- This article is about the original game for the Game Boy. For other uses, see Link's Awakening (Disambiguation).
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is the fourth main installment of The Legend of Zelda series. It is the first title in the series to be released on handheld system, and the only Zelda title on the original Game Boy. Since its release, Link's Awakening has been popular among fans and critics; by 2004, the game had sold 3.83 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Guinness World Records named it the 42nd most influential video game of all time.
A colorized update, titled Link's Awakening DX, was released for the Game Boy Color in 1998. During a Nintendo Direct on February 13, 2019, an eponymous remake of the game was announced for Nintendo Switch. The remake was released on September 20, 2019.
Link, who had defeated the evil Ganon and regained peace in Hyrule, had not enjoyed the tranquility he had worked so hard to achieve for long, and eventually became restless. Feeling in need of training or enlightenment, he embarked on a journey and sailed across the oceans in a small sailboat. Eventually, Link completed his training in foreign countries and began to sail back to his home, Hyrule. But suddenly the seas turned rough and the skies became dark. Link tried valiantly to fight the strong currents of the waves, even tying himself to the ship with some rope. But a bolt of lightning struck the ship and everything went dark.
Later on a faraway Island, a young girl named Marin is walking along the Shores of the Island's beach. She suddenly spots someone laying on the sands. Upon looking closer, she finds an unconscious Link and tries to wake him, but to no avail. Unwilling to simply leave him lying on the beach, Marin takes Link back to her house in Mabe Village. From beyond the darkness, Link hears the voice of a girl. He first mistakes the voice to be that of Princess Zelda, but wakes up to discover that it was instead the voice of Marin. It turned out that, miraculously, Link had been washed ashore on Koholint Island. Link starts his preparations to leave Koholint Island, and Tarin gives him back his Shield. He also tells him of another thing that washed up on the beach.
Yet Link's Sword is nowhere to be found. Searching on Koholint Island's beach, Link eventually finds it. Just before picking it up, a mysterious Owl flies down to him. The Owl explains that high on the mountaintops of Koholint Island is a giant Egg, and inside sleeps a being known as the Wind Fish. The Owl says that the Wind Fish must be awakened, for that is the only way Link can leave Koholint Island. He tells Link that he needs to go into the Mysterious Forest to find a Key and then flies away. Left with nothing but a puzzling riddle and his questions, Link heeds the Owl's words and heads into the Mysterious Forest. He eventually finds the Tail Key. The Owl reappears and tells him to go into Tail Cave and to use the Tail Key to get inside.
Link does so and fights his way through this early Dungeon. After defeating the Boss, Link finds a magical Instrument, the Full Moon Cello. Although Link does not know what it is at first, the Owl reappears and explains that this instrument is one of the Instruments of the Sirens. The Owl explains that Link must retrieve the remaining seven Instruments of the Sirens if he is to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish. Link, still full of questions about this strange world, must explore the rest of Koholint Island and find the remainder of the Instruments of the Sirens.
Later in his journey, Link arrives in Animal Village. The Owl had told him to venture into Yarna Desert to find an important item that will aid him. Unfortunately, a large, sleeping Walrus blocks his path. However, one of the six rabbit siblings of Animal Village tells Link that Marin and her beautiful voice can awaken those who hear her. Link returns to Mabe Village and eventually gets an Ocarina from the Dream Shrine. He finds Marin on the Toronbo Shores who tells him of her wish to be a Seagull so that she can fly around the world and share her songs with many people. She hopes that she can make this wish to the Wind Fish. Afterwards, Link learns from Marin how to play the Ballad of the Wind Fish on his Ocarina, a song of awakening. However, since it is not enough to awaken the Walrus, Marin tags along with Link to Animal Village. Marin decides to stay in Animal Village after the Walrus awakes, and Link finds the Angler Key in Yarna Desert.
Sometime before getting the sixth Instrument of the Sirens, the Owl flies to Link and tells him to go to the Southern Face Shrine. When Link arrives there, he learns the horrible truth about Koholint Island. On a wall depicting the Wind Fish himself, the words read "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!"
Link now faces a dilemma, whether he should awaken the Wind Fish or not. But the Owl tells him that none know if the inscription is true, and advises him to trust his feelings. Link continues on, finding the remaining three Instruments of the Sirens. Eventually, he discovers Marin on Tal Tal Mountain Range being attacked by monsters. Link saves her, and for a moment, she tries to tell Link something... but changes her mind. The Owl knows about the song that she always sings, the Ballad of the Wind Fish, and wonders if she was trying to awaken the Wind Fish.
After Link obtains all eight of the Instruments of the Sirens, the Owl says that now is the time to awaken the Wind Fish. Link heads up the mountaintop and encounters the Wind Fish's Egg, in which the Wind Fish sleeps. With his Ocarina in hand and the other Instruments of the Sirens, Link plays the Ballad of the Wind Fish. The Wind Fish's Egg cracks open, and Link ventures inside.
Inside, Link finds the true mastermind behind all of the chaos on Koholint Island, the Shadow Nightmares who have the power to transform. The monsters were created by the Shadow Nightmares to prevent Link from awakening the Wind Fish. After a long battle, Link defeats the Shadow Nightmares, the last of Koholint Island's evils. Suddenly, a stairway opens and Link climbs up, where he finds himself in a strange black room filled with rainbow clouds and stars.
There the Owl comes to see Link one last time. The Owl explains that he is in fact part of the Wind Fish's spirit, and thus was the guardian of his dream world. All was peaceful in the Wind Fish's dream, until Nightmares began to invade it. Many of the Nightmares that Link had faced were the ones in the dungeon that had guarded the Instruments of the Sirens. But now Link had defeated the last one, and the Wind Fish's dream was at peace once again. With the Nightmares gone and the eight Instruments of the Sirens retrieved, the Wind Fish could finally be awakened. The Owl then states that his role in this dream is now complete and says farewell to Link before vanishing.
Suddenly, Link hears a wail and the Wind Fish appears before him. The Wind Fish says that in his dreams, a whole world had existed. Yet he could not awaken due to the Nightmares. It is only natural that dreams are to end, and when he awakes, Koholint Island shall disappear. He says that Link may someday recall this dream in the waking world, the only remaining memory of Koholint Island.
The Wind Fish then fades away and says that they should awaken together, and commands Link to play the Ballad of the Wind Fish one more time. Link does so slowly, while Koholint Island and its inhabitants fade away. Link is then forced out of the Wind Fish's room by a stream of water.
The sky above shines brightly as Seagulls fly overhead. Link awakens on a wooden board in the sea, part of his ship. Just as it was predicted, Koholint Island is gone and Link is back in the real world. As he recalls all of the events of his latest adventure, a shadow looms over him. Looking up, he sees the Wind Fish flying above him in the sky. Link smiles, realizing that he actually helped awaken the Wind Fish. Link's dream journey had finally come to an end.
The Legend of the Wind Fish
It appears that the Wind Fish is a mere myth to the inhabitants of Koholint Island. The Wind Fish's Egg on top of Mt. Tamaranch is rather large and can be seen from a distance, making it obvious that some of the inhabitants of Koholint Island would know at least something of the Wind Fish, however. Marin is a very good example of a simple citizen of Mabe Village, yet she knows of the existence of the Wind Fish. She even dreams of wishing on the Wind Fish to turn into a Seagull. It's not quite obvious if she too believes it is just a myth or if it is real, however, Marin can be spotted on Tal Tal Mountain Range for no apparent reason. The Owl seems to believe that she may have tried to awaken the Wind Fish with her song. Only the Owl and possibly Marin seem to know of the actual existence of the Wind Fish. Shortly after Link clears the Face Shrine, a boy in Mabe Village was asked by Link when they had appeared on the Koholint Island but had no idea what Link meant by this, suggesting that the inhabitants of Koholint Island have no idea that they are part of a dream world.
The Southern Face Shrine is the only place that holds much information about the myth of the Wind Fish, and the script upon its walls, about Koholint Island being but a dream, is very much true. Judging by these writings, the Southern Face Shrine seems to have been built solely for the person who would awaken the Wind Fish.
The Perfect Ending
If Link completes his quest without dying, an additional scene can be seen after the ending credits. Both versions of the game show Marin as a Seagull (or simply having Seagull wings) while the "Ballad of the Wind Fish" theme plays in the background. This may either hint that Marin had her wish come true and was "saved" from the fading dream world, or simply that Link was thinking of Marin and her wish of becoming a Seagull.
The perfect ending varies between the original Game Boy release and the Game Boy Color release. In the original, a Marin with wings on her back will fly around the words "The End" while singing her song. In Link's Awakening DX, a full-colored image of Marin can be seen within the clouds, and her song will be playing in the background, although she is not the one singing. Shortly afterward, the image fades into a Seagull who flies away. In the Nintendo Switch version, it is largely similar to Link's Awakening DX, although Marin's image is animated slightly to have her briefly close her eyes and shudder in an apparent giggle before it fades away with a seagull flying past.
According to Hyrule Historia, Link's Awakening is the sequel to A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons, and Oracle of Ages. It takes place in the "Downfall" split timeline after Ocarina of Time, where Ganon defeated the Hero of Time. The prologue speaks of Link defeating Ganon and saving Hyrule, an apparent reference to A Link to the Past. Link journeys away from Hyrule to embark on a "quest for enlightenment". The "quest for enlightenment" away from Hyrule is the story told in Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages. After defeating Ganon once more at the end of the Linked Game, Link leaves Labrynna on a boat. This leads to the events of Link's Awakening. Link's Awakening is followed by A Link Between Worlds centuries later.
According to Encyclopedia Link's Awakening takes place between A Link to the Past, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.
- Main article: Speedrun Records
|Any%||Lomiig||1m 21s 200ms||November 7, 2020|
|Any% (No ACE)||Flynn||2m 54s||May 2, 2014|
|Any% (Warpless)||TGH||41m 59s||April 1, 2021|
|100%||GlyphDX||58m 41s||Feburary 11, 2021|
|All Instruments||Bloo||13m 49s||May 27, 2019|
Ports and Remakes
Link's Awakening DX
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX for Game Boy Color is an enhanced port of Link's Awakening with several new additions, most notably the entire game is now in color. It was released just after the release of Ocarina of Time.
Link's Awakening DX can be played on a Game Boy as well, although playing it on a Game Boy makes accessing the optional Color Dungeon impossible. However, if the dungeon is started on a Game Boy Color and then played on the original Game Boy, the dungeon is accessible.
Nintendo 3DS re-release
It was announced at Nintendo's E3 Press Conference on June 7, 2011 by Shigeru Miyamoto that Link's Awakening DX would release that day alongside Super Mario Land as the first Virtual Console games on the Nintendo eShop. The eShop price for the game is $5.99 in the United States, $9AU in Australia, and £5.40 in the United Kingdom.
Nintendo Switch remake
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Nintendo Switch)
A trailer announcing and showing off early footage of a 3D remake of Link's Awakening for the Nintendo Switch was included as the final segment of the February 13, 2019 edition of Nintendo Direct, with a scheduled release on Sep 20, 2019. Some differences include anime-styled cutscenes in the beginning and ending, voice acting by some characters, and a Dungeon maker mode.
Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda
A port of the original Game Boy version of Link's Awakening is one of the games to be included in Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda, announced at E3 2021.
While not as influential to the overall structure of Zelda games as The Legend of Zelda or A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening introduced a number of elements that recur in later Zelda games, including:
- The use of a location other than Hyrule as a setting.
- A list of songs playable on the game's instrument that must be learned and have different functions, although unlike in Ocarina of Time and some later games the songs simply play when selected, rather than having to be played note by note.
- The first occurrence of fishing.
- Unique background music for each dungeon rather than reusing the same single theme or few themes, as its predecessors did. Most games after Link's Awakening follow its lead in this respect.
- The first trading sequence in the series.
- The first clear example of a lava or fire-themed dungeon in the series, with Turtle Rock.
- The Roc's Feather.
- An Owl who periodically meets Link and gives him advice on where to go or what to do next.
- A set of well-hidden collectible items that have no use by themselves but can be redeemed at a certain location to receive useful items. (Secret Seashells in Link's Awakening, with Gold Skulltulas and Poe Souls as examples of successors.)
- The boss theme for this game was later used for the miniboss theme in Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages, as well as a remix being used in the fight against Twinrova in the linked ending.
- Some of the DLC outfits for the various characters in Hyrule Warriors were based on those of Link's Awakening, and one of the maps for Legend Mode is derived in appearance and plotline from the same game as well. Also, Marin is a DLC warrior in the game, with some of her attacks involving the Wind Fish.
References to other Nintendo games
There are many references to Nintendo games in Link's Awakening. The majority are from the Mario series.
- The Yoshi Doll
- Tarin himself, who is similar in appearance to Mario.
- Tarin turning into a raccoon after eating a Mushroom might be a reference to Super Mario Bros. 3 (although Mario turned into a raccoon using a leaf).
- The Cucco Keeper is similar in appearance to Luigi.
- The Wind Fish's Egg is similar in appearance to a Yoshi Egg.
- Mr. Write shows Link a picture of Princess Peach sent to him by the goat in Animal Village. (Because of the picture, her name is implied to be Christine. This scene is poking fun at long distance relationships involving mail, e-mail, etc. since the goat is lying about who she really is and Mr. Write thinks he is writing to a beautiful woman.)
- In the Switch version, the name is omitted, and the photo itself is replaced with promotional artwork of Princess Peach carrying a parasol.
- Mr. Write is similar in appearance to Dr. Wright from the Super Nintendo version of SimCity. They share the same last name, but both are spelled differently.
- In addition to Mario characters, Richard from The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls made an appearance.
- Mamu is based on Wart, the final boss of Super Mario Bros. 2.
- Various enemies are based on a number of characters from Nintendo games, particularly Mario adventures:
- The game's setting was partially inspired by the American mystery television series, Twin Peaks.
- Princess Zelda is not featured at all in Link's Awakening, though she is referenced by Link, initially confusing Marin for her.
- If the name "ZELDA" is used when creating a new game, a remixed Zelda theme will play in the background.
- In the Japanese version, entering the name "ぜるだ" yields the same result. In addition, enting the name "とたけけ" will play an arranged version of Totaka's Song.
- In the original German release, entering the name "MOYSE" will play a strange jingle. In the German DX release, "MOYSE" will instead play Totaka's Song.
- The French DX version will yield the same result as "ZELDA" if the entered name is "LOLO". In the original release, "LOLO" will instead play a different song than "MOYSE" or "とたけけ".
- With the exception of Eagle's Tower, every dungeon in Link's Awakening has a map that forms a picture of an object, such as a Moldorm in the case of Tail Cave or a Key in the case of Key Cavern.
- Link's Awakening originally was intended to be a handheld port of A Link to the Past.
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese||ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 (Zeruda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima)||The Legend of Zelda: The Dreaming Island|
|German||The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening|
|Korean||젤다의 전설 꿈꾸는 섬|
- Official Japanese site
- Official Japanese site (DX Version)
- Official North American site
- Official European site
- Link's Awakening page on Zelda.com
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 7
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 10
- "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 3.83, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX 2.22" — Xenogears vs. Tetris, RPGGamer.
- "42. Link’s Awakening" — Guinness lists top 50 games of all time News, Euro Gamer.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening — Nintendo Player's Guide (Nintendo Co., Ltd.) pg. 8
- "What a relief!" — Marin (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
- "I thought you'd never wake up! You were tossing and turning... What? Zelda? No, my name's Marin! You must still be feeling a little woozy. You are on Koholint Island!" — Marin (Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch)
- "Follow the lane south to reach the beach where I found you. Since you washed ashore, lots of nasty monsters have been in the area, so be careful, okay?" — Marin (Link's Awakening DX)
- "Hoot!Hoot! So you are the lad who owns the sword... Now I understand why the monsters are starting to act so violently... A courageous lad has come to wake the Wind Fish... It is said that you cannot leave the island unless you wake the Wind Fish... You should now go north, to the Mysterious Forest. I will wait for you there! Hoot!" — Owl (Link's Awakening DX)
- "Hoot! I see you have read the relief... While it does say the island is but a dream of the Wind Fish, no one is really sure... Just as you cannot know if a chest holds treasure until you open it, so you cannot tell if this is a dream until you awaken... The only one who knows for sure is the Wind Fish... Trust your feelings... Someday you will know for sure..." — Owl (Link's Awakening DX)
- "Hoot! That girl sang her song in front of the Egg! Her 'Ballad of the Wind Fish' is a song of awakening! Did she actually intend to wake the Wind Fish?! The next Sirens' Instrument is in the west. Play your melodies so the unliving stones might hear! Show your courage! The Wind Fish waits for you! Hoot!" — Owl (Link's Awakening DX)
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 38
- "Hoot! Young lad, I mean... Link , the hero! You have defeated the Nightmares! You have proven your wisdom, courage and power! ... ... ... ... As part of the Wind Fish's spirit, I am the guardian of his dream world... But one day, the Nightmares entered the dream and began wreaking havoc. Then you, Link , came to rescue the island... I have always trusted in your courage to turn back the Nightmares. Thank you, Link ... My work is done... The Wind Fish will wake soon. Good bye...Hoot!" — Owl (Link's Awakening DX)
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass — Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Games) pg. 4
- "... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I AM THE WIND FISH... LONG HAS BEEN MY SLUMBER... IN MY DREAMS... AN EGG APPEARED AND WAS SURROUNDED BY AN ISLAND, WITH PEOPLE, ANIMALS, AN ENTIRE WORLD! ... ... ... ... BUT, VERILY, IT BE THE NATURE OF DREAMS TO END! WHEN I DOST AWAKEN, KOHOLINT WILL BE GONE... ONLY THE MEMORY OF THIS DREAM LAND WILL EXIST IN THE WAKING WORLD... SOMEDAY, THOU MAY RECALL THIS ISLAND... THAT MEMORY MUST BE THE REAL DREAM WORLD... ... ... ... ... COME, Link ... LET US AWAKEN... TOGETHER!!" — Wind Fish (Link's Awakening DX)
- "Dude! You're asking me when we started to live on this island? What do you mean by 'when?' Whoa! The concept just makes my head hurt!" — Quadruplet (Link's Awakening DX)
- "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... CASTAWAY, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH! ... ... ... ... What? Illusion?" — Writing on the Wall (Link's Awakening DX)
- "Ever vigilant, you decided to journey away from Hyrule on a quest for enlightenment..." (Link's Awakening manual, pg. 3)
- Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 101
- "Ocarina of Time is the first story, then the original Legend of Zelda, then Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and finally A Link to the Past. It's not very clear where Link's Awakening fits in—it could be anytime after Ocarina of Time." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo Power Vol. 116: Interview with Mr. Miyamoto)
- "As part of a video montage shown at the conference, it was confirmed that Super Mario Land and The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening would be two of the games coming to the 3DS Virtual Console." — 3DS Virtual Console Will Play Game Boy Games, The Official Nintendo Magazine.
- Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch, YouTube, published February 13, 2019, retrieved February 13, 2019.
- Nintendo, Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda – Announcement Trailer, YouTube, published June 15, 2021, retrieved September 21, 2021.
- Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 235