Nintendo took their sweet time getting a Zelda game out there for the fans of the portable Gameboy to devour. Released in 1993, Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is an odd but remarkable title for the system and an extremely memorable Zelda game in its own right. By the time Link’s Awakening was released we had already seen both NES classic Zeldas and the revelatory Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the SNES. Link’s Awakening removes Link from the Hyrule setting and familiar characters such as Princess Zelda and Gannon are not part of the plot, which was a first for a Zelda-game. Link finds himself stranded on an island and in order to get back to Hyrule, he must find 8 instruments scattered across the island in various dungeons in order to wake the Wind Fish at the top of a mountain who can take him home. Link befriends a girl named Marin who is an integral part of the story as well as numerous other quirky characters who’s motives are unclear. Just think of Link’s Awakening as the Twin Peaks/David Lynch version of a Zelda game. A chomp-chomp dressed like a girl that wants dresses, make-up and all the accessories!!!! Oooookay then.
I played through Link’s Awakening shortly after buying it for my Gameboy in the mid 2000’s and remember loving the entire experience, start to finish. The ending is truly bittersweet and perfectly done in my opinion. I should have seen it coming a mile away but honestly I didn’t so it hit me right in the gut when it was revealed. I’m a big fan of the series but admittedly not an uber-fan, as I don’t own every Zelda game nor have I even played through all the ones I do own. So I wanted to experience the first of the portable Zelda games in the manner that a player probably would have back in 1993 or 1994, on the old green tinted original Gameboy. What Nintendo was able to do with this game considering the limitations of the system never ceases to amaze me. I wasn’t compelled to buy Link’s Awakening DX for the Gameboy Color when it came out because my impression was that it was simply a color upgrade for an already 5 year old game when it was released in 1998. I’m not completely off base with that sentiment but my understanding is that there are some additional features available for Link’s Awakening DX that aren’t included on the original version. For that reason and the fact it’s an amazing game, I will probably pick the DX version up at some point. All in all, Link’s Awakening is my favorite Gameboy game of all time and I love that my old game from 10+ years ago is still saved to the cart. I might want to finish it again just to remind me of that ending.
Currently in my collection: game only