Nightmare Fuel / The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Prior to The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, there was one game that pioneered the Zeldaverse in portable form. Its name is The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

The game's mission was bringing the refined gameplay from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on portables, but back then nobody could possibly predict it would have brought the series' well-known-by-now scare factor as well.

  • The game ends with a Dream Apocalypse: you've just erased Koholint Island from existence, alongside Tarin, the villagers, the animals don't exist anymore, Bow-Wow the Chain Chomp, none of which exist anymore. Unless you get to unlock the borderline unachievable special ending, even Marin is among the casualties.
    • However, a dream logic is that the world of dreams only truly ends when the dreamer dies, because said places of dreams can be revisited over and over. As long as the Wind Fish lives, Koholint will appear and disappear over and over, but no longer plagued by monsters.
  • The southern Face Shrine as a whole is pretty disturbing for an 8-bit Zelda game, with the eerie fresco, the apocalyptic messages, and the somber music. It's also where the island's dark secret is discovered.
  • Key Cavern's BGM starts a bit too loud, which can make the moment you enter the dungeon pretty unnerving the first time around.
  • The shopkeeper has one rule of thumb: Shoplift and Die. You actually can get away with stealing: after getting out of the shop fine, the game goes, "You got it for free! Are you proud of yourself?", then a few hours later you forget all about it. The problem is, the shopkeeper didn't forget: he is just standing there before he - no kidding - delivers a One-Hit Kill with a lightning attack if you happen to access the shop again.
    • Which means that if you're trying for the best ending, once you steal from him you can never return to the shop again, THIEF.
  • If you get knocked off the edge of the arena by the first boss, you won't just respawn with half a heart missing like in the rest of the game, oh no. You'll find yourself in some kind of execution chamber with skeletons hanging by chains from the ceiling.
  • The final battle with the Nightmares takes on an extra edge when you realize they're using the shape of Link's personal nightmares to fight back. This implies the battles with Agahnim and Ganon in A Link to the Past had such an impact on you that deep down, you're still scared of them. And the Nightmares are exploiting that fear to defeat you. What's more, when you get to the final form, the Nightmares lose all shape and reason (though what Nightmares ARE reasonable?) and turn into the Lovecraftian mass known as DethI (pronounced "Death Eye"), wildly swinging in some vain hope of taking you down.