Zelda 2 was Nintendo at its best: unpredictable

In a 2016 interview with Nintendo, Tadashi Sugiyama, the game director of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, expressed incredulity that anyone would consider his sequel to The Legend of Zelda their favorite Zelda of all time: “Those kind of people exist!?”

Sugiyama is clearly aware of the divisive reception to Zelda 2, which, despite being a commercial hit on the original NES, did not become the transformative template for future Zelda games. Far from it; Zelda 2’s focus on more traditional RPG and side-scrolling platforming elements were all but excised from the franchise, as top-down adventures in the style of The Legend of Zelda became the norm until (and even beyond) the release
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