Written by James
Can you remember when you first became addicted to the series this site is dedicated to? Was it the original ones on the NES? Was it the great SNES game A Link to the Past? Was it Ocarina of Time? For me, Link’s Awakening truly got me hooked into the series we all know and love.
It was 1998. The year that Ocarina was finally released to the world to love and enjoy. I was without a N64 at the time, so I believed I would never get the chance to play the game. I went out and got Link’s Awakening to kill my anxiousness about playing Ocarina. I didn’t expect much from the game at the time, just a way to pass the time until Christmas, when I hoped for a N64 and the game of the century.
I played the game and not only passed the time, but really enjoyed the game very much. Link’s Awakening really takes the formula of the original game and makes a lot of use of it.
The game starts out with Link sailing away from Hyrule for a reason many gamers do not know. Many speculate that after defeating Ganon, he went to look for a way to increase his skills. All that is known is that Link gets caught in a storm and gets shipwrecked on Koholint Island. Marin, a local villager, finds Link on the shores and nurses him back to health. Once Link is healthy, Link recovers his shield from Tarin, Marin’s father, and sets out to the shores where he was shipwrecked to recover his sword. A mysterious owl then tells him that the only way off the Island is to collect the eight instruments scattered around the island and wake the Wind Fish, the magical creature who lives in an egg on top of the highest mountain of Koholint.
The game is also first to feature Link away from his home of Hyrule. Koholint is a massive island for Link to explore, where he meets many foes that are familiar to many fans.
The game plays in similar fashion to the original Legend of Zelda, as well as A Link to the Past. It shows Link from an overhead view able to move across one screen worth of land at a time, like the original. The game is played on the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, so Link is once again limited to the use of two items at the time. This game, however, is the first to feature the ability to use the sword and shield at the same time, so that Link is not left defenseless when he swings his sword.
Like Legend of Zelda, Link must find the eight dungeons of Koholint, defeat each boss within, and collect the instrument within. It is pretty simple, but each dungeon is crawling with numerous enemies and puzzles that the gamer must get through. The dungeons are around the same difficulty as Legend of Zelda as well, but maneuvering the overworld isn’t as tough. The game is fairly linear, with the owl helping you every step of the way.
The game also features pieces of heart, a staple of the series that has stuck for many years. If Link gathered four hearts then he would gain another heart for his adventure.
Graphics and Sound
Based on today’s standards, Link’s Awakening is a fairly simple game. For a Game Boy game, the graphics are awesome though. Link is a sprite in this game, but it is a fairly updated sprite from Link’s original adventure. The sound is also on par with the original as well. It is easy to tell the music is Game Boy music easily. The music, though, is very critical to any Zelda game and the it does not disappoint. Unlike the original, though, each dungeon’s music is unique and not the same tune throughout, a very nice addition that has also been a staple to the series since the game came out.
To make the series more interesting, Link finally makes his way away from Hyrule, a thing that has been repeated only three other times in the 14 game series. Then ending of the game was also very unexpected, making the game just a dream. While it has never been brought up in another Zelda game since, no one knows the true meaning behind Link’s adventure on Koholint. The game is also the first to only mention a Zelda in passing and does not show the character for which the series is named.
Of course, no Zelda game would not be complete without Link’s array of unique items. This game does not disappoint. The game features the classics, such as the sword, shield, as well some newer additions to the game. The hookshot, a staple that was first introduced in A Link to the Past, makes an appearance. The Game Boy staple, Roc’s Feather, is also an addition, allowing the gamer to make Link jump short distances. The Power Bracelet allows gamers to pick up objects to allow Link access to some routes. Flippers also make an appearance in the game, allowing Link to swim and dive in certain waters as well. The Ocarina even makes an appearance in the game, before it became popular by Ocarina of Time. Although limited in mechanics and songs, it’s still a good addition to the game.
In a gaming world dominated now by flashy graphics and awesome gaming experience, Link’s Awakening is one of those games that makes you appreciate the games nowadays. It’s a fairly simple game, yet you can spend hours playing it for a nice break from everything. If you are a old school fan, as well as a Game Boy fan, Link’s Awakening is must play.