The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Game Boy, 1993) (and the DX version, Game Boy Color, 1998), like any good Zelda game, holds a special place in Nintendo fans' hearts. The game paved the way for future Zelda games by featuring a deep and unique storyline that in many ways, exceeded the standards set by its predecessor, A Link to the Past. As such, the game has its great moments.
The following are some of my personal favorite moments in the game. I had a tough time ranking these, but I wanted to consider not just which moments impacted me personally as I played this game for the first time (on my old brick Game Boy) when I was a lot younger, but I also wanted to capture those moments that helped define the experience of Link's adventure on Koholint Island.
At the time Link's Awakening released in Aug. 1993 (U.S.), Kirby was a relatively new franchise, and he had only starred in Kirby's Dream Land (Aug. 1992) and Kirby's Adventure (May 1993). He appears in the 7th dungeon, Eagle's Tower, and is officially known as "Anti-Kirby." I assume this refers to the fact he is the 'evil' version of the actual Kirby. It seems a bit weird for him to appear here, but such is the nature of Link's Awakening!
Too bad this Kirby (like the one from the original Dream Land) didn't have the copy ability, or else we could have been treated to the famous Link Kirby!
Marin's dream fulfilled
If I was a sea gull, I would fly as far as I could! I would fly to far away places and sing for many people! ...If I wish to the Wind Fish, I wonder if my dream will come true...
Marin is fascinated by Link and the outside world, and tells Link wistfully that, if she were a seagull, she would leave and travel across the sea. Her wish comes true in the end. The only way to see this 'perfect' ending is to never lose a life during your adventure.
Did you know: In the original Game Boy game, a winged Marin could be seen flying across the screen. In the DX version, Marin's image appears in the sky and then slowly fades, revealing a seagull.
The thief must die
In the Mabe Village shop, Link has to pick up his merchandise from the shelf then walk over to the shopkeeper and pay for his goods. Most of the time, if Link simply tries walking out of the store without paying, the shopkeeper will shout angrily and force him to return. However, if you are sneaky enough, you can actually exit the store without him noticing you.
However, the shopkeeper somehow finds out Link stole his goods (security cameras perhaps?), and when Link returns to the shop at any point, the shopkeeper confronts him head on:
"I wasn't kidding when I said pay! Now you'll pay the ultimate price!"
Link is utterly helpless as the shopkeeper exacts his own brand of justice as he takes on the role of judge and executioner.
Not only are you killed, but for the rest of the game your name is now THIEF!
Any 'fourth wall' moment
These were quite humorous when I first played the game. Why would characters say things like 'press this button to save the game;' it wouldn't make sense, would it? Well, the characters in the game realize this and so you have fun stuff like the kids who say:
--Hey, man! When you want to save just push all the Buttons at once! Uhh... Don't ask me what that means, I'm just a kid!
--Well, it seems that after you save, you will start at the last door you went through... I'm not really sure why that is 'cause I'm just a kid!
--I heard that you can press SELECT to look at the island map... But, I don't understand what they mean by that...
--When you're running out of Hearts, you'd better enter a house or cave... Why? I have no idea, I'm just a kid!
When talking to Papahl in the village:
Yep! Those're my boys! I'm Papahl, pleased ta meetcha! I'll be lost in the hills later, so keep a look out for me, hear?
Playing all the instruments in front of the Egg
The moment Link has been waiting for: awake the Wind Fish! This moment greatly surprised me (in a good way!), when each of Instruments of the Sirens is played, and sounding fantastic on the Game Boy sound chip. At that moment in time, I felt I was witnessing a monumental moment in sound design; in my mind, this composition would surely go down in history as one of the masterpieces of our time.
The Full Moon Cello is guarded by Moldorm, the Nightmare of Tail Cave.
The Conch Horn is guarded by Genie, the Nightmare of Bottle Grotto.
The Sea Lily's Bell is guarded by Slime Eyes, the Nightmare of Key Cavern.
The Surf Harp is guarded by Angler Fish, the Nightmare of Angler's Tunnel.
The Wind Marimba is guarded by Slime Eel, the Nightmare of Catfish's Maw.
The Coral Triangle is guarded by Fašade, the Nightmare of Face Shrine.
The Organ of Evening Calm is guarded by Evil Eagle, the Nightmare of Eagle's Tower.
The Thunder Drum is guarded by Hot Head, the Nightmare of Turtle Rock.
Boss (and mini-boss) personalities/ interaction
A) A fierce warrior tests Link's resolve
The Master Stalfos is the mini-boss of the fifth dungeon, Catfish's Maw, and quite the cunning one, for sure. He is a big Stalfos Knight who actually steals Link's coveted Hookshot from a chest in the dungeon, leaving a note for Link to find:
Master Stalfos' note said:
I've got what was inside this box. Come and get it, if you can!
Master Stalfos is shocked when Link manages to find him: Gulp! You found me! You're a real pesky kid, you know that?!
After being defeated, he exclaims: Arrgh! I can't beat you! I'm outta here!
Master Stalfos is fought four times in four different rooms in the dungeon each with a skull pattern on the floor. His last words when you confront him for the last time: You again?! You keep going and going... I can't outlast you! All right, let's do it!
I was fascinated that even a mini-boss could be so daring to deliberately steal a weapon known to aid the Hero in his quest. Which brings me to my next point, in general, that...
B) Bosses talk to you A lot of the bosses (known as Nightmares) in this game have wonderful lines of dialogue, such as the insane clown genie who taunts Link relentlessly:
"NYAH NYAH! You can't hurt me as long as I have my bottle!"
Break the bottle and he will proceed with: Waaaah! You- you broke my bottle! Why, you... You make me hopping mad!!!
A fit of rage ensues!
The point is, the Nightmares are cognizant of the consequences should Link actually awaken the Wind Fish, so with their dying breath they state with great fervor that Link must not continue his mission:
"My energy... gone...I...lost! But you will be lost too, if the Wind Fish wakes! Same as me... you... are... in... his... dream..."
"Why did you come here? If it weren't for you, nothing would have to change! You cannot wake the Wind Fish! Remember, you... too... are in ...the dream..."
Any Mario character appearance
Alright, I'm going to cheat a little bit and combine several fun moments in the game under this one category, because one thing they all have in common is referencing Nintendo's other big series, the Super Mario Bros.!
The Link's Awakening Trading Sequence involves 14 items that span the entire overworld of the game, and the very first item to kick off the whole sequence is the Yoshi Doll!
You got a Yoshi Doll! Recently, he seems to be showing up in many games!
The Yoshi Doll becomes a gift for Papahl's baby.
B) Mario's enemies are my enemies too...
Classic Mario enemies jump into the fray and are dealt with as if you were Super Mario himself. Thanks to Roc's Feather, Link has the jump on little Goombas who have ventured far away from the Mushroom Kingdom. Piranha Plants show up as well, but Link's sword gives him quite the advantage as he cuts them down (hey, they're no Deku Baba's, but Link will take on all carnivorous plants, no matter what species they may be!).
Oh, and this game also manages to throw in: Bloobers (based on Bloopers), Bombites (based on Bob-ombs), Boos, Cheep-cheeps, Mask-Mimics (based on Shy Guys), Pokeys, Thwimps, and Thwomps (!).
C) Jamming with... Wart? Later in the game Link meets up with Wart! Well, his name isn't Wart in this game, though. The master of Mario's nightmares, and the prince of vegetable haters everywhere, the rotund frog-like villain makes a cameo appearance in the game and jams with Link. Supposedly he is quite a celebrity on Koholint Island, but he sure does it make it difficult to be seen by the public, considering how well hidden his little hideout is!
Did you know: Mamu is obviously based on Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2. However, he retains his original Japanese name, Mamu, from Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, when Link's Awakening was localized for the English market.
"Ribbit! Ribbit! I'm Mamu, on vocals! But I don't need to tell you that, do I? Everybody knows me!"
D) Oh wow, it's BowWow! Holy cow... Another great appearance of a Mario enemy, Chain Chomp is featured in this game as Madam MeowMeow's pet 'dog' BowWow. Link must venture on a daring mission to rescue her beloved pet when he is kidnapped by Moblins. (How cruel!)
And to top it all of, Link is rewarded in the best way possible by a refined lady: with a magnificent kiss!
Madam MeowMeow said:
Ho ho ho! I really appreciate what you did for my poor, precious BowWow! You are such a nice boy! How can I ever repay you? I know... SMOOOOOOOCH!
"You got a reward from Madam MeowMeow... ... ... L-l-lucky!"
Did you know: Chain Chomps actually appeared in a prior Zelda game, A Link to the Past. There, they are found as enemies in Turtle Rock, are invulnerable to all forms of attack, and yield an incredible amount of damage.
Yep, she shows up in the game as well!
Meeting the Wind Fish
Majestic. The Wind Fish appears before Link in all its glory. The amount of detail in this one scene is astonishing; the Wind Fish takes up most of the screen and dwarves Link in size. When you first see the Wind Fish, you can't help but notice his ornate decorations and lavish accessories, all of which indicate that this creature is more than meets the eye. A floating whale, surely, but it is obviously more than that. A noble being, a deity perhaps? 'The Dreamer,' as he has been eloquently described by some people.
Marin and Link at the shore
'Sweet' and 'tender' are two words that come to mind when thinking of this important scene from the game. For a Game Boy title, this was quite touching. Link and Marin sitting together at the beach, engaging in seemingly trivial conversation (even when Link doesn't say a single word!), gives the player a welcome respite from the difficulties lying ahead. Amazingly enough, Nintendo absolutely nailed the atmosphere with great sound effects including waves crashing and seagulls calling. This one scene has inspired much fantastic fan art:
Link, some day you will leave this island... I just know it in my heart... Don't ever forget me... If you do, I'll never forgive you!
Discovering the truth on the tablet (Southern Face Shrine)
This is the key moment in the game when you realize that continuing your quest to wake the Wind Fish may actually result in an apocalypse. You reach the Shrine and, after fighting an Armos Knight (and picking up the Face Key), discover an old stone tablet with an unusual image depicting an owl and presumably the Wind Fish. The inscription reads:
TO THE FINDER... THE ISLE OF KOHOLINT, IS BUT AN ILLUSION... HUMAN, MONSTER, SEA, SKY... A SCENE ON THE LID OF A SLEEPER'S EYE... AWAKE THE DREAMER, AND KOHOLINT WILL VANISH MUCH LIKE A BUBBLE ON A NEEDLE... CAST-AWAY, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH!
To realize that your journey, which started out as a quest to leave the island, may doom the island and its inhabitants, is jarring indeed. You question yourself and what you've come across on your journey so far. Is this island not reality? Why is Link caught in this mysterious being's dream world? Who or what is the Wind Fish? Yet... Link has no choice if he should wish to return to Hyrule. He is the Hero and must surely realize at this point that his faith and courage are being put to the ultimate test.
So that's my list! What do you like most about Link's Awakening?
Some honorable mentions that didn't quite make the list:
-Seeing Koholint Island fade away
I've already included some of the best moments that involve the game's ending, so I felt that including this one would be a bit too much, but seeing the island fade away (as well as all its inhabitants, both friend and foe) is almost tragic.
-The flying rooster
A Link to the Past featured a flying animal as well, so it's only natural that this element found its way to the handheld.
and, of course:
-Opening cut scene (Thanks to @PogueSquadron for mentioning this one, I left it off the honorable mention list!) Link attempts to survive a powerful storm when he's out sea, but ultimately his ship is destroyed. He washes ashore an island, where a girl discovers his unconscious body. As she attempts to awaken him, the camera pans up, and we see a large and mysterious egg at the top of the mountain.
It's great to hear about the lasting impact the game continues to have on people who are experiencing the game even now for the first time.
It's pretty amazing how much humor and different scenarios they created for the segment of the game where Marin joins you. I don't think I've tried all the possibilities shown in that video you posted!