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Video Game / The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

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The fourth game in The Legend of Zelda series, and the first on the Game Boy.

Following the defeat of Ganon in A Link to the Past Link left Hyrule to go on a Journey to Find Oneself and train in preparation any for future threats to Hyrule. After completing his travels, which was implicitly the events of the Oracle Games before that was retconned to happen immediately afterwards, he began sailing back towards Hyrule. However, while sailing back, his boat was suddenly caught in a violent storm and struck by lightning. When he awoke, he discovered that he had been shipwrecked on the shores of Koholint, an island home to a giant egg that rests upon its mountain's peak.

Link soon discovers that Koholint Island is the home of a creature known as the Wind Fish, and that as long as the Wind Fish slumbers within his egg, it is impossible to leave the island. The only way to wake the Wind Fish is to gather and play the eight Instruments of the Sirens hidden around Koholint, guarded by monsters known as Nightmares. And so Link begins a new quest to defeat the Nightmares and return to Hyrule. But he may soon discover that everything isn't quite as it seems...


Link's Awakening returned to the straightforward eight-dungeon approach of the first game, but is known for introducing a number of features and ideas that would become staples of the series. These include the trend of prominent story-developing sidequests that occur between dungeons, the addition of an Exposition Fairy that periodically nudges players in the right direction, and a wide cast of side characters. Additionally, while previous games had utilized Magic Music as a Warp Whistle, this was the first game to include more than one playable song and make these songs vital to the plot. A plot which was heavily inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Finally, it's also the first Legend of Zelda game not to feature the titular princess in any capacity, something that wouldn't happen again until Tri Force Heroes twenty-two years later.


Five years after its initial release, the game received an Updated Re-release on the Game Boy Color, titled Link's Awakening DX. This version featured modest additions and improvements, mainly in the form of the new color graphics, a brand-new dungeon that took advantage of them, and a photography sidequest that came in conjunction with Game Boy Printer functionality. In February 2019, a full-on Video Game Remake for the Nintendo Switch developed by Grezzo was announced. The remake, which includes a brand-new dungeon-creation mode, will be released on September 20, 2019.

This game takes place in the "Hero Defeated" timeline, after A Link to the Past, and prior to A Link Between Worlds.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Possible, but with a price. If you want to get all of the pictures in the DX version, you must steal from the shop, even though this will permanently rename you "THIEF" and the shopkeeper will kill you if you come back. If you want to get the game's Golden Ending — which can only be achieved with a No Death Run — with 100%, the only item you can steal is the Bow.note  There are also two pictures in DX that are mutually exclusive, one for just agreeing to let the cameraman take your picture and another for declining several times.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: The game loves this, like blocking paths with stones... in areas that you can only get to if you can lift stones. And unlike in A Link to the Past, you have to actively equip a different inventory item for every bit of lifting, jumping, or dashing you do.
  • All Just a Dream: In a twist on the trope, the dream nature is revealed about halfway into the story and presents it as a moral dilemma. Link can only escape Koholint by waking the Windfish, but in doing so he will erase the island and its inhabitants from existence. This adds a shade of doubt to whether or not Link and, by extension the player, really is doing the right thing by continuing the quest.
  • Artifact Title: This is the first game in the series where the titular princess doesn't appear at all. She's briefly mentioned in the manual and at the beginning, where Link mistakes Marin for her.
  • Art Shift: In the remake, the cute plastic model look of the rest of the game is temporarily shifted in the intro to 2D animation with a Link that matches his design in the Oracle games. The drastic difference in styles between Koholint and the outside world is a good indicator of the secret behind the island.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Magic Rod. Easily one of the best weapons in the game, faster than the boomerang (another Awesome weapon) and just as powerful, essentially one-shotting almost anything besides bosses. Unfortunately by that point in the game, there's barely anyone worth using it on, aside from the Hot Head and literally one phase of the Final Boss (and you don't even need it for that!). Even using the game's various glitches to get it early only makes it slightly more practical, since it kills about half the regular enemies in the game in one shot... and does absolutely nothing to the other half (not even just bosses, mini or otherwise, either). It does kill some otherwise Invincible Minor Mook enemies, but this is probably too little, too late for most.
  • Bag of Spilling: Justified. Link lost all his stuff in the shipwreck. He only retrieves his sword and his shield.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Tarin, who turns into a raccoon. This may not be a full example, because Tarin remembers it as a dream and comments that "it sure was fun!"
  • Bee Afraid: During the Chain of Deals, you'll encounter Tarin, who wants to borrow the stick you acquired at the castle. He then uses it in an attempt to... knock a honeycomb out of a tree. Three guesses as to what happens next, and the first two don't count.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Link spends the game wandering Koholint Island to find the Instruments of the Sirens and play to wake up the Wind Fish. The each instrument is hidden in a dungeon being guarded by one of the Nightmares. After defeating the various Nightmares and gaining the instruments, Link goes to the egg on the mountain where the Wind Fish slumbers, but finds a particularly powerful Nightmare, DethI, which it and the other Nightmares have been preventing the Wind Fish from ever waking up.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Tabahl Wasteland, the Cemetery, and the Color Dungeon.
  • Bleak Level: Face Shrine.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The DX version has a color-themed dungeon. Completing it allows you to choose a colored tunic to increase either your offensive (red) or defensive (blue) power. The demo of the remake also features the dungeon.
  • Bookends: The game starts with Link waking up. The game ends with Link waking up.
  • Bowdlerize: In most releases outside Japan, with the exception of French and German versions of the original, have some implied nudity censored:
    • The Mermaid's lost pearl necklace was originally a bikini top, and diving near her makes her call the player a pervert rather than tell them she's already searched the area. This is why the narrator uses an awkward stutter when you find the bikini/necklace.
    • There's a model hippo in Animal Village who tells you to go away so the artist can paint her. Originally, she was a nude model (with visible breasts) with a towel which she pulls up when Link enters the studio; the censored version removes the breasts and towel, hiding the nudity by making them an Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Goponga Swamp.
  • But Thou Must!: Played with in the DX version. The photographer won't take "no" for an answer when he asks if you want your picture taken. If you repeatedly refuse, though, you'll get a picture of Link beaten up in front of the curtain instead of the usual picture of Link giving a V-sign.
  • Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: Marin wishes she was a seagull so she could fly off the island and sing to various people. She gets her wish if you finish the game without dying.
  • The Cameo: A Yoshi doll ("Recently, he seems to be showing up in many games!"), a picture of Peach, a pet Chain Chompnote , Goombas, Piranha Plants, Thwomps, and an evil Kirby as enemies, Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2 and Dr. Wright from SimCity appear as NPCs, along with Pokeys and Shyguys as additional enemies, and Richard from the Japan-only game For the Frog the Bell Tolls. The last one is fitting, as both games run on the same engine.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Angler's Tunnel.
  • Chain of Deals: The first in the series, in fact. Starts with the Yoshi doll in the Trendy Game (which you need 10 rupees to play). A few places, it's actually required to proceed further in the game - you at the very least need to go through six of the fourteen items in the chain, the bananas (number four) so monkeys will build a bridge for you, and then the honeycomb (number six) to give to the chef in Animal Village, who will tell you how to wake up a walrus blocking your path into the nearby desert.
  • Challenge Run: Try beating the game without dying once. Doing so will alter the ending sequence, having Marin's face appear in the sky.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: By Ataru Cagiva, who later did a manga adaptation of A Link to the Past.
  • Company Cross References: Several Super Mario Bros. enemies, as well as Kirby, make cameo appearances in this game as enemies.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • To A Link to the Past. Link is "cursed" by a crazy bat, a monkey helps Link get into a dungeon, Link gets Magic Powder from a witch after giving her mushrooms, and a few bosses from the previous game show up again.
    • Before Link awakens the Wind Fish, the owl says that he has shown his "wisdom, courage, and power."Explanation 
    • DethI's various shapes resemble Agahnim, Moldorm, and Ganon (although Moldorm has already appeared in the game as the first dungeon boss).
    • Marin is stated to look a lot like Zelda, only with red instead of blonde hair. Her father Tarin is a dead ringer for Link's late uncle from LTTP.
  • Creator Thumbprint: As the game was composed by Kazumi Totaka, his song can be found here. Twice no less! The first method is to wait in Richard's house for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The second method, which is only accessable in the Japanese versions and the German DX version, is done by entering "とたけけ" (Totakeke) or "MOYSE" on the file select screen respectively. Due to the Switch remake letting you enter sight letters instead of five, it plays in all versions if you name yourself "Totakeke".
  • Cursed with Awesome: Awaken a bat (on loan from A Link to the Past) and he'll "curse" you, forcing you to carry twice as much magic powder/bombs/arrows. Oh no, anything but that!
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In some of the other Zelda games, getting the Power Bracelet gives you the passive ability to push and lift heavy objects. But in Link's Awakening, you have to manually assign the Power Bracelet to one of your equipment slots before you can push and lift heavy objects. This is also the first game to introduce manual use of the shield to block projectiles and attacks whereas the previous games had passive blocking.
  • Date My Avatar: Mr. Write's 'pen pal' mailing him her alleged photo, which is actually a photo of Princess Peach. The 'pen pal' is actually an anthropomorphic goat.
  • Death Mountain: Tal Tal Mountain Range, Mt. Tamaranch.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Because, like everyone else he meets in the game, she was a dream. Alternatively, in the secret ending, she turns into an angel/seagull and flies away, but for obvious reasons he still Does Not Get The Girl.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Boomerang can be obtained as soon as just around the fifth - sixth dungeon, and is one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: If you steal an item from the Mabe Village shop, no matter how cheap, the shopkeeper kills you if you return.
    • Though many do it anyway, especially since the bow costs 980 Rupees, which is quite a grind.
  • Divine Birds: Sporadic bird statues provide hints, implied to be from the subconscious mind of the Wind Fish itself.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The fifth dungeon's miniboss goes out of character and steals the dungeon's item from its chest. He then leaves a note behind, taunting Link to come and get it. Especially stupid since he'd already said, "Argh! I can't defeat you!" before giving up and running away.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The game's title can either refer to the fact Link woke up an island, or the ending of the game.
  • Down the Drain: Angler's Tunnel.
  • Dream Apocalypse: The Ending. Easily the most well-known example of this trope.
    • The secret ending animation (unlocked by completing the game without dying) teases that the apocalypse may have been somewhat less than total, although it gives no indication of how or why this might be.
  • Dream Within a Dream: The way Link obtains the Ocarina.
  • Dreams vs. Nightmares: Given that the game is All Just a Dream, this is the case with the game's conflict. The various townsfolk and NPCs who help Link out (Especially Marin) fulfill the role of the dreams, whereas the monsters who oppose Link are the Nightmares. For that matter, the bosses are even called "Nightmares".
  • Easter Egg:
    • Entering "ZELDA" as the player's name on the file selection screen changes the music for that screen until it is exited (and only once unless it is entered again).
    • Kazumi Totaka worked on the soundtrack, and this time there are three versions of Totaka's Song programmed into the game, though one never plays in-game and the other required entering "Totakeke" (Totaka's nickname) as the player's name in the Japanese version using kana, after which it would play in the same manner as the other file selection screen Easter Egg; due to the writing system change, this was Dummied Out in most international original and DX versions except for the German DX translation, whose script writer, Claude Moyse, added it back in by making it play when his last name is entered in all caps as the player's name in that version. The third instance can be heard by waiting for two and a half minutes in Prince Richard's villa.
  • Eating the Enemy: Upon saving a Bow-Wow, a Chain Chomp Expy, in the Moblin Cave, he'll then be able to devour all enemies, including the Goponga Flowers blocking Bottle Grotto.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Averted by Turtle Rock's boss, Hot Head. He lives in lava, attacks you with fire, and is made of fire. You kill him by shooting fireballs at him. This might be playing off the phrase "fight fire with fire".
  • Escort Mission: A large steel ball in the seventh dungeon. It's entirely possible to get the thing stuck in such a way that the game becomes Unwinnable. Also used when Link escorts Marin around the island, although she's invulnerable to damage.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The monsters make life on the island for its residents a literal nightmare. The only way to stop them is to wake the Wind Fish which causes a Dream Apocalypse that destroys Koholint Island because it is the Wind Fish's dream. In this game, the monsters are the evil and Link represents oblivion.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a game about Link waking up.
  • Exposition Fairy: The owl.
  • Expy: Tarin, the mushroom-obsessed man with a fabulous mustache who transforms into a tanuki? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
    • Combined with his daughter Marin and the Cucco Keeper listed below, there's a double expy situation, although that could just be translation weirdness.
    • Mr. Write is a pretty obvious Expy of Dr. Wright from the Super Nintendo port of SimCity. His theme music is even the same.
    • The Cucco Keeper in Tal Tal Heights wears green and sports a thick mustache. Where have we seen this before?
  • Extreme Omnigoat: Christine in Animal Village eats the letters that Mr. Write sends her.
  • Fishing Minigame: First one of the series!
  • Friend to All Living Things: The residents of Animal Village adore Marin.
  • Funetik Aksent: Tarin.
  • Fetch Quest: One of the most extensive of the series.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • Game-Breaking Bug: It's possible to use the keys in the wrong order in the fourth dungeon... thus locking you in... forever. Strangely enough, the third and eighth dungeons actually have a security key for just that case (the former in the very last puzzle before the boss and the latter hidden in a statue you'd shoot with an arrow). The fourth dungeon, however, lacks one.
  • Genre Blindness: The fifth dungeon's miniboss makes the mistake of stealing the dungeon's item, thus making it mandatory to find and kill him, no matter how much he flees. Had he not done this, he would probably have survived; the fourth room where you encounter him requires a great deal of backtracking to get to.
  • Giant Flyer: The Wind Fish, albeit with comically-undersized angel wings.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: At certain points in the game, Bow-Wow the chain chomp, Marin, a ghost, and a flying blue rooster all accompany Link temporarily.
  • Guide Dang It!: At more than one point, you have to throw a pot at a door to open it. At another point, you have to throw a pot at a chest to open it.
    • At another point, you also have to shoot a statue with an arrow. Nowhere else in the game do you ever have to do this. There is an actual arrow painted on the ground, but good luck figuring it out even with that clue. At least it's optional.
    • The game has comparatively few Pieces of Heart, only 12, but they are very well-hidden. A couple are hidden behind (unmarked) bomb-able walls in otherwise inconspicuous caves, and one is hidden underwater in a dead-end waterway, but not at the end as you might expect; it's in a random tile along the path. Yet another is inside a fish for some reason.
    • A puzzle in the second dungeon requires you to kill three enemies in a specific order to reveal a key required to progress. There is a hint earlier in the level which refers to the enemies by name, but the enemies' names are nowhere in the game or the manual. The only way you'd know them is from the manual of a previous Zelda game on a console you might not even own (though the first enemy to kill being described as "imprisoned" helps narrow it down).
    • The DX version includes more hints in the dungeons, including using pots on said door and chest.
  • Identical Stranger: Link, upon first meeting Marin, mistakes her for Princess Zelda.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Magic Rod, found in the 8th dungeon. It allows Link to fire projectiles at any HP that are twice as powerful as the LVL 2 Sword. On top of that, he doesn't even have to stop moving while swinging it (as opposed to the sword). Mooks catch on fire and die a slow, painful death. It goes without saying that this is a sadistically fun weapon, too. It's also one of exactly two items in the entire series (the other being the Magic Powder in the same game) that can kill Cuccoos.
  • Island of Mystery: Koholint Island, full stop. Link reaches it entirely by accident, it's full of weird things, bizarre people and creatures, there are hidden ancient ruins, its geography is surprisingly varied for such a small island, and the whole place is shrouded in mystery. That is, until it's revealed it's actually just a dream.
  • Item Get!: Link actually holds up Marin in this manner at one point.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Eagle's Tower.
  • Journey to Find Oneself: The game starts off this way.
  • Jump Physics: When using the feather.
  • Just a Kid: The two boys playing around with a ball invoke this upon themselves when they respond to Link after telling him a few important (and fourth wall breaking) things about the game.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Falling in the lava in Turtle Rock deals as much damage as falling in the water before you gained the flippers.
  • Lethal Joke Item: It wouldn't be a Zelda game without one of these, but this one has a few:
    • The Shovel can be used against the Tennis Boss, Agahnim's Shadow, to reflect its shots.
    • In most games, the Boomerang can only stun most enemies, not damage them; it's still a good item, but it's virtually useless against bosses. Not here, though. Pretty much everything in the game dies in one hit to it, including the final boss.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Turtle Rock, though the lava is much less "lethal" than most examples.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Even drag you into a flying whale's imagination.
  • Lost Woods: Mysterious Woods.
  • Magic Music: Your Ocarina has special powers starting in this game. Also, your goal in the game is to collect magical instruments to play along with the Ocarina.
  • The Maze: Wind Fish's Egg.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • DethI. It's a giant eye monster that wants to kill you, and is also the "dying form" of the boss.
    • Interestingly, Marin is a double case of this, depending on how you translate it. In French, Marin means "queen of the sea", hinting at her being a personification of the Wind Fish. However, in Hebrew it means "sea of sorrow".
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: Explore the island with Bow-Wow before you return him, and he'll tell you the location of buried shells.
  • Mind Rape: This is what the Nightmares are essentially trying to do to the Wind Fish. By invading his mind and hijacking his dream world, they plan to control his mind. In response, the Wind Fish's spirit draws Link into the dream as a means of trying to protect himself.
  • Mini-Dungeon:
    • Southern Face Shrine. It houses the Face Key that gives access to the northern Face Shrine (main dungeon).
    • The Moblin Cave and Kanalet Castle.
  • Mock Millionaire: Richard has a loose definition of "villa," even if he used to live in an actual castle.
  • Money for Nothing: If you steal from the shopkeeper, all that happens is that your save file is renamed THIEF upon exiting the store. If you don't mind the name, this is just a minor inconvenience, making actually paying for your stuff rather pointless. Actual death can be avoided simply by not returning to the shop after you've stolen from him. Though if you want to avoid death and get the Golden Ending, this means you must not steal anything before the bow.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a bonus scene at the end of the credits if you manage to win without a game over.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In the demo of the remake at E3 2019, some previously unnamed characters from the original game now have names such as the ball playing kid Suhni.
  • Never Say "Die": "You k-k-k-beat my brothers!"
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Some of the sprites, sound effects, and font, as well as the game engine itself, are borrowed from For the Frog the Bell Tolls.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The third dungeon, Key Cavern, is a brick building, not a cave. This may be a mistranslation; it's called "Key Cellar" in Japanese and French and "Devil's Mansion" in German.
  • Not Always Evil: A friendly Zora can be found in Animal Village after obtaining the magnifying lens. Link can even get a picture taken with him in DX.
  • Not Quite Flight: The Flying Rooster required to access the seventh dungeon can be picked up with the Power Bracelet to fly pretty much indefinitely, though he doesn't accompany you into the actual dungeon, and he leaves you after it's completed.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Tends to hit the ending pretty hard. Can Link make his way back to dry land?
  • Oh, Crap!: From the 5th dungeon on, the dungeon bosses panic when defeated, realizing that Link's coming closer and closer to awakening the Wind Fish and causing the aforementioned Dream Apocalypse. To say nothing of the Villainous Breakdown the Wind Fish's Nightmare has when it's defeated.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Boomerang instantly defeats the last form of the Final Boss.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final boss warps through five or six different shapes in a last-ditch effort to beat Link, with the final one being particularly monstrous.
  • Only Shop in Town: Mabe Village only has one store. Confusingly, though, the crane-minigame building also has "SHOP" written on the roof in giant letters, but you can't actually buy anything there.
  • Ontological Mystery: Link presents this conundrum to the Mabe Village inhabitants. Since they never existed before the dream, they cannot answer questions such as "When did you come to live on the island?" or consider what's beyond the island, and any attempt to do so on their part results in a migraine.
  • Palmtree Panic: Toronbo Shores.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Some secret seashells if you don't go to the mansion at the right times, and another one only accessible while you have the Flying Rooster. But there are more than enough to get the level 2 sword, even without those.
    • One-third of the photographs in the DX version.
    • Averted in the third dungeon; just before you enter the boss room, you can collect an extra key to access any side rooms you skipped along the way.
    • Steal from the infamous shop and your name is lost forever, as you get renamed to THIEF permanently.
    • The only way to get the bow is to buy or steal it from the shop, and if you steal an item, the shopkeeper will kill you if you return. This means that if you steal something other than the bow before buying it, the bow is lost forever — unless you're willing to die to regain access to the shop, in which case the secret ending is lost forever.
  • Platonic Cave: Koholint Island, including all its inhabitants.
  • Power Up Motif: The Piece of Power and Guardian Acorn work exactly this way; they change the background music for a short time, and when the song stops, the powerup is over.
  • The Problem with Pen Island: "DethI". Its printing has resulted in many a player to think it was actually "Dethl" (small L), even though it's actually supposed to be "Death Eye". Even ended up getting this messed up.
  • Recurring Riff: The Color Dungeon in DX uses the dungeon theme from the original Legend of Zelda game.
  • Regional Bonus: As mentioned above, the German translation re-added an Easter Egg that most other Western translations removed.
  • Roc Birds: The Roc itself never appears, but the Roc's Feather shows up as an item that allows the otherwise ground-bound Link to jump.
  • Running Gag: The accurately named Quadruplet Family has four identical sons who hang around Mabe Village and will offer Link advice about the game mechanics. All of them end their statements with some variation of "I don't know what that means, I'm just a kid."
  • Sea Hurtchin: Sea urchins to block paths in Toronbo Shores. While they deal damage to Link on mere contact, they can easily be defeated with a sword.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Although it's a far more minor example compared to the boatloads of Sequence Breaking possible in the previous installment as well as the next installment (mostly due to the way dungeons are accessed in this installment), in Turtle Rock, there's a bombable wall on the other side of a small pool of lava. Using the bomb arrow trick allows Link to simply bomb said wall from across the lava (and thus from the opposite side of the wall from what the designers intended) and then equip the Roc's Feather and jump over the pool of lava from either side. The fact that this gives Link access to a few keys makes the dungeon much easier.
      • This blog post demonstrates it's possible to beat Turtle Rock with over half of the rooms not visited.
    • There's also a glitch in the original black and white version which allowed the player to "warp" from their current location to the exact same location — one screen away. Not only did this allow for a lot of extra exploration, but could occasionally lead to "Glitch Rooms" that contain later items, and allowed one to clear the second dungeon without either obtaining the power bracelet or beating the boss. Demonstrated most effectively in this Let's Play by MeccaPrime.
    • The speed boost provided by Pieces of Power can be used for several minor breaks — for example, getting one key in the third dungeon early, and dash-jumping over some gaps that normally require the Hookshot to cross. This allows you to learn the Frog's Song of Soul before clearing the third dungeon, when you're not supposed to have it until after the fifth (although you can't use it until halfway through the sixth).
    • The developers didn't think through the jump controls fully, as simply jumping on an angle allows you to bypass puzzles in a few dungeons, such as the fourth where a cross-shaped gap meant to only be crossed horizontally or vertically can be crossed any way with the right timing, allowing you to skip using a key to access the room from the other direction.
    • The shrine containing the key to the sixth dungeon and The Reveal can be reached as soon as you have the Pegasus Boots. The Bow is strongly recommended, but you can get it from the shop at any time, and, contrary to popular belief, it's not necessary — inactive Armos can be pushed with your shield, and the miniboss in the shrine can be killed with your sword. (Bombs are also effective against Armos.) You need the Flippers to access the sixth dungeon itself, but this still means that the fifth dungeon can be skipped (for a while, at least) if you use the Piece of Power trick mentioned above.
    • All dungeons but the first two can be cleared in any order — in general, all you need from each one to get to the next is the new item.
      • The exception is Turtle Rock, the final dungeon. All you need is the Hookshot from the fifth dungeon, and Tracy's special potion (and Frog Song of Soul). When you reach the flamethrower where the Level 2 Shield is required, just lose all hearts, and you're given a long stretch of invincibility to walk through the flames (the dungeon has a warp point, allowing you to head back to Tracy's for a refill). This renders both the Level 2 Bracelet and Shield useless, turns the Magic Rod into a late game breaker, and consequently renders pursuing seashells (and thus the Level 2 Sword) mostly useless.
  • Schizo Tech: Telephones, photography, and a crane game exist in a Medieval Stasis world. Sure it's a dream, but that just means that Link or the Wind Fish has to have encountered the ideas somewhere.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly:
    • The island is nothing but one big dream, and the point of gathering the eight dungeon items is to awaken both you and the Wind Fish. Link is oblivious to this since you aren't directly told that it's a dream until a good bit into the game, but the owl and boss monsters don't really try to hide this fact from you.
    • The owl has a monologue in-line with Schrödinger's theory when you find the relief that reveals everything to Link.
      Owl: 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 end does reveal that the owl, being an avatar of the Wind Fish, knew that the relief told the truth all along, and what he told Link was a Motivational Lie to ensure that he would continue and complete his quest.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The fifth dungeon's miniboss will flee from the battle after being hurt a few times... and does this two more times after you find him again.
    • The boss of the seventh dungeon first appears as a miniboss, but clears the scene once you k-k-k-beat his batty brothers.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Not the main plot, but a lot of the sidequests mean absolutely nothing in light of the ending.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Yarna Desert.
  • Ship Tease: Link basically takes Marin on a date at one point in the game.
    You got Marin! Is this your big chance?
  • Shoplift and Die: "I wasn't kidding when I said pay! Now you'll pay the ultimate price!" *cue lightning and death*
  • Shout-Out: There is a whole mess of Super Mario shout outs. See The Cameo, above.
  • Sky Face: In the Game Boy Color version, Marin's face appears in the sky at the end if you managed to beat the game without dying.
  • Small, Secluded World: The people of Koholint Island have never seen or heard of anything beyond the ocean, and many of them questioned if there was anything until Link arrived.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Sort of. The final boss has a pretty awesome theme, but when you reach his final form, the miniboss theme, of all things, begins to play.
  • Space-Filling Path: The route to a location less than a screen away is often surprisingly convoluted. Several puzzles in Turtle Rock also require you to trace out a space-filling path with a movable block.
  • Sky Whale: The Wind Fish.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru ("For the Frog the Bell Tolls") an earlier action-adventure game for the Game Boy. The Rival character from Kaeru, Richard, makes a cameo in Link's Awakening.
  • Spoiler Title: In the US version, about two-thirds of the way through the game, you make the (very unexpected) realization that the whole of Koholint Island is just a dream of the Wind Fish. Meanwhile, the Japanese version of the game's name is The Legend of Zelda: Dream Island. Well, that certainly ruins the tension.
  • Sssssnake Talk: The boss of the fifth dungeon talks like this.
  • Stealth Pun: Hot Head, the boss for Turtle Rock, is a giant fireball that is fought by shooting fireballs at him with the Magic Rod. In other words, fighting fire with fire.
  • Temple of Doom: Face Shrine.
  • Trick Arrow: Equipping both the bow and the bombs allows Link to fire a bomb arrow. Finally duplicated again nine games later.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The game is about Link getting shipwrecked on a tropical island and trying to find a way off of it by waking the Wind Fish. Of course, not all is as it seems...
  • Underground Level: Bottle Grotto, Key Cavern, and Catfish's Maw.
  • Unending End Card: Upon beating the game, you are put on a THE END screen (with Marin depending on if you manage to complete the game without dying) that you can't exit out of without resetting. The DX version adds a thank you message from the developers after the end card, but it hangs on that screen instead.
  • Unique Enemy: Almost every enemy found in the DX version's Color Dungeon is found nowhere else, but among them, there is only one each of the blue variants of the Camo Goblin and Karakoro.
  • Updated Re-release: A Game Boy Color-enhanced version was later released as Link's Awakening DX.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Wind Fish's Egg.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Unusually for a Zelda game, you can kill Cuccos and dogs with the magic powder or the Fire Rod.
    • The friendly Zora in Animal Village can be killed just like any enemy, though not with the sword.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you attack the dog, it attacks you. And if you attack a Cucco too many times, it summons up a whole host of its buddies to attack you. However, unlike the other games in the series, you can stop a Cucco attack by using the magic rod or magic powder on the original Cucco. The Cucco will burn to death and the other Cuccos will stop attacking you.
  • Villainous Breakdown: DethI, the final Nightmare, when it's defeated. "This island is going to disappear... Our world is going to disappear... Our world..."
  • V-Sign: Link does one for his first picture in DX. And it looks adorable.
  • Warp Whistle: The Manbo Mambo will either teleport you to Manbo's Pond in the overworld or to the entrance of the dungeon you're exploring. Pretty handy for players who plan on exploiting the screen-skipping glitch.
  • Whale Egg: It's rather self-explanatory. Seriously, it's not just part of the plot... It IS the plot.
  • Wham Episode: The Face Shrine. You learn that the island is the Wind Fish's dream, and that by waking it up, the island and everyone on it will disappear.
  • Wham Line: The wall in the Southern Face Shrine:
  • What the Hell, Hero?: People will call you "THIEF" instead of the name you chose for Link if you steal from the shop in Mabe Village. The game itself even chews you out for doing so (see You Bastard! below). And if you ever return to the shop...
    • Also, people really seem to not like it if you say no to a yes or no choice.
  • With Lyrics: A japanese commercial for the Switch version adds lyrics to the Ballad of the Wind Fish.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Wind Fish speaks it.
  • You Bastard!:
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: What the Wind Fish's ability is, it can make it's own dreams become reality whenever it sleeps, and only by waking up makes the dream vanish.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Links Awakening


The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

If Link steals something from the shopkeeper, he will get zapped to death when he returns. (NOTE: A section was slowed down to avoid seizures.)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShopliftAndDie

Media sources:

Main / ShopliftAndDie