Link's jump to the small screen thrills as much today as it did in '93.
(dlsclaimer: this is based on a reader review I wrote for another website
You would think the Game Boy
couldn't possibly capture the scope or fun of the console Zelda games, but then a game like this comes along to prove otherwise.
The presentation is superb; The island of Koholint is lots of interesting locales crammed into such a small space! All of these locales are represented with crisp sprites, and impressive scores for such a tinny sound system. The addtional color in the GBC port only enhances this.
And it comes to the time-honored Lo Z
gameplay, Link's Awakening delivers the goods. Link is a snap to control, with two buttons allowing you to equip two items at a time and the start menu housing your inventory. The combat is very brisk and satisfying, thanks to spot-on hit detection and forgiving difficulty. Link amasses an impressive arsenal, from classics like bombs and arrows, to new stuff like the Roc's Feather, which lets you jump! The dungeons, as always, are a splendid mix of puzzles and foes, topped with thrilling bosses! On top of that, they even threw in some side-scrolling segments!
The game is briskly paced and always throws something new at you, so it never gets stale or tiresome, and the game length is just about right, taking several hours to beat in the first go. The difficulty is also forgiving, aside from some confusing parts which were probably thrown in just to get you to buy a Players Guide. I also like how when you start the game or come back from the dead, it starts you off right at the last door you entered in the overworld, saving you lots of time.
Link's Awakening has some minor shortcomings—you have to constantly swap items, which gets really tiresome, really fast. And while the game does have a save feature, it has the most counter-initiative way of triggering it—pressing all four of the game buttons at once, timing it just right so that you don't go to the pause screen. Talk about a lousy design choice! Also some parts of the game can get downright confusing, and there's even one part in the eight dungeon where if you're not careful, you can even get permanently stuck by using a key item out of it's proper sequence, forcing you to start the whole game over from scratch!
This aside, its a worthy gem of a game, and now available on 3DS!