After a rather thought provoking response to yesterday’s Zelda U related article, I figured it was worth continuing the series and expanding upon it each day going in order of the Zelda game releases to see if there really are aspects of each game Zelda U should use.
This time it may seem like a challenge to many, because The Adventure of Link, despite my love for the game, is wildly considered the black sheep of the Zelda family (that is, of the games that are canon). Is there really anything Zelda U could inherit from this much maligned title?
A New Form of Leveling
Leveling in the traditional sense makes a character stronger, and the same is true in The Adventure of Link. Leveling in that of itself doesn’t necessarily have a place in the Zelda world as it may detract too much from the action adventure style, as people aren’t looking for a traditional RPG experience.
Still, leveling, in the simple sense of what it does, should be done in various ways in the game. There are more than one type of leveling, and the sort of leveling I think Zelda U should take on is the item upgrade route – similar to what Skyward Sword did, but in a much grander fashion.
Beyond upgrading your weapons and items, you should be able to upgrade magic abilities (assuming there is any, and instead of simply adding hearts, you should be able to upgrade your armor. That way you can take less damage. Why do you need an all new tunic? Just slowly upgrade the garb you currently have until you reach a level of perfect balance in agility and protection.
You could also arguably have three stages of life in Link, which represent essentially three “levels” of abilities. You can have child Link, teenage Link, and adult Link. This would expand upon the sort of ‘level up’ you could feel in Ocarina of Time and enhance the overall user experience. Seriously, who knew leveling could get so crazy?
Introducing All New Towns
By virtue of being one of the earliest games in the series, The Adventure of Link ended up being the first Zelda title to introduce villages and towns. As such, why are we limited by the towns and villages already introduced in the series? Beyond the home town, which Nintendo tends to take the most liberty with in terms of creating all new areas, why can we discover another Kakariko type village? What about a second place like Castle Town but not having it be… castle town?
This was an innovation that seems to belong to this very early title. Isn’t it time we start to expand the world and include never before seen towns and villages? Heck, maybe a whole city! Whatever the case may be, it was a major addition to the series and we should see some more originality if they decide to do this yet again.
Put Skill Back into Combat Challenge
One thing I have grown to really appreciate over the years is the combat challenge The Adventure of Link provides. You see, you can’t just button mash your way through this game like you can in most other Zelda games. They also didn’t simplify the difficulty like in Skyward Sword just because it requires some precision. It was, simply put, hard. The first time you face a Dark Nut you will be frustrated. This frustration is actually good.
Not every challenge you meet, combat wise, needs to be quickly and easily dispatched as has become tradition. There is something to be said for an enemy that provides a challenge and can… kill you. A notion that seems lost on today’s Zelda games. They do everything they can to prevent you from dying. To the point that in order to die you pretty much need to purposely kill your character.
The combat in this game may not translate directly to a new game, but the difficulty of the combat can, at least in some regards. It took some real skill to beat some of the enemies, and I would love to see skillful combat return.
Totally Unique Boss Encounters
There have definitely been some great Bosses over the years, but The Adventure of Link contains a rather unique bunch. The best part resided in the fact that we didn’t really see any repeated bosses. It seems almost like a tradition now for Ghoma to appear, and we already know that Moldorm is back in Zelda 3DS.
What happened to the days of every boss being 100% unique to that game? I’m think games like Majora’s Mask, where literally every boss is only in that experience. The Adventure of Link had a very similar concept. Besides, what boss is truly more threatening than Thunderbird? Zelda U need’s it’s version of what Thunderbird represented: A bad-ass, massive, flying animal that just… kicked your ass. Time and time again. It’s time for the Zelda team to take off the handcuffs and give us some fights we’ve never seen before
The Ability to Jump
Link can jump in the series… but he can’t jump at the user’s request. This simple element, present in nearly all of today’s games, has been missing from the series in true form ever since it was introduced. It’s true we got roc’s feather and roc’s cape, both items that added the ability to jump, but when did jumping require some mystical item to do? Can’t I jump? Can’t you? Can’t all of us who are physically able?
For how agile Link can be at times, it’s amazing we can’t just jump whenever we want outside of performing automatically started jumps or “the jump attack”. Seriously, Nintendo, why can’t we jump freely? Think of the amount of innovation you could add to the series if we could simply have this one mechanic you introduced in Zelda II.
That wraps up the features I would like to see used and expanded upon in Zelda U from The Adventure of Link. Are there any ideas or concepts from this game you would like to see return in some form?