Generosity: Zelda II Famicom Disk and Booklet!

A kind fellow by the name of Eric recently sent me a copy of Zelda II for the Famicom Disk System for free! Thanks a ton, man! Here’s what he sent:


I’ve never seen a Famicom Disk System manual in person (well, I probably have, but just never paid attention), so I was surprised to see how tiny they were. Here’s a peek inside this one:


And here’s a closer look at the disk – I’m still shocked that the disks didn’t come with protector things on them 😯 Hopefully this disk still works after all these years…


Anyway, Zelda II is an absolute must-do project for me, so there’s no doubt I’ll get to it at some point. I think I want to do a few other small comparison projects first, though. I don’t want to end up focusing entirely on one franchise or series, you know? But I can’t wait to do Zelda II so I can move on to III and beyond. Man, those are gonna be some majorly fun projects too 😀

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my detailed analysis and comparison of the first Zelda game here!

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  1. N-N-No way… F-F-First?

    Wow, VERY awesome of Eric to do that! I’ve always wanted to get into Zelda II since I like the actual Level system it incorporates, and I’m a big RPG fan. But I could never figure out where to go, and I always, ALWAYS die. Even against those silly little bats.

    Since I decided to put some thought into this comment, I probably got ninja’d by someone.

    1. Yeah, Zelda 2 is absurdly hard. If you’re not comfortable with dying constantly, it’s really not the game for you. I remember when I was a kid I could never get past the bit where you have to search for the hammer on Death Mountain; I bought the game a few years back on Wii Virtual Console (mainly for nostalgia), and you know what? I STILL couldn’t get past that part. 🙂

  2. YES!!! This is gonna be awesome! I’m really happy that you are going to do this one, Zelda II is criminally underrated IMO, and I’m even more happy that you’re considering to do III at some point as well! The first three games are my sacred Triforce. 🙂

    The FDS version of Zelda II almost plays like a Beta compared to the more polished NES version. Will be very interesting to see and hear your thoughts on it. Love those manuals, they don’t make ’em like they used to… Very nice of Eric. 🙂

  3. I wrote an article (though it’s in Spanish) comparing the differences between the different versions of Zelda II, but it’s in Spanish. I was actually inspired by Legends of Localizations, and I would like to thank you for writing all these articles, as they’re very useful for learning Japanese.

  4. I guess they expected you to put the disk back in the paper sleeve and case when you’re done.
    Nintendo, always considering the cheaper methods “good enough”. 😛

  5. I’ve played through FDS Zelda II. There’s a surprising number of changes.

    – The biggest change is that the level system is *entirely* different. When you earn an experience level, you always get to pick which area it goes into, Attack, Magic or Life. That is, the different areas don’t have separate experience tracks. Nothing stops you from building yourself up to Level 8 in Attack surprisingly quickly.
    – The experience required to advance is very different, too, and overall lower than the NES/Japan ROM release. Your first three levels are 50, 100 and 150, but after that you hit plateaus where you need set amounts to increase that don’t change for a while. The highest levels required, I seem to remember, are 3,000. These two facts combined make advancing much easier. BUT….
    – Making up for these things, if you run out of lives, you lose all experience levels that aren’t built evenly! By that I mean, if you have experience levels of Attack 3, Magic 7 and Life 5, and run out of lives, when you continue your levels will be Attack 3, Magic 3 and Life 3! They’ll all be set to the lowest level you have in the three areas.
    – Like FDS Zelda, the music and sound effects are a bit different in places. Particularly, the overworld combat track is different, that’s the big one I remember.
    – Some of the graphics are a bit different. Particularly, the symbols that represent overworld encounters are changed from a bot, a monster and a fairy to different colors of spirits, or some such.
    – To pick up all items, you have to strike them with your sword. Not just bottles and P-bags, but required items like the Candle and Hammer too.
    – The dungeons look a lot more samey. The ROM version has a different tile and color for each dungeon, the FDS version uses one tile for all the dungeons (except for the last one), and I think most of them are plain gray (one or two might be a different color, it’s been a while since I finished the game).
    – Some of the enemies are different in appearance. The weird snake-mouth enemies in the dungeons that spit rocks just like Octoroks are blue Octoroks.
    – The biggest gameplay change other than the experience system is the bosses. The boss where you knock his helmets off appears twice, the first time he only has one helmet that roams around the room, the second time (I think it’s in palace #5) he has two. You face Horsehead a second time in place of one of the two times you return to Rebonak in Palace 6. Carrock (the Wizzrobe boss in #4) and Volvagia (the dragon boss in #6) work the same but have much less fancy appearances. There’s a couple of other differences too that I’ve forgotten, I’m sure.
    – And a different graphical effect is used to reveal the names in the credits.

    That’s all I remember, I’m sure there’s more though, and since I can’t read Japanese I don’t know much about textual differences.

  6. I finally beat Zelda II as an adult a few years back. And with the internet, I could actually manage my way through to the end. Couldn’t have done that otherwise. The other trick up my sleeve was that I used the NES Advantage controller to auto grind for xp! You can do it as early as when you arrive at the Marsh/swamp lands. Certain action sequences have the respawning bird that’s worth points. Very little points. But points.


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