The adventure of a lifetime
Like the divisive Super Mario Bros 2, this sequel to the classic NES RPG is something of a surprise. This one is less like the original Zelda and more like platformer Metroid but while it might not be what many fans expected, it remains an enjoyable experience. The story this time around is typically convoluted for the series, and finds our hero Link on the trail of the scattered pieces of the powerful Triforce, which he needs to awaken princess Zelda from an eternal slumber. What follows is an action/adventure which ditches most of the top down aspects of the original (you can still explore via a map, but not much else), and swaps it out in favor of side scrolling exploration and combat. You'll roam the land on the map screen, and if you encounter monsters, the game switches to the side on view where you do battle with sword and magic, with the same perspective also used for talking to NPCs. There's the boss fights the series is known, but not the puzzles, and the focus here is definitely on combat and platforming. If you are a diehard fan of the original, this might be hard to take, but if you can accept the changes, this remains a top notch retro classic. It's a tough game to be sure, but there are so many clever mechanics implemented here that you can't help but be compelled to play. It is let down slightly by a poor translation, but the core gameplay is thrilling, challenging and utterly addictive and is supported by some lovely old-school visuals and sound which add much to the appeal. This might not be to everyone's taste, but go in with an open mind and you'll be thoroughly rewarded.