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YMMV / The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Examining a dresser in the Game Boy releases produces the message "Link checked the chest. Wow! This is a nice chest!" This text was changed in the Switch remake; the dressers are called dressers instead of chests and examining them produces the message "Link checked out the dresser. Yep! Everything checks out!" However, the dresser in Crazy Tracy's house, of all characters, still has the original "chest" description.
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    • Link holds Marin up like an item... and she has a dress. Then the text comments how this could be his "big chance". The Switch remake tweaks this so she's tilted slightly diagonally when Link holds her.
    • In the DX version's Color Dungeon, the Fairy Queen tells Link to close his eyes and relax...while she changes his clothes. Followed by her announcing that she will now "take [him] out." In the Switch version, at least, her dialogue is tweaked to say that she will take him outside.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Were the nightmares trying to control and corrupt the dream or were they just afraid of being wiped from existence? Their dialogue indicates it was both.
    • It requires little effort on the player's part to interpret the Wind Fish (and by extension, The Owl) as an Ungrateful Bastard in the ending.
    • Conversely, some players have taken to alleviating some of the blame off of the Owl, based on a certain, different interpretation that he genuinely didn't know what the island was or what would become of it when the Wind Fish woke up, at least not at the point when Link first read the relief, and that he and the Wind Fish "caught up" with each other after the Nightmares were defeated, which allowed him to bring Link up to speed. As he's revealed to be a part of the Wind Fish's spirit and even the designated "guardian" of his dream world, this would require some pretty selective awareness on the Owl's part if the two weren't in contact through the majority of the game, but that's not something the game covers in enough detail to fully dispute the idea.
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    • Marin's not exactly the pure maiden she first appears to be. She's creepily encouraging of Link's vandalism and animal cruelty, and her motivation and ultimate fate in the secret ending can be seen as akin to that of a woman who abandons her friends and family to pursue a career as a singer.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: If you managed to complete the Fetch Quest and get the Boomerang, the final boss's final form goes down in one hit. 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. The boomerang trick is surprisingly removed in the remake, of all things.
  • 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." This is thankfully absent in the Switch remake, as the messages only appear when checking the pot/skull/stone without the bracelet, and the crystals that are destroyed via the boots also don't automatically display the message either.
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    • Every single Compass, Map, Heart Piece, Seashell, or (Nightmare) Key that you pick up from a chest repeats its tutorial dialogue. The compass is especially egregious, as it is 4-5 text boxes long, each time telling you about its special feature of letting you know a key is in the room. Thankfully, only the keys gotten from treasure chests do this; the ones that are dropped on the ground do not.
    • Full descriptions repeat every time you obtain a Guardian Acorn or Piece of Power, which might be irritating enough to make you avoid them on purpose despite their useful benefits.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Several in the remake.
    • The Sword, Shield, Power Bracelet, and Pegasus Boots are always equipped on different buttons, similarly to A Link to the Past, meaning significantly less time spent switching between items.
    • The descriptions of the Compass and other items can now be fast-fowarded.
    • The Guardian Acorn and Piece of Power now run on a short timer, making them both less broken, and less annoying.
    • Pots/rocks/skulls you can't lift and crystals you can't tackle only display their message if you press the button to check them.
    • Warp points can now be selected manually via a fast-travel menu, rather than jumping into warp holes one after another until you land at the one you want. Furthermore, there are more of them on the island, and Manbo's Mambo lets you travel to any visited warp point in addition to Manbo's Pond.
    • Due to the original game's lack of a true Z-axis, attempting to evade hazards by jumping with the Roc's Feather was finicky and often glitchy, with obstacles "above" Link hitting him in mid-air. The remake's updated engine eliminates this problem.
    • Doors that only open when you throw something at them now have an image of a pot to clue you in.
    • In the Game Boy releases, horse head-shaped objects in dungeons have to land upright after being thrown to solve puzzles, with both members of a pair having to land upright, but doing so can be time-consuming as it mostly comes down to luck. In the Switch remake, they have been turned into knight chess pieces. Their movement upon being thrown mimics knights in chess (moving in an L-shaped path), and their puzzles now involve manipulating their movement so they land on specific tiles.
    • When solving a puzzle within a dungeon, it stays solved. Rooms no longer "reset" aside from monsters respawning, and even then, locked doors that require defeating monsters will remain open.
    • For players who have trouble discerning color, the Color Dungeon has a few quality-of-life upgrades made to it. The skeletons at the entrance no longer ask what color they are, instead simply letting Link in after they're spoken to. Unique geometric patterns appear on all the puzzle elements and enemies that make use of the color gimmick, and the bouncy floor tiles now display noticeable cracks as they're used more.
    • In the Game Boy versions, Blaino's uppercut sends Link back to the beginning of the dungeon. In the Switch remake, it only sends Link back one room.
    • A common opinion regarding the Angler Fish boss is that it's too easy in the Game Boy versions. In the Switch remake, it's more mobile, and hitting its weak point knocks the player back so they can't spam the attack button and kill it under thirty seconds, which increases the challenge.
    • DethI has two tweaks to his battle that makes it a major improvement from the Gameboy versions to the Switch version. First of all, the rather anti-climactic Miniboss theme is replaced by a darker version of the Ballad of the Wind Fish. Secondly, the Boomerang trick doesn't kill him in one hit anymore, making the fight last a bit longer than the other phases.
    • While the entire soundtrack received an orchestral facelift, Angler's Tunnel stands out as a remarkable improvement, with an entirely new theme composed for the dungeon around the original's high-pitched copy of the standard cave theme.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: 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 Switch remake replaces this nonsensical dialogue with some interesting hints that involve getting the tunes for the Ocarina item. Provided that the player hears about this before getting said item, this counts as foreshadowing and avoids BLAM.
    "Hey Mon!"
    "You know me, I like short names the best..."
    "It can display millions of polygons!"
    "I definitely need it, as soon as possible!"
  • Breather Boss:
    • 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; four hearts of damage is nothing to sneeze at). It even stunlocks him. Both of them were strengthened in the remake, though not to a terribly high degree.
    • Facade of the Face Shrine is rather easily beaten, and even got a downgrade to a mini-boss in Oracle of Seasons. He's a bit trickier in the Switch remake, now capable of dealing Collision Damage and warping around the arena.
  • Catharsis Factor: In all versions of the game, there's a scene where you can take Marin to the Trendy Game and have her grab the game's operator with the claw, getting you kicked out. In the original, this was just a funny moment, but in the Switch remake, it becomes this in part because of him rigging the trendy game with "realistic" claw physics that can randomly drop the item you grabbed.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • The reveal of Koholint Island being just a dream is sometimes cited as the game's Twist Ending. In the game itself, this is directly revealed (with slight ambiguity attached) two-thirds of the way through, and the Wind Fish's dream is an important part of the story from then on.
    • On the flip side, some players treat the twist as something the game gives away in its early stages or even through its title alone, thereby negating the need for any spoiler warnings when talking about it. While the Owl tells Link from the beginning that he must wake the Wind Fish to leave the island, he does not tell him that doing so will cause the island to disappear, or even that it's part of the Wind Fish's dream. Even after all of the hints the game drops and the ambiguous midgame reveal, the Owl acknowledges that the only person who knows for sure what the island is and what will happen to it is the Wind Fish himself, whom Link does not have a chance to consult until the end of the game.
    • There is no "Fire Cephalopod". It's just Cue Ball in lava instead of water.'s terrible encyclopedia is responsible for this one.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • 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. They're easier to hit in the remake, but also take less damage from the Magic Rod.
    • 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. Their rate of fire is also very quick, resulting in bombs being dropped just about every 1.5 seconds and they deal a full heart of damage. Most of their weaknesses either require ammo or are late-game items.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The Wind Fish's egg isn't a dungeon but just an endless maze.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • BowWow, the mook-munching Chain Chomp. Many players wish you could keep him with you the whole game.
    • The Raccoon is well-remembered, despite only appearing for a few minutes at most.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending:
    • Link's still stranded in the middle of the ocean at the end of the game. The implications of this are alleviated in the presumably canonical secret ending, in which Marin becomes either a winged girl or a seagull who can guide him to shore or fetch someone to rescue him.
    • The people of Koholint are left to an uncertain fate. Even assuming they're all alive in a separate "dream world", Marin still technically ditched them all.
  • 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.) Even in the Switch remake, in which its power is nerfed somewhat, it remains an incredibly useful weapon that defeats enemies in just a few throws and stunlocks them in the process.
    • 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. It also makes the Color Dungeon boss pathetically easy, provided you brought a good stock of bombs and arrows.
    • The Switch remake upgrades the Mirror Shield into this. In the original game, besides being able to reflect the attacks of Beamos, it wasn't at all different from Link's standard shield in terms of its function. The remake gives it the ability to reflect any projectile that strikes it, sending it directly back at the attacking enemy and in most cases killing them instantly. In addition, reflecting a Beamos's attack back at it will deactivate it until Link leaves the room, meaning players don't have to constantly be on their guard when one's around.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • The boss of the Color Dungeon, the Hardhit Beetle, 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. Interestingly, the Switch remake nerfs the knockback and regeneration effects dramatically, while increasing the boss's attack speed and number of enemies it can call. This effectively turns it into a Rush Boss.
    • 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, and Roc's Feather lets you jump over it. The remake's take on Moldorm isn't as bad as it was in the original, considering Moldorm only moves crazily when his weak spot is hit. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as he can go down with just TWO sword spin attacks.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The game positively oozes them. The screenwarp glitch, for instance.note  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.
    • If you have the rooster and the boomerang, you have an impossible to beat combo. First, throw the boomerang and then grab the rooster before you catch it. The boomerang continues to move below you as you use the rooster to hover and it will follow you every where. Hovering with the rooster makes you nigh invincible and the boomerang continues to do damage to anything it touches. The only downside is that you have to let go of the rooster and catch the boomerang before you can move on to the next screen.
    • Saving and quitting immediately after buying a big-ticket item will halt the removal of funds, letting you keep a large amount of your rupees.
    • If the player times it correctly, bringing up the continue/save and quit screen, then continuing allows them to skip most treasure chest dialogues. This is useful for skipping long chest dialogues, such as the compass.
    • By timing it just right, you can jump over some blocks and dungeon walls with the Roc's Feather. This is used a lot in speedrunning, such as skipping a good portion of Face Shrine.
    • The boss of Face Shrine, Facade, can be damaged with bombs before the actual boss fight starts. Dropping a bomb right before it appears will damage it.
    • In the Switch version, you can skip Kanalet Castle by clipping into Richard's backyard to grab the Slime Key (which involves jumping and dying in mid-air via a bomb explosion while landing on top of a fox (on loan from Mabe Village), then reviving using the Secret Medicine, which respawns you on top of the fence). This has the side effect of letting you keep BowWow past the Bottle Grotto, and even taking him into the cutscene where Marin and Link sit on the beach, which totally spoils the mood of an otherwise poignant cutscene. Unfortunately, you still can't keep BowWow forever, since he disappears once the game reloads while Marin is in your party.
    • The same "die and land on a fox" trick can be used to skip ever going to Animal Village and Yarna Desert, by taking a fox to the lock that opens Angler's Tunnel. Turns out, you can just walk through the waterfall once you're on the ledge.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • 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 (which, among other things, led to Marin becoming one of the most perennially-popular "Zelda girls" alongside the titular deuteragonist). 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 its run.
    • Link's Awakening also codified the general dungeon design that was faithfully followed for the next 20 years: Traverse dungeon that has a certain type of obstacle, defeat a miniboss who is guarding an item. Use said item to overcome the obstacles featured in the dungeon and obtain the boss key, defeat boss using the item.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: The Switch remake has been criticized by some for charging $60 USD for what is essentially a Game Boy game reskin that can be beaten in about 10 hours (especially because the previous Zelda game was easily a +100 hour experience for the same price, and two other game remakes released in 2017 and 2018, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, respectively, both released for 40 USD as three games in one), with the only major addition being a dungeon-maker.
  • It Was His Sled: The true nature of Koholint is well-known among the Zelda fanbase, even among the fans who never played the game.
  • Memetic Badass: The shopkeeper who will instantly One-Hit Kill Link by summoning lightning from his hands and shocking him to death if you steal from him and come back. It makes one wonder why he doesn't go on the quest to save everyone rather than Link, since he's apparently far more powerful than Link could ever hope to be. He has a reputation as possibly the most powerful character in the entire series because of this. Not even Ganondorf can just instantly murder Link without batting an eye the way that this guy does.note 
  • Moe: Pretty much all of the human characters in the Switch remake, but especially Link and Marin.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The sound made by the ghost that follows you after Angler's Tunnel. What makes it especially annoying is that it occurs every time you transition to a new screen or enter a building, dungeon, or cave. The remake replaces this with a much more subtle sound that doesn't play as often (since the overworld no longer has screen transitions).
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Marin singing in the Switch remake.
  • Narm: In the Switch remake, you can utilize a glitch to keep BowWow past the point where you are supposed to return him to Madam Meow Meow. Doing this will have Bow Wow cheerfully nibbling on Link's ass during the aforementioned moment with Marin on the beach, completely destroying the romantic mood.
  • 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!"
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Link's Awakening isn't the first handheld Zelda game. That goes to the Zelda Game & Watch game, released in 1989. It is the first traditional Zelda game on a handheld however.
    • During the reveal of the Switch remake of Link's Awakening, people were genuinely confused by the presence of Super Mario Bros.-related enemies like Chain Chomps and Goombas. They didn't know that such enemies were also in the original game. Chain Chomps also appeared in A Link To The Past as enemies in Turtle Rock.
    • There have been multiple claims that the Angler Fish was given a new attack in the Switch remake where it rams the wall and causes rubble to fall. This attack was actually present in the original Game Boy releases; most likely, the boss would go down so quickly that many players never saw it use this attack.
  • Padding: The sequence between Levels 4 and 5 where a ghost starts following Link, requiring the player to visit his house by the beach, and then return him to his grave. This part has no bearing on the plot whatsoever, is never mentioned again, and no item is acquired upon completing it, but it is nevertheless mandatory, as attempting to go to Level 5 while the ghost is in tow will only result in him nagging you. That being said, it's an interesting story beat that helps to reinforce the game's themes of existentialism; the ghost having to let go of his past reflects the similar message that Link can't stay on Koholint Island forever.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Several in the original Game Boy releases, most of which were touched up in the remake (see also Author's Saving Throw above).
    • 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. This is somewhat fixed in the remake by toning down the annoyance of the jingle and having the item run on a timer, rather than persisting until Link takes enough damage.
    • While inventory juggling is constant in most Zelda games, it's much more prominent in this game since Link's sword and shield count as items, along with the ability to lift things and the Pegasus Boots, so he has to manage those along with everything else. Combined with the frequent item-requiring roadblocks on the overworld, it takes a lot of menu finagling just to get some places. The Ocarina slows things down more since its song sub-menu pops up whenever you scroll over it. The remake, which has more buttons to play with, equips the sword and the shield automatically (along with the Power Bracelet and the Pegasus Boots), meaning significantly less time wasted with item juggling.
    • Warping is more limited in this game compared to A Link to the Past and even the original NES game. The only natural fast-travel Link has is by playing Manbo's Mambo, which plops him in roughly the center of the overworld. The other warp system is with the warp holes, of which there are only four (one of them is hidden partway through Turtle Rock, making it nearly useless) that aren't always in convenient spots. Once again, the remake addresses this by allowing Manbo's Mambo to warp to any warp hole in addition to his pond, and adding additional ones as well.
    • The Trendy Game in the remake has Wreaking Havok physics instead of a conveyor belt. Generally, this wouldn't be too annoying... unless one of the objects is a Rupee or a Seashell. Grabbing one of these and watching it it fall out of the crane while it's being brought to you (therefore wasting you 10 rupees) is not exactly uncommon.
    • The photo album sidequest in DX provides some cute pictures, but can be a minor annoyance to completionists because a quarter of the photos can be missed forever, while another one requires stealing from the shop (forcing a player to play the game with a "THIEF" save file just because they wanted to get everything). This may be why it didn't make it into the Switch remake, as Nintendo generally strays away from major Permanently Missable Content in modern games.
    • In the Switch version, if Link already has Secret Medicine equipped and finds another dose in a treasure chest, he'll put it back, a repeat of the Rupee problem from the original version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. With Link having more health and the addition of fairy bottles, the medicine is already less likely to be needed anyway, so these chests are likely to sit unclaimed, taunting completionists who aren't desperate enough to deliberately lose all their health so they can claim them.
    • When you create a dungeon, the game doesn't offer the player the ability to map where stairs lead to; instead, they link automatically according to which ones are closest and move outward from there. Even worse is that in Dampe's later challenges, you're required to place stairs on the map, but getting them all to seamlessly link can be a huge hassle.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Link sitting with Marin at the beach.
    • Link playing Balled of the Wind Fish at the peak of Mt. Tamaranch.
  • That One Boss:
    • Blaino, the birdlike, pugilistic mid-boss from Turtle Rock. Does one heart of damage per hit, is impossible to attack from the front, and has an uppercut that sends you back to the start of the dungeon. Blaino is an asshole, man. Oh, and he has an attack that stuns Link if it connects, which he'll always follow up with an uppercut. In the remake, he at least only knocks Link back one room.
    • Genie, the boss for Bottle Grotto, 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 DX version reduced his attack speed to make him easier.
    • The Evil Eagle from Eagle's Tower is no picnic either. It's a 2D boss like the Angler Fish, but it 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, causing the fight to reset like with Moldorm. The Switch version changes it so falling off the tower doesn't reset the fight, although getting back up to the top with the eagle spraying feathers isn't easy.
  • 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....
  • That One Sidequest: After the first three sets of Chamber Dungeon challenges are completed, Dampé comes up with one final set of a dozen more. These challenges all fall into at least one of three categories: large maps, complex maps, and/or challenging restrictions. The only rewards for these challenges is rupees; there's no extra reward for completing all of them.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The photographer and his sidequest from the DX version being removed in the Switch remake and replaced with Dampe's dungeon maker. Even among players who don't mind the absence of the Camera Shop, a number of them don't see the Chamber Dungeons as a worthy or engaging substitute.
    • Also from the Switch remake is the nerfing of several late-game items: the Hookshot simply stuns most enemies instead of defeating them, and the Magic Rod, one of the most powerful items in the original game, now takes two shots to defeat the most common foes. Even the boomerang, while still remaining a powerful and effective tool, was stripped of enough of its tremendous attack power that some players continue to complain about it.
    • The Trendy Game in the Switch remake, in part to having altered claw physics. In the original game, if the claw managed to successfully pick up an item, it was yours, guaranteed. In the Switch remake however, the game has actual physics like real life claw machines... introducing the possibility that the item will fall out of the claw at no fault of your own, forcing you to spend more rupees to get another shot. Or you can just Save Scum.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The dungeon items introduced past the fifth dungeon don't have much utility. The upgraded Power Bracelet just allows Link to grab some elephant statues in the Face Shrine to make progress, and the Mirror Shield has no puzzles since it's just used to bypass the fire stream at Turtle Rock (and for blocking the occasional Beamos), though it has more power in the remake. The Magic Rod gets plenty of use in half of a dungeon and a few puzzles, but is gotten too late for much else and only one form of the final boss takes damage from it.
  • Woolseyism: The localization teams basically did their own things with the Cukemen. Their German localization in the monochrome version is the most (in)famous, although the censors caught it by the time the DX version rolled around.


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