In the second installment of the Legend of Zelda, you control an older and taller Link. He is capable of wielding a sword and holding his own in any battle. He can leap over obstacles, or jump up to attack in mid-air. He can use his shield to block projectile attacks that are thrown at him by his foes. He can block them high or block them low by squatting. Link has a set amount of life, depicted by the red health meter at the top of the screen. If this meter is depleted, or if Link falls into any water or lava, he will lose one life. If all of his lives are lost, Ganon will return, but you will be presented with an opportunity to continue where you left off, or save your game to continue another time.
When Link begins the game, he only possesses modest strength and ability. As he travels throughout Hyrule and fights against the various forces who would see Ganon revived, he earns battle experience that strengthens him and provides him with access to greater skills. Link can find items that allow him to explore new regions in Hyrule. Link can also find citizens of towns that have knowledge and skills to pass on to the next generation of adventurers if he can fulfill the conditions to meet them.
The three aspects of Link's abilities which can be raised through experience are his vitality (heart), his magic prowess, and his offensive strength (sword). Link must do battle against many foes to raise his experience levels. The weaker the monster, the less experience he will earn, but against tough monsters, Link will earn substantially more experience. Every time Link raises his experience points to the next necessary level of achievement, he must choose to accept the stat increase, or forgo it to increase another stat at an even higher amount of experience points. The following table shows the progression for each level increase.
Link's level of health determines his vitality, or how much damage he will sustain from an attack. The amount of damage he sustains is also dependent upon the creature delivering the attack. All enemies fall under set offensive classifications, except the Thunderbird who is in a classification unto itself. The amount of damage delivered can be determined through the following table. (One bar of your health meter = 16 points)
|Offensive Strength 8||8||6||6||6||4||4||2||2|
|Offensive Strength 16||16||14||10||8||6||6||4||4|
|Offensive Strength 24||24||20||18||16||12||10||8||6|
|Offensive Strength 48||48||36||28||24||20||16||14||12|
|Offensive Strength 72||72||60||48||36||28||24||20||16|
|Offensive Strength 112||112||80||64||56||48||40||32||24|
Links magic level determines how much magic he will have to spend in order to cast particular spells. The higher your magic level, the less a spell will cost, and therefore the more magic you will have to cast other spells with. The following table shows the spell cost amounts at each level. (One bar of your magic meter = 16 points)
With each sword level increase, Link can perform more damage to his enemies with each attack. The following chart indicates how much health Link will remove from a foe with each strike.
Changes from the Japanese version
The original Famicom Disk System version of the game handles level increases quite differently. You must achieve a certain level of experience points to reach a new level, where you will have the chance to increase any one of the three stats at any rate you choose, up to a maximum of eight. As a result, you can get your sword power up to level 8 before raising your health or magic, if you so choose. There is a catch to this, however; If you run out of lives, and continue your game, all of your stats will be reduced to the level of the lowest stat. For example if your stat levels are 7, 6, and 2, and you are forced to continue your game, all of your stats will drop to level 2 when you resume your game. Here is the progression chart for each level upgrade.