October 25, 2019
This is the 2nd in a series of me and my spouse going through all of the Zelda games we own. After finishing the first game she is eager to see the next game in the series, especially after telling her that it is one of the few direct sequel games. We boot it up and the music takes me back in again just like in the first game. Like in the first game, most of the story is in the manual, but if you wait on the title screen you get a cliffs notes version. Unlike the previous game, it’s only a synopsis of the game story, not showing you a list of all the items/spells in this game. Zelda has been put under a sleep spell by an evil wizard, because she would not reveal the secrets of the Triforce. Link must reunite the Triforce of Power and Wisdom from the first game with the long lost Triforce of Courage.
So this time we start out in the North Palace right below the sleeping Zelda. I talk to my spouse about how in this game we have to level up our Strength (with the Sword Icon), Magic (with the Pot Icon), and Life (with the Heart Icon). Most enemies will give us points. Some will give magic potion refills, or EXP. Bags but that’s it. We head out, and she already noticed the Overworld is different. I show off what happens if we step off the path, and she says that that is going to be a pain. I remember some of the early stuff, but I make sure she has the old player’s guide handy so we don’t get lost in any of the Palaces.
We head to the first town of Rauru, and I pick up the first spell, Shield. I tell my spouse that the game wants us to level up each attribute in a certain order, but if we ignore that and go Life, Strength then Magic, not getting a 2nd level in 1 before the other 2 are at the same level, we can keep ahead of the difficulty curve pretty easily. Before going to the first palace we don’t have a candle, so going into caves is annoying. We pick up a heart container and a magic container, and I attempt to get the trophy. The cave for the Trophy is hard, and I die a few times, but it’s worth it once I make it through.
I head up to the town of Ruto and return the trophy for the Jump spell. We were able to at least level up once while doing so, and now we head for the Parapa Palace aka Desert Palace-Level 1. I go into super thorough mode, exploring every nook and cranny of the Palace. We get to the room with all the bubbles and take the time to grind up my Life and Strength up to level 3. Fighting Darknuts is much less painful in this game (at this point), and before we know it is time for our first boss: Horse Head. A few strikes to the head and he is toast. Now part of my leveling strategy is to make sure we aren’t close to a level up before putting the gem in the statue, since that will automatically take you up to the next displayed level up amount. We were close to getting Magic up to level 3, so we finished that off before taking on the boss. One crystal placed later, Level 4 life, half way to the max of 8.
Now that we have the first palace down, we start our journey for real. This game world is vast, the largest Hyrule until Breath of the Wild (possibly tied). We head south, and with the candle, caves are no longer dark. While they’re not much easier, at least we can now see where we are going. We hit the town of Saria and get the Life spell. It’s our only healing spell, and it’s expensive, but it’s good for an emergency heal when we are not near a town. We go find Error to get across the river and then enter the maze of tunnels that is Death Mountain. This is where my memory fails me, so my spouse is ready and guides me right on through. From here on out we work together much more, and we make it through the mountain. We fight through for the hammer and pick up another heart container. We make it over to the third town of Mido. We pick up the fairy spell there, and more importantly, the most valuable skill in the game: the Downward Strike!
My spouse fills me in on which caves we can now access that have the heart containers. So we get as much as we can before we head to the next Palace: Midoro aka Swamp Palace-Level 2. We head in, and she guides me right to the power glove, and then to the boss. By the time we get there, not only are we halfway to max in all 3 attributes, but have gotten level 5 in Life. We take down Helmet Head, and with one more crystal in place we are now at level 5 Strength as well. Next up, we go straight for Level 3, the Island Palace. This Palace is significantly more difficult than the last two, but sticking with the leveling up strategy, we have the appropriate strength the keep up. We pick up the raft, and face our first real mini boss strong enemy, a blue Darknut. These annoyances shoot their blades and are by far the toughest non-boss enemy outside of the final dungeon.
The 3rd boss turns out to be a mounted Blue Darknut, but since this one actually has a life bar, it is technically weaker than any of the others. We get the 3rd crystal in, and while getting each attribute to the next level is requiring higher experience totals, we are on par to get max stats long before we reach the last dungeon. We sail over to West Hyrule, to the town of Nabooru and pick up the Fire spell. With our Magic attribute at 6, the costs have been going down, and having a spell that lets me shoot fireballs no matter my life level is very helpful. Sadly some enemies are immune, but those that are not are very weak to it. My spouse is really into the adventure at this point, and it is a lot of fun do be doing this game with someone.
We make it to the town of Darunia and get the Upward Strike! Now our attack options are covered in all 4 directions finally. We head over to Maze Island to rescue the child, and earn the Reflect spell. My spouse guides me back though Maze Island a 2nd time to get to the Maze Palace-Level 4. With this Palace we see Wizzrobes appearing, but these ones are by far the easiest versions to deal with in the series, since we have the Reflect spell. We pick up the Water-Walking Boots, then go face the boss, Carock. This is the chief wizard that put Zelda to sleep, so it feels really good to take this one down. Sadly, she still won’t wake up until we get the 3rd piece of the Triforce, the Triforce of Courage.
We head out and go right for the 5th palace, the Ocean Palace. We pick up another heart container, and charge forward. This one is a big maze, and I end up hanging out in the elevators out of reach as my spouse finds the correct path forward. We are just about at max stats, and in this dungeon we use one room to grind out the remaining levels. We pick up the Recorder, then go for the boss, Gooma. Link’s short reach is a true pain with this one, and we do lose a few lives taking it down. Now that we have max stats, putting the crystal in just gives us an extra life per crystal.
We fight our way to New Kasuto. It’s the last safe town, but getting the Spell Spell (yes, that is its name) is vital. We go south to Three-Eye Rock and the Hidden Palace-Level 6. One extra life doll, Cross Item, and we go of the Last of the Crystal Palace bosses, Barba. We actually fall in the lava once or twice before getting the pattern down, but we eventually nail it. Then we head on to Old Kasuto and the last spell: Thunder. I prefer to call it: Kill Screen spell. Before going for the Great Palace, we go back and pick up all the extra life dolls, and exp bags that we didn’t get before so we can go in with as many lives as possible.
We head out for our final destination, and the road to the Great Palace is a challenge of its own. Thankfully once we arrive at the palace, even if we get a game over, it restarts us there instead of back at North Palace. My spouse and I go over the map of the Palace together to strategize. We want to take the most direct route, but if there is a fairy along the path that would be great. All the enemies are a major pain, and the hopping, sword shooting Bird Warriors top the list of annoyances. We fail more than once, but we make progress deeper with each game over. Finally we make it to the Thunderbird. We are weak with little life and magic, but the first step is making it there. We die, but with our meters recharged we go back in more carefully, and this time make it into the boss with full magic. It takes two more tries but we manage to take it down. Our excitement builds as the final boss looms.
Dark Link. Its first appearance and the final boss of Zelda II. I want to say it was a valiant and epic fight, but that would be a lie. I totally cheezed the boss. I stand by it, however, as a legit strategy. We claim the prize of the Triforce of Courage and get our happy ending! 2 games down, next up is A Link to the Past! This game was enjoyable. I remember not liking it as much when I was a kid, being very frustrating, but as an adult and playing with my spouse it was not only easier but much more enjoyable. We laughed at the silly references. She thought it was cool that the Sages in Ocarina of Time were named after most of the towns from this game. As the Palaces were more complex in this game, having a person on hand to guide me though them made a remarkable difference.