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Zelda 2 Redux

Hack of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Description:

Have you always tried to play through Zelda II and finding out it was either excruciatingly difficulty, unbalanced, too tough or perhaps found that it just has so many quirks that doesn’t make the game enjoyable?

This hack tries to address that by rebalancing the game, making some QoL changes and also some visual flare into the game, without compromising the original game’s design. Be sure to check the full Changelog inside the ReadMe file for the full list of changes made to this hack, and also don’t forget to check the optional patches too!

Check out the full source code for this project in the GitHub repository:

Want to see the full discussion/development of the hack? Follow it on the Romhacking.net thread:


Changelog

  • Changes to the Life Meter HUD: Should have hearts now instead of the old bars it had for a life meter
  • Reworked HUD to be more in-line with other Zelda titles. It also looks much better to the eye now and is more streamlined
  • Added 1/4 heart gauge by IcePenguin. Now the life meter is reduced by 1/4 parts instead of the original sliding bar, effectively letting you know exactly how much health (no longer will the meter show no life with Link still alive)
  • Reworked title screen. Now the Sword in it is the same as the one in the original US boxart, and also the scrolling text of the title screen has been entirely rewritten to be more in-line with the canon story of Zelda II
  • Manual Save Feature: You can now save the game by Pausing and then pressing Up+A on the Pause screen (both in side-scroll pause and overworld pause!)
  • Manual saves no longer count towards the Death counter in the Selection screen! Now only Game Overs should increment that counter
  • Implemented @njosro’s Restart in Current Palace patch (as a bonus) :P
  • Link now has a Blue and Red tunic! Upon using the Shield spell with a Defense level between 1-4, you’ll get the Blue tunic. Once you get up to level 5-8 of Defense, you will get the Red tunic
  • Text boxes now print 6 lines, giving much more space for more and detailed text
  • All text has been repointed
  • Script has been rewritten entirely and revised with a more proper translation according to the Japanese text
  • Palaces renamed to Temples for consistency with the rest of the series
  • Enemies no longer steal experience from you. (Don’t confuse this with Magic, some still steal magic)
  • Reduced the amount of HP the Bubble (and Giant Bubble) enemies have, as well as their Exp. Should now go down with like 10 Sword swings instead of a damn million (having FF in their lives was really something stupid for such a meaningless enemy), and they have also been made non-respawnable to avoid abusing grinding of these enemies, since their low EXP could still be abused
  • Reduced the amount of magic consumption by half for all levels
  • Fairy Spell transformation can be cancelled at any time by pressing the A button to transform back into Human Link
  • More common enemy drops
  • All enemies give out Exp
  • Enemies rebalanced according to their strength and annoyance factor (Those Modafokkas are no joke)
  • Dragon Quest reference restored in the crosses of Saria Town (Erdrick lies here)
  • Link’s sprite has been edited slightly to better reflect his official artwork, without compromising his original design
  • Overworld tile animation (includes water animation, grass, River Devil and others)
  • Custom animation tiles for the lava in the path towards the Great Palace (Thanks IcePenguin!)
  • “Spell” and “Life” spells renamed to “Enigma” and “Heal” spells respectively
  • Reworked Pause Pane for the Spell menu and also for the Level Up Menu
  • Changed the speed and range of the beam/fireball. Now it should have more use in-game, rather than being a slow and rather unused feature
  • You can now cast whatever spell you have selected multiple times without having to open up the Spell menu everytime between screens
  • Pausing the game on the Overworld now gives a “PAUSE!” message right above Link, like in the GBA port
  • Picking up a Link Doll now adds a life to the total amount of lives you start the game with (restart), making the Link Dolls more useful instead of just having its benefits present until you hit a game over
  • Life counter caps at 9, but you can still gather more lives via the 9000 Exp method, the counter simply won’t go past 9
  • Changed the font size to better accommodate the new changes
  • Changed the “-” in the file select alphabet to “/”
  • Cursor in the “Register Your Name” screen no longer covers portion of the text box
  • Reduced the flashes when Link dies and when you learn a spell to be closer to the NGC version. This was done so that photosensitive people can also enjoy this hack without having to worry about their health and well-being
  • Rewritten Credits for all the Staff members, now you have the proper names of the developers that made Zelda II, instead of pseudonyms
  • Saria bridge now appears automatically after giving the Guard the letter for the first time. You no longer need to talk to him every time you want to cross over
  • Moved the Basilisk in the cave North of Nabooru to the left, preventing it from doing that weird screen wrap upon entry
  • Moved the Moa at the Path of Fire entrance up, preventing a forced hit on Link upon entering
  • Moved a Red Iron Knuckle in Palace 4 that had a very high Y-position to the ground-level
  • Added text to a sign with previously unpointed text in Old Kasuto
  • Added windows to some rooms in the Maze and Hidden Palaces (Palaces 4 & 6), to add back the unused windows for those two
  • FDS Battle Theme restored! The original NES battle theme will be used in West Hyrule overworld battles, while the new/restored FDS battle theme will be used in East Hyrule overworld battles (Thanks, IcePenguin!)
  • The room with the hole in the Great Palace has been modified so it can now be accessed from all routes. You can now explore the Great Palace in any path you want, since now it has branching paths that intersect on said room. This means, you no longer have to take a required path to reach the end of the Great Palace, but can now choose at will and you will not be met with a dead end
  • D-Pad Up and Down now control the cursor in the File Selection and Elimination mode menus

Don’t like some of the changes made in the project? Don’t worry, the project also includes optional patches to undo or remove certain features, or even restore things like how they were in the original Zelda 2!

Optional patches

  • FDS King’s Tomb.ips - This patch restores the layout of the King’s Tomb screen to resemble that of the Famicom release of Zelda II.
  • Keep Exp At GameOver.ips - Like its name says, this patch will make it so that even if you get a Game Over, you will keep the Exp you gained ONLY if you choose Continue as option (since the Exp isn’t saved on reboot/restart).
  • New Exp.ips - A completely revamped Exp system courtesy of IcePenguin! This system makes it so that you will no longer get the Level Up window prompt once you reach the required Exp for a new level. Instead, Experience points will now accumulate, and once you want to Level Up a certain ability, pressing Up+Start will automatically bring up the Level Up menu, even if you don’t have enough Exp for a level up. In that case, the only available option will be “Cancel”.
  • New GFX.ips - Completely revamped graphics courtesy of darthvaderx, based on the graphics used in the “Rev Edition” and “New Link Sprites” hacks.
  • Original Enemy Attributes.ips - This patch restores the original enemy attributes of vanilla Zelda 2, meaning the enemies will drain Exp. from Link, and they will have the same HP and give the same Exp. from the original game.
  • Original Link Dolls.ips - As the name implies, this restores the functionality of the Zelda II Link dolls to be the same as in the original Zelda II, meaning they won’t be permanent lives anymore.
  • Original Restart At Game Over.ips - Similar to the above patch, this one restores the original behaviour of Link getting a Game Over and starting all the way back at Zelda’s Palace.
  • Original Spell Magic Consumption.ips - Restores the original magic consumption that each spell takes to that of the original Zelda II.
  • Original Title Screen (Sword+Palette).ips - Restores back the original Title Screen from Zelda II.
  • Original Title Screen Palette.ips - Restores only the palette of the original Title Screen from Zelda II, keeping the new Sword
  • Original Title Screen Sword.ips - Restores only the sword of the original Title Screen from Zelda II, keeping the new palette
  • Random Battle Theme.ips - Modifies the way in which the FDS/NES Battle Themes are used from the standard Zelda 2 Redux. With this patch, instead of having the FDS Battle Theme play on East Hyrule, now the game will load either the NES or FDS Battle Themes at random in all encounters.
  • Reduce Lag.ips - Reduces the amount of enemies that the spawner can put on-screen from 5 to 2, so that the lag caused by the number of sprites is greatly reduced.
  • Reduce Text Sound.ips - Modifies the sound effect that plays when each character is parsed/written in the Dialog/Text box, to another sound effect that isn’t as intrusive or noisy due to the increased text speed.
  • Remove Low Health Beep.ips - Removes the sound that starts playing constantly when Link is at low health.
  • Remove Text Sound.ips - Completely removes the sound effect that plays when each character is parsed/written in the Dialog/Text box.
  • Revility Edition Sprites - New GFX optional patch, which combines assets from both “Rev Edition” and “New Link Sprite”.
  • Restart Same Screen At GameOver.ips - This patch makes it so that when you get a Game Over, you restart in the same screen that you died on, instead of being brought back to the beginning of the current palace or Zelda’s Palace in the case of the overworld. This patch already includes the “KeepExpAtGameOver.ips” hack into it.
  • Static Exp At Palace Crystal.ips - At the end of each palace, where you put the crystal into it, you used to get an undefined amount of Exp, until you leveled up. This patch was made to prevent wasting Exp by placing the crystal, now each crystal put into a palace gives you a determined amount of Exp: Palace 1 - 500 exp, Palace 2 - 1000 exp … Palace 6 - 3000 exp
  • Secret.ips - ???

TO-DO:

  • Implementation of a Copy/Erase file system like in subsequent Zeldas, where D-Pad Up and Down control the cursor in the File Selection and pressing A brings up the Name screen (Example: ALttP or OoT Copy/Erase save file)

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Database match: Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (USA)
  • Database: No-Intro: Nintendo Entertainment System (v. 20180803-121122)
  • File SHA-1: 353489A57F24A429572E76BD455BC51D821F7036
  • File CRC32: E3C788B0
  • ROM SHA-1: 11333ADB723A5975E0ECCA3AEE8F4747AA8D2D26
  • ROM CRC32: BA322865

Links:

Screenshots:


Credits:

Credits
ContributorType of contributionListed credit
ShadowOne333HackingProject Leader & Main Dev
TraxHackingZelda 2 Disassembly, Help and Feedback
the_icepenguinHackingASM work and most Optional patches
njosroOriginal HackingRestart at Palace and Erdrick line restoration
DarkSamus993HackingASM work and Menu changes
JaSpOriginal HackingOverworld animation (RE by Trax)
darthvaderxGraphicsNew GFX optional patch
Cyneprepou4ukHackingASM help

User Review Information

Not perfect but significantly more playable

Reviewed By: MKnightDH on 20 Oct 2020

The original Zelda 2 has some difficulty design issues and quite a few of them boil down to Fake Difficulty. While this patch doesn’t address all of them (the cryptic clues are still cryptic enough regardless of text speed), I can at least appreciate the effort when it includes. I may as well list off the clear benefits, and then what the hack doesn’t address:

Useful benefits:

  • Manual saving no longer adds to the file counter (eliminates need to play the entire game in one sitting for Triple Zero)
  • Faster text speed, which makes talking to people not a chore (benefits exploration)
  • Sword beams’ higher velocity and range allows them a niche in sniping off weaker enemies as reward for having full health (speeds up gameplay)
  • Lowered magic costs, eliminating how stringent magic was in the original and reducing need for Bot milling (speeds up gameplay again)
  • Increased drop rates, which reduces time spent on any Bot milling in the first place and also has the added EXP Bags speed up Level Ups (minimalizes grinding issues)
  • Reduced magic costs (cuts down on problems with necessary magic usage)
  • Anti-Fairies take far fewer hits, eliminating tedium with them, while making them not respawn to avoid having them be abusable under this new change (cleans up gameplay)

Not addressed but still the original’s fault:

  • Enemies being overly obtuse to deal with cleanly in general
  • Wizzrobes not being vulnerable to the Sword Beam, so dealing with them and their painful sounds is still an inconvenience
  • No active reason to get Magic past Level 5 due to Shield/Heal/Fairy/Fire not having improving costs
  • Level Up bias toward Attack is still high due to the exponential damage increase

I will say that the hack works as far as trying to improve Zelda 2, with TLC in enough areas, just that balance isn’t one of those areas that gets TLC, particularly displayed by halving magic costs, which isn’t exactly a show of full comprehension of what goes particularly right or wrong, especially when the magic halving even makes Heal a potential case of overbuffing since overuse of it and Shield becomes far less likely to overwhelm Magic Jar provision rates.

My recommendation is still Yes due to the original’s problems, but if there was a more in-between option, I would go with that to make sure what I call out is highlighted.

Version 1.0 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
HeadlineAuthorDateVersionRecommended
Best hack on this websitePolar-Star22 Nov 20202.3Yes
Why play vanilla Zelda 2?Phaxuji02 Nov 20201.0Yes
Not perfect but significantly more playableMKnightDH20 Oct 20201.0Yes
Prepare yourself for adorationjmd648803 Oct 20201.0Yes
Definitive Zelda 2 Experience!MattKimura03 Oct 20201.0Yes
Finally, it's here!ifightdragons02 Oct 20201.0Yes