Six gems and a scroll are given to Link, and although he's never seen the strange writing, he's able to read it. Long ago, the Triforce was broken into Power, Wisdom, and Courage. The first two we saw in the first Zelda, but the last one is necessary to release the full power. Using this power should awaken the sleeping princess. The crest on Link's hand indicates he is the only person able to handle the Triforce of Courage. The scroll details it is hidden in the Great Palace, but to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands there is a binding force that is broken by placing a gem in each of six statues in the palaces around Hyrule. There are guardians to overcome, put there to protect the statues from enemies of the realm.
We also learn that even after the defeat of Ganon his minions are still causing havoc and chaos in the land. Link's blood is the key to resurrecting their leader Volde... I mean Ganon, so if Link loses all his lives, then Ganon is resurrected once more.
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This level system is unique to this game and the series. With this pool of experience points you can choose to increase attack power, reduce magic cost, or add defense; attributes level individually with each one having a different experience point requirement. It's possible to customize Link in different ways if you choose to save for the most expensive level (usually attack power).
Even with good sales, many fans view it as the black sheep of the series. This reaction seems very similar to the one received by Castlevania II. It's a careful juggling act to follow a hit game; developers need to keep what makes it great, fix things that didn't work, and add new aspects that build on what did.
|All set for tomorrow.|
I believe the debate continues because having a game or series called an RPG has become some sort of prestige classification. Like a badge of honor, nearly every game scrambles to include inventories, experience points, and leveling, as well as storylines, exploration, and dialogue. Personally, I see parallels between claims that "games are art," and "my favorite game/series is an RPG." It dilutes the classification, and makes it meaningless when more outliers are added into a definition.
In my quick check on the RPG scale, Zelda II got 11, but that's from a fuzzy memory, so we'll see how it stands up in the end. I have beaten this game on multiple occasions when I was younger, but it's been at least 20 years since I last played it. Let's see how much I remember, and maybe I can get through it in a couple of play sessions.