The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Retroview

Spare Time, Spare Change

By: PEIJay

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 9
   Plot 8
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 10
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

15-30 hours


Title Screen

   They say if you start saying the same thing, and doing the same task repetatively, then you'll start doing it in your sleep. This is to say the least about Link in the fourth action-packed game, Zelda: Link's Awakening. Previously, Link has spent so much time saving Hyrule from the evil Gannon, that the developers decided a change of pace was needed. "Something different? Ha! In your dreams." This statement. . .isn't far from the truth. I first played it back when it came out in the early 1990's on Gameboy. I must say, there is nothing more entertaining then abusing electronic chickens by throwing them, whacking them with swords and running away. I've been a fan of Zelda games for some time, as have I been with the Final Fantasy series.

   The battle system of Zelda games are different from most of the Final Fantasy line of games. As you go through, you see your opponent, know who you'll be facing, and may have a general idea on how to combat him. This gives it an edge from FFIV's system of random battles. In Z:LA, The enemies will regenerate with time, but will leave a path open so you do not have to continue to fight them if you want to backtrack. The bosses are similar, as in any good Role Playing Games. Before you see their true "form", they always have something maniacal to say, and promise that this would be your last. Unless you lose and toss the game away, then chances are, this is far from your last battle.

   The menu is simple and to the point. It lists what weapons you have, what button commands which, and what special items you have collected. It took a while to figure out how to save without dying, but it is there. (What can I say. It usually resets gameboy games when I did it.) The layout of the maps flows well. When you beat a dungeon, the items and techniques you learn open up new areas surrounding it, and allow you to access the next dungeon for the process to repeat itself. You have to really watch and read your surroundings, so you won't miss anything. One forgotten cave layout, spells running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. Or like a chicken running around like you whacked it with your sword yet again.

Adventurers Take Heed: Always Carry A Rope
Adventurers Take Heed: Always Carry A Rope 

   I am partial to the Music of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Normally, I like to play games with the music off, but Z:LA's is an exception. The main song which is part of the plot, is great and makes me want to turn on the volume more often. It is about the only reason why I turn the music on. The constantly changing environment music urges me to run to see if I can skip the tune, and the tone of the "low health/about to die" is irritating. But as such is with every game, it tells you either die, replentish your health, or live with it. Or do like I do. Turn on Spice Girls. Just as annoying, but they're prettier than Link. :D

   Originality. To this date, I don't think I have ever come across a game quite like Link's Awakening. I like how Nintendo slipped in other characters to make it amusing. To walk in a dungeon, and there is Kirby waiting to attack you for one. I won't give away them all, but I'm sure if looked hard enough, you'd probably spot Nintendo's prize character: Mario, kicking about somewhere.

   The name of the game: Link's Awakening. Your goal. Eight dungeons. Eight instruments. Sounds easy enough? The catch. Quests. With every dungeon, there is a new quest to find the upcoming dungeon or key. Also, there are a few side quests which you need to complete, to get you through the game. The large and most significant quest, which runs the entire game, helps you locate the final boss. Each dungeon has the standard map/compass. Also in each, you find a piece of a stone. You use this to read etchings on a wall or tablet, which gives a hint on how to defeat the boss, find the "Nightmare Key" or locate the special item.

   Your guide on this adventure, is a midly annoying owl who gives you hints on where to find the next dungeon and who to talk to. He is part of the key, which you learn later on, and is an asset to you winning.

When Do I Get A Vacation?
When Do I Get A Vacation? 

   The game takes place in medieval times, and is produced in the early 90's and the game is set as such. You run around with a sword, shield, a wand and such, you run into knights, witches, and the like, but there are telephone booths with rotodial telephones for if you get lost. It builds in the best part of Zelda games, with modern twist on the action and items.

   I first played it when it came out, in 1993. Here it is 2001, and I am playing it again. It is probably one of the better games to play. There are situations and moments you might not understand or appreciate untill you've played through the game a few times. I have spent the good part of 15 years trying to get a hold of a copy for myself and it was worth the wait. Those chickens never looked so attackable!

   Compared to FFVIII, Chrono Trigger, or any other newer game, it looks rather plain. But compared to several nintendo games I own, and a handfull of Gameboy games, it looks pretty good. For the Gameboy generation, it holds out a nice standard which isn't hard to look at, and you don't get frustrated when you can't find the key cause you didn't turn the joystick one small notch to one side. I'm sitting here, with both Z:LA and Pokemon: Blue. The graphics are about the same as far as the world map and wanding around goes.

   All in all, the game isn't too difficult. If you're starting blindly and not paying attention, then yes, you'll have a lot of hard work ahead of you. But if you watch what is going on around you, talk to people and try and remember what some of the caves look like, which at first make no sense, then you'll do just fine. All in all, I give it a 9. It's a bit high compared to some of my scores. . .but those chickens are WELL worth it!!

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