Zelda Art
Image: Nintendo / Katsuya Terada

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is beloved by many – so much so that it's often mentioned whenever 'Zelda remakes' are discussed – but only the most diehard fan would try to argue that it doesn't have its fair share of problems.

There's a lot of (sometimes tedious) side-scrolling combat and the difficulty level has come under particular criticism over the decades. If you're one of those people who, despite trying hard, has never really bonded with Link's second NES quest, then you might be interested to learn that indie developer Ok Impala! has created an unofficial ROM hack that alters the game to make it more enjoyable.

Zelda II - Amida's Curse is the result of 18 months of effort, and aims to "focus on the fun aspects of Zelda II and leave out the frustrating design choices". In Amida's Curse, exploration is much more important than combat, and there's an entirely new world to explore with a host of towns and temples. As well as boasting improved visuals, Amida's Curse also showcases a new soundtrack composed by Bentglasstube.

Here's the synopsis:

One day, Link finds a portal to a strange land. Curious, he starts exploring the magical world of Amida. Little does he know, that he’s on a brand new adventure that will take him to places he couldn’t have imagined. Amida has a deep emotional link to our hero. Can Link unravel the secrets of Amida and return to his own world?

Zelda II – Amida’s Curse is a brand new Zelda II adventure. The game has been rebuilt from the ground up, with a new world, new graphics and an original soundtrack by bentglasstube. The focus of Amida’s Curse lies in exploration above combat. Gameplay has been altered to make this, above all, a fun gaming experience. So, difficulty is lower than the original Zelda II, there are no cheap deaths and grinding isn’t necessary.

- 9 new temples to explore (vs 7 in vanilla Zelda II)
- 11 new towns to visit (vs 8 in vanilla Zelda II)
- New soundtrack
- Brand new overworld
- New story
- New graphics
- Animated tiles on the overworld
- Balanced difficulty, no cheap deaths
- No random encounters on the overworld
- Loads of gameplay tweaks (building on Zelda II Redux)
- Lives you find are permanent
- No grinding necessary
- Enemy rebalancing, no more huge HP pools
- Press A as a Fairy to instantly return to your normal form
- Temple stones give fixed EXP
- Fairy can’t fly through doors
- Save anywhere by pressing up and A on the start menu. Be aware though, that you’ll be warped back to the starting point of the game. So, only use this option when you want to stop playing
- And so much more…

Zelda II - Amida's Curse is playable via emulation, but it also works perfectly fine on original hardware if you have access to a flash cart, like an Everdrive.

[source romhacking.net]