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The Adventure of Link was the highly anticipated sequel to The Legend of Zelda, released one year later in 1988. Many people, however, were disappointed by this game. It differed from the first in that it combined and overhead view for the world map and a side-scrolling view for battle scenes. For some reason, people didn’t like it. The Adventure of Link was also much more difficult than its predecessor. This game also introduced experience points, which were earned by killing enemies and were used to increase your magic, health, and attack capabilities. The points system made this game unique in the Zelda series. It's also the only game to not use "The Legend of Zelda" as part of the title (at least in the English version). This game also introduced the Triforce of Courage, which completed the three-Triforce system we know today.

Personally, I liked Zelda II; it is one of my favorite games in the Zelda series. I like it because it is so difficult, and I always loved a challenge. It took me years before I could beat it without a Game Genie (it's still hard for me). I think the difficulty was what turned people off to Zelda II. All the people I ask say they hate it, but I don't agree. Zelda II had such a larger and more complex world than its predecessor. This game was an epic that came before its time. I don't think gamers were ready for such a large world when Zelda II came out. Perhaps now people will rediscover this great game.

Like its predecessor, Zelda II was first released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System. Almost two years passed before it was released in cartridge form for the North American and European markets. There are numerous differences between the Japanese FDS version and the NES versions. All the dungeons in the Japanese version had the same gray color, whereas the NES version used a different color for each dungeon. Also, the Japanese version had some different bosses for some dungeons. The Level 5 boss in the Japanese version was a more powerful Helmethead, where in the NES version it was Gooma (the dude with the mace). There were also some sound changes, as the FDS had an additional sound chip that the NES didn't have. This video shows some of the differences between the two games.

English Title: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Japanese Title: The Legend of Zelda 2 リンクの冒険 [Rinku no Bouken] (Adventure of Link)

Release Dates:
Japan (FDS): January 14th, 1987
US (NES): December 1st, 1988
Europe (NES): September 26th, 1988


  • This article was originally written for Zelda Universe for a special feature about the 25th anniversary of the Zelda franchise. This article covers some of the interesting aspects of Zelda II, as well as some of my personal experiences playing it. This article is also listed in the University of Hyrule section of the site. By Kasuto of Kataan.
  • A complete walkthrough for Zelda II, including overworld maps and maps of every level.
  • This is the full instruction manual to The Adventure of Link, scanned in full color. That's right, now you can see the manual just like it was in its printed form, not in plain text.
  • This is the full instruction manual to The Adventure of Link.
  • These are all the Game Genie (cheat) codes for Zelda II.