Although this second Zelda game sold well (more than 4 million copies worldwide at the time), it is not particularly well-liked.
It is a ‘proper’ sequel to the first game, as such – at least in terms of story (and most other Zelda games aren’t), but it is also quite different in terms of gameplay. There are 2D, side-scrolling, platforming dungeon sections; the use of Experience Points to designate power; a magic meter; and a ‘Dark’ Link character who would become common in later episodes.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was first released in 1987. In the years following its release the game drew quite a bit of criticism from fans of the original, all of whom disliked the new style of play. So much criticism, in fact, that from episode three onward (A Link To The Past on the SNES), the Zelda series reverted back to the original template.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has been re-released a number of times over the decades, although it still remains the lowest-rated Zelda game on the two main metacritic sites. It is definitely worth playing if you love Zelda games. And you may find the shock of the unusual gameplay quite refreshing. Who’s to say?
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