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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Review

Although Link's Awakening is probably one of the more overlooked Zelda games, it still remains a classic. It is, in my opinion, easily one of the greatest handheld games of all time, and is an essential game for any self-respecting Zelda fan.

From the word go you are thrown into a lively, active and (on the DX version) colourful world with plenty to see and plenty to do. The game follows the same traditional Zelda format (battle through dungeons whilst questing inbetween them) but Link's Awakening takes it to perfection on the handheld format. The game simply feels perfect, having the same epic feeling as any console Zelda game - the main quest has plenty of content to hack your way through, but there are also many secrets and diversions to discover around the mysterious isle of Koholint; from collecting secret shells, fishing and playing the trendy game, to surfing down rapids, creeping through caves and searching out the photo shoot spots.

Many games experience a process of being watered down as a result of moving from the console to the handheld format, but this was certainly not the case with Link's Awakening. Obviously, a handheld cannot produce the graphics that consoles can. However, Link's Awakening followed the gameplay mechanics of it's console counterparts perfectly. Combat was varied and interesting, thanks to an array of distinct items and the ability to assign any of them to the A and B buttons. Dungeons designs were intelligent and stellar. And, of course, there was also an abundance of satisfying side quests, hidden secrets, and mini games to discover.

A great amount of hype surrounded Link's Awakening, and Nintendo delivered a fantastic game that took the elements and ideals of the console Zelda games and crammed them into a gameboy cartridge with amazing levels of success. What's more, the re-release of the game in 1998, Link's Awakening's DX, perfected the original by adding colour and an extra dungeon, as well as a number of new features, including the ability to print out the photos you collect along your journey in Koholint using a gameboy printer. Link's Awakening may seem like a very simple game by today's standards, but the gameplay remains top notch and puts many modern handheld games to shame. Meanwhile, there is still room to appreciate the sprite based graphics and gameboy music tunes. Link's Awakening is an outstanding game, and one that has stood the test of time valiantly.

Link's Awakening Score: 10/10