Thought of as a sort of black sheep in the Zelda series, though a good one, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is definitely worth a playthrough even today. Nintendo knows how to market, that has been proven time and time again, though here, those skills were not as well refined. The love for Zelda II came over the years rather than immediately. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link features the well known overhead sequences coupled with side scrolling action scenes that got more complex as the game progressed.
I remember this game quite fondly, it was hard and, to me, more fun than the original. I did not beat this one, the only Zelda game I have beaten is A Link to the Past on Super Nintendo. Looking around the net, I don’t seem to be alone in that regard. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is quite hard, definitely harder than any other NES game I have tried, barring Battletoads of course.
The distinction that Zelda II holds is that in the Zelda timeline, it is the only direct sequel to the original Legend of Zelda. Interesting. It is also closer to being an action RPG than the original. Non Player Characters have a larger role in the game, Link gains levels and the like and continues to use various pieces of equipment in his quest. Just like an action RPG.
In 2012, Nintendo released Zelda II: The Adventure of Link onto the 3DS Virtual Console for all to enjoy. Below are all versions known so far:
Zelda II: Adventure of Link (Original)
Zelda II on 3DS Virtual Console
Zelda II on Wii Virtual Console
Zelda II on Wii U Virtual Console
Classic NES: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (GBA)
Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition (Gamecube)