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Published on Mar 6, 2017
Seeing as how the Nintendo Switch and the new game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were released, I figured this is a perfect time to showcase the ultimate black sheep of the Zelda franchise. The now 30 year old Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link.
In many ways Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link is a perfect time capsule for what games were like in 1987\88. It seemed like side scrolling games were becoming the new standard is Triple A game design. While the side scroller was not a new concept, telling a story in a side scroller was something that was.
Whether it was Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, Rygar, Goonies 2 or Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, it seemed like RPG concepts of "leveling up", or collecting items to progress and gaining new moves was the new trend in game design. As it turns out, I owned all of these games and this trend has become something that I actually treasure quite a bit. How fitting is it that a Zelda game fell in to that era, and managed to be one of the best examples of it done well?
The crazy thing is, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link is almost universally panned and disregarded by core Zelda fans. A permanent outlier in the pantheon of the Zelda series. Is this because it too closely tell in to this one unique zeitgeist of gaming concepts? The 1987\1988 interpretation of games?
In any case, Zelda 2: the Adventure of Link is not genuinely just my favourite Zelda game, but it is also genuinely one of my favourite games of all time. And I am not alone in thinking this. The Zelda 2 fan base is very very adamant. For a lot of people, this is "our" Zelda game.
The natural follow up to Contra would be to play the direct sequel, Super C! This is a much harder game in my opinion, and a game that I have a lot less experience with. Needless to say, I have also beaten this game without dying at one point in my past. But it has probably been close to 15 years since that was the case.
Without question, the two NES Contra games have some of the best control on the system, and they absolutely reward a dedicated button masher for their abilities. It's the perfect balance of skill, technique and endurance. Fun games to test your might!