That's Bush League!

Welcome to That's Bush League, where I criticize, vent, and rant about some aspect of a video game that is so annoying and stupid, it's in a league of its own: the Bush League.

Recently, inspired by Blogging Zelda, I've been playing some of the Zelda games. I'm currently working through the hell that is Zelda 2, the Japanese version. It's bad enough this game can be painfully difficult, but the Japanese developers only added to the punishment with an unforgiving save system. Unique among Zelda games, Link can earn experience points and level up 3 attributes: Attack, Magic, and Life (or Defense). You CAN level them up in any order, which is nice, and was cut from the American version. BUT, when you lose all your lives, you can almost see a sadistic smile on the face of the designers. If your 3 attributes are not even when you save, the game averages them out by ripping away your higher levels so that all 3 are the same. Why take away your levels? I have no idea. It's one of the stupidest ideas I've ever seen. At least this save system was changed for the American release.

For example, after beating the 1st boss, I had 3 Attack, 2 Magic, and 3 Life. I regrettably, I immediately wandered off the path in a desert, and lost my last life to a strange, erect "worm." After restarting, I found that this ridiculous system had reduced Link to 2 Attack, 2 Magic, and 2 LIfe!!! That's about 600 experience points' worth of levels! And, to piss me off even more, the boss stayed beaten and the first temple sealed, so I couldn't regain the experience from the stronger enemies in the temple.

Why design a system that inherently pisses off the player, brutally punishes exploration and carelessness, and takes away from the sense of adventure that pervaded Zelda 1? I don't know. Sometimes games just aren't fair. It's sort of like going to a job interview, giving perfect answers, but then losing the job because you accidentally farted on the way out. It sure does stink, but you just have to try again. You're better than that, Zelda 2. That's Bush League!

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