Yeah that game is brutal. It's still doable though, if you put in the time, the second game is much more difficult though probably a bit more straightforward when it comes to progression compared to the first.
Maybe when looking at these aspects in a vacuum, but it's not like that when you actually play the game. Zelda 2 is the only game in the franchise I didn't finish, I gave up on it mostly because of how convoluted it was to find the path forward - the fact that any attempt at looking around for progression included countless difficult enemy encounters, platforming challenges with insta-death pits, and a limited lives system meant that I never felt like going out of my way to figure out the obscure stuff. Maybe the first game is even more obscure with most things, but it encourages exploration and experimentation a lot more.
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my top 50 games