Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


A departure from its predecessor, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link offers an intriguing blend of side-scrolling action and RPG elements, set against the backdrop of Hyrule’s fantastical realm.


Embark on a daring quest with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, a groundbreaking sequel that introduced side-scrolling action and RPG elements to the legendary Zelda series.


The game is a direct sequel to the original “The Legend of Zelda” and follows the protagonist Link on a quest to save Princess Zelda, who has fallen under a sleeping spell. The adventure takes place several years after Princess Zelda was rescued and Ganon was defeated.

The plot revolves around malevolent forces causing Zelda to fall into a deep sleep. To break the spell, Link must venture to the palaces spread across Hyrule to fight its guardians, place magical crystals, and ultimately claim the Triforce of Courage.

The gameplay of “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” is a significant departure from its predecessor. It features side-scrolling areas within a larger top-down world map, rather than the mostly top-down perspective of the previous game. The side-scrolling gameplay and experience system are similar to features of the Castlevania series.

Traveling across a world map would lead to enemy encounters which took place on a side-scrolling field of play rather than the top-down perspective for which the series became known. Interaction with the environment is via a single context-sensitive button, which can activate computers, operate lifts, and open doors.

Despite the changes in gameplay, “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” retains many of the features of its predecessor. It was originally released on the Famicom Disk System in Japan and eventually on the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America and Europe.

The game was a critical and financial success and introduced elements such as Link’s “magic meter” and the Dark Link character that would become commonplace in future Zelda games. However, the role-playing elements, such as experience points and limited lives, have not been used since in canonical games.


Link, the courageous hero; Princess Zelda, the damsel in distress; Ganon, the series’ notorious antagonist.


Zelda II features a unique blend of side-scrolling action, RPG elements such as a leveling system and magic spells, and strategic combat, offering a departure from the series’ traditional gameplay mechanics.


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link stands as a testament to Nintendo’s willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of its iconic series. Despite its mixed reception, the game is cherished for its bold approach and enduring legacy.

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