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Author Topic: Zelda II Redux  (Read 17713 times)

ShadowOne333

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Zelda II Redux
« on: March 15, 2018, 01:29:52 pm »
Some weeks ago user @njosro started a topic about his Zelda II - Restart from Palace hack, which makes it so that the game restarts you at the start of a palace you currently are after a Game over or Continue.
This inspired me to further hack Zelda II to more or less alleviate the most obnoxious things which takes away from making Zelda II a more enjoyable experience.

Here is the patch for the beta (Updated with each release):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9nvida92kyh5svj/Zelda2Redux.ips?dl=0

And here's the changelog of the hack compared to vanilla Zelda II so far:

  • Changes to the Life Meter HUD: Should have hearts now instead of the old bars it had for a life meter
  • 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
  • Enemies no longer steal experience from you.
  • Reduced the amount of HP the Bubble (and Giant Bubble) enemies have. 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 EXP hasn't been modified.
  • Reduced the amount of magic consumption by half for all levels
  • More common enemy drops
  • All enemies give out Exp

If anyone can give a full run of the game and let me know how the changes feel, please let me know.

I am also seeking out for suggestions and things that could make Zelda II a better experience over all.
If you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them here!
I'll analyze them and try to add them if I feel fit.

One thing worth nothing though, is that I most likely won't be modifying any graphics for sure, nor implement whole new spell behaviours or anything like that.
I'll try to focus on 1) Rebalancing the game, 2) Modify stuff which is already obnoxious in-game, 3) Perhaps rewriting some lines which don't make sense in the game.
Though, if any of you still have some ideas which you think might add to the game and are somewhat doable, please feel free to let me know :)

TODO list:
  • More common enemy drops (in general)
  • Fix Boss' health bar
  • Rebalance enemies. This might take a while to do since I need to know WHAT enemies and HOW to balance them properly to give a proper balanced experience and not a too easy/too hard one.
  • Change in-game text to something better translated/localized.
    This is a good base to work with for that: http://www.glitterberri.com/adventure-of-link/retranslation/
  • Reduce beeping noise to make it less annoying

HELP NEEDED FOR:
  • Try to restore the moving water animation on the Overworld
  • Try to restore the Dragon Quest reference.
    Currently, the exact spot where the textbox for the reference is triggered in the Famicom version is not there, a hotspot would need to be made for it as well as a new text entry for it.
  • Try to add a PAUSE message on the overworld (this is really hopeful lol)

Possible enemy modifications:
  • Orange Moblin - 2-4 exp
  • Orange Goriya - 24-30 exp (or lower the red moblin a little bit)
  • "Wolf" in the palace - 1-3 exp
  • Blue Bat - 10 exp
  • Red Goriya - 35-40 exp
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 03:10:47 pm by ShadowOne333 »

pocket

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 03:36:30 pm »
All the things you listed sound great so far, if I could add any one thing to it, I would speed up the NPC text.

PresidentLeever

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 04:20:56 pm »
Nice work. :)

Would be cool to see these things fixed/improved:
-Sword attack is canceled if you swing right before landing or jumping
-Need to reselect spells in every new screen/room before use and after using a spell once you need to reselect it again
-Accumulated exp is wasted when you finish a dungeon and level up instantly
-A smaller world map, less dead space (if possible it would be nice to be able to enter a village from either side - except for the river town)
-More even experience balancing in the early game with tougher/larger enemies giving a bit more exp
-Faster dialogue text (shows the whole message with one press, removes it with the next)
-More uses for tools and rarely used spells in dungeons
-(more out there) Implement the boomerang or the bow
-Shorten the beeping when low on health - 3-4 times is enough
-(a lot of work) redesign the game to be more non-linear in structure, like Zelda 1
-Make MP drops a bit more common overall, or just early on (for example the statue outside the first palace could drop one, like the later ones do)
-(more out there) Implement manual blocking of enemies moving into you with the shield, by pressing a button combo
-Make it possible to see how much you have left to reach each stat level at will instead of just when you level up
-Maybe switch around some dialogue to make clues harder to miss

-You could also remove the ability to jump attack enemies like the knights in the face to skip the duels, though that's more controversial
-Might also be controversial: remove the knockback when hitting enemies (but not the blocks if possible)
-Might also be controversial: make it hard to bounce past enemies using downthrust

I personally didn't mind the exp stealing enemies that much, maybe it could be an optional feature.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 04:49:13 pm by PresidentLeever »
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ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 05:09:44 pm »
Oh the text speed is one that I haven't even thought of.
I gave it a try and I think I managed to make it much more fluent and faster.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9nvida92kyh5svj/Zelda2Redux.ips?dl=0

Give that one a try and let me know what do you think about it.
The only downside with that is that now the Typewriter sound goes way faster and sounds like a raspy thing instead.
I could remove the sound, but it sounds way too empty in between textbox sounds.

If you want to hear how it would sound without the Typewriter noise, open up the ROM in a hex editor and change the byte found at 0xF757 from 60 to 00 (so that it doesn't make any sound).
Other sounds in between are the laser from the sword sound and the death sound.



As for your recommendations PresidentLeever, I am interested in rebalancing some of the Exp points given out by enemies, though I don't know which ones yet as I feel most enemies at the start do offer a considerable amount of Exp given the trouble they give to kill them. If someone has suggestions as to what enemies to change, please let me know.

The beeping for the health is another one I might be interested in, as is the switching around some dialogue and more common enemy drops.
I feel like changing the dialogue would be something I would do last, just so that I can focus only in that exclusively and not many things at once.

One last thing nothing, is that alongside graphics, I don't think I'll be changing the game's layout too much/at all.
The only things I find annoying are the pits when you tend to fall to them by a knockback, but that's all that I can think of.

I'm still open to suggestions, so once I know we have the text speed out of the way I might tackle something else from the suggestions :)

So right now this is in the TODO list:
  • More common enemy drops (in general)
  • Reduce beeping noise to make it less annoying
  • Change in-game text to something better translated/localized. This is a good base to work with for that: http://www.glitterberri.com/adventure-of-link/retranslation/
  • Rebalance enemies. This might take a while to do since I need to know WHAT enemies and HOW to balance them properly to give a proper balanced experience and not a too easy/too hard one.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 05:19:49 pm by ShadowOne333 »

DavidtheIdeaMan

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 06:14:04 pm »
You know,since we are making changes to Zelda II and make it less frustrating,maybe you can tackle of the Castlevania Nes Games?   

PresidentLeever

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2018, 11:09:15 am »
Nice, yeah I actually talked to someone else who did that with the text speed a while back and had the same issue so that's why I suggested the button press idea. But personally I'm fine with this too.

Alright, I've only played up to the first palace so far but would suggest these exp changes:
Orange moblin - 2-4 exp
Orange goriya - 24-30 exp (or lower the red moblin a little bit)
"wolf" in the palace - 1-3 exp

Edit:
Beat the first palace. I think 6 hits for the skull/bubble is a bit much given the exp they give? But standing and hitting them over and over isn't fun so maybe just reduce the exp they give to 25 or so (and keep 50 for the fast one).

Blue bat - 10 exp
Red goriya - 35-40 exp

I wanted to do an improvement/rebalance hack using the editor earlier and as part of that tried to reduce the overworld size (to make it easier to spot item locations and reduce travel times), but ran into some issue with certain tiles in eastern hyrule. Ran into issues when changing the dialogue as well (there is a retranslation online that I used as reference). I also wanted to do much more, but couldn't, so it's great to see this taking shape now. :)

This was about as far as I got with the OW maps:
https://i.imgur.com/p6xrR7q.png
https://i.imgur.com/DM1QUo9.png
https://i.imgur.com/cTSa7iC.png

I can try to explain the sword swing cancel in more detail, I think that would be a big improvement if fixed.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2018, 11:38:07 am by PresidentLeever »
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Ar8temis008

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2018, 04:34:52 pm »
Now this is a crazy idea and I don't expect you to go through with it, but what if you removed the overworked completely? It adds nothing to the game except needless confusion.

You could add branching path ways in levels that lead to different areas, it would sort of play like Castlevania II (except better).

The manual save feature and less linear design that was mentioned earlier would complement this.

pocket

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2018, 06:11:28 pm »
Played for a bit, and it's really promising so far. I think the speedy text works great, the sound doesn't bother me at all.

If you want to know about a certain enemy that needs rebalancing, I have a suggestion for Doomknocker. They throw maces that return to them like a boomerang... or at least that's how you expect it to work.  If you kill doomknockers after they throw their maces, the maces will return to where they are and stay there for a bit, before going back into the direction they were thrown.  This really messes with the player's expectations, and given that they've been placed over a few lava pits, this is a really bad move.  If at all possible, i'd like to see that their maces return to the direction they were thrown from and keep going, like you'd expect of a boomerang type weapon.

Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2018, 06:33:50 pm »
ShadowOne333, I'm a fan of all of your hacks and was really excited to see this and apply your prototype patch.

My thoughts so far: if there is a way to totally cut off the sound with the sped up text, I think that would be the right direction. The static sound is a distraction.

Also, with the hearts: I absolutely love the concept of switching out the life bar. However, my first visual impression of the dark blue background surrounding the hearts struck me as aesthetically off. I've gotten used to it the more I play but I think the first impression is important. My suggestion would be to remove the blue background all together, let the hearts stand directly against the area backdrop. When the hearts are emptied, perhaps they could be turned white?

Thanks again for working on this. I'm sure I'll have more feedback as I get deeper in.

PresidentLeever

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2018, 07:58:30 pm »
Yes it's not quite perfect. Maybe do something like these suggestions if possible:
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Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2018, 08:22:49 pm »
Both great options. But if the hearts can't switch to white, I think I'd rather see the blue outline than have them disappear altogether. It also gives you that cool Ocarina effect.

PresidentLeever

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2018, 08:43:51 pm »
Oh right, something like this then? Either black or blue inside, click to zoom.
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Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2018, 09:08:29 pm »
When I mentioned white, I was thinking the solid red hearts could turn solid white when you lose them. As opposed to that, you could leave the blue outline of the heart and have them go black.

However, based on this second image, black center white outline looks very good too. Might be the ideal scenario. I wouldn't have the hearts turn blue. I don't think there is a precedent in the franchise for that and it seems odd visually.

PresidentLeever

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2018, 09:25:37 pm »
Well this mimics zelda 3 and link's awakening whereas that would look like zelda 1. But the blue in shadowone's version is probably a layer on top of a simple red meter that drains so it might not be doable. 

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ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2018, 09:36:42 pm »
Thank you, guys!
It's really great to see this kind of suppport and suggestions :)
Really appreciated!

As for the heart meter, PresidentLeever is correct.
While the mockups are nice and pretty, I ended up using the blue "mask" to cover up the effect the game uses to display the health.

It's basically a red rectangle which drains, and it does so in a rectangle shape sadly.
I explained why I used that design in detail here:
http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=25751.msg352319#msg352319

Quote from: ShadowOne333
I struggled quite a bit because the game uses some kind of background colour for keeping track of the health, which is why I ended up putting a blue colour around the hearts so that this effect is not seen while in gameplay.

So sadly, I am limited by:
1) Four colours. Well actually three (white, blue and red) and a transparency one (background).
2) The background layer which keeps track of the health. It seems to be just one single 8x8 tile repeated several times, so I gotta e careful what to put there, and also make sure it is mirrored perfectly when the health drains, because the tile ends up moving left a bit.
If I use another shape that's not a rectangle, it will overlap or go out of the heart-shape bounds.

So yeah, sadly that's what I could do without having to redo the whole health/damage routines. I'm still thinking about what to do with the Magic meter though, not sure if I will make it one solid bar or keep it segmented as it is.
I also thought about swaping the blue and white for it, making it so that the Magic meter is blue instead of white, but I'll see what I can do :p

Thanks again, guys!

PresidentLeever

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2018, 10:08:47 pm »
Ok got it, yeah it's a shame you can't use a solid black as part of the mask there. But yours is still better than the original. :thumbsup:
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ShadowOne333

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2018, 10:13:00 pm »
Ok got it, yeah it's a shame you can't use a solid black as part of the mask there. But yours is still better than the original. :thumbsup:
Well...
I COULD use black, but that would mean sacrificing either the blue or white.
If I sacrifice the blue for a solid black, the only drawback would be the Sword graphic having no hilt xD

SCD

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2018, 01:40:41 am »
Here's some of my suggestions if you want to add them to your hack:

Restore the roar sound effect from the FDS port.
Make the level system behave more like the one from the FDS port.
Rename the Trophy & Water of Life back to being called Goddess Statue & Holy Water once again.
Restore the Dragon Quest reference in the cemetery from the FDS port.
Restore the water movement from the FDS port:

Restore the unused windows for both the Maze Palace & the Hidden Palace:

Restore the FDS sprites of Carock, Kidnapped Child, River Devil & Volvagia:

Restore the FDS version of the King's Tomb, but add the unique statues from the NES version on both sides of the grave like this edit that I did:
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 12:58:06 pm by SCD »

Chicken Knife

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2018, 07:45:56 am »
I love those suggestions by SCD. There are lots of advantages of the US localization but combining those with what was cut would make the perfect version of the game.

Also, I came across a bug. In the first temple boss battle, instead of the boss's life bar being divided into distinct sections as before, it all got mashed together into one vertical red bar. However when he loses life, the red bar is replaced by distinct white segments as per the original.

NES Boy

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Re: Zelda II Redux
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2018, 08:47:16 am »
Restore the Dragon Quest reference in the cemetery from the FDS port.
But which localization should we base this reference on? Depending on the translation, the name in the English Dragon Quest game is either Loto or Erdrick.