The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is the fourth installment in the Zelda series, and only Zelda title on the GameBoy; Link’s Awakening DX is one of three titles on the GameBoy Color. Since its release, Link’s Awakening has been popular among both fans and critics.
Link, who had defeated Ganon and restored peace to Hyrule, had not long been basking in the tranquility before he became restless. Feeling in need of training or enlightenment, he embarks on a journey, sailing across the ocean in a small boat. He completes his training after some time, and on his return trip to Hyrule, gets caught in a storm and the seas become rough. Link tried to fight the strong currents of the waves, even going as far as to tie himself to the ship with some rope; however, a bolt of lightning strikes the ship, and all goes dark.
Later, on a faraway island, a young girl named Marin is walking along the shores of the island’s beach. She suddenly spots someone laying on the sands; upon closer inspection, she finds an unconscious Link, trying to wake him to no avail. With nothing else that she can do, Marin gets Link back to her house in Mabe Village. From beyond the darkness, Link hears the voice of a girl and at first mistakes it for Princess Zelda’s. Not knowing where he is, Marin and her father explain the island to him; he had miraculously washed up on the shores of Koholint Island. Link begins preparations to leave, and Tarin returns his shield, however his sword was nowhere to be found.
Searching the beaches of the island, Link eventually finds it by his shipwrecked boat. Suddenly a mysterious owl flies down to him, explaining that high on the mountaintops there is a giant egg, and inside that egg sleeps a being known as the Wind Fish. The owl states that the Wind Fish must be awakened for Link to be able to leave the island, and tells Link that he needs to go into the woods to find a key before flying away. Left with nothing but a puzzling riddle, Link is forced to listen to the owl’s words and heads for the forest. He eventually finds the Tail Key; the owl reappears and informs him of Tail Cave, and the need to use that key to get inside.
Link does so, defeating several enemies and solving numerous puzzles to clear the dungeon. Link finds at the end a magical instrument, called the Full Moon Cello. Though not knowing what it is at first, the owl reappears and explains that this is one of the Eight Instruments of the Sirens. He also explains that Link must retrieve the remaining seven if he is to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish. Now Link, still full of questions about the strange land he is now in, must journey through the rest of the island to find these mystical instruments.
At one point in his journey, Link arrives in Animal Village. The owl had advised him to venture into Yarna Desert for an important item that will aid him on his quest; unfortunately, a large, sleeping walrus is blocking the path. Yet one of the residents of the Animal Village tells Link that Marin and her beautiful voice can awaken those who hear it. Link returns to Mabe Village, getting an Ocarina from the Dream Shrine. He finds Marin at the beach, who explains her wish to be a seagull, that she might fly around the world and share her songs with many people. She hopes that she can make this wish to the Wind Fish. Afterwards, Link learns how to play the Ballad of the Wind Fish on his Ocarina, learning that it is a song of awakening. However, it’s not enough to awaken the walrus, and Marin goes with Link to the Animal Village to assist. She decides to stay in Animal Village for a while, and Link finds the Angler Key in the desert.
Sometime before obtaining the sixth instrument, the owl flies to Link, instructing him to go to the Southern Face Shrine. When Link arrives there, he learns an awful truth about the island. On a wall with a depiction of the Wind Fish, the words read, “To the finder, the isle of Koholint is but an illusion… Human, monster, sea, sky… a scene on the lid of a sleeper’s eye… Awake the dreamer, and Koholint will vanish much like a bubble on a needle… Cast-away, you should know the truth!”
Link now faces a dilemma as to whether or not he should awaken the Wind Fish, but the owl reassures him and tells him to trust his feelings. Link presses on and finds the remaining instruments. Eventually he finds Marin on the Tal Tal Mountain Range, and she is being attacked by monsters, but Link is able to save her. For a moment, she tries to tell Link something… but changes her mind. The owl knows about her singing and the song of awakening that she always sings, wondering if she was trying to awake the dreamer, the Wind Fish.
Later, Link has now obtained all of the Eight Instruments of the Siren. The owl says that the time has come to awaken the dreamer. Link heads up the mountain tops and comes to the giant egg, in which the Wind Fish sleeps. With his Ocarina in hand along with the other instruments, Link plays the Ballad of the Wind Fish. Suddenly an entrance cracks open from the egg, and Link ventures inside. Within, he finds the mastermind of the chaos on Koholint, the Nightmare who has the power to transform into other forms. After a long battle, Link defeats the Nightmare, purging the island of the last of its evils. A stairway appears, and Link ascends, finding himself in a strange black room filled with rainbow clouds and stars.
It is there that the owl comes to see Link one last time. He explains that he is a part of the Wind Fish’s spirit, and thus was the guardian of his dream world. All was peaceful in the Wind Fish’s dream, until nightmares began to invade; many of the nightmares Link had faced in past dungeons were the very ones that invaded and kept a close watch on the eight instruments. Now that Link had defeated the last of them, the Wind Fish’s dream was at ease once again, and he could be awakened with the eight instruments. The owl then says his role in the dream is now complete, bidding Link farewell before fading, rather than flying away.
Suddenly a wail is heard and the Wind Fish appears before Link’s very eyes. The Wind Fish tells him that in his dreams, an entire world had appeared, yet he could not awaken due to the Nightmares. Yet, it is natural that dreams come to an end, and when he awakens, Koholint shall disappear. He says that Link may someday recall this dream world within the waking one, the only memory of the island that will remain. The Wind Fish fades away, saying that they should awaken together, bidding Link to play the song of awakening one more time. Link does so and slowly, the whole island and its inhabitants fade away; the entirety of the island disappears, but the ocean is kept in place, and Link is suddenly forced out of the Wind Fish’s room by a stream of water.
The sky above Link shines brightly and seagulls fly overhead as he awakens. He is upon a wooden board on the sea, one that was once part of his ship. Just as it was foretold, Koholint Island was a dream and Link was now back in reality. As he recalls what took place, a shadow looms over him. Looking up, he sees the Wind Fish overhead, realizing that he did actually aid him, and the journey was over now.
The Legend of the Wind Fish
It would appear that the Wind Fish could be a mere myth to the inhabitants of Koholint Island; the egg on the summit of Mt. Tamaranch is large and can be seen from a distance, making it obvious that the islanders would know something about the Wind Fish. Marin is a very good example, being a regular citizen of Mabe Village, yet knowing of the existence of the Wind Fish, going as far as to want to wish to him to become a seagull. While it is generally unclear as to whether she believes that the Wind Fish is real or just a myth, Marin can be found on the Tal Tal Mountain Range for no apparent reason. The owl seems to believe that she was trying to wake the Wind Fish with her song; only the Owl and possibly Marin seem to know the actual existence of the Wind Fish.
Shortly after Link clears the Face Shrine dungeon, a boy in Mabe Village is asked by Link ‘when they had appeared on the island,’ and he has no idea what Link means by the question. This implies that the inhabitants of Koholint have no idea they are part of a dream world. The Southern Face Shrine is the only place that holds any real information about the myth of the Wind Fish. Judging by the writing on the wall, the shrine seems to have been built only for the person who would be able to awaken the Wind Fish.
The Perfect Ending
If the player gets through the entire game without dying once, an additional scene can be viewed after the ending credits. Both show Marin as a seagull while the Ballad of the Wind Fish plays in the background; this possibly hints that Marin was saved from the fading dream world and her wish granted, or it could be Link simply remembering her and her wish. The perfect ending varies between the original GameBoy release and the GameBoy Color remake. In the original, a Marin with wings on her back will fly around the words “The End” while singing her song. In the DX version of the game, a full colored image of Marin can be seen within the skies and clouds, and her song will be playing in the background, though she isn’t singing it. Shortly after, the image fades to a seagull who flies away, making for a stronger implication of Marin’s wish having been granted.
While there is nothing remarkable or unique about the gameplay within Link’s Awakening, it did introduce a number of elements that were used in later Zelda games. These include:
• The use of a location other than Hyrule for the setting of the game.
• A list of songs playable on the game’s instrument that must be learned and serve a unique purpose. These differ from Ocarina of Time’s in the sense that they play when selected, instead of having to play them note by note.
• The first instance of fishing.
• This game was the first to use unique music for each dungeon, rather than reusing one single theme or a few themes as its predecessors did; most games after Link’s Awakening followed its lead in this regard.
• The first trading sequence within the Zelda series.
• The first dungeon that was clearly lava or fire-themed, namely Turtle Rock.
• Roc’s Feather.
• An Owl who periodically interacts with Link, giving him guidance on where to go next or what needs to be done.
• A set of well-hidden collectibles that have no use by themselves, but can be redeemed at certain locations to receive useful items or rewards. In this game, they were the Secret Seashells.
Links’ Awakening DX
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX for GameBoy Color is a remake of the original game with several new additions, most notably that the entire game is now in color. It was released just before Ocarina of Time. The engines and color palettes in both of the Oracle games are likely based on those used in Link’s Awakening DX. The DX version can also be played on a regular GameBoy, however doing so makes access to the optional Color Dungeon impossible.
Nintendo 3DS re-release
It was announced at Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference by Shigeru Miyamoto that Link’s Awakening would release alongside Super Mario Land as the first 3DS Virtual Console games on June 7th, 2011. The e-shop price is $5.99 USD in the United States, $9AU in Australia, and £5.40 in the United Kingdom.
References to Other Games
There are numerous references to Nintendo games within Link’s Awakening, though the majority are from the Mario series.
• The Yoshi Doll
• Tarin himself, who greatly resembles Mario in his appearance.
• Tarin turning into a raccoon after eating Mushrooms might be a reference to Super Mario Bros. 3, though Mario turned into a raccoon by using a leaf.
• The Cucco Keeper is similar in appearance to Luigi.
• The Wind Fish’s Egg looks like Yoshi’s eggs.
• Mr. Write shows Link a picture of Princess Peach sent to him by the goat in Animal Village.
• Mr. Write appears similar to Dr. Wright from the Super Nintendo version of SimCity; they share the same last name, but it is spelled differently.
• In addition to Mario characters, Richard from Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru makes an appearance in the game as well.
• Various enemies are based off of a number of characters from Nintendo games, particularly Mario:
o Chain Chomp
o Piranha Plant
o Shy Guy
o Thwomp and Thwimp
1. If the name ZELDA is used when creating a new game, a remixed version of the Zelda theme will play in the background.
2. Link’s Awakening is the only title in which the majority of the bosses can speak.
3. In the first shop, Link can sneak an item past the shopkeeper and acquire it for free. However, he will be labeled as THIEF for the rest of the game. Upon returning to the shop, the keeper will kill Link with a giant bean. The shop can be reset by saving after Link dies from the attack, though he will still be known as THIEF.
4. When viewing the photographs, there is one that depicts Link sneaking an item out of the shop. On the wall there are three posters. The first one is a bomb poster written in English. The second is in Japanese kanji, reading “Prevent Shoplifting” when translated. The third is also in kanji, and it translates literally to “Shoplifting is a crime.”
5. With the exception of Eagle’s Tower, all of the dungeons have a map that makes a picture of an object, such as a key in the case of Key Cavern.
6. The additional scene after the credit that is obtained by completing the game with no deaths is a unique feature to this game in the series.
7. This game has a maximum heart container of fourteen, the lowest in the series along with non-linked Oracle games.
8. It’s possible to complete the game without acquiring the Bow, but doing this does entail getting the otherwise option Boomerang.