The Legend of Zelda: The Anatomy of: The Book

…The Ride: The Book: Etc. The latest in the GameSpite Journal series has just body-checked the Blurb store with two available versions: Hardcover and paperback. As usual. Like The Anatomy of Castlevania Vol. I, this edition is the larger 10×8″ landscape format and isn’t available in black and white, so the price is a little […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: XIV. In Conclusion

I won’t lie: Zelda II surprised me. Based on my vague memories of being stumped by its obscure clues and opaque design for weeks on end as a young teen, and given the fact that its successors have only connected with its design concepts on oblique tangents, along with its general deprecation among gamers… well, […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: XIII. Into the Breach

You know what I miss about games of late? That sense of finality, of crossing some threshold of no return. Say what you will about the ending of Mass Effect 3, but for me its most disappointing aspect was that it lacked a sense of trepidation. You hit a certain point after which you had […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: XII. The Great Palace

I am so glad that you are here with me, here at the end of all things. No, seriously: Check the Zelda timeline. Officially, this is the furthest point ahead in the series’ longest story branch. Future Hyrule, as we’ve seen, is kind of grim. Case in point: The path forward to the end of […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: XI. One last nuisance

While making the trip from the Maze Palace to the Ocean Palace proved to be a snap — basically as simple as walking directly south from one to the other — Zelda II has one final nasty surprise in store for players. The final standard dungeon, the Hidden Palace, is, well, hidden. This should feel […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: IX. Gonna meikyuu sweat

The path to Zelda II‘s fourth dungeon incorporates my absolute least favorite area of the game: The eastern labyrinth. The labyrinth contains a number of key points of interest, including the Labyrinth Palace and a fetch quest item, a small lost child. I don’t know why Link has to rescue the kid; any child capable […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: VIII. Pear-shaped

The midpoint of Zelda II may not have been the smartest break point I could have chosen. Once you make the journey to Hyrule’s eastern continent, the difficulty level spikes dramatically. And it’s not necessarily a good spike. On the contrary, it frequently feels unbalanced and poorly considered.    The random encounters in this half […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II: VII. Combat

We explored Zelda II‘s RPG lineage, but the game properly falls under the category of “action RPG.” Unlike just about other title I can think of that people cram under that term, though, Zelda II really and truly deserves the name. Its structure is straight-up classic RPG, full of fetch quests for NPCs, dungeons to […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II – VI. Pixie Dust

With the Hammer in hand, the road to the third palace is anything but straightforward. On the other hand, neither is it overwhelming. The Hammer effectively makes you lord and master of the western half of Zelda II‘s overworld; you can travel anywhere you like on the western continent with ease. However, reaching the next […]

Anatomy of Zelda II – V. Homecoming

After completing the Swamp Palace, or else just swiping the Glove and streaking past while flipping the finger to the palace’s true objective of returning the crystal to the statue at the end, you embark on what easily stands as one of Adventure of Link‘s strongest sequences: Death Mountain. The Death Mountain portion of the […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II – IV. Swamped

Beyond the big jump that leads to the world beyond Link’s starting area, you’ll find another self-contained region housing another of the game’s palace dungeons. This area is largely submerged by swamps and overgrown by forests; the former are annoying to traverse as Link moves at half-speed on an overworld swamp tile, while random battles […]

The Anatomy of Zelda II – III. Link’s (Dragon) Quest

I forgot to mention it before, but in this series (as in all these Anatomy articles) the overwhelming majority of images you see here have been provided courtesy of Because Rey is rad. The more I play of Zelda II, the more I’m struck by the realization that Nintendo must have been heavily influenced […]