Posted: July 25th, 2006
Last Updated: March 24th, 2007
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Super Mario Bros. 2
I recently started playing this game because a friend was playing it in attempts to beat every Zelda game before the new Zelda game comes out. He got interested in it again after many years of not playing it. I actually did own this game at one point, and got fairly far in it, unfortunately I never did beat it, until the writing of this article.
Most consider this to be the most unique and therefore obscure Zelda game released, but in fact there was other games that Nintendo licensed Phillips to develop and release for their new system at the time called the CD-i. Although most do not know about these games, so they conclude that this is the worst Zelda game released, when in fact the licensed versions were horribly worse. I do agree that this game is definitely odd, and strange considering the first Zelda was so popular. I thought it would be assumed that Nintendo might release a second game similar to the first. This was not the case at all. Nintendo did indeed learn from their mistakes and all other 2D Zelda games have seen their origin and gameplay from the first Zelda game. What they did in this game is oddly similar to the different style they used in the second Super Mario Bros. game, and just like this situation all the other 2D Mario games were made more like the first.
The gameplay of Zelda II is very much like a hybrid of Zelda's gameplay mixed with traditional RPG systems, like leveling, monster encounters, and an overworld view. Some of these systems do seem rushed, or just badly put together. For example: The spell system. Although the spells work more like a traditional role playing game, each spell only works for the duration of a screen. For that reason, it doesn't really work for a sidescroller. Instead the spells should have been time based.
The leveling system is a little odd also. When you gain a level, a level screen pops up telling you that you can choose either attack, life or magic. The only thing is... you can't actually choose what you want. Depending on your level, it is already pre-determined. Supposedly this was changed in the Japan to U.S. conversion. The original Famicon Disk System version you can choose which skill you wanted to upgrade.
On a final note: This game is incredibly hard. The only way I actually found out some things was by chance. Beating this game without looking at a guide is extremely difficult, probably why I never beat it as a kid. If you are smart enough you will begin to see the trends such as: items from palaces will let you get to places you could not go before, all towns have at least one thing to gain from them, there is many hidden locations for hearts and magic containers. Like most Nintendo games at the time, there was also some problems or inconsistencies with translation as seen in this picture. One thing I found rather amusing was the palette they used to color Link. You could easily make an association with the flesh color of his sword, and the position he is holding it (not to mention the silhouettes when dying) to some type of sexual innuendo. I'm sure some of the more perverse readers will know exactly what I am talking about.