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Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX - Review

Link wakes up... but way too late.

By: Jade Falcon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 10
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 8
   Plot 7
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 10
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

10-20 hrs.

 
Overall
9
Criteria

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
 

   In 1993 Nintendo released the Game Boy version of the Legend of Zelda. Five years later, they released it for the new Game Boy Color. The colored system greatly increased the game's playability since you could see where you were going and what things were. There were also many additions to the original.

   Just like any Zelda game, you have a shield and a sword, bows and arrows, bombs, etc. But, in Link's Awakening, the sword and shield are equippable exactly as other items. This makes sense since you have only two buttons to use. You get your second sword too late in the game for most people, and that's when you get the beams seen in LTTP. The way the enemies crawl around keeps you at attention the whole time. When you're not in a village, there's enemies to be found. You will not get bored traveling around the world.

   The menus in Link's Awakening are sharp and compact (there's only one, and a little Select option). The only thing that bugged me in the original was that there was no piece of heart meter, but they added it in the DX version. The main menu also shows which keys you have, how many shells you have, and other "unequippable" items like flippers. The menu is one of the best the Game Boy can offer.


Run, Link, Run
Some of the awesome color  

   Don't expect much out of the Game Boy in the realm of sound. The music is fine, but gets too repetitive after about three times through the game, especially the Bottle Grotto tune. The sound effects are probably some of the best on the system, considering it's a little 8-bit hand-held system. The Wind Fish at the end sounds like some type of constipated large bird, but it was the best they could do.

   Nintendo added a neat feature for the printer: pictures. Once you meet this guy in the picture shop, he follows you around and occasionally takes your picture. You can then print them out. Also, the color dungeon allowed Link to get some new garb. Otherwise, the usual hack-and-slash reigns true in Link's Awakening. The addition of Roc's Feather, which allows you to jump, was key in here since there were many pits you have to jump over. I wish that Nintendo would include this item in other games, but that would make them too easy.

   The plot in Link's Awakening is different than any other Zelda game. I like fresh new changes. The story doesn't even take place in Hyrule. You have to go around the island, through eight (what's with the number eight anyway?) dungeons, collecting instruments, and waking up a large fish. The game moves quite quickly, since there is not much puzzle-solving. In fact, as soon as you finish a dungeon, it gives you an obvious hint to the location of the next dungeon. It's different than the others, and though I like new changes, I do prefer the original Legend of Zelda plot of "Save Zelda!"

   I see no problems with the translation of Link's Awakening. All text is said cleanly and makes complete sense. There are no Japanese references in the game, making it easy for American gamers to adapt to it. You can pick up this game and play it without any confusion.


More pretty colors
Impossible without the GBC  

   Link's Awakening is a fun game to play many times through. You can get your second sword, magnifying glass, and boomerang earlier, and find out how easy it is then. Because of its shortness and swift gameplay, you'll never grow bored while replaying it many times over.

The graphics are some of the best for the Game Boy. They look just plain awesome in color. I really like the color palette that is used and the addition of the color dungeon. Enemies are large and easy to see, and the bosses take up most of the screen. The opening and ending credits are some of the most "breathtaking" Game Boy graphics ever. It's amazing that Nintendo was able to do that much with an 8-bit system.

Link's Awakening can be a frustrating game the first time through. Heck, I spent an hour looking for that bloody sword, when all I had to do was use my shield! I also got stuck after Bottle Grotto. I didn't know that I had to take the dumb dog back to the lady. However, the second and more times through, the game will feel like second nature, and be a very fun game. Link's Awakening is the only game on the Game Boy I have had for more than five years which I still play regularly and also not get frustrated on.

Link's Awakening is the classic game overall for the Game Boy, not Pokemon. If you own an Game Boy, and you don't own Link's Awakening, you're missing out. The DX version is much better, and is the same price as the original. The game will give you more fun for your Game Boy than you've ever had.





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