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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    
 
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I'm on my first really play-through of this. My brother had the original version, but I was too young to understand what was happening. So far I like it a lot more than most of the other Zelda games. It's quirky and fun, and the characters are interesting. I also like the hint function because I find Zelda games hard. Also, I love that it is set on an island. As Zelda games are adventure games I always what to know what's over that hill, or past that village but in this game you know it's just the ocean. That makes me feel like I really explored everything I could.


Posted by 
 on: 07/05/11, 22:15:49
Wow, once again had to go to Gamefaqs, in the Wind Fish egg infinite maze. Why on earth would I assume that the code is in some book that I read with binoculars when similar infinite mazes in other Zelda games did not have such background behind them?!

I love this game a lot, but I wish it was a bit more clear about what you have to do sometimes. Anyway, almost finished!


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 21:53:41
@Zero

You're right at the end. Stop posting and finish!


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 22:06:27
I tried. But then I ran out of arrows on the part of the boss that apparently needs to be killed with arrows. YOU SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO RUN OUT OF SOMETHING YOU NEED TO FIGHT A BOSS WITH WHY IS THIS GAME DESIGNED IN SUCH A FRUSTRATING MANNER?


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 22:14:31
LttP pulled a similar thing a few times, with Trinexx and Kholdstare. And technically Ganon. You just gotta pick yourself up and try it again!


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 22:17:45
@Zero

Did you finish the trading quest and get the magnifying glass in the first place? Did you ever read the books in the library?


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 22:41:19
@DrFinkelstein Nah I never finished the trading quest, in part because it wasn't clear that it had to be completed (although there were a few points in the game where it was necessary.) Well actually, it doesn't have to be completed, although trying to figure out the infinite maze requires either finishing it, going on Gamefaqs, and having a lot of free time to try out combination after combination.

I wouldn't even have minded the trading quest had the game been a bit more clear about its role and what direction to head next. Sometimes the phone guy will tell you, otherwise... not so much.

Anyway, game has been completed. I don't understand what happened. Did I just murder all of those people? Or were they just in the fish's mind? Or my mind? Or were we sharing our minds while sleeping? Or what?!


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 22:56:58
@Zero

It's left to your interpretation which is unique for a Zelda title.


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 23:01:59
@DrFinkelstein

Isn't. Zero murdered them all. Because he's a jerk.



Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 23:28:30
@Zero\
Inception'd


Posted by 
 on: 07/07/11, 23:41:51
I love the little extra you get when finishing the game without dying.


Marin's dream becomes reality, she turns into a seagull and sings to people far away...

Beautiful.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 01:17:56
@Zero
The general accepted answer is that Link's mind essentially created nearly everything--the island, the villagers, the temples, Marin, etc. The idea is similar to when you (Zero) have extra-long dreams where you may interact with completely fictional people in a completely fictional world, and suddenly, it's all gone. In this case, the characters you met and relationships you formed (mainly with Marin) are no more, since they never actually existed in the first place.

So where does the Wind Fish factor into all of this? The Wind Fish seems to actually exist, and I think where Link ended up crashing was close enough to where their dreams overlapped. It's some sort of mystical being that has the ability to create worlds while it sleeps, or so it seems.

So yes, a lot of it is kind of up for interpretation, but what's pretty much confirmed is that Koholint and its inhabitants (minus Link and the Wind Fish) are just part of a dream by Link, the Wind Fish, or a combination of both. Kinda sad.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 01:23:15
So I guess Link must play a lot of Mario games? Oh wait, and Wart has a cameo... so a character from Mario's dream end's up in Link's dream as well? MIND EXPLODES.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 01:27:59
@Zero

Wasn't Kirby also in Link's Awakening at one point? Kirby... from Dream Land?


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 01:41:23
True.

DOUBLE HEAD EXPLODE.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 02:38:29
Zero said:
I tried. But then I ran out of arrows on the part of the boss that apparently needs to be killed with arrows. YOU SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO RUN OUT OF SOMETHING YOU NEED TO FIGHT A BOSS WITH WHY IS THIS GAME DESIGNED IN SUCH A FRUSTRATING MANNER?

Are you talking about the final form of the final boss? Pretty sure you can defeat that with the boomerang. (Which you might not have, since it's completely optional.)


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 04:40:25
@rebonack The what now? Where the heck was that?!


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 05:11:43
@Zero There's a cave on the beach where there's a monster who has it. You need to have the magnifying lens to see the monster though, so it's entirely possible to enter the cave early, see it empty, and never go back. You have to trade an item for it, I usually give him the shovel.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 05:23:01
rebonack said:
Zero said:
I tried. But then I ran out of arrows on the part of the boss that apparently needs to be killed with arrows. YOU SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO RUN OUT OF SOMETHING YOU NEED TO FIGHT A BOSS WITH WHY IS THIS GAME DESIGNED IN SUCH A FRUSTRATING MANNER?

Are you talking about the final form of the final boss? Pretty sure you can defeat that with the boomerang. (Which you might not have, since it's completely optional.)

Yeah, the boomerang kills it in one hit.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 05:23:07
Zero said:
WHY IS THIS GAME DESIGNED IN SUCH A FRUSTRATING MANNER?

Just on this, surely the original game was worse? No hand holding *at all*.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/11, 05:59:38
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