Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Zelda II - Adventure of Link, The - NES - USA.jpg

NES - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Nintendo
Publisher Nintendo
Published 1987-01-14
Platforms Famicom Disk System, NES
Genres Action, Adventure, Exploration, Metroidvania
Themes Adventure, Fantasy
Series The Legend of Zelda
Distribution Commercial

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is an action adventure role-playing game developed and published by Nintendo and released on the Famicom Disk System on 1987-01-14, then ported to the NES for release in other countries. It is the second game in the Zelda series.

In the game's story, even though Ganon has been defeated, his evil monsters live on, and are seeking out Link to mix his blood with Ganon's ashes in order to resurrect him. Also, another Princess Zelda has been cursed into a deep sleep from which she cannot awake. Link must seek the third Triforce, the Triforce of Courage to wake the princess which means defeating the guardians of six palaces to place a crystal in a shrine in each one, then, defeating the final guardian to prove himself worthy.


Own?Yes. Original gold cart, a 3-screw gold cart, and a Classic Series box.

Being such a huge fan of the original game, I rented this game from a movie rental place around 1990. My brother, who had already played the game at a friend's house, warned me saying the game was terrible, but I refused to believe him. I had seen the game described in Nintendo Power and The Official Nintendo Player's Guide, and it looked so cool. Sadly, my brother was right, and even with a fairly descriptive walk-through of the first part of the game, I didn't get very far before having to return the game. After toying with the game for many years, I began to realize that it was actually a decent game for the NES era, it just got a bad wrap from being compared to the original masterpiece. So, I tried play the game seriously, and made it all the way to the final palace, before eventually becoming sick of the game getting so difficult, and I never finished it.

I would love for Nintendo to remake this game like how they remade Metroid with Metroid: Zero Mission. If it was polished with a graphics upgrade, new translation, bug fixes, and an internal mapping system, I would probably give it another try.

I have not beaten the game, but I have reached the Great Palace.


Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
6 5 4 6 5

Best Version: NES

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • Despite what people say, I actually enjoy the side-view platform elements of the game. I like the jumping, ducking, sword swinging, and shield use of combat.
  • Link looks pretty great in his larger sprite, and so do a lot of the other monsters.
  • Adding experience and levels was a nice addition. By allowing players to grind to become more powerful, the designers made the game more accessible to weaker players (or, at least, attempted to do so).
  • It's nice to see towns throughout Hyrule. The original was almost completely devoid of citizens, so it just felt more like a monster land than a kingdom.
  • Stalfos, Molblin, Goriya, Octoroks, etc. were all well-converted to their side-view look.
  • Some of the boss guardians are pretty impressive.
  • I like how you are taught new forms of attack like the up-thrust and down-thrust.
  • I appreciate the addition of magic and spell points in the game.
  • The game's music is quite nice and hummable. Akito Nakatsuka did a good job of building on Koji Kondo's music from the first game.
  • I like how the overworld has many hidden areas with simple rewards.
  • The game came with a very detailed and well-produced manual.
  • The new game plus feature is nice for completionists who want to max out their character.
  • It's nice that Nintendo continued the tradition of a gold cartridge.


  • The background story is a bit of a mess, not just because it makes little sense, but because of internal contradictions.
  • The overworld graphics are awfully blocky.
  • Lives and 1-ups aren't a good mechanic in an action RPG, and they certainly don't fit the game's theme.
  • The level 8 cap on each stat keeps players a bit too weak to ever make the game easy. If they let players keep leveling, it would have made the game more accessible to inexperienced players, while still allowing die-hard fans to speedrun.
  • I don't like the decrease in usable items, or how several of the new items aren't usable, but rather lock-and-key form: Trophy, Hammer, Raft, Flute, Boots, Cross, etc.
  • The game has a fair amount of glitches, most obvious the Fairy spell, that should have been resolved before the game was released.
  • I don't understand why a lot of the enemies which have obvious analogues to the original game were renamed. The bat Vire and Keese are now called Acheman and Ache, the slimes Zol and Gel are renamed Bit and Bot, Darknuts are called Iron Knuckles, Moldorms are called Geldarm, etc.
  • The dialogue translation has several problems which cause the story to be fairly difficult to follow at times. "I am error," for example.
  • The P-Bags are pretty fourth-wall-breaking. I'm okay with treasure counting as experience, but this form is a bit childish.
  • It's a minor issue, but I don't like how palaces collapse after you finish them. I prefer being allowed to return like in the first game.
  • They should have recorded a new laugh for Ganon rather than recycling the Punch-Out!! laugh.


  • I find the game to be too difficult, especially in later palaces. This makes it inaccessible to its target audience. The final boss trick resulting in Shadow Link is especially insidious.
  • I don't approve of death by falling in games where players have lots of hit points, especially if the character is difficult to control when taking hits (think Castlevania or Ninja Gaiden). I'm fine with pits in Mario games because you never really get that powerful, and the levels are fairly short, but it's such a let-down for your fully equipped character with tons of hit points to get be completely killed because of a single late reaction to a weak monster near a pit.
  • The long areas where Link is expected to simply dodge enemy fire are both annoying and unrewarding. The bridges with bubbles is bad, but the path to the Great Palace where Gerus pelt you with rocks over and over again is just obnoxious.


Box Art






Review - NES Works.
Review - What's So Great About Gaming?
Review - Metroidvania Works.
Review - Angry Video Game Nerd.
Boundary Break.
Regional Break.
Regional differences.

Play Online

Famicom Disk System


Strong female character?FailThere are multiple women, but they are pointless NPCs.
Bechdel test?FailThe women never talk to each other.
Strong person of color character?FailThe Hylians don't really have a state race, but they look mostly white.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


Zelda II has credits, but they leave out some people and are mostly aliases. Thankfully, dedicated fans have determined the majority of their real names.

Roles Staff
Executive Producer Hiroshi Yamauchi, Satoru Iwata
Producer Shigeru Miyamoto
Directors Tadashi Sugiyama, Yasuhisa Yamamura
Designer Kazunobu Shimizu
Programmers Kazuaki Morita, Tatsuo Nishiyama, Shigehiro Kasamatsu, Yasunari Nishida, Toshihiko Nakago
Music, Sound Effects Akito Nakatsuka


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Japanese ゼルダの伝説パート2 リンクの冒険 Zeruda no Densetsu, Pato Tsu: Rinku no Boken Legend of Zelda, Part 2: Link's Adventure


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