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Author Topic: Zelda II Redux  (Read 33305 times)

ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #180 on: August 01, 2018, 10:47:51 am »
My editor Sword II manages text and saves pointers accordingly, at least the townfolks part. Bank 3 does have a lot of unused space (12D1 hex, 4817 decimal, 29% of bank total), so you should not have any problem even with the extra lines of text available. However, the original ROM has the text data preceding the pointers table, and the unused space does not follow immediately. If you intend to keep the same number of dialogs, then your pointer table is fine where it is. But the text data itself should be moved, or at least the excess bytes that will surely result from more meaningful speech from townfolks.

That, I'm not sure my editor will cope. Editors that intend to expand stuff should always have some sort of data manager, where pointers to unused space are kept on the side for when new hack data goes over the current limits of the original ROM.

Doesn't Sword II only work on Mac though?
I unfortunately have no means of getting my hands on a Mac computer, only Windows or Linux sadly :/
I guess I will start reworking the whole script manually (Hex editing), with the help of WindHex32 in the meanwhile, just so I can load the TBL I have and see where the text is and what I have, then I'll update the pointers accordingly manually too.

I heard of Cartographer/Atlas but have zero clue as to how they work or how I would use them for such a project.

Why not update the sword on the title screen to match the American box art and the sprites accurate to the artwork?
That could me made down the road, but right now the focus is on the dialogue, once that and the enemies are done I could contemplate such a thing.

ultimaweapon

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #181 on: August 01, 2018, 01:19:38 pm »
Doesn't Sword II only work on Mac though?
I unfortunately have no means of getting my hands on a Mac computer, only Windows or Linux sadly :/
I guess I will start reworking the whole script manually (Hex editing), with the help of WindHex32 in the meanwhile, just so I can load the TBL I have and see where the text is and what I have, then I'll update the pointers accordingly manually too.

I heard of Cartographer/Atlas but have zero clue as to how they work or how I would use them for such a project.
That could me made down the road, but right now the focus is on the dialogue, once that and the enemies are done I could contemplate such a thing.

There are programs that will allow you to emulate a Mac or basically create a virtual Mac environment to where you can use Sword II like VM Ware. That's how I used Sword I.
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ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #182 on: August 01, 2018, 05:55:27 pm »
Trax, you mentioned Bank 3 has a lot of unused space, and in the disassembly I noticed some unused places, but some off them are cut-off by labels which are apparently called in other subroutines.
Are those labels okay to use for new text even if they are labelled and apparently used in other places?

So far I have these four sections as possible candidates for extended text:

0xCBC1-0xD0FA, 0xD144-0xD40C, 0xDD1A-0xE009 and 0xF813-0xFF78.

The last one is the one I used for the PoC for the Rauru's Town text some posts ago.
Repointing the text manually is no issue, I already got the hang of it quite easily and by memory, I just need to make certain that none of these sections are used by some random routine (even though they are all using FF's in there) :v

Are those four sections safe to use for expanded text?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 05:54:32 pm by ShadowOne333 »

ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #183 on: August 08, 2018, 05:59:07 pm »
Okay already repointed and reworked the entire script.
I found just one odd glitch:



As you can see, after the word "LEAVING" there's an odd glitchy symbol instead of what should be a comma.
I looked around in the PPU, and this particular tile is supposed to be tile ID $1C, but I just went through the text in a Hex editor, and there's a $9C in there, which is the tile ID for the comma. And the PPU Viewer does show up the comma as $9C as its tile ID.

Why is that tile appearing instead of the comma?
The text doesn't have $1C anywhere, it's just $9C, so I find it odd that it doesn't print out the comma as it should, and it is instead showing that sprite tile in place of the comma.
I tried putting other values there, but no matter what value I replace instead of the 9 in the 9C, it always prints out tiles from within 0-3. Like it is always either 0C, 1C, 2C or 3C, nothing after the 30 row gets printed out no matter what.


Heck even the TBL in Data Crystal shows that 9C=, so I am REALLY confused xD

BlazeHeatnix

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #184 on: August 09, 2018, 04:21:12 am »
One thing I would appreciate is something that shows exactly how much magic you have remaining. Like 60/100 or whatever. It's hard to judge how much of your bar is enough to use the Life spell for example.

I also strongly urge you to please use caution when rebalancing enemies. The way this patch is right now, the game is already perfectly fair. Ideally, I'd like this hack, if it aims to become the definitive version of the game, to maintain a pinch of fake difficulty, because Zelda II is one of the all-time classic high-tier challenges for the NES. Near-death situations that demand perfection from the player, but a perfection that stems from practice, not memorization or exploiting. Much like Contra, or Dark Souls. Maintaining that element is key to Zelda II's appeal, and just by rewriting the text, adding checkpoints at the start of Palace's, increasing EXP gain and preventing EXP loss, you've eliminated pretty much all of the bullshit Zelda II had to begin with. So going further, please be sure to consider how it affects the game's difficulty and consider alternate patches for those who still prefer the original challenge.  :)

ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #185 on: August 09, 2018, 12:02:35 pm »
One thing I would appreciate is something that shows exactly how much magic you have remaining. Like 60/100 or whatever. It's hard to judge how much of your bar is enough to use the Life spell for example.

I also strongly urge you to please use caution when rebalancing enemies. The way this patch is right now, the game is already perfectly fair. Ideally, I'd like this hack, if it aims to become the definitive version of the game, to maintain a pinch of fake difficulty, because Zelda II is one of the all-time classic high-tier challenges for the NES. Near-death situations that demand perfection from the player, but a perfection that stems from practice, not memorization or exploiting. Much like Contra, or Dark Souls. Maintaining that element is key to Zelda II's appeal, and just by rewriting the text, adding checkpoints at the start of Palace's, increasing EXP gain and preventing EXP loss, you've eliminated pretty much all of the bullshit Zelda II had to begin with. So going further, please be sure to consider how it affects the game's difficulty and consider alternate patches for those who still prefer the original challenge.  :)

To be honest, I think the enemy rebalancing will be very minimal after this.
I think the only changes so far could be those mentioned in the OP, but out of that I don't think I'll be making any more modifications to the enemies, since I think the most annoying stuff about enemies is already out of the way, like the Bubbles, EXP draining and, the Modafokas, and stuff like that.

Enemy changes should be minimal, if maybe none at all after I am done with the script changes.

I just need to figure out what the hell is going on with the comma not appearing so I can release another beta patch.
I already have all of the new text repointed and inserted into the game, it's just that stupid comma. xD

Mister Xiado

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #186 on: August 10, 2018, 05:42:46 am »
Why is that tile appearing instead of the comma?
The text doesn't have $1C anywhere, it's just $9C, so I find it odd that it doesn't print out the comma as it should, and it is instead showing that sprite tile in place of the comma.
I tried putting other values there, but no matter what value I replace instead of the 9 in the 9C, it always prints out tiles from within 0-3. Like it is always either 0C, 1C, 2C or 3C, nothing after the 30 row gets printed out no matter what.


Heck even the TBL in Data Crystal shows that 9C=, so I am REALLY confused xD
I noticed the same issue in Metal Gear. When you pick up the mine detector on the west end of building 1's roof, the electric floor switch panels become borked sprites of the mine detector's pickup sprite. The PPU loads the proper sprites in advance, and as soon as the item is grabbed, seems to load the wrong image thereafter. I wasn't able to locate the spot in the code that messes up the table, so for now, that bug remains in place. The real pain seems to be finding how the game assembles a tile table in the first place. Fixing that would prevent the wrong data from being thrown.
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njosro

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #187 on: August 11, 2018, 11:59:04 am »
Okay already repointed and reworked the entire script.
I found just one odd glitch:



As you can see, after the word "LEAVING" there's an odd glitchy symbol instead of what should be a comma.
I looked around in the PPU, and this particular tile is supposed to be tile ID $1C, but I just went through the text in a Hex editor, and there's a $9C in there, which is the tile ID for the comma. And the PPU Viewer does show up the comma as $9C as its tile ID.

Why is that tile appearing instead of the comma?
The text doesn't have $1C anywhere, it's just $9C, so I find it odd that it doesn't print out the comma as it should, and it is instead showing that sprite tile in place of the comma.
I tried putting other values there, but no matter what value I replace instead of the 9 in the 9C, it always prints out tiles from within 0-3. Like it is always either 0C, 1C, 2C or 3C, nothing after the 30 row gets printed out no matter what.


Heck even the TBL in Data Crystal shows that 9C=, so I am REALLY confused xD

Go to ROM offset F704 and F705 and change the values to EA. Then you'll get a comma. (EA is a NOP instruction which we're using here to overwrite an AND instruction.)

What is happening with the weird character is that it's code ported over from the Japanese version that sometimes had to put those markings above the Japanese characters. There was a certain signal (via bit 7 and bit 6 of the character code to be printed) that specified whether to do this. If the right combo of bit 7 and bit 6 appeared in the character code, then the game would do its special thing, and then AND mask the character code to clear bits 6 and 7. In your case, 9C became 1C.

I figured this out when I was researching a method to add accent support to my Zelda 2 dialog editor. It came in handy after all :)

Trax

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #188 on: August 11, 2018, 08:07:52 pm »
ShadowOne. You are strictly in ROM territory, so you can do whatever you want with the unused space in this bank. There is no special loading process to RAM with text anyway. It's up to you to manage the unused space according to how you intend to expand on certain parts of the ROM. If you think you won't touch the data or code in a specific part, then you can insert your new data right after. But if you have any reasonable doubt, you can leave a few 10s of FF bytes of padding, just in case.

There's one nuance that doesn't appear in my disassembly docs, which I just realized while confirming what I'm writing here. There are actually two tables for dialogue pointers, one for West Hyrule towns and one for East Hyrule towns. This makes 34 (52 decimal) dialogs in West Hyrule and 2E (46 decimal) dialogs in East Hyrule. Maybe you have already figured this out. The West Hyrule pointer is EFBE, and the East Hyrule pointer is F026. These two pointers are in a table at F423.

If you intend to have more than the original 98 text strings, then your pointer tables will have to be moved, because they don't have any unused space right after. They are the elements that can't be broken in multiple parts. It's not a big deal to move them around, since you have plenty of unused space to play with. You just have to change the pointers in the table at F423 accordingly.

As for Njosro, he's right on point about accented characters. The code ported to the American version is fully functional, but the letter codes are never supposed to undergo a change of bits. Since you have no intention to add accented characters support, removing that feature is no big deal. Hats off to Njosro for finding THE byte that lets you do that. :thumbsup:

ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #189 on: August 13, 2018, 10:15:37 am »
Go to ROM offset F704 and F705 and change the values to EA. Then you'll get a comma. (EA is a NOP instruction which we're using here to overwrite an AND instruction.)

What is happening with the weird character is that it's code ported over from the Japanese version that sometimes had to put those markings above the Japanese characters. There was a certain signal (via bit 7 and bit 6 of the character code to be printed) that specified whether to do this. If the right combo of bit 7 and bit 6 appeared in the character code, then the game would do its special thing, and then AND mask the character code to clear bits 6 and 7. In your case, 9C became 1C.

I figured this out when I was researching a method to add accent support to my Zelda 2 dialog editor. It came in handy after all :)
YES!
That's the bit of code that did the trick, indeed!
Now all commas should work properly :)

And with that...

New Beta!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9nvida92kyh5svj/Zelda2Redux.ips?dl=0


This new patch should have all of the text rewritten and repointed.
And I mean ALL of it.
So this one requires quite a bit of playtesting.
From what I've played through the first minutes of the game, it all seems fine so far.
I only found one typo, which I fixed (a lady in Rauru saying "YOUNG FWLLOW" instead of "YOUNG FELLOW")

If anyone finds any other typos or perhaps something odd regarding any text, please let me know and provide an image so that I can see exactly what the error is and fix it asap.
Another thing, for the person that was asking previously about the character limit per row, it's actually 11 characters and not 10 like I thought it was.
11 is the limit before the text starts overflowing out of the text box.

ShadowOne. You are strictly in ROM territory, so you can do whatever you want with the unused space in this bank. There is no special loading process to RAM with text anyway. It's up to you to manage the unused space according to how you intend to expand on certain parts of the ROM. If you think you won't touch the data or code in a specific part, then you can insert your new data right after. But if you have any reasonable doubt, you can leave a few 10s of FF bytes of padding, just in case.

There's one nuance that doesn't appear in my disassembly docs, which I just realized while confirming what I'm writing here. There are actually two tables for dialogue pointers, one for West Hyrule towns and one for East Hyrule towns. This makes 34 (52 decimal) dialogs in West Hyrule and 2E (46 decimal) dialogs in East Hyrule. Maybe you have already figured this out. The West Hyrule pointer is EFBE, and the East Hyrule pointer is F026. These two pointers are in a table at F423.

If you intend to have more than the original 98 text strings, then your pointer tables will have to be moved, because they don't have any unused space right after. They are the elements that can't be broken in multiple parts. It's not a big deal to move them around, since you have plenty of unused space to play with. You just have to change the pointers in the table at F423 accordingly.

As for Njosro, he's right on point about accented characters. The code ported to the American version is fully functional, but the letter codes are never supposed to undergo a change of bits. Since you have no intention to add accented characters support, removing that feature is no big deal. Hats off to Njosro for finding THE byte that lets you do that. :thumbsup:
You mean the point in which both the West Hyrule pointers end and where the East Hyrule ones begin?
If that's so, yeah I did figure it out, I simply made an hex search using the text bank just to be sure those were the correct pointers for East Hyrule.
Besides, they're right next to each other, so no loss there :P
Thanks for jumping in with the clarification though! Really appreciated.

Also, I changed all of the pointers already, and moved a portion of the text to the B8XX bank.
I wrote all the text right next to each other, so perhaps I should've followed your advice of leaving some bytes in between each line, but I managed to fit all that I wanted nicely :)
I struggled with like a couple pair of sentences, but they came up pretty good at the end.
I noticed even the pointer for the Dragon Quest reference is there, but apparently never called in-game.



Anyway, to anyone who wants to give this new test patch a try, please do so and let me know how it goes!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 10:27:29 am by ShadowOne333 »

Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #190 on: August 13, 2018, 11:21:11 am »
Just updated to the new beta and was curious what the new introductory text after the title screen had to say. I also am noting a couple other issues I came across in the first two towns

https://imgur.com/yLOMpKK

A couple issues jumped out at me. I don't think casting a spell "in" someone makes sense. Also the line "another princess Zelda" confused me. I checked into it online and there are theories apparently that this Zelda is different than the one in the original Legend of Zelda. Those seem kinda fringe though, with most people considering Zelda II to be a direct sequel to the first with the same princess Zelda. I checked the original English text and these issues were not present.

https://imgur.com/a/Nz2mB0v

For this text, I found "balance the three levels" to be overly cryptic. Is he talking about the triforce? I think clarification would be in order, even if the comment is designed to be a little cryptic.

https://imgur.com/a/NP1BIaM

Clearly a typo with the missing space between keys and in

Btw, I haven't played this beta since the beginning of this thread, and the difference in quality of how you rendered the life bar hearts between then and now is spectacular. Bravo!  :woot!:
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 11:37:39 am by Chicken Knife »

Shade Aurion

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #191 on: August 13, 2018, 11:39:06 am »
Yeah that title text is a bit sketchy. It would be more accurate if it were along the lines of:

Some time after the fall of Ganon,
a wizard appeared and cast a sleeping
spell upon Princess Zelda. Impa told
Link the only way to break the spell
was to find the Triforce of Courage.

If you had extra characters you could mention the Great Palace, the Prince, the death of the King, etc

ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #192 on: August 13, 2018, 11:54:35 am »
I agree, actually I've been thinking about the intro quite a bit in the last few days.
The whole "Another Zelda" stuff is really sketchy, I also believe it would work better if it was the same Zelda, why the hell would they have another Zelda somewhere else?

Here's what the japanese translation says for that part:

Quote from: Japanese intro
SEVERAL YEARS AFTER GANNON
WAS DESTROYED,LINK LEARNS
FROM IMPA ABOUT THE ANOTH-
ER SLEEPING PRINCESS ZELDA.
HE IS TOLD SHE CAN ONLY
AWAKEN WITH THE NO.3 TRY-
FORCE SEALED IN THE GREAT
SANCTUARY AT DISVALLEY. TO
REMOVE THE SEAL, CRYSTALS
MUST BE EMBEDDED INTO A
STONE STATUE STANDING IN
6 SANCTUARIS.
LINK SETS OUT ON AN
ADVENTUROUS QUEST…
©1987 NINTENDO

Perhaps I could simply remove the "ANOTHER" reference and keep it simply as the same Zelda from Zelda I, like this:

Quote from: New possible intro text
AFTER GANON WAS DESTROYED,
IMPA TOLD LINK ABOUT A
SLEEPING SPELL CAST BY A
WIZARD TO PRINCESS ZELDA.

As for extra space, I sadly don't have much to work with.
At most I can add like 20 more characters and I'll be hitting the limit for the intro text, so I don't think I can add that much info into it, the way I managed to fit everything was just enough to make it look perfectly readable and not as cramped up as the original.

Oh and the "three levels" thing refers to the actual three levels of the game: Life, Magic and Attack.

------------------------------------------------

EDIT: Patch updated to address the points made by Chicken Knife and Shade Aurion.
Same link. :)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 12:10:15 pm by ShadowOne333 »

Shadic

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #193 on: August 13, 2018, 12:20:51 pm »
It's canon that Zelda in Zelda II is in fact different than the Zelda from the first game, though. The manual and Hyrule Historia explicitly state as much.

Rewriting that because it's not convenient to explain in the introduction... Doesn't seem like a good reason at all.

Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #194 on: August 13, 2018, 12:21:49 pm »
I like your revision, but I think it would be more proper to render "sleeping spell cast by a wizard on princess Zelda"

Same number of characters

As for the three levels thing, maybe I'm the only one who was confused by that text but maybe not.

Not sure if you have space, but something like "balance your three attributes" would have made it immediately clear

Also, I've looked into it further and Shadic is right. This was a different Zelda from ages prior who has long been asleep. The only thing going against this narrative is the incorrect original translation. I agree with maintaining accuracy to the story even if it's confusing
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 12:41:43 pm by Chicken Knife »

ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #195 on: August 13, 2018, 12:41:04 pm »
@Shadic's right, both the manual and Historia do mention this.
The Zelda seen in Zelda II is actually an ancestor of the one in Zelda I.
The whole story mentions why all female descendants are named Zelda too.

So the way I might tackle this is that I will try to rework the intro in a way that says that Impa told Link about the sleeping spell put in an ancestor of princess Zelda (the original Zelda) but how I will rework the intro is still something I'm not sure of.

I will give this a bit of a thought during the week and see what I can come up with.
If anyone else has suggestions as well for this, be sure to drop them by!
The current limit per row in the intro is around 28 characters, with 14 lines to work with (15th is reserved for the "@1987 Nintendo" copyright text).

Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #196 on: August 13, 2018, 12:46:17 pm »
Sounds like the right approach to the intro ShadowOne333.

One other thing: have you thought at all about separating the patches that reduce game difficulty from the rest of the aesthetic and textual improvements?

As I play this, I find myself a little nostalgic for the original difficulty, especially in the fact that I never run out of magic now between the reduced consumption rates and the higher potion drop rates. I agree that the game was overall on the punishing side and this version is probably the ideal way for new players to tackle the game. But as someone who grew up with the original difficulty and mastered it, I find myself sorta longing for that challenge.

* Update to this comment: while I still think choices are good, I definitely find the game to still have a healthy challenge and as I have now gone through the 5th palace. I think the main difference is you don't have to spend time grinding xp to up your ability levels. Overall, I think I will be playing this version's difficulty.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 07:56:10 pm by Chicken Knife »

ultimaweapon

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #197 on: August 13, 2018, 02:07:31 pm »
How about if you did the intro something like this that would definitely fit:

AFTER GANON WAS DESTROYED,
IMPA INFORMED LINK THAT A
SLEEP SPELL WAS CAST ON AN 
ANCESTOR OF PRINCESS ZELDA.
SHE CAN ONLY BE AWAKEN WITH
THE POWER OF THE TRIFORCE OF
COURAGE SEALED IN THE GREAT
PALACE. TO REMOVE THE SEAL,
CRYSTALS MUST BE PLACED IN
STATUES IN 6 WELL GUARDED
PALACES.
LINK SET OUT ON HIS MOST   
ADVENTURESOME QUEST YET...
Trust in the Heart of the Cards

Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #198 on: August 13, 2018, 05:51:17 pm »
https://imgur.com/a/d6bL1m5

I find this text in Nabooru problematic because it's posed as a question when it's not a question.

I DREW SOME WATER would make more sense and match the way this was handled in Saria when you picked up the mirror from under the table

https://imgur.com/a/0KS6R8z

This is the text from the lady in Darunia who wants you to save her child. It all came out mangled for some reason.

https://imgur.com/a/nW9XF3G

After bringing back the child to the same lady, she invites you to "COME TO MY HOUSE". Sounds awkward when you are standing directly in front of her house. I'd change it to COME IN MY HOUSE

This isn't a text issue, but the following has always felt off to me. When you are walking down a road and knock out a rock with the hammer and walk over the tile, it always triggers a monster encounter. It's just a small annoyance if anything, but I feel like beneath the bolder should be treated the same as the road tiles. Would be a cool little thing to fix if you agree and the programming was easy.

Something that seems to be a minor glitch: on two occasions when battling enemies I saw the HUD information on top of the screen quickly flash with alternating screens of garbage characters. It only lasted a second or two on each occasion. I was unable to do a screen grab in both cases.

Another issue: I just received my seventh spell in the hidden forest town and I see that it still has the hilariously inept original English name of "SPELL". I have to shake my head being reminded of how incredibly terrible our localizations were in the mid to late eighties. I'm curious what the translation of the Japanese is here. Needless to say, I think any name for this spell would be better than SPELL.

Another small thing that always annoyed me: the orange lizalfos gives you 150xp. The red lizalfos is stronger (takes an extra hit to kill) but only gives 100xp. It's the only instance I can think of where the xp doesn't match an enemy type's difficulty progression. I would switch them.

*Update: I finished my playthrough. During my trek through the great palace it was a bit odd that the king bubble enemies did not appear where they were supposed to. I didn't see any of them on my trip and I'm pretty sure I knew where they should have shown up. Also, while there was nothing explicitly wrong, the end game text where Zelda thanks you for saving Hyrule comes across to me as super generic. I'm not sure what I would do with it exactly, but it just doesn't have any of the mystery or epicness I would expect from a Zelda game's closing scene. Felt like one of those old school "thank you for playing" kind of endings.

Overall though, I had a wonderful time going this through. As I said in a post above, I didn't have to grind at all and the difficulty was just right. My power levels capped out at the end of the sixth palace just when they should have. With a few little things yet to be fixed, you have put together an amazing version of the game that addresses everybody's gripes and brings out how brilliant this really was for its time. I eagerly await making another run of the final product!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 10:55:57 pm by Chicken Knife »

Shade Aurion

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #199 on: August 13, 2018, 11:47:56 pm »
A lot of details can be added to NPC lines of text in towns and such throughout the game. Hell, you could even add a sprite for Impa beside Zelda to detail things a bit more. I'd just try and keep the basics. Mention the wizard casting the sleeping spell, mention the prince. Hell you could even add a Prince sprite to the King's grave to explain the wizard took him over.

It's canon that the wizard dies but this could be easily explained away by it fulfilling it's purpose in putting a sleeping curse on Zelda and it being Agahnim or the Shadow of Ganon. The latter being a better option as the Shadow could later morph into Shadow Link.

I'd really consider spreading the story out across NPCs too so you can add more detail, stay canon yet take some liberties.