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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
06 June 1993
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening [ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島] - cover art
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3.98 / 5.0
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806 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#187 All-time
#2 for 1993
Link becomes stranded on the island of Koholint after his ship is destroyed in a storm out at sea. The only way for him to escape is by acquiring the island's eight magical musical instruments to awaken the Wind Fish, the guardian of Koholint.
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Releases 9
1993 Nintendo  
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JP 4 902370 501667 DMG-ZLJ
1993 Nintendo  
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US 0 45496 73029 1 DMG-ZL-USA
1996 Nintendo  
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XNA 0 45496 73029 1 DMG-ZL-USA-1
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1998 Nintendo  
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JP 4 902370 503852 DMG-AZLJ-JPN
1998 Nintendo  
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XNA 0 45496 73085 7 DMG-AZLE-USA
1999 Nintendo  
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FR 0 45496 46068 6 DMG-AZLF-FRA
1999 Nintendo  
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XEU 0 45496 73085 7 DMG-AZLP-EUR
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This game's humility is its greatest strength. For all that we give Earthbound credit for, this game originated many of those elements. The surrealism and penchant for silly references and a sobering closer that packs a strong emotional punch while being incredibly simple in its execution - that's all Link's Awakening. Though it lacks some of the finesse of later Oracle games, it more than makes up for it with its engaging world made all the more wonderful by its transient nature. A core part of my childhood.
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darth_tyrannus_rex 2021-11-29T18:43:31Z
2021-11-29T18:43:31Z
5.0
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Link's Awakening was A Link to the Past's slightly more straightforward followup, continuing its meticulous program of cleverly arranged dungeons contained in a gradually unlockable overworld, although it occasionally veers towards cryptic progression. Its transition to portable is hampered a little by the Game Boy's limitations (visually, not the menu system), delivering much less memorable dungeons in the process, even though a few tools and sidescrolling areas nod to both Super Mario and the original LoZ. By far the highlight here is the multi-story labyrinthine Eagle's Tower.
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Blah_Blee 2021-06-30T16:30:59Z
2021-06-30T16:30:59Z
6.5 /10
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Since this game is a bit older, I was expecting to play this and almost immediately get stuck, fail to progress, and give up pretty soon. While I did get stuck for a while at some parts, I was motivated enough by the excellent gameplay, engrossing world, and light but charming story to jump over whatever hurdle I encountered and continue playing. All in all, this is a great game with a lot of secrets, likable characters, and all the tightly-knit gameplay loops that every Zelda fan should come to expect from this era of the series.

Sure, it's bogged down by some poor UI decisions (only having two equip-able slots to choose items from, for example). Sure, things can often feel too vague to figure out how to progress. But these faults are well worth weathering.
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polyestergiant 2021-08-31T00:26:28Z
2021-08-31T00:26:28Z
4.0
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No importa las veces que lo juegue... Ese final siempre me saca una lágrima.
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Canelita20 2021-07-02T18:43:40Z
2021-07-02T18:43:40Z
4.0
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Link's Awakening is a cool evolution to Zelda pre-1993 because it appears to earnestly appreciate the series as a whole and not just the smash SNES hit A Link to the Past. While the control scheme severely limits the functionality of Link's Awakening compared to that title, which fully utilized a 6-button controller, the game taken as a whole evokes more mystery by adopting the wide-open, sink-or-swim world structure of the original NES Legend of Zelda.

The combat is extremely responsive and even with some of the more esoteric subweapons, nothing felt harder to control. Link's sword reach is quite a bit longer than in ALTTP, making routine encounters a bit less tedious. However, the limited button layout of the GBC means that Link's sword and shield will be put away often just to swap to a needed bit of equipment. You'll find yourself pausing multiple times per minute just to equip the right tool for the task at hand. This is the game's biggest issue by a country mile and the fact that it's just a constraint of the hardware makes me quite optimistic for the upcoming remake for the Switch.

The island of Koholint gates itself off into naturally revealed sections as Link's inventory of equipment grows. There are dozens of optional secrets you might miss entirely on a really solid playthrough of the game, and that makes this a game that is both fun to shoot through and spend time in the world. Your general gameplay loop is to find out where the next dungeon is, make your way there and find out what you need to find the key and get to the entrance, complete the dungeon, expanding your inventory with a new key item, and returning back to the fields of Koholint to start again. This is pretty straightforward stuff but you'll be running errands all over the island and its mazelike structure will eventually start to wear on you. Additionally, a few of the "dungeon prep" tasks are completely incoherent and illogical, even with the in-game hint system, which can make a couple sections of the game feel frustrating, like the game doesn't really care if you continue playing. The dungeons themselves are old-school hard and VERY complex towards the end of the game, but the early game has a solid difficulty curve so it's just about always rewarding.

Aesthetically I think Link's Awakening is a definite success for the GameBoy. Link, his friends, common grunts, and especially the bosses are all well-drawn and their weaknesses are communicated really well visually without verbal/written hints. The tone is a bit more whimsical and dreamlike thanks to the frequent cameos of Nintendo characters from other franchises, making it feel like a lighthearted Saturday morning cartoon series or something - He-Man comes to mind as a comparison. The GBC "DX" remake takes it up another level by incorporating a full color palette, which brightens the island and offers a bit more charm with all of its soft greens and sunbaked orange-browns. Occasionally you'll even see some cutscenes which look fantastic and never overstay their welcome. The game has some really solid sound design all around, with some solid musical arrangements (if with the caveat of an unhealthy overuse of the original Zelda 1 theme on the world map).

Link's Awakening is certainly a recommended title for both Zelda fans and people that haven't gotten to it in their GameBoy backlogs, but with the caveat of some guaranteed confusion at certain points, a slightly tedious map layout, and some serious inventory swapping issues. Maybe the island of Koholint will charm you like it did for me.
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the_lockpick 2019-08-14T23:14:12Z
2019-08-14T23:14:12Z
3.5
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This is a great followup to A Link to the Past, which has a ton of character of its own. They really put a lot of effort into differentiating this from a clone of that game, with this game having much more plot and a story that doesn't even feature Zelda or Hyrule (and only barely kinda features Ganon), and that also includes a neat twist, albeit one that has almost certainly been spoiled for everyone by now. The inclusion of unique gameplay elements like the Roc's Feather, the side-scrolling sections*, and the Piece of Power/Guardian Acorn, all of which have barely been featured outside of this game, add even more to the game's idiosyncratic feel relative to the rest of the Zelda series. There's some really clever item usage in this game (which is also a bit of a curse; more on that in a bit), and the graphics fit the game's more lighthearted, wacky atmosphere well. As is typical for the Zelda series, the music is fantastic.

While it is one of the very best Game Boy games, I do have to knock it a notch because certain parts are just really annoying. One thing is that because there are less buttons than on a SNES or N64 controller (just two face buttons, not counting the D-Pad or start/select), you only have two buttons which you can use for items. In this game, things like jumping or grabbing something to carry it require items, and many times you need a combination of two items. This means you'll be constantly going back to the menu to swap items, which is made especially more tedious since if you go over the Ocarina in the items menu, you can't move left or right on the menu screen after getting more than one song for it, which takes some getting used to. In addition, the overworld is more maze-like than ever before; they really went all-out with this one. Sometimes it can be really annoying getting around because of this. The dungeons are extra confusing, too, with the last couple in particular being quite perplexing and involving a lot of backtracking thanks to an overabundance of one-way paths.

While it can be quite tedious at times, it's still a great game. I really appreciate its humor, originality, and wacky "anything can happen" attitude, to the point that there are cameos of many Mario enemies, along with Princess Peach herself! I don't recommend it as a first Zelda game, but I do recommend it for anyone that liked Zelda 1 or A Link to the Past, especially those that thought A Link to the Past could've used a bit more puzzle difficulty and a bit less combat difficulty.

The DX version is the definitive release, so get that. It has a new dungeon with a sweet reward, and a cute little photography mode added in. Plus it's in glorious color!
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SemtexRevolution 2018-08-20T00:57:53Z
2018-08-20T00:57:53Z
4.0
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*Well okay, Zelda 1 had the parts where you go down secret passages, and Zelda 2 was a hybrid side-scrolling action RPG, but the minor side-scrolling sections of this one feel quite different to both of those. Maybe a little closer to the former.
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cloudydonut ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-15T14:42:39Z
2022-08-15T14:42:39Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hanl3po ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-14T14:32:25Z
2022-08-14T14:32:25Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jul88 The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX 2022-08-13T22:29:33Z
GBC / GB • XNA
2022-08-13T22:29:33Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Earworms ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-12T16:01:53Z
2022-08-12T16:01:53Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bleakage ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-12T08:39:46Z
2022-08-12T08:39:46Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Scrub The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 2022-08-09T22:54:42Z
GB • US
2022-08-09T22:54:42Z
3.5
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joiner ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-08T19:11:45Z
2022-08-08T19:11:45Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Hesick ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-08T12:52:20Z
2022-08-08T12:52:20Z
2.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
reshader ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-07T03:42:35Z
2022-08-07T03:42:35Z
5.0
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abigailkatz ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-06T00:33:20Z
2022-08-06T00:33:20Z
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Kacperr The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX 2022-08-05T01:12:23Z
GBC / GB • XNA
2022-08-05T01:12:23Z
3.5
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Goge ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 2022-08-04T15:39:09Z
2022-08-04T15:39:09Z
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Also known as
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
  • Zelda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima
  • The Legend of Zelda: Dream Island
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
  • View all [4] Hide

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  • Previous comments (3) Loading...
  • deadass 2020-06-04 19:58:49.762877+00
    Wow! This looks pretty heavy!

    You won’t be able to lift it

    with just your bare hands....

    (x100)
    reply
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  • Fowlawneeshafow 2020-07-27 08:08:58.818913+00
    I absolutely adore the condensed Overworld of this game and the Oracle games. Virtually no wasted time or space in any of the GBC Zelda titles.
    reply
    • watercolour 2022-08-03 23:24:44.076018+00
      You didn't appreciate the completely empty Hyrule fields of OoT and Twilight Princess
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  • slib 2021-03-12 17:10:42.386712+00
    Just finished the remake, and while it is quite good, it just can't replicate the same impact this game had back in 1993. Does the whole nihilistic Zelda thing seven years before Majora's Mask, and imo better. Even with its QOL changes which were welcome, I find it hard to recommend the remake over the original if both are readily available, but if you've played the original definitely check out the remake. Oh, and the music is way better here, naturally. I got used to the art direction of the remake, it's good, but I wish that it had the artstyle of the prologue / ending cutscenes for the entire game.
    reply
    • watercolour 2022-08-03 23:19:34.952431+00
      "does the whole nihilistic thing better" lmao
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  • ayejayjay 2021-07-15 22:36:36.909976+00
    S-tier Zelda game. I own the remake but haven't played through that one yet.
    reply
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  • TheGrindingWheel 2022-02-17 13:01:57.420311+00
    My favorite pre-OoT Zelda game. Just oozes nostalgia, charm, and heart. Only complaint is the ball-bustingly difficult progression through the game that kept me from coming back to it much as a kid.
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  • Melancholie 2022-06-30 16:18:16.8485+00
    So much better than the newer Zelda games.
    reply
    • WinterMirage 2022-08-13 20:07:36.676584+00
      We're you born a liar out of the womb or did it take years of practice to spew so much bullshit?
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