Posted on September 9, 2011
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)
This next entry deals with a “black sheep” of sorts, even though it’s a tremendously awesome game in its own right.
Before I was even born, our next-door neighbors were very close friends with my family. Two years after I came around, the couple welcomed a daughter. As time went by, the daughter and I became friends as well, joined at the hip (although, not literally – can you imagine???). The plan was that we would eventually get married and have babies and live together forever – we had plenty of pretend kids by the time I was 7.
In any case, her father was into computers, trains and ocean liners of all things. He also owned an NES with very few games, but one of them happened to be a shiny gold cartridge. Intrigued, I pressed for more information on it… was it similar to The Legend of Zelda? It was gold, sure, but it said “LINK” in blue (not “ZELDA” red) on the front of it, so I couldn’t quite tell what it was.
As it turned out, it was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link… Wait… I wasn’t playing *as* Zelda in the first game? Of course, my reading skills weren’t quite at 100% at that point, and my only concern was playing through the game. The story wasn’t that important to me, so I would never wait for it to scroll up after the title screen.
I was struck by how different the game felt from the first one. The simple change from the overhead perspective to the side-scrolling portions blew my mind. Not only that, but Link looked like a grown man! He was so short and stubby in the first one, and he was given the gift of limbs for the sequel. Fantastic! Every dungeon from the first game had a different colour, but this game’s palaces had different colours AND differently shaped bricks. I thought, perhaps just a wee bit too much, that that was AWESOME. The dungeons also felt somewhat similar to those in Super Mario Bros., which definitely didn’t go unnoticed.
I know levelling up is a standard procedure now, but being introduced to it with Link had me somewhat confused. I just killed a bad guy! Awesome, now onto – OK, what’s with this screen? Yeah, OK, whatever. Start. Let’s keep going. Perhaps my friend’s dad had explained the concept to me, but again, I was probably just too busy with the game itself to listen to what he had to say.
When I’d be done playing the game, I’d go back to playing with Barbies with the little girl, or whatever her random thing of the week was…
Fast forward a few years, and they would be set to make a move closer to the city. Though we were both just past ten years old, it was tough on us kids, never having known any other neighbors, or knowing how often we’d see each other in the future. Her father gave me two parting gifts, however. One was a very old book about the Empress of Ireland, an ocean liner that sank with great loss of life in the Saint Lawrence River – his love for boats such as that one was passed onto me, and that vivid interest exists to this day.
The other was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, with the box it came in and the instruction manual to go along with it. Of the hundreds of cartridge-based games I own, that is the only one I have with the case intact. Needless to say, it’s a valued possession.
When her father suddenly passed away recently, it was remarkable how hard it hit me. It wasn’t just the silly game, or even how he had been the first to show me what the Titanic was. It was yet another reminder that life, though each passing day seems so slow, actually goes by a hell of a lot quicker than you really want it to.
Time. Heh. The Zelda series knows a few things about that, too.
Even though I cheat through some titles, just to make it easier to complete the game and record the clips I need, there was no such luxury with Zelda II.
At the title screen, the game’s title just sits there for about… ohh, what feels like two minutes before the story scroll begins. A bit too long for my movie’s purposes. I had to cut a chunk of that minute or two out of the video, but then of course, the music would be cut out too, making it all weird. I had some help with that, however!
This is a rare import from Japan I’m glad to say I own! It helped bridge that title-screen-to-story-scroll music gap quite nicely, as I muted the audio from the video clips, and just let the music play.
I also had to include the introduction to each boss fight and Link’s journey through certain towns. Otherwise, this would have been a fairly short movie. Also, how could I *not* include Link’s interaction with a man named Error??
Here’s the story of Link as he travels through Hyrule on a quest to break the curse holding Princess Zelda prisoner… in her own slumber. DUN-DUN-DUNNNN!!!