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A Different Kind Of Zelda
Zelda II's battle system is very different from the original. There are few tools you can use to aid you in battle this time, but they have been replaced by the ability to jump, use magic, and use special sword techniques. Magic is very limited, but it still manages to be useful later in the game as it can greatly increase the amount of damage you can do or create magic armor to protect you from harm. The special upwards and downwards sword strikes can help to hit enemies high in the air or enemies that crawl on the ground and are difficult to hit otherwise. Link even gains exp and you can increase your statistics in attack, hp, and magic to help you in your quest. The battle system may be different, but it's still quite good, even better than the original. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it keeps things fairly exciting and allows for some interesting bosses.
As far as I know, there is know way to save without killing yourself several times first. This makes it very difficult to stock items such as 1ups as the game is a bit too long to play in one sitting. You are given several lives, but thanks to pits that kill you instantly and some very powerful bosses later on, you still have a good chance of dying. While it's a rather large step up in difficulty over the first, it only ends up being moderate overall. It takes some getting used to, but once you do it gets a lot easier.
Zelda II's interaction is a little bit off. Some of the dialog in some points sounds very strange and it can be difficult to control Link sometimes with the NES controller. While the play control may be a little shaky at times, there are only a few area where it's a real problem. It can still be a little annoying at times.
The second in the series is very original and even deviates greatly from the first one. It makes a very large amount of alterations to the series and combines RPG and action elements to create a type of game that was unlike anything else at the time. Although the plot isn't that impressive, this is still a very original game.
There is a lot more story than in the first Zelda game. There is actually quite a bit for a NES action RPG and there is even about as much as the average NES normal RPG. While the story isn't incredibly impressive it does help give some meaning to your quest which is a nice touch.
While the music isn't as good as it was in the first game, it's still decent in the second game. You're going to be spending a lot of time exploring dungeons so it's a good thing that the new dungeon theme is rather catchy. The sound effects are pretty good for a NES game, but there aren't very many of them.
As the second installment of the Zelda series uses a sideways perspective rather than an overhead one, the visuals are quite a bit more detailed than the first game. While they aren't incredibly impressive, they are still quite good. Some of the bosses are especially well detailed. There is a lot of sprite re-coloring though, so you will often find yourself fighting several versions of the same enemy, but there are still very good visuals overall.
While it isn't quite as good as the original overall, Zelda II is still quite good. They took a risk in changing the game as much as they did, but it paid off pretty well. While the music isn't as good as the first one, they made up for it with an increase in visuals. The battle system is a bit better, but they lost a little bit of play control in the process. They made some interesting tradeoffs, but the final effect is still impressive. I recommend this game to Zelda fans and anyone that wants to see some of the earlier action RPGs.
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