|The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening|
|Series:||The Legend of Zelda|
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening|ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島|Zeruda no Densetsu Yume o Miru Shima|lit. "The Legend of Zelda: Dreaming Island"}} is the fourth installment in the Legend of Zelda series, developed for the Nintendo Game Boy. It was released in Japan on June 6, 1993, and in North America on December 31 of the same year. Being the first handheld Zelda game, despite originally being a monochrome title, the game made numerous contributions and innovations to the series, including the ability for Link to jump. The game has been announced to be a sequel to A Link to the Past.
Unlike most other Zelda titles, Link's Awakening does not take place in the land of Hyrule, nor does the Triforce or nemesis Ganon make an appearance. In Link's Awakening, Link finds himself on Koholint Island. To escape, he needs to find the Instruments of the Sirens which will awaken the Wind Fish and allow Link to leave the island he is marooned on. A remake called The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color was released in 1998, and features compatibility with the Game Boy Printer as well as an exclusive color-based dungeon to capitalize on the GBC's palette. Upon its release, Link's Awakening proved highly successful, selling over four million units, and paved the way for later handheld Zelda games to follow. Most publications rated the game positively, despite the technical restraints imposed by the Game Boy's black and white screen; the DX version went on to receive even higher scores than the original. IGN rated the title as one of the top 100 games of all time.
Like all games in The Legend of Zelda series, Link's Awakening is an action-adventure game, most similar to its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Most exploration and combat takes place from an overhead perspective. The player explores the overworld of Koholint Island, fighting monsters and entering special dungeons. The dungeons vary in size and the puzzles needed to beat each one, but all end with a powerful 'Nightmare' which the player must defeat. Success earns the player another Heart Container, which increases the amount of damage the player can take; when a player loses all heart, the game restarts from the last door that Link walked through before dying.
In addition to the main quest to awaken the Wind Fish by completing a total of eight dungeons, Link's Awakening also offers numerous side quests and diversions. For example, hidden across the overworld and dungeons are secret seashells which can be collected; if a majority of the shells are brought to a special shrine, the player receives a more powerful sword which shoots beams. In addition, Link's Awakening was the first Zelda game to include a trading sequence side quest. This mini-game consists of giving a certain item to a character, who in turn gives the player another item to trade to someone else. Link's Awakening even allows Link to leave with items from shops without paying for them, although the consequence if he ever returns to the store is instant death (for the first return only). In addition, he is referred to as "THIEF" by the inhabitants of Koholint Island for the remainder of the game.
Like A Link to the Past before it, Link's Awakening introduced numerous new game mechanics to the series, such as allowing Link to jump. This allowed the game to feature side-scrolling puzzles and elements, similar to those found in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Link can expand his abilities with items, which are discovered in dungeons and through character interactions; in addition to allowing access to previously unreachable areas, some items are often crucial for reaching or successfully completing a dungeon. Link's Awakening was also the first Zelda game in which both A and B buttons could be assigned to different items, neither of which had to be the sword, allowing for more inventive play styles. While the button assignment method was only used for subsequent handheld Zelda titles, jumping was only one of several mechanics which have since become standard in most subsequent Zelda games; also appearing for the first time in a Zelda game are fishing, flying around using a Cucco, and the learning of special songs which are played on an Ocarina.
One night, the hero Link, traveling the seas in search of adventure, comes across a raging storm and is shipwrecked on Koholint Island, a tropical paradise. On the beach of the island, the unconscious Link is found by a young lady by the name of Marin. Link awakens, confused, in the house of Marin and her father Tarin, who gives Link his shield back. Link returns to the beach where he was discovered, retrieves his lost sword, and is suddenly approached by an Owl which tells him that in order to escape from the island, he must awaken the Wind Fish, the guardian God of Koholint Island, from his sleep deep within the giant egg overlooking the island; a task that can only be accomplished with the help of the eight Instruments of the Sirens, found within the eight dungeons on the island. The Nightmares, evil creatures seeking to rule the island, do everything in their power to guard the Instruments of the Sirens and stop Link from ever waking the Wind Fish. With the help of the Owl, Link finds his way around the island, defeats the Nightmares and retrieves the instruments.
All the while, Link seemingly falls in love with the beautiful Marin, who teaches him the "Ballad of the Wind Fish", a song of mysterious power, on his Ocarina. However, the true nature of the island is revealed when Link discovers a mural in a shrine. Here, it is inscribed that the island is merely a dream of the Wind Fish, and if he is awakened, the island will disappear. Link, confronted with a difficult choice, continues on his journey. The Nightmares attempt to discourage Link from waking the Wind Fish, as Marin will be gone when the Wind Fish awakens, as well. After collecting all the eight Instruments, Link approaches the Wind Fish's Egg and plays the "Ballad of the Wind Fish", causing the magical instruments to play along with him, opening a doorway into the maze-like interior of the egg.
After navigating the maze inside the egg, Link meets the leader of the Nightmares, Dethl. Dethl transforms into many powerful shapes, some resembling enemies Link has fought before, but to no avail — it is finally defeated by Link. After its defeat, a staircase appears and Link is congratulated by the Owl, who reveals himself to be "part of the Wind Fish's spirit." Link plays the "Ballad of the Wind Fish" once more, awakening the Wind Fish. As it carries Link away, the island disappears. He comforts the troubled Link by telling him that while Koholint Island itself must disappear, it will remain in Link's memories forever. Link awakens, floating on the ocean, unsure about whether or not the events on Koholint Island was a dream. As he looks up into the skies, however, Link sees the massive silhouette of the Wind Fish and smiles. Template:Endspoiler
Unlike most other Zelda titles the game does not take place in Hyrule, and does not involve any of the characters or locations of previous games, besides a passing mention of Princess Zelda in the opening portion of the game. Instead, Link's Awakening takes place entirely on Template:Nihongo an isolated landmass which is cut off from the rest of the world. There are two major towns, located to the west and east portions of the island; the former, Mabe Village, is where the player begins their quest. The latter, Animal Village, is named due to its non-human inhabitants. In addition to a large mountain range to the north, Koholint contains a forest, plains, castle, swamp, and desert; game reviewers noted that the island, though small, contained a large amount of hidden secrets and interconnected pathways. Scattered across the world are eight dungeons which contain the instruments needed to wake the 'Wind Fish', which sleeps in a giant egg at the top of the island's mountain range.
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening characters
The protagonist in the game is Link, a defender of Hyrule who arrives on the island of Koholint after his ship is damaged in a storm. There, he is found by Marin, who nurses him to health. During his travels, Link is aided by an Owl who serves as a guide throughout the game, and informs Link of the mysterious Wind Fish, whom the player must awaken for Link to leave the island and finish the game.
Link's Awakening also features other characters who help the player figure out where to go next; this includes Ulrira, a shy old man who communicates to Link exclusively by telephone. Other characters Link meets on his quest include the scholar Mr. Write and the exiled prince Richard, who first appeared in the Nintendo title Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (For the Frog the Bell Tolls). The island is also inhabited by strangely aware non player characters who inform the player of game mechanics such as saving, although they have no idea what this means.
Just as Link's Awakening introduces a number of gameplay mechanics to the series for the first time, characters similar to Marin(Malon), Tarin(Talon) and Owl(Kaepora Gaebora) would appear in future titles.