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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Zelda II box art.jpg
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Release date Family Computer Disk System:
Japan January 17, 1987
Nintendo Entertainment System
USA October 11, 1988[1] / December 1, 1988[2]
Europe 1988
Game Boy Advance
Japan August 10, 2004
USA October 25, 2004
Europe January 7, 2005
Virtual Console (Wii)
Japan January 23, 2007
Europe February 9, 2007
Australia February 9, 2007
USA June 4, 2007
South Korea March 31, 2009
Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program:
Japan August 31, 2011
USA August 31, 2011
Europe September 1, 2011
Australia September 1, 2011
Virtual Console (Nintendo 3DS):
Japan June 6, 2012
Europe September 13, 2012
Australia September 13, 2012
USA November 22, 2012
South Korea May 4, 2016
Virtual Console (Wii U):
Japan September 11, 2013
USA September 12, 2013
Europe September 26, 2013
Australia September 26, 2013
Genre(s) Action role-playing, platform
Console(s) Family Computer Disk System
Nintendo Entertainment System
Game Boy Advance
Virtual Console (Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U)
Mode(s) Single player

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, also formatted as Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, is the second installment of The Legend of Zelda series and a direct follow-up of The Legend of Zelda. It was first released in Japan for the Family Computer Disk System in 1987, and about one year later, in 1988, saw an overseas release on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Unlike the previous game, it was not re-released for Family Computer in Japan. It is the only game of the main series whose title does not start with The Legend of Zelda, although it is referred to as The Legend of Zelda 2 in Japan.

The gameplay of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is vastly different from its predecessor, as it primarily features role-playing elements and side-scrolling areas. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link had less of an influence on the series than the first game, as its gameplay style and features such as experience points and lives were not reused in subsequent installments of the main series. This is comparable to the Western Super Mario Bros. 2 of the Super Mario series.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link introduced some recurring elements, such as Shadow Link, villages and towns, and MAGIC points. Two of the Philips CD-i spinoffs, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, are more based on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link than the first The Legend of Zelda.


The story as told from the title screen

Several years after Ganon's defeat, the now-16-year-old Link discovers a strange mark on the back of his left hand, in the exact shape of the crest of Hyrule. Link seeks out Impa, who takes him to the North Castle, where a door has been magically sealed for generations. Impa places the back of Link's left hand on the door, and it opens. Inside the room is a sleeping maiden, whom Impa tells Link is Princess Zelda; she is different from the Zelda that Link rescued in his previous adventure.

This Princess Zelda was the princess of Hyrule from long ago and the origin behind the "Legend of Zelda". Long ago, Zelda's brother, the prince, attempted to force her to reveal their recently deceased father's secrets concerning the Triforce. Zelda refused to reveal the Triforce's location, and in an act of retaliation, the prince's confidant, the magician, angrily used a spell to strike Zelda down. She fell under a powerful sleeping spell; with an inability to control the magic, the magician got killed. The prince, unable to reverse the spell, felt a lot of remorse and placed Zelda in the castle tower, hoping that one day she would be awakened. In remembrance of the tragedy, the prince decreed that every subsequent princess born into the royal family would bear the name, Zelda.

Impa explains to Link that the mark on his hand means that he is the hero chosen to awaken Zelda. She provides Link with a chest containing six crystals and ancient writings that only a great future king of Hyrule can read. Link finds that he can read the document, even though he has never seen the language before; it indicates that the crystals must be set into statues within six palaces scattered across Hyrule. By doing so, a path will open to the Great Palace, which contains the Triforce of Courage. Zelda can only be awakened by combining the three Triforce parts. Meanwhile, as Link goes on his adventure, Ganon's followers seek to kill Link, as sprinkling his blood on Ganon's ashes will revive him.

Ultimately, Link restores the crystals to the six palaces and enters the Great Palace. After venturing deep inside, Link battles a flying creature known as Thunderbird, followed by his shadow doppelgänger. After defeating both bosses, Link claims the Triforce of Courage and returns to Zelda. The three triangles unite into the collective Triforce, and Link successfully wishes to awaken Zelda. The game ends as they (presumably) kiss behind a falling curtain.


Link exploring the land map, the only area with the original game's top-down perspective

While not an RPG, a few staples of the genre appeared in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, including strategic combat against enemies, an experience points feature, magic spells, and more dialogue from non-playable characters, more specifically, the town folk. Not including the Philips CD-i titles, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the first and only game of The Legend of Zelda series to feature lives, and Link starts his adventure with three lives. Link starts his adventure at the North Castle, and by losing all three lives, the Game Over screen is displayed, and Link must restart at the palace.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link plays out in a two-mode dynamic. The overworld (known as the "land map") is still shown from a top-down perspective, but it now serves as a hub to the other areas. Whenever Link enters an area such as a town or dungeon, the game switches to a side-scrolling perspective, which is used for most of the game. As Link traverses around the various environments of the land map, a few enemy silhouettes randomly appear on-screen. The small blobs denote easier enemies (such as Bots) and the monsters denote harder enemies, such as Geldarm. By walking into an enemy, Link appears in a side-scrolling area where he can battle enemies in exchange for experience points. He can exit back into the land map from either side of the screen. Link may sometimes encounter a fairy, which directs him to a single-screen location where a fairy refills his health.

With the exception of traveling across lava and water, the side-scrolling view is the only mode where Link can take damage from enemies and hazards. The environment and its enemies that Link encounters correspond to his current location on the land map.

Link attacking a Bot in a side-scrolling battle area

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has a more complex combat system than its predecessor. Armed with a Magical Sword and Magical Shield, Link must alternate between standing and kneeling positions to attack enemies and defend himself. For example, Link can only defeat Stalfos by kneeling, because Stalfos holds a shield to protect its upper half. Link also has the ability to jump, allowing him to attack tall and airborne enemies and to avoid some attacks. Link can eventually learn the Downward Thrust and Jump Thrust techniques from swordsmen.

Link can obtain experience points by defeating enemies. When Link reaches a certain number of points, a window appears on-screen, giving the player the option to upgrade either his ATTACK, MAGIC, or LIFE. All three elements of power can be upgraded to a maximum of eight levels. Each element requires a different number of experience points for leveling up, and if the player does not have sufficient experience points toward the desire element, they can exit from the menu and continue obtaining more points to later spend toward another element. Selecting the ATTACK element increases Link's sword power, the MAGIC element decreases the number of points that he uses on spells, and increasing the LIFE element decreases how much damage Link receives when hit.

Link begins the game with four Heart Containers and four Magic Containers and can acquire up to four more of each item. When the player ends or saves a game, the cartridge records Link's current ability levels and the number of experience points required for the next increase, but his accumulated points are reset to zero.

Like other games in The Legend of Zelda series, Link must still collect several items in order to progress. These special items grant abilities which either remain in permanent use for the rest of the game or can only be activated from the land map. In place of actively used items, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link features eight types of magic that Link can use in battle against enemies. Each spell is learned from a different wise man in one of the eight towns within Hyrule. Link often has to complete side-quests, such as retrieving lost items, in order to get a wise man to teach spells to him. Some spells and items are necessary for advancing in the game.

After completing the game, the player can start a second quest from the same file, which is marked with a Triforce when completed. The second quest is mostly the same as the first one except Link retains his skill level, sword techniques, and experience points from the first quest.


Main characters[edit]

Sprite Name Description
FCDS NES FCDS, shield NES, shield FCDS, dark NES, dark fairy Link He is the main character, and he goes on an adventure to find the Triforce of Courage and awaken Zelda.
Zelda ZII sprite.png Princess Zelda Hyrule's princess from long ago, Zelda was cast into eternal slumber by a magician.

Supporting characters[edit]

Sprite Name Description
TAoL Acheman town.png Acheman A passive sleepy bat that gives Link a hint on where to find a Heart Container if bothered enough.
Bagu ZII sprite.png Bagu A man who stays in a retreat in the woods and is friends with the river man.
Bot purple ZII sprite.png Bot A sleepy slime who is squatting at Bagu's house in Saria Town.
FCDS NES Child A young child kidnapped from Darunia Town by a Gēru and taken to Maze Island.
Error ZII sprite.png Error A secretive man who knows the path to the Island Palace
Medicine woman ZII sprite.png Old woman Restores Link's MAGIC points if followed inside.
FCDS River Man ZII sprite.png River man Guards the bridge to Death Mountain in Saria Town.
FCDS NES River Devil Blocks the entrance of the valley south of Nabooru until the flute is played.
Triforce Keeper ZII sprite.png Sage Holds the Triforce of Courage in the Great Palace.
FCDS NES NES Swordsmen Teach Link new sword techniques if found.
Bagu ZII sprite.png Error ZII sprite.png Woman red ZII sprite.png Woman purple ZII sprite.png
Woman red ZII sprite 2.png Woman purple ZII sprite 2.png Old Woman red ZII sprite.png Old Woman purple ZII sprite.png
NES-only NES-only NES-only NES-only
NES-only NES-only
Town folk As their name implies, town folk can be found in towns and villages, where they would usually provide advice to Link for his journey.
Wise Man ZII sprite.png Wise men Teach Link new spells when found.


These characters are mentioned in the backstory from the game's instruction manual.

Name Description
Ganon Defeated in Link's previous adventure, Ganon is revived if Link gets a game over.
Impa Gives Link his quest after explaining the tragedy of Princess Zelda.
King A wise king who ruled Hyrule to a golden age with the Triforce and created the palaces to ensure only the worthy may obtain it.
Prince The king's son who pursued the Triforce until Zelda was put to sleep.
Magician A former advisor to the king who cursed Zelda to sleep forever due to her refusal to disclose the Triforce's location, at the cost of his own life.


Some of the enemies in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link take advantage of the four palette slots available on the sprite layer to give them up to three different color variations, as the fourth is Link's palette. The remaining palettes are an orange palette for the weakest enemies, a red palette for medium-strength enemies, and a blue palette for the stronger enemies. In towns, the white values in the red and blue palettes are changed to tan, with the blue instead being purple to work for the townspeople. The few enemies that appear in towns also have these color changes, but are otherwise the same entities. The red and blue palettes also have minor value changes between other locations, notably whether the darkest shade is black (for light-backgrounded areas) or a dark red/blue (for dark backgrounded areas). The middle shade of blue varies, with palaces typically having a deep blue and other areas usually having a light cyan. Before Link has the Candle, enemies with the red or blue palettes appear fully black when in caves, with the orange palette being unaffected. The orange palette is the only palette to stay the same throughout the game. Additionally, artwork for the orange enemies generally depicts them as yellow, indicating they were intended as yellow but shown as orange due to the NES's inability to display a "true" yellow.

Additionally, in the NES release, some weak enemies can steal experience points; these are usually infinitely respawning defensively weak enemies. Some stronger enemies were given a resistance to normal attacks, necessitating the Fire magic to damage them.

Sprite Name Description
Light area Dark area Town Ache Blue bats that swoop down from ceilings, like Keese. Some disguise themselves as town folk, and will change back and attack if spoken to.
Light area Light area Dark area Dark area Acheman Red Aches that turn into a fire-spitting demon when they hit the ground.
Aruroda ZII sprite.png Aruroda Scorpions with fireball-shooting stingers that can only be attacked when their one eye is open.
Light area Dark area Palace Bago-Bago Fish skeletons that leap out from under bridges and then slide along them. The ones in the Great Palace spit fireballs instead of rocks.
Light area Dark area Bit Simple slimes with a single hit point.
Boon ZII sprite.png Boon Rock-dropping flies.
Boss Bot ZII sprite.png Boss Bot A large Bot in the Great Palace that splits into five normal-sized ones.
Light area Dark area Palace Palace alternate Palace alternate Bot Tougher versions of Bits. In the Great Palace, ones with even more health can be found.
Bubble ZII sprite.png Bubble Burning skulls that fly around the room.
Daira ZII sprite.png Red, light area Red, dark area Daira Axe-wielding crocodiles. The red ones can throw theirs.
Deeler red ZII sprite.png Deeler blue ZII sprite.png Deeler Small spiders that live in treetops. The red ones will simply dangle from webs, while the blue ones will land and jump along the ground.
Palace Palace alternate (FCDS-only) Doomknocker An armored enemy who throws a mace like a boomerang.
Eagle Knight red ZII sprite.png Eagle Knight blue ZII sprite.png Eagle Knight A leaping bird warrior found in the Great Palace.
Fiery Moa ZII sprite.png Fiery Moa A Moa that flies along the top of the screen, dropping fireballs.
Geldarm ZII sprite.png Geldarm A tall centipede that shrinks down when attacked.
Geru ZII sprite.png TAoL Geru rock.png Red, light area Red, dark area Blue, light area Blue, dark area Gēru Various strong humanoid lizards. Orange ones wield spears, while red and blue ones wield maces, with the latter throwing theirs. Red ones can also hide behind tall walls and throw rocks.
Giant Bubble ZII sprite.png Giant Bubble A large counterpart to Bubbles that splits into two normal-sized bubbles when attacked enough.
Light area Dark area Girubokku A floating eye that can only be damaged when it opens.
Goriya ZII sprite.png Red, light area Red, dark area Blue, light area Blue, dark area Goriya Mustachioed wolves who throw boomerangs in various ways.
Guma ZII sprite.png Gūma A bull that tosses an endless amount of flails, and is also able to jump.
Iron Knuckle ZII sprite.png Iron Knuckle red ZII sprite.png Iron Knuckle blue ZII sprite.png Ironknuckle Strong, knife-wielding knights found in palaces. The blue ones can throw theirs.
Leever ZII sprite.png Leever A spinning plant that burrows out from the sand.
Light area Dark area Lowder Aggressive pill bugs that charge at Link on sight.
Mago ZII sprite.png Māgo Witches that cast fire magic in front of them.
Mau ZII sprite.png Mau Flying, fire-spitting wolf gargoyles.
Light area Dark area Megmat Small, leaping armadillos.
Moa red ZII sprite.png Blue, light area Blue, dark area Blue, town Moa Ghostly eyes that fly around erratically. The blue ones are invisible without the aide of a cross.
Moby ZII sprite.png Moby Birds that fly slowly downwards, charging forward when on Link's level.
Molblin ZII sprite.png Red, light area Red, dark area Blue, light area Blue, dark area Molblin Spear-wielding bulldog-like devils common in forests. One type of orange Molblin charges at Link in endless amounts, while other Molblins, orange and otherwise attack in more sophisticated ways with their spears.
Dark area Palace Myu Spiky blue slimes that require the Downward Thrust to defeat.
Red, light area Red, dark area Blue, light area Blue, palace (FCDS-only) Octorok Jumping, rock-spitting octopuses, some of which walk forward.
Parutamu red ZII sprite.png Parutamu blue ZII sprite.png Parutamu Stalfos with armor on their upper bodies, protecting them from the Downward Thrust.
Ra blue ZII sprite.png Ra red ZII sprite.png Dragon gargoyles that fly forward in a swooping pattern, typically around ledges. Orange ones are unique to the Great Palace.
NES-only Aneru red ZII sprite.png Rope Large-headed snakes that spit fire or rocks. The rock-spitting blue one is unique to NES releases, replacing dungeon-based Octoroks.
Soprano ZII sprite.png Soprano A fire-spitting harpy in the Great Palace.
Stalfos red ZII sprite.png Stalfos blue ZII sprite.png Stalfos A version of the Stalfos from the previous game that uses a shield, but does not protect its head or feet.
Tektite ZII sprite.png Tektite A hopping spider enemy.
Wizard ZII sprite.png Wizard Wizzrobe-like spellcasters that cannot be damaged by the Magical Sword.
Wosu ZII sprite.png Wōsu Weak wolf-like creatures that simply run forward.
Light area Dark are Zola Crawling fish people that occasionally get on their hind legs to breath a fireball.


Sprite Name Description
FCDS NES Barrier Blocks the entrance to the Great Palace until the other six palaces are completed.
Collapsing bridge Crumbles under Link's feet as he crosses.
TAoL drop red.png TAoL drop blue.png FCDS-only Drop Drip from statues along the ceiling. The blue ones turn into Bots.
FCDS NES NES Drop maker Spawn an endless stream of drops.
FCDS-only TAoL falling block 2.png NES-only NES-only Falling block Fall endlessly from the ceiling to hit Link's head and block his progress by stacking up.
TAoL fire obstacle.png Fireball Holds still atop its block brazier, but still causes damage.
TAoL Mau mounted 2.png NES-only Mau Fires energy bolts at Link from the east walls.
FCDS-only TAoL Ra mounted 2.png NES-only NES-only Fires energy bolts at Link from the west walls.
TAoL rising bubble.png Rising bubble Rise endlessly from the bottom of the screen in certain coastal areas.
TAoL rock.png Rock Blow around the deserts in large amounts.


Sprite Name Palace Description
Horsehead ZII sprite.png Horsehead Parapa Palace A tall reverse centaur that can only by attacked on his unarmored head. His only attack is to swing a mace. In the Family Computer Disk System version, he returns as a miniboss at the Palace on the Sea.
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Helmet 1 Helmet 2 Helmethead Midoro Palace A tall knight with two fire-breathing helmets that must be removed with repeated attacks before his real head appears.
Phase 1 Phase 2 Rebonack Island Palace A blue Ironknuckle on a fast-moving floating horse statue, which he dismounts after enough damage. He later appears multiple times as a miniboss in the Three-Eye Rock Palace.
FCDS NES Carock Maze Island Palace A quick Wizzrobe that can only be damaged by returning his own magic.
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Helmet 1 Helmet 2 Jermafenser II Palace on the Sea (FCDS) A stronger version of Helmethead unique to Japanese releases of the game.
Gooma ZII sprite.png Gooma Palace on the Sea (NES) A strong and durable flail-wielding troll unique to western releases of the game.
FCDS NES Barba Three-Eye Rock Palace A lengthy fire-breathing dragon that must be attacked in the head.
Phase 1 Phase 2 Thunderbird Great Palace An enormous flying creature that must first be weakened by Thunder before it can be attacked.
Shadow Link ZII sprite.png Link's Shadow Great Palace A dark doppelganger of Link formed from his shadow and capable of his sword attacks.


Many of the items are not used as weapons, and rather are used to directly assist Link during his adventure; a handful of the items are used from the land map. The Magical Sword and Magical Shield is Link's main and only tangible weapon. However, the game introduces magic, which consists of some spells that Link can use to attack or defeat enemies, if he has enough MAGIC points.

Common pickups[edit]

These items appear as random drops.

Sprite Name Description
Blue, light area Blue, dark area Blue, palace Blue, palace alternate Blue, palace alternate Red, light area Red, dark area Red, palace Magic Jar Magic Jars replenish Link's MAGIC. Blue ones only restore a portion, while red ones replenish MAGIC entirely.
Treasure Bag ZII sprite.png Treasure Bag Link can collect Treasure Bags to obtain more experience points.

Rare pickups[edit]

A limited amount of these can be found in a few places.

Sprite Name Description
Normal Shield magic active Doll These items give an extra life to Link.
TAoL fairy.png Fairy Rare sprites that replenish Link's health on contact.
Heart Container ZII sprite.png Heart Container When Link collects a Heart Container, it adds another bar to his health meter.
Key ZII sprite.png Key Each key opens a locked door in a palace.
Magic Container ZII sprite.png Magic Container When Link collects a Magic Container, it adds another square to his MAGIC.


These items are mostly palace treasures and help Link in various ways.

Sprite Name Description
Boots ZII sprite.png Boots This item allows Link to walk across certain bodies of water in the overworld. It is found in the Maze Island Palace.
Candle ZII sprite.png Candle The candle illuminates dark areas, such as caves, allowing Link to see in them. It is found in Parapa Palace.
Cross ZII sprite.png Cross Allows Link to see invisible enemies. It is found in the Three-Eye Rock Palace.
Flute ZII sprite.png Flute Link must use the flute to defeat the River Devil and again later to enter Three-Eye Rock Palace. It is found in the Palace on the Sea.
Hammer ZII sprite.png Hammer Destroys boulders and cuts down trees. It is found in Spectacle Rock.
Handy Glove ZII sprite.png Handy Glove Increases the strength of the Magical Sword, allowing it to break certain blocks found in the palaces. It is found in Midoro Palace.
Magical Key ZII sprite.png Magic Key A key that can unlock any door. It is found in the Hidden Town of Kasuto.
Raft ZII sprite.png Raft The raft allows Link to sail across the water dividing west and east Hyrule. It is found in the Island Palace.

Quest items[edit]

These items are found and returned as part of quests to earn spells.

Sprite Name Description
FCDS NES Child A kidnapped child who Link must rescue and return to a town folk in the Mountain Town of Darunia.
Mirror This unseen item is found under a table in the Water Town of Saria and is given to a nearby woman.
FCDS NES Trophy A missing item that Link must obtain in a cave at Tantari Desert and then give to a woman in the Town of Ruto.
Water This unseen item is taken from the fountain in Nabooru and given to a nearby woman.
FCDS NES Water of Life Found in a cave west of Midoro Palace, Link must give the Water of Life to an elderly woman in the Harbor Town of Mido so that her sick daughter can be healed.

Plot items[edit]

These are items that relate to palace completion.

Sprite Name Description
TAoL crystal.png TAoL crystal.png TAoL crystal.png
TAoL crystal.png TAoL crystal.png TAoL crystal.png
Crystals Six crystals Link begins the game with. He must return each to a stone statue in each palace to open the Great Palace.
TAoL Triforce piece.png Triforce of Courage Link's main goal in the game, hidden deep within the Great Palace.


Sprite Name Description
TAoL block 1.png TAoL block 2.png NES-only NES-only NES-only NES-only TAoL block 7.png Block Keep Link from progressing unless he uses the Handy Glove to break them.
TAoL Ra mounted 1.png FCDS-only TAoL Ra mounted 2.png FCDS-only NES-only NES-only
NES-only NES-only NES-only TAoL Ra mounted 7.png TAoL Mau mounted 7.png
Stone statue (Rā and Mau) Decorate palace walls and sometimes give a red Magic Jar when struck.
TAoL Ironknuckle statue outside 1.png TAoL Ironknuckle statue inside 1.png NES-only TAoL Ironknuckle statue inside 2.png NES-only NES-only
NES-only NES-only NES-only NES-only NES-only NES-only TAoL Eagle Knight statue.png
Stone statue (Ironknuckle and Eagle Knight) Decorate palaces and may give a red Magic Jar when struck, buy may also give a red version of the respective enemy.
TAoL stone statue 1.png Stone statue (goal) Six statues that the crystals must be returned to to enter the Great Palace.
TAoL elevator.png Elevator Lets Link travel between floors in palaces and certain caves.
TAoL locked door.png Locked door Blocks a path until a key is inserted.


Magic is learned from wise men in each town.

Name Description
Shield Boosts Link's defense for a room. It is learned in Rauru.
Jump Allows Link to jump higher and farther for a room. It is learned in the Town of Ruto.
Life Boosts Link's health. It is learned in the Water Town of Saria.
Fairy Turns Link into a fairy for a room, allowing him to fly and avoid knockback, but also be unable to attack or use certain mechanisms. It is learned in the Harbor Town of Mido.
Fire Causes Link to shoot a fireball when he slashes his sword for a room. In Western releases, certain enemies must be beaten this way. It is learned in Nabooru.
Reflect Allows Link's shield to bounce magical projectiles and block heavy or fiery projectiles that normally bypass the shield. It is learned in the Mountain Town of Darunia.
Spell A mysterious magic that opens the way to the Magic Key and turns some enemies into Bots. It is learned in the Hidden Town of Kasuto.
Thunder A powerful spell that causes heavy damage to all on-screen enemies. It is learned in Old Kasuto Town.

Sword techniques[edit]

Link can learn two special sword techniques throughout the game to make gameplay easier. They are taught by swordsmen in different towns.

Name Description
Down Thrust Allows Link to stab downward by holding down while in the air, which lets him attack short enemies, bounce off immune enemies, and destroy blocks below him. It is learned in the Harbor Town of Mido.
Jump Thrust Allows Link to stab upward while in the air, attacking high-up enemies and blocks, especially ones that attempt to fall on him. It is learned in the Mountain Town of Darunia.


The complete map of Hyrule

Like the first game, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link features a land map. It has a different purpose from that of The Legend of Zelda's because Link uses it to travel between towns and landmark areas. The land map is divided into Western Hyrule and Eastern Hyrule, and the map has six main different landscapes where Link fights enemies: Plains, Cave, Desert, Forest, Swamp, and Graveyard.

Link always starts the game in the North Castle, which is where Princess Zelda lays asleep.

Map landscapes[edit]

Sprite Name Description
TAoL tile bridge.png Barge Bridge Bridges which almost always indicate an encounter. Bago-Bagos are very common.
TAoL tile boulder.png Boulder Blocks progress unless smashed with the hammer, at which point the tile functions as desert.
TAoL tile cave.png Cave Passages that are dark until the candle is obtained.
TAoL tile sand.png Desert Usually appearing on coastal areas, deserts are often full of flying rocks and burrowing monsters.
TAoL tile forest.png Forest Moderately dark areas that are often full of Deelers.
TAoL tile grave.png Graveyard Haunted areas that contain some of the most dangerous enemies in their respective region.
TAoL tile lava.png Lava A late-game landscape of powerful enemies.
TAoL tile mountain.png Mountain Completely unnavigable walls.
TAoL tile palace.png Palace The game's dungeons, as well as the North Castle.
TAoL tile grass.png Plain Flat areas thaat have relatively weak enemies.
TAoL tile path.png Road The main path. Wild encounters yield a small empty area, but sometimes scripted encounters occur.
TAoL tile water.png Sea/River Acts as a blockade most of the time, but some can be crossed with the Boots. Wild encounters cannot occur here at all.
TAoL tile town.png Town Areas where Link can heal, learn new skills, and find hints.


Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the first game in the series to have towns. With the exception of Kasuto, five of the Sages in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are each named after a town, along with Mido.

Name Description Magic Item Move
Rauru A town around the forests near the North Castle. Shield None
Town of Ruto A town in the mountains near the North Castle. Jump None
Water Town of Saria A riverside town that acts as a gateway to Death Mountain. Life Mirror None
Harbor Town of Mido A town beside the dock leading to the eastern continent. Fairy None Down Thrust
Nabooru The central town of eastern Hyrule. Fire Water None
Mountain Town of Darunia A remote town adjacent to Maze Island that has been infiltrated by Ganon's minions. Reflect None Jump Thrust
Hidden Town of Kasuto An optional town of refugees hidden in a remote forest. Spell Magic Container
Magic Key
Old Kasuto Town An abandoned town overrun by invisible Moas. Thunder None


Palaces are the successor and equivalent to labyrinths from The Legend of Zelda. After defeating the boss, Link places one of the crystals on a statue. The crystals weaken the force preventing Link from entering the Great Palace. Most palaces have a unique item.

Name Description Item Boss
North Castle The starting location, where Princess Zelda sleeps. none
Parapa Palace The first palace, found in Parapa Desert through a cave near the start of the game. Candle ZII sprite.png
Midoro Palace The second palace, found at the end of the Midoro Swamp. Handy Glove ZII sprite.png
Handy Glove
Island Palace The third palace, found on an island accessible from the graveyard surrounding the King's Tomb. Raft ZII sprite.png
Maze Island Palace The fourth palace, found deep within Maze Island. Boots ZII sprite.png
Palace on the Sea The fifth palace, found by using the Boots to walk across the sea from Eastern Hyrule. Flute ZII sprite.png
Horsehead (FCDS)
Jermafenser II (FCDS)
Gooma (NES)
Three-Eye Rock Palace The sixth palace, found by playing the Flute at Three-Eye Rock. Cross ZII sprite.png
Rebonack (three times)
Great Palace The seventh and final palace as well as the final area that Link explores, found at the end of the Valley of Death and only explorable once all the other palaces are beaten. None Thunderbird
Link's shadow

Landmarks and regions[edit]

Name Description
Parapa Desert A small desert containing Parapa Palace.
Tantari Desert Another small desert where a Goriya has sequestered the Trophy.
Midoro Swamp A large marshland containing Midoro Palace.
Death Mountain A maze of caves full of monsters and valleys between them.
Death Mountain Area The setting of the first game where the hammer lays hidden.
Moruge Swamp A marsh where some Dairas have hidden the Water of Life.
The King's Tomb The burial site of the old King of Hyrule and a clue of how to reach the Island Palace.
Port A dock that acts as the sole gateway between the west and east continents.
Maze Island A large island where a Gēru holds the child hostage, as well as the location of the Maze Island Palace.
Three Eye Rocks A group of three mountains that hint the location of the Three-Eye Rock Palace.
Valley of Death A treacherous area that acts as the entry to the Great Palace.


Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to make Zelda II: The Adventure of Link fundamentally different from the first game, The Legend of Zelda. Miyamoto wanted to make a sidescrolling action game that allowed more control over Link's movements, such as up and down attacks and defense.[3] A different team from the first The Legend of Zelda's was recruited to work on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.[4] The team experimented as they produced the game and did not have the first The Legend of Zelda as much in mind. A story for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was made at the end of the game's development.[3]

In a brief retrospective, Miyamoto says that he wishes he did more with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, as a few features could not be implemented due to hardware limitations. Miyamoto wanted to further utilize the transition from an overhead perspective to a sidescrolling view and add larger enemies in the game.[5]

Alternate versions and re-releases[edit]

Gameplay screenshot of Link battling enemies in the Game Boy Advance port
  • 1987 - Original release on the Famicom Disk System (Japan)
  • 1988 - Original release on the Nintendo Entertainment System (North America/Europe/Australia)
  • 1992 - Re-released on the NES as part of the "Classic Series", included on a gray cartridge
  • 2003 - One of the four full games included on the Nintendo GameCube compilation, The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition
  • 2004 - Ported to the Game Boy Advance as a Classic NES Series installment
  • 2007 - Ported to the Virtual Console for the Wii
  • 2011/2012 - Ported on select Nintendo 3DS units as an Ambassador Program title. In 2012, it was widely released as a 3DS Virtual Console title.
  • 2013 - Ported to the Virtual Console for the Wii U
  • 2014 - Included as a Masterpiece in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
  • 2016 - Released as one of the 30 games included on the NES Classic Edition and its Japanese counterpart, Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer.
  • 2019 - Included as a playable title on the Nintendo Switch Online service. A "special save" was also released where Link starts his adventure with his ATTACK, MAGIC, and LIFE at level 8.
  • 2021 - Included on Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda as a playable title

Version differences[edit]

Main article: List of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link version differences
The NES version (pictured right) features an exclusive boss, Gooma, at the Palace on the Sea. In the Famicom Disk System version (pictured left), Link instead fights a stronger version of Helmethead at the location.
The NES version (pictured right) features an exclusive boss, Gooma, at the Palace on the Sea. In the Famicom Disk System version (pictured left), Link instead fights a stronger version of Helmethead at the location.
The NES version (pictured right) features an exclusive boss, Gooma, at the Palace on the Sea. In the Famicom Disk System version (pictured left), Link instead fights a stronger version of Helmethead at the location.

Like the first game, Nintendo had to make some major changes to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link as they ported it to the Nintendo Entertainment System. As the Famicom Disk System has an additional sound chip from the Nintendo Entertainment System, some musical elements were eliminated, especially the title screen theme.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link received a few minor changes on both the The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition compilation and the Classic NES Series port. The "No.3 Triforce" from the title screen intro was changed to read "third Triforce". The copyright date was altered to read "1987–2003 Nintendo" and "1987–2004 Nintendo" for the GameCube and Game Boy Advance ports respectively. The death animation removed the flashing colors to reduce the risk of seizures and replaced it with a solid red color. The text changes were not included in the Virtual Console ports, but the solid red death animation from the two earlier ports was retained.

Some other notable differences between the Famicom Disk System and Nintendo Entertainment System releases include:

  • In the English release, the palaces each have different colors, whereas in the Famicom Disk System version all but the Great Palace are gray outside and in the boss room and either gray or teal for the rest. Additionally, new brickwork tiles were added for all except Parapa Palace and the Great Palace.
  • The two dungeon bosses Carock and Barba have different sprites.
  • The English release added an exclusive boss, Gooma, who is fought at the Palace on the Sea. In the Famicom Disk System release, Link instead fought Helmethead a second time.
  • The Game Over screen of the English release shows a silhouette of Ganon from the chest up, with the text "Game Over/Return of Ganon", and a brief sound effect of evil laughter plays. In the Famicom Disk System, the Game Over screen is in plain black with the text "Return of Ganon/The End"; the message is accompanied by the same audio that plays in the Horsehead and Volvagia boss fights.
  • There are some slight additions to the dungeons, as well as a handful of differences on the dungeons themselves.
  • The music that plays in encounter and passage areas differs between the two versions, with the Famicom Disk System having a short but menacing track that sounds similar to the boss theme, and the Nintendo Entertainment System having a longer, more adventuresome new composition.
  • The overworld icons denoting monsters look different between the Famicom Disk System and Nintendo Entertainment System releases. In the Famicom Disk System release, the overworld monsters are represented by white and blue blobs, whose color denotes the difficulty of the encounter. The white and blue blobs were changed into a black Bit-like icon and a bipedal monster icon respectively.
    • In the Famicom Disk System release, the red blobs represent an encounter with a Fairy. In the Nintendo Entertainment System release, its icon is replaced by a fairy itself.
  • The spending of experience points is entirely different in the Famicom Disk System, as Link's three attributes cost the same, unlike the English release. The game is designed to promote balanced leveling, as the Famicom Disk System's saved game only allows the level attributes to go as high as whatever is set the lowest (e.g. if LIFE is at 5 and ATTACK is at 4, but MAGIC is at 1, then the saved game reflects all attributes as level 1), while still saving the data regarding crystals that have been placed and items that have been collected.


The staff credits, as seen during the ending

Like the first The Legend of Zelda, every person except Hiroshi Yamauchi is listed under a pseudonym. Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka are the only original The Legend of Zelda team members who also developed Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, retaining their role as the producer and the story writer respectively. The music was composed by Akito Nakatsuka instead of Koji Kondo.

Executive Producer:



  • Sugiyen
  • Yamahen


  • Isshin

Sound Composer:

  • Tsukasan

Programmer: (misspelled as "Programer" in the end credits)

  • Morikazu
  • Marumaru
  • Shigechan
  • Nishiyan
  • Nakazoo


For this game's image gallery, see Gallery:Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese リンクの冒険
Rinku no Bōken
The Adventure of Link (subtitled "The Legend of Zelda 2" on the logo)


  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the 100th game released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan.


  1. ^ Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Masterpieces
  2. ^ Rocha, Garitt, and Nick von Esmarch. Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics. Page 170.
  3. ^ a b Zelda II – The Adventure of Link director on how development started, title, difficulty, and more - Nintendo Everything
  4. ^ Superplay Magazine interview (April 2003)
  5. ^ Shigeru Miyamoto's 'Bad' Game - Kotaku