obvious failure.

Edited on by Geonjaha

I make Pixel Art on occasion.

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SuperToad

18. Posted:

Obvious failure? It was received positively in its heyday. It was my favorite game before I knew 'everything about it' and I was four. Even my older brother liked the game. There are plenty of good NES games that are harder than Zelda II.

SuperToad

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Reggie4Life

19. Posted:

@Geonjaha
CB's article made me cry, not kidding.

Edited on by theblackdragon

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Adam

20. Posted:

Geonjaha wrote:

No one wants a game that you have to play for hundreds of hours, experiencing more and more misery until your brain just snaps and starts to tell you "Oh - its actually fun" just to save you the pain. You lovers of the game love it now because you know everything about it, and can beat it easily because of all that experience, but that hardly defines a good game. Any game that people can only see as enjoyable once they know every secret deserves no praise. There are always some people that will like a game - especially those that are masters at it, but dont let your experience blind you to the games obvious failure. ;)

It didn't take me hundreds of hours, and it was never misery. Every game gets easier with experience. Any game you love is a good game. I just don't get this at all.

Edited on by Adam

Come on, friends,
To the bear arcades again.