Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Review
A Semi-Musical Adventure
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
After the success of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to
the Past, fans were still itching for more Zelda. Despite having a very
misleading title, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was more than
enough to appease fans. With gameplay and graphics very similar to that of
the preceding Zelda game, it was praised as an instant classic.
Link's Awakening takes place just after A Link to the
Past, with Link traveling across the sea by boat. Of course, since fate has
no mercy for heroes, he ends up shipwrecked on an island and knocked
unconscious. He awakens in the house of a local named Marin and discovers
that the only way off the island is by awakening the legendary Wind Fish. Though the story strays from its roots by neglecting staple
features such as the Triforce, Ganon and Zelda, it does nothing to detract
from the game and make it feel any less magical than the other Zelda titles.
Instead, it offers a refreshing break from the overused norm of 'rescue the
princess and get the Triforce.'
Link's Awakening is quite similar to A Link to the
Past in terms of gameplay. The system has
been tweaked to be more efficient, however; the traditional two-item
system that has been used for the previous Zelda games is present, but the
sword may now be replaced with another item. This allows for a bundle of
combinations and saves a few extra trips to the menu to switch items. From playing ocarinas, throwing boomerangs and jumping (yes, Link's Awakening has introduced jumping to the Zelda world), youíll
be doing a lot of switching, guaranteed. Unlike other Zeldas where an item
had a respective dungeon where it was used for every puzzle, youíll have
to use combinations of items, old and new, to get past the labyrinths in
Linkís Awakening. After the maze is cleared, you'll face off against a
boss of some sort, each having set patterns and a particular weakness that
you can exploit, provided that you can figure it out. Defeating them is
simple enough, but finding out how to harm them can be a chore in some
cases. The most difficult parts of the game are always figuring out where
to go and what to do next, rather than tough battles.
|Now I'll Steal Me a
The graphics also have the general 'feel' of A Link to
the Past. Several familiar items such as pots and bushes to throw around are
abundant in the game. Though not as detailed and high-resolution as its SNES
counterpart, it is quite remarkable.
The sprites are smoothly animated and a high level of detail was put into
the background and foreground alike, especially considering that it is a
Gameboy game. The only blunder is the occasional slowdown on some
graphically intense events, such as an entire field of bushes being
slashed to bits or a flock of angry chickens swarming across the screen.
This can prove to be somewhat annoying, especially
when you're trying to make timed jumps at the same time.
The music also crawls slowly when this happens. Thankfully, it doesn't happen often, especially
since the music is very good. Like its predecessors, the main highlight
of the music is the Overworld Theme, presented in all of its glory through
a Gameboy speaker. Simply put, itís some of the best music ever to grace
the handheld gaming world, with soothing tunes that vividly describe the
magical realm of Zelda. It is also interesting to note that music plays an
important role in Linkís Awakening. Though it is not as vital as in
Ocarina of Time, there are several points where Link will have to bring an
Ocarina to his lips to continue his quest.
While the game itself is very good, there is little to
do after its completion, which isn't a good sign since the game is short,
even with all of the necessary exploration. Collecting seashells is a bore and frighteningly,
there is no second quest. The only secret name that youíll be seeing in
the game is "THIEF", which is what your name is
changed to if you steal items from the shop.
To this day, Linkís Awakening remains one of the most
popular Gameboy titles of all time. Though it can be considered a black
sheep in terms of storyline, this is by no means a bad quality. It combines the magical feel of a
Zelda game with a title that is its own, all neatly presented on a
tiny 2 x 2.5