Zelda 2 is a bit tough in spots. It's a game that you really have to slow down at times and just make sure you're taking your time. What I do to make things easier is level up in the first dungeon by killing the floating/glowing skulls. You can just continuously strike them and they will eventually die. When they do, you get 50 points right away. First thing I level up is my attack until I hit about 5. Then I do life and then magic. When you level up that much right away, the game is pretty easy going until you reach about level 4 or 5 at which point you'll want to consider doing another level up session.