The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (GB)

How does this handheld entry into the Zelda franchise hold up 9 years after its initial release?

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  • System: Nintendo Game Boy
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Max Players: 1
  • US Release: August 1993
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not what you would call a “Zelda fan”. It’s not that I dislike the Zelda series, it’s just that I’ve never seen the attraction. Don’t ask me why, ’cause I really couldn’t give you a straight answer. Perhaps it was how little I was exposed to the series as a kid. Anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you. So I basically see Link’s Awakening like this: a once-great adventure/RPG that just can’t hold up in today’s standards. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the cliched RPG. There’s nothing I would love more from this world than to wake up one morning after having a haunting dream about a princess I must rescue, and to embark on an epic journey that would decide the fate of the world.

lasn1As Link, or whatever you decide to name the hero, you awake in a foreign household where a man greets you and explains how you were found shipwrecked out on the beach. The monsters on the island have also apparently been acting up. He hands you your shield, and you’re off.

At first, Link’s Awakening gives the illusion of being non-linear. But you’ll soon find that you can’t go very far without a sword. All right, so you go and get your sword down by the beach, followed by some story progression. To get your ass off the island, you’ve gotta wake the Wind Fish. To do this, you must find the eight enchanted instruments of the Siren that somehow awake the ol’ fish. And so, your adventure begins.

It’s not exactly an epic story like RPG’s nowadays have—but we have to remember this is original Game Boy. Hell, back in the early nineties you were lucky to get any story at all. Link’s Awakening isn’t all about an enthralling story, however, and holds up nicely with puzzles and nice game play.

While the graphics are about what you would expect from a Game Boy title, Nintendo did a good job keeping the same feel that previous Zeldas had to them, especially when combined with a similar soundtrack. As with most games on portable consoles, gameplay takes priority. So just how good is Link’s Awakening‘s gameplay? I found myself confused most of the time while playing, wondering where the hell I should go, or what kind of item I need to advance in the game. The dungeons are nicely designed and challenging, but not nearly as challenging as it is to figure out how to advance to the next part of the game.

I’m sure The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a real treat for all Zelda fans out there. It’s also a solid title for anyone looking for a good adventure game on Game Boy. But for people like me (what the hell is wrong with me?), well, I just couldn’t stay interested. Please send hate mail and recommendations for good psychiatrists to

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 6 - Above Average
  • Score Breakdown

  • Fun Score: 8
  • Audio Score: 7
  • Visuals Score: 6
  • Controls Score: 6
  • Replay Value: 4
2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 102 votes, average: 5.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

From 2002 to 2003

Doug O'Neil is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.

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