Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Zelda II and a Remake

What's Miyamoto's worst game? Wii Music? Super Mario Sunshine? Apparently it's Zelda II - The Adventure of Link... Miyamoto talked with Kotaku about why he's unhappy with how this very special game turned out. Here are some quotes:

"So one thing, of course, is, from a hardware perspective, if we had been able to have the switch between the scenes speed up, if that had been faster, we could have done more with how we used the sidescrolling vs. the overhead [view] and kind of the interchange between the two. But, because of the limitations on how quickly those scenes changed, we weren't able to."

"The other thing is it would have been nice to have had bigger enemies in the game, but the Famicom/NES hardware wasn't capable of doing that. Certainly, with hardware nowadays you can do that and we have done that, but of course nowadays creating bigger enemies takes a lot of effort."

Does this smell like remake to you? It certainly does. Usually Nintendo justifies their remakes and remastered versions of Zelda games with hardware limitations or because there were things, they weren't able to do the first time. On the GameCube they had trouble loading the islands, which on the Wii U can now be done all at once, so here comes The Wind Waker HD... Aonuma wants to fix the Water Temple, so here we go with Ocarina of Time 3D...

But actually I could imagine that a remake of Zelda II could turn into something amazing. Note that I'm saying "remake" as in real remake. Not just new graphics, but everything better.

(Artwork from ReddFloxy)

There's a lot of potential in this format. One of the biggest flaws of Zelda II for me personally was the lack of items. The enemies all get to use boomerangs, bombs and similar, while Link only has sword and shield. It's part of the challenge for sure, but also the reason why the game could feel frustrating at times. Adding items to the game would bring the combat to the next level. Using bow, bombs and boomerang could be a lot of fun and make you feel more badass.

While they fully employ the switch of between an overhead view map and the side scrolling perspective, they could add later traditional Zelda elements such as treasure chests, collectibles and similar. I would love to explore the vast world of Northern Hyrule in greater detail. The world of Zelda II is massive and exciting.

The game should remain challenging, but naturally it will become easier with various improvements that later became standard in the series. Like being able to save everywhere. Or not getting a Game Over from falling to your death. That way it could be more inviding for people, who struggled with the original game on the NES. They might give this one a try.

Oh, yeah, and the music! This game has simply some of the best music pieces in the entire series. Orchestral versions would rock (too bad that the Symphony of the Goddesses only featured one song of the game...)

Of course that's something for further down the road. With Ocarina of Time 3D, Four Swords AE, The Wind Waker HD, A Link Between Worlds and a potential Majora's Mask 3D Nintendo has re-explored many old Zelda worlds lately. Right now Zelda needs new worlds. But some day in the future such a remake could work.


K2L said...

I'd hope them to do no more remakes. =/

Also, I find a bit hypocritical that you criticize Aonuma for disliking the first Zelda, but not Miyamoto for disliking the second one.

TourianTourist said...

He doesn't dislike it. He made it! He's just unhappy with how the development turned out.

Aonuma never even touched the game.

K2L said...

Ah, OK. My bad.

Maybe the NES was too primitive for a game with as much caliber as Zelda II.

TourianTourist said...

I generally find that the hardware restrictions are what made past games so memorable and charming. Developers were trying to do the best possible with the little they had. Characters like Link and Mario would never exist without these restrictions.

Goku said...

^ indeed sir, indeed