Although my playthrough of Phantasy Star II sputtered to an end well before that game’s completion, my appetite for an older JRPG hadn’t been satiated. There was no shortage of such game on the Sega Genesis Classics compilation I was playing, and with most of them still new to me, I decided to stick with it for the time being. Continuing on with the next entry in the Phantasy Star series – Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom – was an option, but I went ahead and placed it on my backlog. Instead, having learned that Phantasy Star II was the first JRPG released on the Genesis, I thought I’d follow it up with the next chronologically released JRPG (available on this compilation). That game, which debuted half a year later, was Sword of Vermilion.Continue reading Sword of Vermilion [Sega Genesis] – Review
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is drastically different from its predecessor. With a sword and shield equipped, Link still travels Hyrule’s reaches in an effort to save princess Zelda, but the way I did it as a player was different.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was developed and published by Nintendo, and released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. The Adventure of Link takes place a few years after The Legend of Zelda. One day, Link notices a Triforce appear on the back of his hand. He seeks out Impa who shows him that princess Zelda has fallen into a slumber. Impa tells Link why this is, and that to wake Zelda, he must retrieve the Triforce of Courage from the Great Palace. Entry to the Great Palace cannot be gained until six magical crystals are placed in six palaces spread throughout Hyrule.
With my objective known, I left princess Zelda’s castle and ventured out into Hyrule. Like The Legend of Zelda, I controlled Link on the overworld and saw Hyrule via a top-down perspective, looking down on him. Unlike The Legend of Zelda however, I did not move from screen to screen. Instead of moving around the overworld one screen at a time, I was free to move about as I pleased, or so I thought.
After walking around for a little bit, enemy silhouettes appeared. I could try and avoid them, but if I wasn’t successful a battle would start. My view of Link changed in the battle. Instead of being above him as on the overworld, I now saw him from the side; The Adventure of Link became a side-scrolling game when I saw him from the side. To return to the overworld, I had to walk to either end of the battle scene. I do call these battle scenes for a reason however, there are enemies hindering my exit, but defeating them earns experience points. Once I had enough experience points, I was able to level up an attribute: strength, health, or magic. Leveling up strength made my attacks stronger, leveling up health allowed me to take more damage, and leveling up magic made my spells use less magic.
Battles took place on the terrain I was on when I touched the enemy silhouette. If I was in a swamp, I would have a harder time moving about the battle scene. If I had touched an enemy on a road I wouldn’t have to fight them at all. Knowing this I was able to avoid battles if I was near a road. Depending on where I was the enemies would be different as well. As I got farther into the game, the enemies became tougher but were worth more experience. If I lost all my health, I would lose a life. I began with three lives each time I played and if I lost all three, it was game over.
Following the road from Zelda’s castle led me to a town. One of my complaints about The Legend of Zeldawas the lack of human life, so I was happy to see a town. Entering the town again shifted my view of Link to the side. Throughout the game there were many more towns. In towns I talked with residents and learned more about Hyrule and my next objective. After completing side quests, I was also able to learn new magic spells, vital to the completion of the game.
After exploring more of Hyrule I eventually ran into a palace. It was in palaces that I needed to set the six crystals I had, necessary to opening the Great Palace. Undertaking palaces was also a side-scrolling affair. I navigated my way through each palace’s myriad of rooms, eventually coming across an item vital to my progression. These items were usually related to navigating the overworld and reaching new areas. Searching palaces thoroughly would bring me to the boss of the palace. Boss fights were tough; if I was lucky I wouldn’t lose all my lives, having to restart at Zelda’s castle, but this wasn’t always the case.
Once I had ventured through all of Hyrule, found every item, learned every magic spell, it was finally time for me to attempt the Great Palace. It was an endeavor that took me a few hours and much rage. Getting to the Great Palace was almost as tough as the palace itself. I had to make my way through many forced battles, battles I could not avoid, but I was able to overcome this obstacle relatively easily.
The Great Palace was bigger than any of the previous palaces, in fact, it was probably twice as big as any other palace, and its layout was much more confusing. The enemies inside were the toughest in the game, but I evaded as many as I could, saving my health and lives for the boss battle. I knew I was getting closer when I came across a fairy (restores all of Link’s health) and an extra life.
And there it was a giant red bird, a third of the screen or larger, shooting fireballs everywhere. It took me a few lives before I realized that I had to cast the strongest magic spell in Link’s arsenal, and only then was the bird vulnerable. Even then I still had to restart a couple of times, but luckily I restarted at the entrance of the Great Palace and not at Zelda’s castle. I conquered it and walked down the hallway to find the Triforce of Courage, but then it disappeared and Link’s shadow began attacking me! I had to defeat Shadow Link, which was also quite difficult. But I prevailed; I completed Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, one of the toughest games I’ve managed to beat.
Like I did with The Legend of Zelda, I also made a collection of maps to go along with The Adventure of Link. There are some spots in the game where it is necessary to make a map. The maze of Death Mountain and the Great Palace come to mind. Mapping the palaces was a tad difficult, but the overworld was as easy as or easier than mapping it in The Legend of Zelda. It lengthened the time it took me to complete The Adventure of Link, but it helped me out in the end. I was able to max out each of Link’s attributes and I found every heart and magic container hidden in Hyrule.
So, I’ve talked a lot about the game now and I hope whoever reads this knows a lot more about how the game plays, but what do I think about it? I liked a lot about Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Having way more NPCs and actual towns made Hyrule feel more alive, something I didn’t like about The Legend of Zelda. The Adventure of Link retained a strong emphasis on exploration and puzzle solving, while still maintaining a lot of action. The combat is where the game falls apart for me. My actions didn’t seem as precise as they needed to be to defeat some enemies, and a lot of enemies were frustrating because what I did wasn’t effective or they took a lot of damage. Having to restart at Zelda’s castle was frustrating, especially when I was trying to get on the other side of Hyrule. It was a difficult game, especially in the end. If someone was interested in playing it, I’d recommend until they reached the Great Palace. It was very difficult and required a lot of motivation, but then again being able to say I completed Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is pretty awesome.
I knew towards the middle of the week last week I wasn’t going to complete either Zelda II: The Adventure of Link or Vanquish in time to post something. Because of this I was able to write my first accessory review, for Acclaim’s Double Player System. It was interesting to tackle an accessory instead of a game and I’ll do it again in the future.
I was able to complete Zelda II: The Adventure of Link since last week however. I completed it on Sunday and boy, the final palace was tough! I don’t know exactly when I’ll get a review of it posted, but I’m already working on it. After getting a couple missions into the second act of Vanquish, I decided to focus my attention on Zelda II and complete it.
So I’ll post a review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link this week and continue to play Vanquish.
I was able to get pretty far in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link last week. I’m a little under, or right at, the halfway mark. There are at least six palaces I need to complete before the end and I’ve completed three so far. I’m making graph paper maps as I proceed just like I did with The Legend of Zelda. The overworld is set up differently from The Legend of Zelda, but not really harder. In The Legend of Zelda, the overworld consisted of many individual screens that you could only see one at a time; I’m able to see a large chunk of the overworld at any given time in Zelda II; for those who know, it’s exactly like an overworld from an older role-playing game. The dungeons are a little trickier however, but I’m able to manage.
I also purchased a surprise game this week! I was at a Target late in the week and found a copy of Vanquish on clearance ($14.99) for the Xbox 360 so I bought it. I was anticipating the game ever since I first heard information on it, but held off of purchasing it, until now. I’ve played through the first act and I really like the gameplay, it’s super fast and frantic, but the story is kind of whatever.
I don’t think I’ll be able to complete Zelda or Vanquish this week, but maybe I’ll post something about them this week.
Surprisingly enough I was able to crank out a review for Star Soldier last week. After enough attempts playing the game and making no progression I decided to focus my attention on other games. I would like to keep playing Star Soldier and maybe get a little farther or attain a higher score, but who knows?
The game I’m focusing on now is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, also for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I have completed the first palace (I believe there’s six) but the mapmaking process is time consuming. I’d guess it’ll take me a week or two to complete the game.
Lastly, a friend and I played through The Mansion of Hidden Souls for the Sega Saturn on Sunday. I know what you’re thinking, and no I haven’t played this game yet. You’re thinking of Mansion of Hidden Souls for the Sega CD. The Mansion of Hidden Souls is the sequel to the game. It was equally, if not more, weird than it’s predecessor. I should have a review of that up sometime this week. I’m not sure if I’ll post anything beyond that this week.
Unfortunately I didn’t complete three games from two decades ago as I did last week, but this week will be interesting nonetheless. Why do I say that? Well I’m onto new things as I’m finished with the two games that have been the status quo for so long.
I paid off the final portion of my debt in Animal Crossing: City Folk and will quit playing as much as I have, and perhaps won’t play the game at all soon. I have written a review of sorts for it (it basically outlines what my routine was) and I expect that to go up Tuesday morning.
I have also given up on Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber. I have reached a point in it where it is too frustrating to continue. And that’s a shame too because I enjoyed the game a fair amount, I mean I stuck around for twenty-nine hours. I’m disappointed that I won’t be finishing it, and in all honesty I’d like to reattempt it, but not for a long time.
On the brighter side, I’ll be able to play other games. I believe I’ll focus on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link next, although Grandia Xtreme is beckoning me as well. I also have a few smaller things I’ll check out, such as Star Soldier. And I still, still have to check out the extras included with Devil May Cry 4. But then again, perhaps I’ll push all these to the side and purchase L.A. Noire.
So expect a review for Animal Crossing: City Folk Tuesday morning and a review of Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber at some point this week.