There is something I like a lot when playing zelda 1 (the first zelda on nes, its not a typo lol)
it is the player can explore almost 95% of the overworld without progress in the game and you realize you must complete palace and find items to going into more dangerous zone.
with zelda 2, its more like a straight path, you cant go on overworld 2 without the raft and you cant go into palace3 if you dont have the hammer..
on the overworld 2 you have to do the 4th palace before going on palace 5 and you cant go south before getting the flute on palace5.
Thats why I suggest theses modifications to bring the exploring possibility to another level:
1. remove the roadblock before path leading to the town beside the palace3.
2. add a cavern with strong enemies and the exit would be on the overworld 2, it is supposed to be very hard to going on this new cave to not making the raft useless, because the raft will act as a shortcut once you get it.
3. same thing to the overworld 2, adding a very hard challenging cave to go south without having to have the flute. The flute will act as a shortcut to going to south once you get it.
4. moving somes items locations:
candle: palace1 (no changes)
glove: palace2 (no changes)
raft: palace4 (so you have to pass the new cave before getting it and the player have to explore overworld 2)
boots: death mountain
flute: dead kasuto
magic key: place it in a forest somewhere in north of overworld 2 to be discovered only if you chop the right trees with the hammer.
any suggestions or comments ?