Review by Dark33

"Believe it or not, this is the best Zelda game"

The Legend of Zelda series has been known to be possibly the greatest adventure series of all time. I strongly disagree with that statement, as most of the other Zelda games are mediocre at best (Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Zelda 1+2). However, this stellar game is an exception, as it, along with A Link to the Past are both worthy adventures that deserve to be explored. This Game Boy game is a classic that should be in everyone’s Game Boy library.

Graphics: 70/100
So this is Game Boy, what do you expect? I hope not stunning 3-D, because you’re looking at the wrong system. Yet, compared to other games on this handheld system, Zelda looks pretty good. Granted, nothing looks terribly realistic, but the characters all have their own unique look, and the worlds are pretty good. And each dungeon definitely has its own distinctive feel.

Overall: Good Game Boy graphics.

Control: 75/100
I couldn’t stand the sloppy controls in the original Zelda for the NES. It made it hard to hit enemies, and pretty confusing to select items. However, that is improved upon for this game. The enemies are much easier to hit than many other Zelda games. The item selection is good, but could’ve been better. For example, when you get the power bracelet, you can lift heavy pots and jars. But you have to equip it, every time you reach one of those objects, which gets very tedious. A better idea would’ve been to keep it as a permanent item, like the flippers, so that every time you reached a pot, you wouldn’t need to equip it. Other than that, which is a pretty annoying flaw, the controls are very solid.

Overall: Much improved control system from the original Zelda, and pretty good for its own.

Plot: 80/100
I have to give the development team lots of credit for creating a truly unique plot. Unlike other Zelda games where you have to save Zelda, and collect the Triforce, you land on a strange island after a storm. (By the way, neither Zelda nor the Triforce make an appearance…) A girl picks you up and you end up in her house and meet her father. The object, it seems, is to wake a thing called the Wind Fish. The plot gets more complicated from there…

Overall: Creative plot, especially for a Zelda game.

Sound/Music: 60/100
This is not the system to look for great sounding games. Nevertheless, Link’s Awakening delivers above average sound and music. Much of the music is repeated, but that isn’t such a bad thing. Sounds are not a big part of this game for sure.

Overall: Above average Game Boy music and sound effects.

Gameplay: 90/100
This is an extremely well designed game. The dungeons are fun and challenging, the overworld is vast and varied, and the final confrontation is really cool. First, after you wake up, you must retrieve your shield from the girl’s father. Then you must find your sword which seems to be by the place you was found, on a beach. Then, an owl comes and tells you your quest, but many details are shrounded in mystery. There are plenty of items, a long trading sequence, lots of bosses, and many characters to talk to. Add in a couple miniquests, and lots of exploration, and you have one high quality adventure game. There are many cool little secrets too, so try to find them all. Be warned however, because this game is pretty challenging. It’s easy to go around poking creatures everywhere, but it’s really tough to complete your mission so be careful!

Overall: Excellent and fun gameplay. Plenty of exploration. Really cool dungeons.

Replay Value: Medium
What helps this game, is the many little extras hidden around the island. That’s one reason to replay. Another is the quality of this game, which will demand a replay or two. Other than that, nothing special here.

Challenge: Very High
This is one of the most challenging games I’ve ever played. Some of the puzzles will make your head spin for days, even weeks. Figuring out what to do next can be really hard. This is one of those games where you’ll probably see a FAQ or guide. I didn’t and it took me almost a year to beat this game, no kidding! Unless I’m really stupid or really bad at games…

Strong Points:
Excellent Game Design
Very Challenging
Improved Play Control
Very Fun to Play
Lots of Hidden Extras

Weak Points:
Sound is okay at best
Equipment of Items is definitely tedious

Overall: 84/100
This game will give you a high quality gaming experience, unlike many other members of this series. Don’t pass this game up, or you’ll regret you did.

Rounded to fit GameFaqs score: 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/16/01, Updated 01/16/01

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