Review by Mana Kirby

"An absolute classic; a must get!"

Zelda: Link's Awakening is the fourth game in the 'Legend of Zelda' series. It was released in 1993, and has been remade for the GameBoy color. It is a top-down adventure game, similar in playability to the first Zelda in most ways.

Gameplay
The premise for gameplay is classic for the Zelda series: Run around fighting things, and complete dungeons. You spend the majority of the game wandering around Koholint Isle, which is quite large, even by todays standards. At the appropriate times in the story, you enter dungeons, that hold a 'Siren Instument'. However, there are many 'tunnel' areas as well. These occur in underground passageways between dungeons, or in the overworld. These play out quite similarly to a Mario platformer, which is fitting, as there are tons of references to Mario and other Nintendo characters in the game. There are all sorts of mini-games and hidden things to do, such as the Trendy Game, or testing your luck as a criminal (just don't come crying to me if you get killed).

Difficulty
This game is not particularly difficult as a whole, but it has its excruciatingly difficult moments. Many of the bosses are a 'Nightmare' to fight for the first time. Don't expect to beat any on your first try, unless you are a god at the Zelda series. Link's Awakening also has its fair share of puzzles, most of which are not block-pushing (a good thing, as block-pushers are a disgrace to puzzles everywhere). There are many cleverly hidden secrets for one to find as well.

Controls
Perfect. The controls could have a five-year-old running around Koholint Island easily (like I did when i got it). There are three main control types that need to be addressed. The first is General Overworld and dungeon. The d-pad is used for travel in he eight compass directions. The A and B buttons are used for the weapons/items you have equipped. The controls are very responsive, and easy to understand. Pressing Select lets you view a world map, which is very useful if you get lost. Pressing start takes you into the Pause/Menu screen. This screen shows your quest status and dungeon map on one side, and your items on another. You simply move the cursor to the item of choice, and press the button you want to assign it to, and it will be swapped with the currently equipped one. The screen is organized expertly, and is not cluttered with useless
junk. The third area of controls is the side-scrolling-tunnel-levels. These play for the most part like the overworld, but with one huge difference: gravity. Whenever you are not standing on a platform, you are falling towards the bottom at a very fast rate. These areas are a fun change of pace, and there are even a couple of boss fights in them.

Story
This game has arguably the best story of any Zelda game. You awaken on an island, after barely surviving a storm in which your ship was destroyed. You are under the care of a girl named Marin, who has a striking resemblance to Zelda. After recovering your sword and shield, you learn that it is your goal to wake the Wind Fish. It sounds simple enough, but you learn later that doing so may have drastic consequences. The charming characters and witty dialogue only add to the atmosphere of the island. You also go on many little side-quests, the main one being the trading game. You get a Yoshi doll early in the game, and you trade it for a new item. You have to go all over the island to eventually get a certain item required to beat the game. It also intertwines with many of the other plot events. For example, Sale the crocodile says, "Is that canned food??? For heaven's sake, man, give that dog food to ME! Please!", in exchange for some bananas. A bittersweet atmosphere cover the later half of the game, as morality questions arise, and romance is hinted at.

Graphics
On the original GameBoy, I was amazed at the sheer brilliance of the graphics. On the GBA, SP, or *drool* the DS, this game looks superb. It is easily comparable to many of today's games, and beats plenty of them. The sizes of the sprites are just right, and show plenty of detail. The game has great gray-scale, which is actually better than the color in the remade version. There are no obvious glitches, but plenty of hidden ones, which add a lot of playability.

Sound
Links' Awakening has some of the best music of any video game, ever. Every area is substantiated in atmosphere by a background music of some sort; ranging form the earthy tones of Bottle Grotto, to the lofty melodies of Mt. Tamaranch. The Balad of the Wind Fish, the games most important song, is sad, and full of depth. Do not, I repeat DO NOT play this game with the sound off. You will regret it.

Replayability
This game was released in '93, and many people such as I still play it constantly. I happen to pick it up and beat it *at least* once a month. It has so many intriguing character, such good plot, and great glitches to muck around with. Links awakening has truly stood the test of time in the video-gaming world.

Overall
An instant classic at the time of release, still one of the best games around today. This game is absolutely priceless, and it must be played by any fan of the Zelda series, or video games at all.

Considering that there are *no* flaws in this game, it does not even require a rating.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/11/05


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