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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (Nintendo Game Boy Color) Review
Review by 
9.51/10 from 56 user ratings
In 1993, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on the Game Boy, the fourth installment of the Zelda series to huge commercial and critical success. When the Game Boy Color launched in late 1998, Nintendo decided to add a splash of color to Link's portable adventure, as well as a couple of odds and ends. The result: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX.

Link's Awakening, now in 100% more color!

The story takes place after A Link to the Past. Link is sailing abroad to beef up in case of future attacks on Hyrule. While he's at sea, a massive storm hits, ripping his boat apart. He washes ashore on Koholint Island, found unconscious by a young woman named Marin (who looks strikingly like Princess Zelda) on the beach of Koholint Island. After waking in her and her father Tarin's house, they give him his shield back and send them to go check out the beach where he washed up.

Upon arriving at the beach, Link finds his sword. Once he grabs hold of it, an owl swoops in and tells Link that in order to go home, Link has to collect the eight instruments of the Sirens and awaken the Wind Fish, Koholint's guardian. Each instrument is in a Temple on Koholint. Thus, Link's newest adventure begins.

If you've played any Zelda games before (or after) it, you're familiar with DX's gameplay mechanics. If you haven't, it plays from an overhead perspective (aside from the occasional two-screen side-scroller sections) with Link being able to move in all directions. The game continually shifts from the main overworld to nine (technically ten) dungeons. In order to get around Koholint Island, you'll need to traverse the dungeons and recover special items, such as the Roc's Feather (allows Link to jump), the Pegasus Boots (Link can charge forward and shatter some objects) and the Power Bracelet (allows Link to lift rocks and push and pull various objects).

Hmm, this guy looks a bit familiar...

Travel the overworld, find a dungeon, find the dungeon item, kill the boss, and get a new instrument. That's pretty much DX in a nutshell, though there is a lot of story progression between dungeons. The dungeons aren't overly tough and they aren't too long (which is good for a portable game). Each dungeon has you finding keys, a Nightmare key to let you into the boss' chamber, a compass to point out where the treasures are, a map to show you the general layout (excluding some hidden passages) and the dungeon item, which is often necessary to finish the dungeon and defeat the boss and snag a heart container to extend your life.

Also during your travels in the overworld, you'll have the chance to find heart pieces. For every four heart pieces you collect, you earn a new heart container. There are a total of twelve scattered throughout Koholint Island. Some are easier to find than others. You can also have a photographer take pictures of Link during his adventures if certain requirements are fulfilled, though if you're playing on a 3DS, you can't print the pictures. A bummer, but nothing that detracts from the gameplay.

DX features an extra dungeon not seen in the original Link's Awakening. It can be accessed after obtaining the Power Bracelet, though you technically need the Pegasus Boots to learn where it's located and how to access it. It's also worth noting that DX features a lot of cameos.

The controls are pretty simple. Move Link around with the d pad, press Select to open the map, and press Start to open the sub screen. From there, you can equip weapons and items to either the A or B buttons. Nintendo worked around the Game Boy's button limitations by allowing Link to unequip the sword. This comes in handy for those times where your level 1 sword just won't get the job done (bombs + arrows make for a deadly combination) or where you need a little extra oomph to get to those hard to reach places (Roc's Feather + Pegasus Boots).

Negotiate a peace treaty wi... just kidding. You have to stab him.

The one problem is saving. The way to save is to press Select, Start, A and B at the same time. On the Game Boy Color, this wasn't so bad. On the 3DS, however, it's a pain. Fortunately, the save state function alleviates the need to have to do this too often (I still did it on occasion just in case).

Graphically, this was a game created in 1993. The sprites went unchanged, though the game got a nice color treatment. The color looks good and the game rarely slows down, if ever. One of my complaints of the original was that some of the environments were difficult to see, and the color fixed that. Sound wise, DX makes good use of the Game Boy Color's limited sound capabilities in its music and sound effects.

All in all, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX is a good, portable title. It's not as meaty as the console Zelda games (I completed it in about eleven and a half hours with everything found aside from a few photos), but it doesn't need to be. This was designed to be a Zelda game that you could play on the go, and it succeeded in capturing what made the console versions so great in a more bite-sized game. Highly recommended.

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Posted: 06/24/11, 20:13:02  - Edited by 
 on: 02/24/13, 22:22:29    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
So do you guys tend to choose defense or offense when you're given the choice in a game? I can never decide. My love of stealth-based gameplay usually makes me pick offense, so I can just swoop in and finish the job.

Posted by 
 on: 06/29/11, 22:13:12

I chose defense because you can upgrade the sword (albeit after you're modestly far in the game) and the Boomerang is pretty deadly, as is the Hookshot. Defense is something you really can't do much about aside from the Mirror Shield, which you also get very late in the game.

Posted by 
 on: 06/29/11, 22:29:14
I pick defense too. I feel that you're strong enough, and from what I've heard, some enemies can go down way too easily, including bosses if you have the offense tunic.

Posted by 
 on: 06/29/11, 22:59:37  - Edited by 
 on: 06/29/11, 23:00:18

Yup I beat the Eagle Tower boss in 3 shots... it was a letdown although I've been through the game countless times before so it's not like I cared or had any worry about dying.

Posted by 
 on: 06/29/11, 23:01:09
@Secret_Tunnel I tend to choose defense mostly because there is nothing more frustrating to me than getting to a point where I am killed off before I fully realize what I'm supposed to be doing (usually in a boss fight, often with a long, unskippable cutscene before it...) Choosing defense will let me have more time to figure something out before I die so that at least next time I get there, I know what I'm supposed to be doing. BTW, why are we being all secretive about this?!

Posted by 
 on: 06/29/11, 23:09:43
@VofEscaflowne I didn't realize you chose the offense tunic too!

Except you're the one I was talking about.

@Zero I was following everyone else's lead. I originally didn't want to mention where the color dungeon was or anything, but this isn't very spoilery.

Posted by 
 on: 06/29/11, 23:30:10
Woah, when I get the blue color tunic my damage taken is decreased by half? That almost seems game-breaking to me, especially for something that was added in as a bonus to the DX version. Hmm. Hope it doesn't get too easy moving forward.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 00:23:38

That makes a ton of sense. I'll pick defense from now on.

Phew, almost thought I'd have to think for myself.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 00:56:35
How about not doing that dungeon at all? It's pretty weak, anyway, and it's not part of the original game design (as all the "game-breaking" comments illustrate).

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 01:14:34
I like the color dungeon if just because you get to hear a remix of the original Zelda dungeon theme.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 01:17:00
Guillaume said:
How about not doing that dungeon at all? It's pretty weak, anyway, and it's not part of the original game design (as all the "game-breaking" comments illustrate).

If you're not going to do the color dungeon, why even bother playing the color version at all? You might as well just play the BW version!

(Yes, I realize you prefer the original and I think I do too.)

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 03:16:58
Well, the color IS nice, I will admit.

If only that were the only thing they changed...

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 04:35:02
@Guillaume Did anyone else say it was game-breaking besides me!? Anyway, I've already died like seriously 50 times or something in this game so maybe I'm not overly worried if I make it a bit easier on myself. PS. What else was changed for DX?

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 05:32:42

They fixed an awesome bug that allowed you to teleport all over the place.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 05:39:17

What bug was this?

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 06:14:25
The bug that allowed you to teleport all over the place.


Go to the very edge of a screen that Link can walk to another screen from. Move towards the edge of the screen and just before it begins to scroll press "Select". Press "Select" again to get rid of the map and Link should now be on the new screen but in the place he was on the old one.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 06:20:13  - Edited by 
 on: 06/30/11, 06:24:46
Gotta be careful not to teleport into a wall, though.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 06:34:59
I really love this game. It's like a more wacky version of ALTTP. I'm on my way to the third dungeon but I stopped playing it on account of having to finish Ocarina of Time for the review. However, I promised myself that, this time, I will finally finish this game. That's after beginning the game a couple of time in the past.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 07:39:37
Zero said:
I'm like halfway through, awesome game so far! Definitely has a Link to the Past (aka best Zelda ever) feel to it.

Both games were directed by Takashi Tezuka. Heart Heart Heart.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 07:48:26

I remember using that bug quite frequently. Really does some weird stuff to the game if you do it in the right place.

Posted by 
 on: 06/30/11, 09:42:14
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