But provided that you don't get/use the Boomerang, it is most likely the hardest battle in the game, and one of the most fun.
Annoying Video Game Helper: "Wow! This looks pretty heavy! You won't be able to lift it with just your bare hands." Mercifully, this goes away once you acquire the Power Bracelet. Obtaining the Pegasus Boots, however, does not get rid of "Oh? What a weird object! There must be some way to tackle this obstacle."
A strange ghost begins to follow Link shortly after leaving the Angler's Tunnel. To get him to stop following you, you must take this him back to his house at Toronbo Shores, then to his grave. It is not explained who the ghost is or why he is following you. The only memory Link has of this ordeal is a picture from the Photographer (and possibly a Secret Seashell from a jar in the house, which isn't there until after this event).
This gets explored in the manga, which reveals the ghost is a former warrior of Koholint Island named Nakura, who wants to see his home again and lets Link take his sword as a reward.
The skull sprite found in the Angler's Tunnel boss room is unique. The ghost starts following you after you beat the dungeon. Think about that for a minute. This also explains why the ghost stops you if you try and enter the next dungeon—the Catfish's Maw.
Throwing Magic Powder on a Buzz Blob turns it into a skinnier, bug-eyed creature called Cukeman. The same thing happens in A Link to the Past and the Oracle games. Here, Cukeman repeats four different phrases in a loop when you speak to it, and the latter three are thought to be references to the Nintendo 64, which was in development at the time:
The bosses in Angler's Tunnel and Turtle Rock are ridiculously easy. Angler Fish you can just hit with your sword rapid-fire and win with no damage. Hot Head, meanwhile, you can just rapidly-fire the Fire Rod at them and kill 'em almost as easily as the Angler Fish (just don't let him hit you; 4 hearts of damage is nothing to sneeze at). It even STUNLOCKS him.
Counterpart Comparison: Let's see... a kind and beautiful red-haired young woman with an equally beautiful voice and her own signature song who desires to see a world largely unknown to her, personally saved her love interest and had an iconic scene with them on the shores? Are we talking about Marin or Ariel?
The Vire enemies from the original make a return in the eighth dungeon, and their relatively powerful fireballs and stick-and-move tactics are sure to piss a lot of players off — until they find the Magic Rod,that is.
Same goes for the bomb-tossing Zirros that populate the eastern prairie. Their bombs do relatively high damage (even when you're submerged in water), they have high defense and are difficult to land a blow on. We don't want to go and spoil their hidden weakness, but it's arrows; shoot the bastards with arrows. The Boomerang also works, as well as the Sword Beams.
Game Breaker: The Boomerang, which is only found at the end of a long trading sidequest. It kills most tough enemies and the final boss's last form in one hit, a far cry from the other Zelda games in which it merely stuns enemies. (And, of course, it still stuns just about everything else.)
And before that, you have the wonderful, wonderful bomb arrows at your disposal (equip both and fire simultaneously), which give you an easy means to kill 90% of the enemies in the game in 1-2 shots. As mentioned in the main article, a breakable wall in the Turtle Rock dungeon located across a small pool of lava can even be broken from that side instead of the intended one and multiple keys can be found on that side, making it easier to go through a very large, confusing, and difficult dungeon.
Just how broken is the bomb arrow trick? It makes the Color Dungeon Boss listed below pathetically easy, provided you brought a good stock of bombs and arrows.
The boss of the Color Dungeon must be continuously attacked to change its shell across the spectrum from blue to red to make it vulnerable, but scoring hits on the boss causes severe knockback, and its shell regenerates very quickly if you fail to keep up the momentum. Not an especially dangerous fight to get through, but it's certainly a tedious and time-consuming one.
Moldorm's back, and just as annoying as he was in his first appearance. Fall off his platform — which is even smaller than it was in A Link to the Past — at any point, and once again he'll be restored to full health. On top of that, you have less health when facing him this time around, although here you can at least quickly teleport from the dungeon entrance to just a couple of rooms away from his chamber.
Good Bad Bugs: The game positively oozes them. The screenwarp glitch, for instance.note The way it works: Press Select just as the screen starts to scroll when crossing from one screen to another. If done correctly, you'll end up on the opposite side of the next screen. If done improperly, ends up as a Game-Breaking Bug. Note that this was fixed in the DX version.
This TAS exploits every possible good bad bug for all it's worth, for the sole purpose of moving faster and bypassing any and all time-consuming events. And this is the Updated Re-release version. Watch for the incredible diagonal superdash! Marvel at how Link manages to walk straight over pits! Gaze at the technically-impossible hookshot tricks that'll leave your brain in a seizure!
This TAS of the original game breaks it even further, skipping all of the dungeons and going straight for the Nightmare Boss.
While every Zelda game on a new platform has advanced the series in one way or another (and they've always been good games), Link's Awakening was the first to be truly narrative-driven and to include NPC characters with distinct likeable personalities. The game's predecessor, A Link to the Past, told a fairly typical hero's journey story about a young knight and a princess. Link's Awakening features the series's first dive into existentialism, which would remain a running theme with the series through it's run.
Link's Awakening also codified the general dungeon design that's been faithfully followed up to today: Traverse dungeon with a certain obstacle, defeat a miniboss who is guarding an item. Use said item to overcome the obstacle featured in the dungeon and obtain the boss key, defeat boss using the item.
Never Live It Down: People will most likely never forget that the German translator of the original non-DX version, Claude M. Moyse, had the Cukemen say some infamous things:
"Give me your juice, I'll give you mine..."
"Never without a Condom!"
Scrappy Mechanic: Guardian Acorns and Pieces of Power are this to some, due to their repetitive jingle interrupting the music whenever one is active, as well as a long dialogue box appearing every time they're picked up, which can't even be skipped in DX.
The clown genie who serves as the boss for the second dungeon can take a lot of punishment before going down and pelts Link with fireballs which take away a full heart each; given that Link is likely to only have four hearts at this point, there's little margin for error.
The Evil Eagle from That One Level below here is no picnic either. It's a 2D boss like dungeon 4, but requires you to use the Mirror Shield to push against the winds he'll create with his wings, and block his razor sharp feathers. If you get hit or stand in the wrong place, you'll more than likely fall down, and be forced to repeat the boss with FULL HEALTH.
That One Level: Eagle's Tower includes four pillars that have to be knocked down to make the upper levels crash down on the lower ones. This involves carrying around a metal ball that can be hard to move without it falling down a pit a respawning in its original room. And it's entirely possible to glitch the ball and have it materialize in a spot you can't reach. Hooray!
Turtle Rock. There are various ways to navigate it and tricks to bypass much of it, but if you go at it normally you'll find minibosses from past dungeons that respawn, which is frustrating because you'll have to do quite a bit of backtracking, especially if you're trying to figure out where to go next. Not to mention the true miniboss, Blaino....