Link's Nightmare

gfs_29057_3_1 There are many differences between the Famicom Disc System and Nintendo Entertainment System versions of Zelda 2. The sound stands out the most to me. The FDS being more capable allowed Nintendo to create an aural nightmare.

At first I noticed that the music did have a different quality to it. The notes felt fatter to my ears[ref]Anyone with any actual knowledge about music is shaking their heads now.[/ref]. However when the blue curtains were draping across the ceiling for the first time and my little sword went plunging towards the horse’s head, the sounds that entered my own caused me to pause the game and reflect upon the fact that I was safe in an airplane[ref]Look up the statistics.[/ref] and not in a dungeon with a howling horse-head-man ready to bash me to meatloaf.

The sounds that the bosses make are terrifying. Worst was Barba who was letting out a constant stream of them. I might not have beaten this boss so fast were it not for the terror it was unleashing upon me. I played risky and it paid off. Thankfully.

I was sitting on a plane when I started this play through of Zelda 2, determined that it would be the one where I finally beat the game. I did beat it on the sofa in my childhood home and I was drunk with the fears that this game and its predecessor instilled into me as a child.

The first memory I have of Zelda is my father entering The Eagle. The TV was sitting on top of my dresser. The music changed and the screen turned blue. If this is not my first memory of the Nintendo Entertainment System, it is the most vivid Zelda scared me and to this day it still sends a shiver down my spine.

Even the tinkling sound of the townspeople speaking to you in the FDS version differs and it has a harrowing pop that reminds you of how much the land of Hyrule has been devastated by all the ongoing events. Avoiding the howl when Ganon returns inspired me to stay alive in the game more than the thought of having to redo sections. These little sounds are perhaps the most powerful in all of gaming.