Saturday, February 20, 2016

Zelda II: Adventure of Link, Part 2 - Hammer to Fall

Holy Crusader Link sets sail for more palaces. I'm surprised Nintendo allowed a religious symbol into these games considering they're the same company that censored "Holy" to be "White" and "Pearl" in some of the Final Fantasy titles.

Death Mountain is a perilous maze, one that quite literally requires you to draw a map and undergo trial and error. ...if you're playing this in 1989, that is. Nowadays we have the internet.

A number of Mario mechanics show up in this game. Besides Hammer Bros, we also have flying fish that leap at you from under a bridge. Here things are malevolent and scary instead of cute, though, as Nintendo courted the proto Dark Souls fanbase.

These axe-throwing moblin guys are a huge pain to fight. I've noticed that enemies are color-coded based on their strength, with red-tinted versions of enemies stronger than the normal varieties. There are also blue-tinted versions that are even stronger than that, but they're rare.

Man, Death Mountain WILL NOT END

...oh, there's the end. After braving lava, hellish caverns, and nasty axe-wielding foes, our hero gets the treasure of the mountain: The Hammer. This lets you break boulders on the overworld, resulting in shortcuts.

It's also useful for burying midcarders.

There's an odd graveyard at the end of Death Mountain. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose. Someone should write a Creepypasta about this.

Speaking of creepy, here Link discovers a small voodoo doll of himself in the middle of a wasteland.


The next town is along the coast from Death Mountain, and since I have the hammer I can completely skip the mountain now when traveling through.

Error ain't saying shit! He is Error, and he's sticking to it!

The church here looks like something out of a lawless border town. I half expect a shootout with desperados to break out at any moment over who gets to run their vicodin stand here.

Using the Jump spell to get into the church results in Link learning a new attack. This may well be the best attack in the game, allowing him to stomp enemies Mario-style. Given how difficult it is to attack from the front a lot of the time, this is a HUGE game-changer.


::high-pitched yelling is heard::

::Wilhelm scream::

In the same town, this guy teaches our hero the Fairy spell, which enables him to sprout wings and fly temporarily.


I finally reach the second palace. The remaining palaces are all in more or less rapid succession, but there's a ton of gameplay between the first and second palaces. Unfortunately I had to do this palace twice because Nintendo Power has a glaring error in the map. There's an unmarked key room; from the final room (bottom corner) it's two to the left and one up, the room shaped like a sideways L. I got to the end and found myself one key short even though I'd grabbed everything, and it was only through process of elimination that I figured out where the last key probably was. Unfortunately one of the final rooms is one-way, so I had to die and repeat the dungeon.

Another source of aggravation is this room with falling blocks. They're hard to avoid, do a ton of damage, and can't be destroyed (yet).

Stay back and wait for an opening to run through, and this happens before long. Ehhhh.

Link acquires the Power Glove at this point. It lets him break blocks with his attacks, making it easier to get back through the falling block room.


There are ceiling traps here that spawn infinite blue slimes; one could leave the game running here with a turbo controller and rack up EXP. It's safer than the bird trick earlier, but it has far less of a return. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20% the exp gain rate of the birds, which was already very slow. All in all, not worth exploiting when you can gain EXP drastically quicker by just playing. I could see someone leaving the game on at this point while they're asleep and need 8000 EXP to level, but that's about it.

Here's the key I missed the first time. Thanks, Nintendo Power. YOU HAD. ONE. JOB.

It's okay though, I still love The Power.

The next boss is Helmethead, another tall guy whose weak point is the head. Yep. The good news is that I just acquired the Downstab, which means Link can essentially pogo off this guy for an easy win. With the L7 sword it took all of three hits.

Note: The sword damage calculation in this game has a snowball effect as you level your attack power; leveling from L1 to L2 is an increase of 50%, L2 to L3 is an increase of 33%, and from then on it just increases by more every time. By L7 you're doing eight times the damage you started with and by L8 it's more like twelve times.

Finishing the dungeon got me an auto level-up, and I made sure I was in the right bracket to get 8000 points out of the deal. Attack is now MAXED.

Weird thing is that it still shows as something you can level up (the level-up screen has "L9 Attack - 9000" from here on out), but you can't. If you try to level it up, those points simply disappear into a void with no attack power increase. Not even a symbolic "9", it stays at 8.

Link trudges through the graveyard as flying eyeballs give chase. This is morbid...but atmospheric.

The Fairy spell has its first (and possibly only) use as I need it to reach the next area. Using it turns Link into the daintiest of Forest Fairies as he skips to and fro.

Still, Link can't possibly compare to the dandiest lad of all, Tingle.

Tingle is a kind-hearted soul to his friends. But what most don't know is that beneath the devil-may-care facade lurks a dark side.

I'm just saying... Watch Tingle.

And watch him close, ya hear me?

The third palace is on an island. It's the aptly-named...

...Island Palace. If this were a future Zelda game, this would probably be the requisite water level.

Some of the most annoying rooms in the game are found here, as you have to hack your way through blocks while being attacked by infinitely-spawning, projectile-firing monsters that you can't even reach half the time.

Then again, you could also just assume imp form and soar over all of this madness.

After a fairly mundane and tedious dungeon, we find Boss #3. Ironknuckle speeds back and forth on horseback without warning, giving this fight a much more intense feel than most of the plodding boss fights of this era. Stomp on his head a few times and he dismounts; from there he's pretty much a normal knight enemy with a shield.

Victory in that dungeon gets you the Raft, which is another item with extremely limited usage. Here, you use it to reach the other continent.

The enemies are getting interesting now, and most of them can only be damaged a certain portion of the time when they lower their defenses.

Another spell is acquired here: Fire. This is a projectile attack that doesn't have a whole lot of use. It uses up a ton of magic points and I doubt it does as much damage as the sword does already at this point. I've never used it. If it were a 10 MP spell, then it'd be worthwhile as a projectile.

Maze Island is the next area. It looks like it could be Death Mountain all over again, but that isn't the case. While it has some tricky fight sections as well, this area is much easier to figure out in one shot.

Midway through Maze Island, Link finds a small child. Putting aside his apparent similarities to Toad, our hero escorts young Damien back to town.

Bringing him back to his adoptive parents results in Link being given the Reflect spell, which is required for defeating the next boss. Good thing I did this even though it appeared to just be a sidequest on the surface.

 Don't ever run for public office, Damien! Cool? Cool.

After carefully avoiding the pack of large rottweilers patrolling the yard around Damien's house, Link uses the Jump spell to cross some rooftops and enter a chimney Mario-style.

...this is the ONLY time in the game where you can enter a chimney that I know of, and the only time where jumping across a series of rooftops has any point. Good thing the reward for it is basically optional:

...the up-stab. It's like the down-stab, except...not very useful. Occasionally it's good for getting an enemy as it descends, but it's hard to line up and simply not as good of an addition to Link's repertoire.

At the very least, it looks funny.

WATCH OUT LINK! That bird is going right for your neussen!

Back to Maze Island, the fourth palace is found at the end of a long trek. The treasure here is the Boots, which lets you walk on water. That makes it a snap to get back to the palace if you need to, as seen here.

It's crucial to get the Reflect spell before doing most of this dungeon, though one can bop in to get the Boots earlier.

At this point I discovered a neat trick with Red Potions. These restore your MP fully, and are rarely dropped by enemies. You can also get them by attacking statues outside palaces...sometimes. Other times it turns into a monster, but you can reset the statue and try again by simply leaving the screen and re-entering.

In any case, the neat trick is that Red Potions don't actually max out your current MP by reading what you have and giving you what you're missing. In fact, they give you MP equal to the max MP you can have, so that no matter what, your MP will max out. Since the MP-restoration process happens over several seconds as the meter fills up, this means you can cast spells while it's happening and your MP will continue to fill up. One can easily cast one or two heal spells while the Red Potion effect is going through and still end up with most of their MP restored. That's waaaay better than simply taking the potion and then casting the spells (which puts you back at low mana).

In short, when you grab a red potion, switch to the menu and drop a heal or two while your MP meter is still in transit, and they're essentially free heals.

Slightly out of order shot here since I picked it up a little earlier, but here are the Boots. To the left is a Blue Knight, one of the most difficult enemies in the game. They block all of your attacks with their shield while throwing projectile-swords at you. They're practically minibosses, so much so that Ironknuckle's second form was just one of these guys.

Carock is the boss here, and I think he's supposed to be the Agahnim of the game. He teleports around at a frenetic pace and rapid-fires ground-based magic waves at Link. This is by FAR the most difficult fight yet. I don't think the sword even works on him, as you damage him by reflecting his magic spells. The Reflect spell empowers your shield, allowing you to bounce these spells off of it by ducking. Still, the warp speed that Carock moves at makes this fight seem virtually impossible.

Luckily, there's a trick to it, like most things in this game...

...just crouch in the left corner. Yep. Carock can warp to it and damage you, but this doesn't happen often. His rampant projectiles will mostly just plink off of you here, and there are so many of them that he'll sustain tons of hits from his own magic.

Now that that nightmare is over, the fourth palace is in the can. This game really starts flying by after the second palace, like I mentioned before. I don't remember how many palaces are left, but it's safe to say that with my advanced levels and the gimmicky areas out of the way, the worst of the game is behind me now.

Nintendo Power alludes to three more palaces, so we'll see. Next time on Adventure of Link, I hopefully put this game to bed.



    The water dungeon in LttP was good, at least.

    I'm a fan of figuring out free heals too.

    The adventure goes on!

  2. The Zelda 2 Japanese box art is not bad, but I'd say the American All Gold Everything is better. Also, putting the cross on a shield like a crusader is more west-friendly than other uses like fighting in a church.

    This Death Mountain looks a bit like the Cave of Rhone.

    Though other Zelda games didn't follow the style of Zelda 2, other games sure did, so you can say it's influential.

    Ooh, the graveyard is interesting.

    The town and overworld environments really give me a feeling of desolation for some reason, probably whatever green there is being light rather than dark in hue.

    You're right, with the sword being so short the downstab seems like an obvious choice for signature move. Your stabby stabby GIFs were fun too.

    Hard to believe NP gave you a bad map! I bet the guy who did it still feels grief about it sometimes.

    The Power Glove! Play with power, yeahh!

    Do you ever feel you didn't use the fairy spell enough getting through these dungeons?

    Picking up children and holding them over your head: a fun Zelda tradition since the beginning!

    Discovering the upstab on your own must have been so awesome back in the day.

    This red potion trick is awesome!

    Nice job figuring out how to outsmart this boss.

  3. Actually that odd graveyard at the end of Death Mountain does have a purpose. In fact, everything below Spectacle Rock is supposed to be the entire world map from the first Zelda game. I did write an article on this little Easter Egg that should prove interesting.

    Great game review!