The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 Zeruda no Densetsu Yume o Miru Shima?, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: Dreaming Island") is an adventure video game developed by Nintendo and released for the Game Boy in 1993. It is the first game from the Legend of Zelda series to appear on a handheld game console.
A remake called The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX (夢をみる島DX?) for the Game Boy Color was released in 1998. The latter is compatible with the Game Boy Printer and features a new color-based dungeon. It can be played on a regular Game Boy, but the new dungeon and printing features are unaccessible.
Plot and setting
This is the first game in the series to take place outside Hyrule and the main “Triforce” storyline. This is also one of the few Zelda games not to feature Princess Zelda at all.
After training abroad, Link is sailing back to Hyrule, but is shipwrecked in a violent storm. He awakens on Koholint Island, and is taken to the house of a kind man named Tarin, and his daughter Marin (who bears a strong resemblance to Princess Zelda). A mysterious owl tells Link that to return home, he must awaken the Wind Fish by gathering and playing the eight Instruments of the Sirens. The bosses in Link’s Awakening, who guard the Sirens’ Instruments, are said to be the Nightmares of the Wind Fish. When Link plays the Ballad of the Wind Fish with all eight Instruments, he can enter the giant egg atop Mt. Tamaranch, where the Wind Fish slumbers. There he must face the final Nightmare, shadowy apparitions which include umbral visions of foes from Link’s past. Upon defeat of this nightmare, it is revealed that the entire island is merely a dream of the Wind Fish. By playing the instruments again, Link ends the dream. He and the Wind Fish are returned to the waking world.
As all games are in the Legend of Zelda series, Link’s Awakening is an action-adventure game. Being played from a viewpoint above the playfield looking down at Link and his surroundings, it followed its closest relative from the Legend of Zelda line of games, A Link to the Past, in its sense of gameplay and the possible actions that could be performed in the game.
Link’s Awakening was the first of the topview games in the series to feature jumping and platformer action scenes. The treasure caves from Legend of Zelda (platformer scenes seen from the side found in dungeons where treasures lay hidden) make a cameo appearance in Link’s Koholint adventure, and other side-view scenes were added also to make full use of Link’s new jumping abilities. Also appearing for the first time in a Zelda game were fishing, and flying around using a cucco. Link’s Awakening was also the first Zelda game where both buttons could be assigned to different items, neither of which had to be the sword, wheras previously one button was the sword by default.
In addition, this is the first Zelda game to include a "trading sequence" side quest. This minigame consists of trading a series of otherwise useless items, and lasts for most of the game.
The graphic style was developed in a similar style to that of a cartoon, with the intro and ending utilizing nearly fullscreen comic stillframes. The music was composed by Yuichi Ozaki, Kazumi Totaka, Minako Hamano, and Kazue Ishikawa. This was the first Zelda game to feature different background music for each major dungeon.
In 1998, Link’s Awakening was re-released as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color on a black hybrid cartridge that is also compatible with the original Game Boy. This was one of the few deluxe versions of Game Boy games, along with Wario Land II DX, Tetris DX, Super Mario Bros. DX and the cancelled Metroid II: Return of Samus DX and Kirby’s Dream Land 2 DX.
One addition to the DX version was the entirely new color dungeon. The color dungeon made use of the Game Boy Color’s capabilities to deliver puzzles based on color. Once the player beat the dungeon, Link was given the choice of a Red Tunic or a Blue Tunic. The Red Tunic allowed Link to become more powerful (the equivalent of always holding a Piece of Power), while the Blue Tunic raised his defense (the equivalent of always holding a Guardian Acorn).
Another new feature of the DX version was a Camera Shop and photo album. Certain actions trigger cutscenes in which the Camera Shop owner would appear and take a picture. The pictures could be viewed in the player’s photo album at the Camera Shop, and printed using the Game Boy Printer. This feature included the addition of an invisible Zora in the Animal Village as one of the triggers.
The DX version also contains a Super Game Boy enhanced border and color palette. The original game does not have those features, since it was released a year before the peripheral.
Link's Awakening stands out among the Zelda titles in its lightheartedness and humor. Contributing to this atmosphere, many characters from other Nintendo games make cameo appearances in Link's journey.
A Chain Chomp from Super Mario Bros. 3 appears in this game as a domesticated pet in Mabe Village named “Bow-Wow”, who assists Link at one point in the game. Smaller “puppy” Chomps are also present in the vicinity of Bow-Wow’s doghouse, one of which can talk and contributes to the trading sequence. Chain Chomps did appear previously as enemies in A Link to the Past.
Various other enemies from the Mario series appear throughout the game, including Goombas, Thwomps, Boos, Cheep-Cheeps, Bloopers, Pokeys, Bob-Ombs, Shy Guys, Piranha Plants, Podoboos, and Sparks.
Princess Peach of the Mario series appears in a picture sent to Mr. Write by his pen-pal.
Yoshi appears as a doll. The doll is the first item collected in the trading game.
Wart from the United States version of Super Mario Bros. 2 appears in a cave beneath the Signpost Maze as Mamu (his Japanese name). This is Wart's only appearance outside of SMB2 and both games take place in a "dream world".
In the Eagle’s Tower, there is an enemy called an Anti-Kirby (an evil version of the Nintendo character Kirby), who will try to suck Link up into his mouth as he passes by.
Richard, a character from the Japanese Game Boy game Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (translated as A Bell Tolls for the Frog) makes a deal with Link for the Slime Key. A remixed version of the main theme from his game plays in Richard's villa.
Mr. Write, a character based on The Sims creator Will Wright, from the SNES version of SimCity and SimCity 64 (Japan-Only) makes an appearance in the trading sequence. Called “Mr. Write” in this game, his Sim City theme music plays in his house.
Totaka's Song can be heard in this game after waiting two and a half minutes in Richard's villa. This song first appeared in Mario Paint, and showed up in many games whose music was composed by Kazumi Totaka.