Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by tepples » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:16 pm

That or Ocarina of Time was size-optimized, given that Majora's Mask requires the Expansion Pak.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by Pokun » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:51 pm

Badly optimized is a strong word though, it's clearly very professionally done and it's not like it's laggy. It only looks slow compared to modern games and when compared to the remakes for 3DS. No one complained at the time of release. I think it's clear that it was made late in the Nintendo 64 era when the developer's had learned the system very well. Though it was also developed for a very long time starting before the 64 was even released, and in parallel with Super Mario 64.

lidnariq wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:45 pm
the two N64 Zeldas were awful. The hardware wasn't good enough for them graphically, and the camera was par for the era (i.e. bad).
I don't agree at all, I think the camera was above par for its time, and I've never had problems with it unlike in many other 3D games of the time. The camera gives a good view of Link's surroundings and can easily be centered by pressing Z to look ahead. It makes a good job of not getting stuck inside things like in earlier Nintendo 64 games (such as Super Mario 64). I think it's one of the best looking 64 games and looks very good for its time. I agree that it looks quite rough as it's a semi-early 3D game, but it's not enough to knock it down from the second place in the Zelda series IMHO. That would be like thinking Pacman isn't great because it doesn't look like Super Mario World. The main problem I see with Ocarina is that they made dying harder than in all earlier games, which is a problem Majora's Mask fixed by adding new enemies and increasing difficulty a bit. Majora has more annoying (and time-limited) dungeons though.
All later Zelda games (the Aonuma games) mainly has this identical Bokoblin pattern enemies who dies in 3 hits. Breath of the Wild also has this problem, but they at least increased the difficulty a lot so it takes longer before you learn the enemy patterns and battles becomes trivial. It also has guardians who can be dangerous even for an expert player.

lidnariq wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:45 pm
Adventure of Link is interesting in that is was a clear divergence from the formula they used before and since. It's almost better to compare it to Metroid than LoZ.
Yes and that isn't so strange if you consider that it wasn't even a Zelda game early on in the development.

lidnariq wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:45 pm
If you look at reviews of the game, it's clear that AoL was revelatory when it was released, but it doesn't stand up well now. (Then: ratings around 90%; now: ratings around 70%). Not entirely clear why; you might think that LoZ would hold up less well given the large number of later games in that 3/4 perspective action-adventure genre. Maybe it's just that people expect it to be like everything else in the series and it just isn't.
Yeah I've also always been puzzled why it's considered the black sheep of the series and sometimes even a bad game, despite being highly praised when it came out. In the Sweden it was widely considered the best game released that year as can be seen in the Swedish Nintendo Magazine. I also think that people played the later games first and was disappointed when one of the games turned out to not play like the others instead of just taking the game for what it is like we did back then. The same can probably be said about Ys III (which is also a side-view action-RPG).

In fact I was a bit disappointed that all later Zelda games just copied the Zelda 1 formula and mostly ignored Zelda 2. Some features did remain, like the already mentioned MP meter, magic jars (but not the magic container), spells (at least up to Majora's Mask which still has the arrow spells), the triforce mark on Link's hand, 16 years old adult Link, Dark Link, Volvagia, Iron Knuckle, Stalfon (AKA Stalfos Knight), town names (as sage names) and the two sword techniques you learn in Zelda 2. It's also the game that introduced the triforce of courage to the series.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by lidnariq » Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:51 pm
I think the camera was above par for its time, and I've never had problems with it unlike in many other 3D games of the time. The camera gives a good view of Link's surroundings and can easily be centered by pressing Z to look ahead. It makes a good job of not getting stuck inside things like in earlier Nintendo 64 games (such as Super Mario 64).
That was ... not my experience. For one, outside of combat I never wanted the camera there. When I played WW and TP on Gamecube, I used the C-stick constantly because where I wanted the camera was not where it went on its own.
I think it's one of the best looking 64 games and looks very good for its time.
Unfortunately I find the entire 3D library on the N64 to be mostly unplayable, with a few exceptions for Mario Kart 64 (and the 2D or 2.5D games). I made a point of completing both OoT and MM due to wanting to have played all the canon games, but I must say I enjoyed them much less than the previous and subsequent games.
I agree that it looks quite rough as it's a semi-early 3D game, but it's not enough to knock it down from the second place in the Zelda series IMHO. That would be like thinking Pacman isn't great because it doesn't look like Super Mario World.
But there's more to OoT and MM then just the N64's hardware. They had to figure out how to take a series that'd been in either side or 3/4 perspective for its entire life and ask how to convert it to 3D. Some things worked; others were ... not so much.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:43 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:51 pm
Yes and that isn't so strange if you consider that it wasn't even a Zelda game early on in the development.
What was it?

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by Pokun » Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:26 pm

Oh I don't know any details, but word is that Miyamoto had a vision of a side-scrolling game with sword and shield and high and low attacks. It was most likely inspired by Dragon Quest just like Zelda 1 was inspired by Hydlide (and maybe the emerging RPG craze in general started by The Black Onyx), and a desire to develop this genre to something new. They seemed to want to make an action-RPG from the start. Supposedly the Zelda theme was thrown in quite late, but I don't know exactly what they mean by that. Probably at least after the engine and game idea was mostly established, as not much of that is similar to Zelda 1. Also the crew was mostly different from those who made Zelda 1.
There is an interview here mentioning it.

lidnariq wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:51 pm
I think the camera was above par for its time, and I've never had problems with it unlike in many other 3D games of the time. The camera gives a good view of Link's surroundings and can easily be centered by pressing Z to look ahead. It makes a good job of not getting stuck inside things like in earlier Nintendo 64 games (such as Super Mario 64).
That was ... not my experience. For one, outside of combat I never wanted the camera there. When I played WW and TP on Gamecube, I used the C-stick constantly because where I wanted the camera was not where it went on its own.
Where is there? Normally when you expect danger you want to see ahead, so you press Z. It won't work if there are enemies nearby (as they will be locked on to), but the game seldom places enemies in places where it's important to look ahead. You can also easily control the camera by briefly facing the direction you want it to look in and then press Z (as long as there is nothing to lock on to).
I didn't find the camera control in Wind Waker or any later Zelda game to be much more than a bonus that was mostly put in there because there was an extra unused analogue joystick on the controller. It's a comfortable way to look around with (instead of using the first-person view), but the game would probably work perfectly fine without it IMHO.

lidnariq wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
I think it's one of the best looking 64 games and looks very good for its time.
Unfortunately I find the entire 3D library on the N64 to be mostly unplayable, with a few exceptions for Mario Kart 64 (and the 2D or 2.5D games). I made a point of completing both OoT and MM due to wanting to have played all the canon games, but I must say I enjoyed them much less than the previous and subsequent games.
I see, is this just with the N64 or all early 3D consoles? The PS1 also had ugly 3D, although generally sharper.
I find most 3rd party games for the N64 to be very blurry and quite ugly (the developers blamed Nintendo for initially not giving out documentation for programming the RCP, typical for Nintendo), but 1st party games holds a high quality for its time. I find the pre-rendered sprites in Mario Kart 64 and Ocarina of Time (like the items in the menu and manual) to have aged badly though. At the time pre-rendered sprites was still popular after Donkey Kong Country I guess.

lidnariq wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
I agree that it looks quite rough as it's a semi-early 3D game, but it's not enough to knock it down from the second place in the Zelda series IMHO. That would be like thinking Pacman isn't great because it doesn't look like Super Mario World.
But there's more to OoT and MM then just the N64's hardware. They had to figure out how to take a series that'd been in either side or 3/4 perspective for its entire life and ask how to convert it to 3D. Some things worked; others were ... not so much.
Well I don't disagree with that. One thing is the annoyance level of dungeons is often heightened due to the extra dimension added to puzzles. I already mentioned the Water Temple. It's a horrible place to have a missing skulltula in forcing you to run around and do everything in a very specific order all over again. The Forest Temple, Water Temple and (to a much less extent) Fire Temple are all quite annoying dungeons. The remaining ones are good though. I especially love the Shadow Temple, and the Spirit Temple is nice with good Iron Knuckle battles and has a great boss fight.

Ocarina's best achievement is that they actually made battles in a 3D game work as well as it does, if we disregard the low difficulty of enemies. After Ocarina was released every other 3D game had some kind of lock-on system so that you could move around without showing the enemy a weak side of yourself. Though fighting games like Virtua Fighter of course did it before Ocarina, it wasn't very common in general action games.



BTW I found an article that is relevant for this thread. He raises the same point as Lidnariq did as why some people hate the game. People play it and expect something like A link to the Past and don't take it for what it is. Another is the difficulty which is indeed quite high (he even mentions the length of the sword like Bregalad did). But it's not ridiculously high for the time, so it might also just be spoiled fanboys' complaint. I thought it was extremely hard as a kid, but that didn't stop me from playing the shit out of it, and eventually became good at it. It's also mainly only hard in battles. Finding all secrets is a cinch, as there aren't many.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by lidnariq » Fri Apr 30, 2021 6:18 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:26 pm
lidnariq wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
That was ... not my experience. For one, outside of combat I never wanted the camera there. When I played WW and TP on Gamecube, I used the C-stick constantly because where I wanted the camera was not where it went on its own.
Where is there? Normally when you expect danger you want to see ahead, so you press Z. It won't work if there are enemies nearby (as they will be locked on to), but the game seldom places enemies in places where it's important to look ahead. You can also easily control the camera by briefly facing the direction you want it to look in and then press Z (as long as there is nothing to lock on to).
It depended on where I was. In OoT and MM sometimes I found myself continuously hammering on Z to keep the camera looking forward-ish. In WW and TP I often set it to a view at one of the "intercardinal" directions ... and as far away as possible. Whatever heuristic the games wanted to use, it wasn't the one that my brain worked with.
Pokun wrote:I see, is this just with the N64 or all early 3D consoles? The PS1 also had ugly 3D, although generally sharper.
Oh, no, the 3D PS1 games are mostly terrible too. Racing games might be the only genre that I find the graphical weaknesses forgivable. FFT is OK too, but it leans heavily on 2d sprites on a 3D backdrop.
I find the pre-rendered sprites in Mario Kart 64 and Ocarina of Time (like the items in the menu and manual) to have aged badly though.
And the pre-rendered locations in OoT too, like Link's home and Castle Town Market.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by strat » Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:38 pm

Elevators in underworld -- it just doesn't make any sense, why is there an elevator. It should look ancient and crumbling, no electricity, etc.
They probably use pulleys :p
- Zelda 1's dungeons were very much about spatial puzzles peppered with fun combat; you're trying to figure out how the dungeon is laid out and how the rooms connect together. I think this worked really well with its overhead perspective, single-screen rooms, and mininmap and subscreen map. Zelda 2 seems like it tries this same formula in a side-scrolling perspective, but for me, it doesn't work well at all. Sidescrolling puts a heavier emphasis on the room design than the overhead perspective, and I think Zelda 2 fails at this, so it feels like it's lacking something really important.
This summarizes how I feel about Zelda 2 very well. Even before LTTP came out, it was very iffy to me (why does Nintendo need a side-scrolling Zelda when they've got Mario?) and while I've tried to love the game over the years, it's not an EAD masterpiece like Mario 3 and LTTP. The lack of any interactive tools also hurts the game (the spells don't cut it) and unlike the Ladder in Zelda I which added some extra depth to the dungeon crawling, most of the dungeon items in Zelda 2 are glorified keys. The basic sword combat is OK for the most part, especially once you get the vertical jabbing abilities, but fighting Iron Knuckles/Dreadhawks is an annoyance.

But Zelda 2 has a lot of good points. The basic game feel is fun, the spells force you to conserve mp so there's a lot of strategy in deciding what to use and it has a lot of different enemies (even the final dungeon has completely new ones). It's also not too grind-heavy for a game with exp. I don't agree the world map should've been eliminated - even though the map is cordoned off it still has a credible feel of exploration and finding places.

On top of the improvements you mentioned, I would've made the Hammer a usable item for the action segments (that was so freakin' obvious, a Nintendo game where you have a hammer and don't swing it?), put in a boomerang and archery set, and add some elements to make them worthwhile.

Re: OOT and MM, like Mario 64 they wrote the book on how to do 3D adventure games. Only I never cared for the notebook missions in MM. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword always seemed like glorified expansion packs - Wind Waker was the last majorly innovative Zelda game until Breath of the Wild.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by calima » Sat May 01, 2021 12:42 am

Ocarina isn't laggy because Nintendo understands variable FPS is bad, and locks the FPS to what they can consistently achieve. This is why Paper Mario is 30fps even though most scenes in it could do 60. Low fps is not as annoying as variable, but it's still annoying, and for both Ocarina and PM I do think they should have made the effort to optimize better.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by nesrocks » Sat May 01, 2021 9:47 am

How much of the hatred towards zelda 2 is the same as the hatred towards street fighter 2010? People expecting a genre and being given another? I never cared about that expectation so I could appreciate the games for what they were: truly great.
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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by tepples » Sat May 01, 2021 12:21 pm

If I remember AVGN's review correctly, the hate given to Street Fighter 2010 (transcript; video) is because of the last level having such a short time limit that it requires speedrun strats that had never been hinted at in previous levels.
However, the final stage goes WAY too far. It's the most heartless and abominable end stage ever programmed. What you get here is an endurance round. You have to fight three bosses, and then go on to a final boss, who has two different forms. All on one single life. You die once, you go back. First, it's this [expletive] clam-shaped thing, then it's this [expletive]brain, then these two disappearing mummified armadillo robots in a room that randomly spouts fire all about. On top of tryin' to stay alive, you have to do it all before the time runs out. Oh look, I beat him, and the time's still goin'! Come on, come on, I gotta get to the final boss! Yes! I made it! Two seconds to spare.

Then you get a cutscene. There's no way anyone's gonna bother to read this. Your heart is pounding so fast, and you're rippin' your hair out of your head wonderin' "what the [expletive] am I gonna have to fight now?" I'm at the final boss. What is it? What is it?! (The time runs out and Ken dies!) WHAT?! The [expletive] time limit?! You'd think that after the cutscene, the timer would start over, but NO! You fight the three bosses, then it's the cutscene, then you fight two forms of the final boss. So that's basically five bosses in total, all on the same life bar, and the same time limit.
For a very rough comparison, imagine if the time limit for 8-1 in Super Mario Bros. were 150 instead of 300. (The current real-time world record completes the level with 200 out of 300 remaining.)

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by za909 » Sun May 02, 2021 6:43 am

To me the early Zelda games just seemed too cryptic to be enjoyable for me, and after that I kind of never really tried any of them, although in terms of the gameplay style they are something I could see myself wanting to develop a game to be like. Zelda II does feel very experimental. A bit of an adventure game, a bit of an RPG and a bit of a combat-platformer all at once. It is not perfect, but I think that a modern homebrew game mixing these elements well could be a really fun experience.

And about the audio... yes, I don't know why they thought the never-ending low-fi vibrato was a good idea. It's not even smooth like you'd expect it, it keeps jumping back and forth between two extremes. I suppose it sounds a bit more like the vibrato you'd get on an electric guitar but surely you wouldn't want to put it on every single note. Compositionally I don't have a problem with the songs, they get the job done.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by Dwedit » Sun May 02, 2021 8:30 am

Things in Zelda 2 that are actually cryptic, and there are no in-game hints for:

* Finding the mirror under the table
You walk into an apparently empty room (with just a table), and this is the only time in the game that you can interact with a table. Many players do figure this one out instantly though.
Getting the fire spell is similar.

* Invisible pitfall on Maze Island
If you take the wrong route, you'll completely miss this, and the game-required magic container.
Finding the Lost Child and Reflect Spell is similar, in that the square is only marked by being a dead end south of the palace.

* Finding Hidden Town of Kasuto
You go through a cave to a dead-end section of the overworld, and this is the only such cave that does this. You need to know that a hammer can be used to cut down trees, need to be able keep track of which trees you've cut down (encounters interrupt and reset them), and guess the correct forest tile.
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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by Pokun » Sun May 02, 2021 9:54 am

The whole chain of side quests that needs to be solved in order to complete the 6th temple (and finding New Kasuto is part of it) is probably the most cryptic part of the game, and I was stuck for a long time here the first time I got this far as a kid (the other major part I was stuck in was to find the reflect spell). Once you figured out how to make temple 6 to appear at all, you will soon notice that it seems to lack keys (and you might possibly use the fairy spell to go through the key holes until you run out of MP). In the FDS version it's even more cryptic as you need to solve a word puzzle for one of the hints in the chain of side quests. In English it's spelled out for you. Another hint is found in an empty house in Old Kasuto, possibly even more cryptic than finding the mirror, as almost every house is empty in this town, and it's full of invisible ghosts killing you.

One of the heart containers is also a bit cryptic, but I don't think it's required to beat the game (unlike the magic containers). Besides there are only 4 heart containers and 4 magic containers in the whole game. It's far less cryptic than Zelda 1, which requires you to bomb every wall, burn every tree etc just to find the entrances to certain dungeons or for heart containers and other secrets. Zelda 2 is a much more combat focused game.

lidnariq wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 6:18 pm
Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:26 pm
lidnariq wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:32 pm
That was ... not my experience. For one, outside of combat I never wanted the camera there. When I played WW and TP on Gamecube, I used the C-stick constantly because where I wanted the camera was not where it went on its own.
Where is there? Normally when you expect danger you want to see ahead, so you press Z. It won't work if there are enemies nearby (as they will be locked on to), but the game seldom places enemies in places where it's important to look ahead. You can also easily control the camera by briefly facing the direction you want it to look in and then press Z (as long as there is nothing to lock on to).
It depended on where I was. In OoT and MM sometimes I found myself continuously hammering on Z to keep the camera looking forward-ish. In WW and TP I often set it to a view at one of the "intercardinal" directions ... and as far away as possible. Whatever heuristic the games wanted to use, it wasn't the one that my brain worked with.
Pokun wrote:I see, is this just with the N64 or all early 3D consoles? The PS1 also had ugly 3D, although generally sharper.
Oh, no, the 3D PS1 games are mostly terrible too. Racing games might be the only genre that I find the graphical weaknesses forgivable. FFT is OK too, but it leans heavily on 2d sprites on a 3D backdrop.
I find the pre-rendered sprites in Mario Kart 64 and Ocarina of Time (like the items in the menu and manual) to have aged badly though.
And the pre-rendered locations in OoT too, like Link's home and Castle Town Market.
I see, I guess the camera is something you have to get used to, and also a matter of taste.
Yeah racing games is one genre that I think greatly benefits from the 3 dimensions (and even from "mode 7"-style graphics). Most other genres just gets much more complicated, and developers don't always solve all problems. Ocarina did it quite well, but I still generally prefer A Link to the Past for its simplicity in 2 dimensions.
I actually don't have any problems with the pre-rendered indoor scenes and town market in Ocarina. It worked OK in many games such as the FF and Resident Evil games, and Ocarina at least didn't use it where there was action. The future town market is the only exception, but it only improves the creepiness of it similar to the Resident Evil games' bad-control-on-purpose formula. I got a little tired on these scenes in FF9 though, so I don't really miss them in more modern games.

strat wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:38 pm
The lack of any interactive tools also hurts the game (the spells don't cut it) and unlike the Ladder in Zelda I which added some extra depth to the dungeon crawling, most of the dungeon items in Zelda 2 are glorified keys.
I agree with this. Even if you ignore the fact that it's a Zelda game and that Link could use a ton of items and weapons in the first game, in RPGs you can usually use many different weapons, but Link uses the same Magic Sword and Magic Shield through the entire game, and can't use anything else except for a very few offensive spells. Introducing more weapons that works differently, might had made the game more complicated though as there are more weapons to master by the player.

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by Bananmos » Mon May 03, 2021 7:15 am

Dwedit wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 8:30 am
* Finding Hidden Town of Kasuto
You go through a cave to a dead-end section of the overworld, and this is the only such cave that does this. You need to know that a hammer can be used to cut down trees, need to be able keep track of which trees you've cut down (encounters interrupt and reset them), and guess the correct forest tile.
I do agree with Zelda2 having a lot of flaws... but this particular secret I never struggled with. In the old Kasuto town, the old man explicitly tells you ""The Town is Dead, Look East in the woods"". Cave passage ends up with a dead end... where there's woods. And you already know by then that a lot of dead ends actually aren't dead ends, but disguised secrets.

As for knowing that the hammer can cut trees... back then you'd have the exploratory mindset of mashing buttons at various opportunities to explore secrets in the game. I would find it odd for a kid to have the hammer item for pretty much half the game and not discover this by accident. I do appreciate that games today provide a lot more clues and setup for how to use items, but... we got on fine without it back in the challenging 80s :)

I do think Zelda2 has an undeserved bad rep. It was my favorite game for a period in my life... and with the criticism it gets today people seem to forget how poorly contemporary game design was in those days. Most classic games on say the Speccy or C-64 would just deplete people's patience today due to their bad design and frustrating control schemes - despite their raving reviews in game mags. Zelda2 may be no masterpiece in video game history and may fall short compared to the first... but it sure felt like a masterpiece compared to the 8-bit competition at the time :)

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Re: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... SUCKED

Post by Ben Boldt » Tue May 18, 2021 6:54 am

I think Prince of Persia is a great example of how to do a side-scrolling Zelda. It has managed to have graphics with more depth, pseudo-3D almost, and the mechanics are really good. If Zelda II was designed this way I think a lot more people would like it.

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