(Review archived from December 5, 2014)
It’s been quite a number of years since I played through this game, but it’s one that I’ve always been fond of. The first point people tend to make about this game is how different it is from the first game (and indeed the entirety of the rest of the Zelda series as well). Most of the game takes place in the form of a sidescroller, with an overhead map you travel across to reach the various major locales in the game. This was also the first game in the Zelda series to introduce some RPG elements, and you may in fact find yourself level grinding from time to time to improve your stats before embarking on a particularly difficult area. And that’s the major element that I had forgotten about this game. It’s balls on difficult at times. Some areas are purely wars of attrition in which it’s not a matter of whether you will take damage, but rather how much damage you will take. In some areas this even affects the overall balance of the game. I would contend that the game has you tackling the Death Mountain cave structure (the one where you fight several of these assholes) way too early in the game. Several of the enemies you face throughout the game will be unbalanced and cheap. But … for all its warts and wrinkles the game is still brilliant. I would say that it certainly hasn’t held up as well over time as the first game, but even after all these years this is still a compelling adventure that manages to spur you onward even through the frustrating moments.