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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link/Regional Differences

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This is a sub-page of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

Title Screen

Japan US Europe
AOLTitleScreenJ.png Zelda II- The Adventure of Link-title.png The Adventure of Link-title EU.png

The Japanese FDS version's title screen has a "PUSH START" notice, which was removed from the international versions. The lower half of the background appears one line higher in the European version; the screen split was most likely altered to remove the flickering graphics introduced in the US version.

Intro

FDS NES
SEVERAL YEARS AFTER GANNON
WAS DESTROYED,LINK LEARNS
FROM IMPA ABOUT THE ANOTH-
ER SLEEPING PRINCESS ZELDA.
HE IS TOLD SHE CAN ONLY
AWAKEN WITH THE NO.3 TRY-
FORCE SEALED IN THE GREAT
SANCTUARY AT DISVALLEY. TO
REMOVE THE SEAL, CRYSTALS
MUST BE EMBEDDED INTO A
STONE STATUE STANDING IN
6 SANCTUARIS.
LINK SETS OUT ON AN
ADVENTUROUS QUEST....
©1987 NINTENDO
AFTER GANON WAS DESTROYED,
IMPA TOLD LINK A SLEEPING
SPELL WAS CAST ON PRINCESS
ZELDA. SHE WILL WAKE ONLY
WITH THE POWER OF NO.3
TRIFORCE SEALED IN A PALACE
IN HYRULE. TO BREAK THE
SEAL,CRYSTALS MUST BE
PLACED IN STATUES IN 6
WELL GUARDED PALACES.
LINK SET OUT ON HIS MOST
ADVENTURESOME QUEST YET…
©1987 NINTENDO

The intro in the FDS version features some strange English, and maintains the "Gannon" spelling from the first game. It also refers to "another sleeping Princess Zelda", implying that this is not the same Zelda that appeared in the first game.

The NES version's intro was completely rewritten, changing "Gannon" to "Ganon" (a spelling which would be retained in future Zelda games), correcting the spelling for Triforce, and removing the "another" Zelda reference.

Game Over

FDS NES
FDS Zelda II Game Over.png NES Zelda II Game Over.png

In the FDS version, the message is accompanied by the same audio heard in the Mazura and Volvagia boss fights. A new Game Over screen featuring a laughing Ganon was created for the NES version, and these bosses no longer roar.

Link

FDS NES
AOLLinkJ.gif AOLLinkU.gif

Link's sprite was given a visible mouth in the NES version.

NES Zelda II Link's New Sprites.png

In the FDS version, you collected items by stabbing them with your sword. In the NES version, you touch it and go through the now-standard mini-cutscene, so two new sprite variations of Link were created. (You still have to stab collectibles like keys, point bags and magic pickups though.) A somewhat cruder version of the sprite for Link holding items already exists in all versions, intended primarily for the ending sequence when Link is holding up the Triforce.

Due to this change, it is possible to collect items while in Fairy form in the American version, which was not possible in the Japanese version due to the Fairy form having no sword to stab things with.

Zelda's Chamber

FDS Zelda II North Castle FDS.png
NES Zelda II North Castle NES.png

Zelda's chamber looks vastly different in the NES version: the pillars continue all the way to the exit here, while they originally stopped after the stairs as the ceiling gets lower. In addition, torches near Zelda were added, though they're absent in the ending sequence.

Overworld Monsters

FDS NES
AOLBotJ.png
AOLBearJ.png
AOLFairyJ.png
AOLBotU.png
AOLBearU.png
AOLFairyU.png

In the original release, the "roaming monsters" are just nondescript blobs of various colors. These were changed in the NES version, possibly to make the difficulty of the encounters more obvious to the player. Some encounters were also changed, such as the NES version having less Bits (red blob monsters) that give more experience.

TAOL JP4.png TAOL JP5.png

Trophy

FDS NES
Megami Zou Trophy

Not only was the Megami Zou ("goddess statue") rechristened a "Trophy", it was given a different sprite.

Water of Life

FDS NES
Seinaru Mizu Water of Life

Same case here: the Seinaru Mizu ("holy water") is now known as the "Water of Life" (no relation to potions) and has a new sprite.

Kidnapped Child

FDS NES
Kodomo Kidnapped Child

The Kidnapped Child is an item, and since items in the original version are collected by attacking them, the Child was sensibly bound by rope. In the NES release, you simply pick him up, hoist the poor thing over your head, and add him to your collection.

Dragon Quest Reference

FDS Zelda II Dragon Quest reference.png

The FDS release contained a reference to Dragon Quest hidden in Saria: one of the graves reads "The hero Loto rests here" when translated, with Loto (Erdrick in the English Dragon Warrior translation) being a famous hero within the series.

Square even joined in on this little gag: Final Fantasy has text translated to "Here lies Link" in the original Japanese version, and "Here lies Erdrick" in the English release (though reverted at some point in the boundless sea of re-releases).

Church

FDS NES
Church Church

The cross on top of the Church in Mido was changed in the NES version to have a unique appearance, instead of reusing the grave marker graphic. Also, the graphic seen above the doors is slightly different in all the towns.

The King's Tomb

FDS NES
Ou no Haka Kings Tomb

In the FDS version, the tomb of the ancient King of Hyrule is a large area with a few enemies and a red bottle of magic. While this same area does exist in the NES release, it was moved to a grave southwest of the area. Instead, the main tomb of the NES version is instead a single enemy-free screen with an old lady NPC.

Also in the NES version's data is an unused second copy of the larger area that was probably meant to be "East Hyrule". This area contains several blue Moas. To enter this unused area, use the code 0561:B8 and 0706:02.

(Source: Dark Linkaël (Codes))

Water Movement

TAOL Water.gif

In the FDS version, every body of water on the world map is animated, as well as the lava at the Valley of Death. This was done by modifying the graphics in the FDS VRAM in real-time. As the cartridge uses CHR ROM and a somewhat primitive mapper instead, they remain motionless.

Raft

FDS NES
TAOL JP12.png AOLRaftU.png

Originally, the Link sprite always faced forward when riding the raft.

River Devil

FDS NES
Mamono River Devil

Originally, the spider-like creature that blocks the path to the sixth palace and Kasuto is represented by an ogre-like monster. Presumably, the spider sprite was added with the new random encounter sprites.

Kasuto Secret Building

FDS NES
TAOL JP18.png NES Zelda II Secret Building.png

In the NES version, the tall building that emerges from the ground in the Hidden Village of Kasuto has a different texture for its "blocks".

Villagers

NES Zelda II New Villagers.PNG

For the NES version, three new characters were created, adding a bit more variation. In addition, the walking animation was improved on the "hurried bearded man" by increasing the animation speed to better match his quick pace.

Magicians

FDS NES
FDS Zelda II Magician.png NES Zelda II Magician.png

The magicians were given an animation for the NES version.

River Guards

FDS NES
FDS Zelda 2 River Guards.PNG NES Zelda II River Guards.PNG

The original sprite for the River Guards looks a lot like the "bearded man" villager, which may have been why it was changed.

Swordsmen

FDS NES
FDS Zelda 2 Swordsmen.PNG NES Zelda II Swordsmen.PNG

The Swordsmen originally just used a palette swap of the original River Guards, but the NES version received a palette swap of the new River Guards for one and a brand-new sprite for the other. Of course, the one holding a spear was probably specifically meant for the River Guards.

Palaces

In the FDS version, every single palace uses the same brick graphic, making them quite repetitive! Of these, the first, second, and fifth palaces used the gray palette, and the third, fourth, and sixth palaces used the blue palette which later ended up being used for the NES version's second palace, and the final palace's gold was retained. Specifically, the NES release features totally unique wall patterns for each palace, plus three different column tiles (distribution: 1/4/7, 2/5, 3/6).

TAOL JP10.png TAOL JP11.png Zelda2-SwampPalace.png

Zelda2-ColumnTiles.png

Enemy Properties

The FDS version did not have monsters that drained Link's experience, or those that could only be harmed by fire. These attributes were added to certain enemies for the NES version, as well as different experience point values for some monsters.

Iron Knuckle Attacks

Furthermore, Iron Knuckles in the FDS version will shoot a proper sword beam at Link, flashing and disappearing upon shield impact just like his own. Unlike Link, this is unaffected by vitality. For the NES version, this was changed to a throwing knife (which may be why Iron Knuckles use axes in later games), which mostly functions the same except it (obviously) does not flash and there is a light bounce off Link's shield.

Bosses and Mini-Bosses

In the FDS version, some bosses have a harsh and evil-sounding roar (also used for the Game Over screen in that version), similar to the bosses in The Legend of Zelda.

FDS NES
TAOL JP15.png AOLCarrockU.png

The boss of the fourth palace, Carock, originally used a single symmetrical sprite that faced the screen. He was redrawn, given an animation frame, and given the ability to face left or right in the NES version.

TAOL JP16.png

Mazura (Horsehead) originally returned as a mini-boss in the fifth palace, just before the fake wall; in the NES version, this fight is against a blue Iron Knuckle instead.

FDS NES
TAOL JP17.png AOLGoomaU.png

Originally, you just fought a stronger version of Jermafencer (Helmethead) as the boss of the fifth palace; in the NES version, this boss is only fought in the second palace (where it replaced the weaker variation), and a completely new creation called Gooma was added to the fifth palace of the NES version. Gooma is a sort of "boss version" of the similarly named "Guuma" enemies (whose artwork was mixed up, so the name may not be correct), which were never named in English sources, as well as the Hell Guumas (called Doomknockers in said sources).

FDS NES
TAOL JP19.png AOLBarbaU.png

Volvagia, who became "Barba" in English guides, received quite the facelift for his NES showing. His attacks became somewhat slower and he no longer roars (like Horsehead from earlier). However, his original sprites were fleshed out a bit, and he's gained some animation as well. The boss room has a somewhat different layout, as well.

Palace Differences

FDS NES
TAOL JP6.png AOLBridgeU.png

Collapsing bridges in palaces use their own palette in the FDS version. In the NES version, they adhere to the palace's palette.

The original has blue Octoroks throughout the second palace; the NES release replaced these with blue Anerus.

TAOL JP14.png

The hallway which leads to the boss in the fourth palace had some enemies removed for the NES version, namely the Doomknocker/Hell Guuma and the object that drops liquid.

FDS NES
FDS Zelda 2 Barrier.png NES ZELDA II Barrier.png

The entrance to the Great Sanctuary / Palace looks a little different between versions; the barrier and the color of the ground were changed for the NES version.

Ending

FDS NES
FDS Zelda 2 Staff.png NES Zelda II Staff.png

The end credits are different between versions, both in colors and in animation.

Magic Menu

FDS NES
REFLEX REFLECT

For some reason, the Reflect spell was originally known as "Reflex". This doesn't seem to be a translation error, as the Japanese spelling reflects this.

Level System

The level system was changed a lot: in the FDS version, all upgrades (Attack, Life, and Magic) are worth the same EXP values; in the NES version, they have different EXP requirements, with Life being the cheapest and Attack the most expensive.

Further, the disk has it so that when you save and quit, all three levels are reduced to the lowest one you had of any of the three upgrades (for example, if you had Lv. 8 Attack, Lv. 5 Magic, and Lv. 3 Life, they would all be reset to Level 3). In the NES version, all levels are always retained between sessions.

Elevators

Elevators in palaces seem to have been sped up for the NES version.

Music/Sound

The FDS version makes extensive use of the hardware's extra sound channel, which means some music and sound effects had to be changed when porting to the NES (aside from the creative-based changes). The biggest song example is the title theme, while sound effects include finding a fairy, unlocking a door, using a spell, etc.

A few songs and sound effects were also changed entirely.

Battle Theme

The FDS card and NES cart have completely different tracks for the battle theme. The FDS version would later be remixed for The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap as a mini-boss theme.

FDS NES

Ganon's Game Over Laugh

As mentioned previously, the FDS version has the "roar" sound effect for the Game Over screen, while the NES release has a unique laugh for Ganon borrowed from Soda Popinski in Punch-Out!!

FDS NES
Hmmm...
To do:
Rips for everything below here. Also there's other sound effects that are different that haven't been covered. Source:https://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/563487-zelda-ii-the-adventure-of-link/faqs/27747

Title Screen Music

Both versions are essentially the same tune, but with different instruments, to the point that the first few seconds of the FDS version almost sound like corrupted data.

Fight Woosh Noise

When entering battle from the overworld, the FDS version plays a jarring seven-note tone that could charitably be described as a hostile version of the beloved Zelda secret jingle. The NES version replaces this with a sort of "vroom" noise.

Text Noise

The FDS text noise is a set of robotic beeps at various tones. The NES text noise is typewriter-esque clicks with no variance in tone.

Dark Link Trick

The NES version has an infamous trick where Link can stand all the way to the left side of the screen, wait for Dark Link to walk to him, and attack Dark Link without getting hit at all. The shadow is too smart for that in the FDS original; either he was dumbed down for the cartridge, or an error slipped through.

Fairy Warp Glitch

Another error exclusive to the NES cartridge: if Link is on top of the screen and uses the Fairy spell, a glitch causes Link to warp as if he is falling down a pit, which sometimes takes Link to completely random places and can even result in him becoming trapped in the scenery. This is impossible in the FDS version.