Total time played: 15 hours over 3 weeks
Short review: While Zelda is an overhead adventure game Zelda II is more of a side scroller adventure game with RPG elements. A lot of people were very angry at Zelda II and its departure from the original but I found it just as good if not better than the original. Zelda II feels much longer than than Zelda due to its increased difficulty.
Interesting links related to Zelda II
After beating the original Zelda and posting the picture online several people asked me to attempt to beat Zelda II as they were never able to as a kid. I accepted the challenge as I had beaten the game on more than one occasion as a child. I remember getting the game for Christmas and playing for hours each day over several months. I used Nintendo Power and traded tips with friends until I finally was able to beat Shadow Link. I always had trouble with the dragon boss who pops up out of the water. The boss wasn’t difficult but I kept falling in the water holes surrounding him. I just wasn’t coordinated enough to be graceful at that particular time in my life.
I was surprised at how much of the game I remembered. My brain was on auto pilot as I ventured off the main path and found hidden caves that contained magic or health upgrades. Although I remembered where most of the temples were it didn’t make the game any easier. There was a lot of trial and error as even some of the regular enemies could easily kill me. In the original Zelda the enemies just walked mindlessly shooting projectiles and if you happened to walk into one of them you got hurt, in Zelda II the enemies know you are there and actively attack you.The blue knights are easily the most difficult enemy in both Zelda games.
As I got farther in the game the dungeons got longer, the enemies got harder and I had to grind levels more often in hopes that the enemies would drop the P bags of experience. I spent several hours using the fire spell to kill the armored spiders over and over to gain experience.
The last dungeon is particularly long taking 10-15 minutes to get to and 10-15 minutes to get through if you know where you are going. Luckily if you get a game over in the last dungeon of the game you don’t start at the beginning of the game, you start at the beginning of the dungeon. This helps quite a bit but I still struggled for several days to get through.
I love both Zelda games on the original NES, I love both Zelda games on the Wii, all the Zelda games on the DS and Ocarina of Time on the N64 yet somehow I have never played A Link To The Past on the SNES which is considered the greatest Zelda game ever made. I hope to find time soon to play through the SNES game and see what all the hype is about.