Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 18, 2014

email: black sheep

People call Zelda 2 the black sheep because it is.

1. Platforming does not belong in Zelda. That is for Mario to handle.

Multiple levels and bottom-less pits in LTTP? All the platforming in 3d Zelda?

You don’t really platform much in Zelda 2. You mostly do combat. There is not even a run button. You’re even given a jump spell that eliminates all platforming issues.

Platforming = precision jumping. You could be knocked into pits by bubbles or enemies, but there was no precision jumping in Zelda 2.

2. Zelda 2 does not have the Zelda composer (Koji Kondo). Zelda 2 has
the Ice Climbers composer. The music is not very consistent. The dungeon
theme is great, the title theme is great, the overworld music kinda
sucks and the town music … ugh.

You’re on acid. The music is fabulous.

The overhead music sounds great! I love it. Dun dun dun dunnn dun dun… dun dun dun dunnn. Very fun tune.


This sounds like a town should. It was always pleasant to hear this after dodging evil monsters.


3. The items suck. Most of the items you get only serve as special keys
to unlock stuff in the overworld. None of them help you in combat and
none of them have the clever multiple uses that items in other Zelda
games have.

The items didn’t need to do that. That is what the spells were for. And the spells were used ALL THE TIME in combat.


4. The difficulty is out of balance. Here’s how you can tell the
difficulty is correct in a Zelda game. If you play through without
spending much time exploring for secrets, you will be underpowered
toward the end and will die often. If you use a strategy guide and find
all the items (like bottles especially), the game becomes easy. It is a
built-in difficulty selector. Zelda 1 was perfect. Maybe Link to the
Past makes it too easy to turn your character into a tank (4 bottles?
come on). But Zelda 2 is so difficult that the only way the average
player could beat it is to max their stats and save every extra life
until they make a run at the last dungeon. And even then it is not going
to happen until the 5th try at the soonest. Forget it if you don’t know
where the extra lives are, or happened to use them earlier. How can you
dislike Mega Man 1 and love Zelda 2? No way is the Yellow Devil harder
than the Thunderbird/Dark Link combo.

Six year old kids beat Zelda 2 without any guides or maps. Zelda 2 is not that hard.

Who said Yellow Devil was harder than Thunderbird/ Dark Link combo? Thunderbird/ Dark Link combo is the finale of the game. Of course, it should be challenging.

Your ‘incorrect way to play’ applies to every RPG. In every proper RPG, you will have a very hard time unless you get better levels, spells, and items. Zelda 2 was perfect in that you could just grind your experiences to max early on if you wanted the game to be easier. Zelda 2 is really not that hard. You could even turn into a fairy to bypass doors!

5. Random battles suck.

Unlike Dragon Quest, you always see the random battles coming and can DODGE THEM. This was an innovation the JRPG genre sadly never picked up on. I’d say Zelda 2 has the best random battles, due to this, than any JRPG in existence. And there are no random battles in dungeons or roads. Just if you are running around the countryside.

Yes, there are things that should be carried over from Zelda 2 into
every other Zelda game.
1. While I don’t like feeling like the game is so hard I’ve just got no
realistic chance of beating it, I do think dying once in a while makes
the game experience better. You never do in modern Zelda games.

You don’t die in Aonuma Zelda because no one dies to puzzles. Puzzles, instead, get you stuck staring at digital walls. I’d much rather die repeatedly than stare at a digital wall.

2. Yeah, the sword combat is pretty awesome. But how can you do
something like this without a side-scrolling perspective, which breaks
other things like exploration?

Zelda 2 was full of exploration. As for a top down combat, Zelda 1 did this very well. LTTP did well too.

3. This game introduced magic spells. While half of them are pretty
useless, the idea is cool and was really used well in Link to the Past.
You twirl your sword around and then set everything on the screen on
fire! How cool. Too bad it became useless in Ocarina and subsequent
games because there are hardly any enemies to kill.

I hated the spells in LTTP. The ONLY reason why I’d need the 1/2 magic upgrade is for the goddamn ‘light four lanterns in a room for shit to happen’. That and for the fire which ‘lights lanterns from across the room’. I hate that bullshit. It’s the most overused trope in Zelda. I hate those lanterns!

Here are the Zelda 2 spells:


  • Fairy Spell
    When cast, this spell turns Link into a fairy, complete with the power of flight. It is mainly used to bypass certain cliffs and heights the Jump spell can’t remedy.
  • Fire Spell
    This spell causes Link’s sword to throw balls of fire when cast. The fireballs resembles those of an Acheman.
  • Jump Spell
    Link’s jumping height is doubled when this spell is activated.
  • Life Spell
    Some of Link’s life is restored. This spell seems exceptionally useful to most players.
  • Reflect Spell
    The Reflect Spell is used to return certain ranged attacks. It is heavily used throughout the Maze Island Palace and required against the boss Carock.
  • Shield Spell
    All damage Link receives will be cut in half. This spell costs the least amount of magic power.
  • Spell Spell
    This spell is an enigmatic spell primarily used to turn certain enemies to bots.
  • Thunder Spell
    This spell costs the most amount of magic power. It does, however, automatically cause damage equal to a sword strike when it is at level 8, which is the maximum. This spell is also used to defeat Thunderbird.


I use most of these in combat all the time. Life Spell? Oh yeah. Shield Spell. Yep. Jump Spell. You betcha. Fire Spell. There are enemies who can only be killed by fire. Fairy Spell is my ‘get-the-hell-out-of-dodge’ spell (also useful in case I fall into a bottomless pit). Thunder spell was too mana inefficient to use normally. Spell and Reflect were situational obviously.

I thought the spell casting in LTTP was worthless. The medallions were the typical 16-bit bullshit ‘look at the screen do shit’ that was rarely, if ever, used in the game. Magic Powder I used mostly to make fairies. But that isn’t combat. I’d have to say only the wands. LTTP was so ridiculously easy that you never felt outgunned.

“How easy was LTTP?”

LTTP was SO EASY even THIS GUY could beat the game without trying. This is when we have a problem.

4. I don’t think Link should get stuff just for grinding through battles
and gaining experience, but I love the idea of weapon masters teaching
Link new techniques and they are all super useful. Again, this was
duplicated in Twilight Princess but they are useless because there is
never any reason to engage enemies rather than riding your horse past them.

Beep beep, back up the truck! You don’t think Link should get stuff just for killing monsters? That is the rupee system in Zelda 1 and LTTP! What did you do with the rupees? Oh, you bought NEW SWORDS and NEW SHIELDS. *gasp* UPGRADES!

Whether it be rupees or experience points, they did the same exact thing. What I liked about Zelda 2 is that I didn’t have to go to a goddamned shopkeeper to get my upgrade. This is something that even today’s RPGs and MMORPGs are realizing. Zelda 2 was already doing it.

So these elements should be brought back. But I certainly don’t want
another Zelda 2 and seem to never feel like playing that one when I whip
out the old NES games.

Zelda 1 was declared, by Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter, to be the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ (not THAT Best of Both Worlds) of ARCADE GAMING (action based combat) and COMPUTER RPG GAMING (large overworld exploration, talking to NPCs, gaining items, improving yourself). This definition of Zelda fits Zelda 1 and Zelda 2 perfectly. This is why there was no backlash against Zelda 2 when it came out. Zelda 2 sold like wildfire just as Super Mario Brothers 2 did (and SMB 2 was MORE different from SMB 1 than Zelda 2 was from Zelda 1. But you hear no one call SMB 2 the ‘black sheep’ solely because Miyamoto enjoyed developing Doki doki Panic and he didn’t like Zelda 2’s development. I don’t think Miyamoto enjoyed any Zelda’s development ).

We can spin all day nitpicking about the various Zeldas. But the fact is…

A) Every Classic Zelda was recieved VERY WELL and SOLD VERY WELL.

B) There was no backlash to Zelda until Wind Waker (and to a lesser extent, Majora’s Mask but I think fans gave Nintendo a pass after Ocarina).

C) Zelda games used to be met with GREAT HYPE AND EXCITEMENT. This is no longer the case. The last Zelda game to receive huge excitement was Twilight Princess.

I will love to have the quality of ANY CLASSIC ZELDA GAME in a modern Zelda. Any of them! However, someone or something is not interested in quality Zelda. I believe the problem is Aonuma to changing the definition of Zelda from action RPG to Puzzle & Story along with his looney ideas (trains!) has destroyed the brand. If Aonuma and his ideas were truly talented, he would be able to succeed without a famous brand and massive budget (let alone half a decade to make a game!).

You can determine the quality of the Zelda game as if it is helping or hurting the brand. Did Zelda 2 hurt the brand? Like hell it didn’t. It only made Zelda cooler. Same with LTTP, Link’s Adventure, and Ocarina. Majora’s Mask? Ugh. Wind Waker? TERRIBLE! Brand went back up somewhat with Twilight Princess. Then it has been going down the toilet ever since. Phantom Hourglass? Spirit Tracks? Skyward Sword? The crap doesn’t stop.



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