The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
LA logo.png
US box art for Link's Awakening
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) GB release
Takashi Tezuka (director)
Shigeru Miyamoto (producer)
Kazumi Totaka (sound composer)
Minako Hamano (sound composer)
Kozue Ishikawa (sound composer)
Koji Kondo (sound advisor)

GBC release
Yosinori Tutiyama (director)
Takashi Tezuka (supervisor)
Yuichi Ozaki (sound composition)
Release date GB release
North America August, 1993
Japan June 6, 1993
Europe December 1, 1993

GBC release
North America October 28, 1998
Japan December 12, 1998
Europe January 1999

3DS release
June 7, 2011
Rating(s) ESRB: E
CB: G8+ / GTriforce piece.png
USK: 0

Platform(s) Game Boy, Game Boy Color (DX remake), Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console (DX remake)
Predecessor A Link to the Past
Successor Ocarina of Time
StrategyWiki Favicon.png Guide/Walkthrough at StrategyWiki

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is the fourth installment in the series, and the only Zelda title on the Game Boy; Link's Awakening DX, a color update, is one of the three Zelda titles for the Game Boy Color. Since its release, Link’s Awakening has been popular among fans and critics. By 2004, the original release had sold 3.83 million copies worldwide, while Link’s Awakening DX had sold 2.22 million.[1] In 2009, Guinness World Records named it the 42nd most influential video game of all time.[2]



Link caught in the storm.

Link, who had defeated the evil Ganon and regained peace in Hyrule, had not enjoyed the tranquility he had worked so hard to achieve for long, and eventually became restless. Feeling in need of training or enlightenment, he embarked on a journey and sailed across the oceans in a small sailboat. Eventually Link completed his training in foreign countries and began to sail back to his home, Hyrule. But suddenly the seas turned rough and the skies became dark. Link tried valiantly to fight the strong currents of the waves, even tying himself to the ship with some rope. But a bolt of lightning struck the ship and everything went dark.

Link washed up on the shores of Koholint Island.

Later on a faraway island, a young girl named Marin is walking along the shores of the island's beach. She suddenly spots someone laying on the sands. Upon looking closer, she finds an unconscious Link and tries to wake him, but to no avail. Unwilling to simply leave him lying on the beach, Marin takes Link back to her house in Mabe Village. From beyond the darkness, Link hears the voice of a girl. He first mistakes the voice to be that of Princess Zelda, but wakes up to discover that it was instead the voice of Marin. It turned out that, miraculously, Link had been washed ashore on Koholint Island. Link starts his preparations to leave the island, and Tarin gives him back his shield.

Yet Link's sword is nowhere to be found. Searching on the island's beach, Link eventually finds it next to his wrecked boat. Suddenly a mysterious owl flies down to him. The owl explains that high on the mountaintops of the island is a giant egg, and inside sleeps a being known as The Wind Fish. The owl says that the Wind Fish must be awakened, for that is the only way Link can leave the island.[3] He tells Link that he needs to go into the woods to find a key and then flies away. Left with nothing but a puzzling riddle and his questions, Link heeds the owl's words and heads into the forest. He eventually finds the Tail Key. The owl reappears and tells him to go into Tail Cave and to use that key to get inside.

Link does so and fights his way through this early dungeon. After defeating the boss, Link finds a magical instrument, the Full Moon Cello. Although Link does not know what it is at first, the owl reappears and explains that instrument is one of the Eight Instruments of the Sirens. The owl explains that Link must retrieve the remaining seven instruments if he is to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish. Now Link, still full of questions about this strange world, must explore the rest of the island and find the remainder of these mystical instruments.

Later in his journey, Link arrives in Animal Village. The owl had told him to venture into Yarna Desert to find an important item that will aid Link. Unfortunately a large, sleeping walrus blocks his path. However, one of the animals of Animal Village tells Link that Marin and her beautiful voice can awaken those who hear her. Link returns to Mabe Village and eventually gets an Ocarina from the Dream Shrine. He finds Marin at the beach who tells him of her wish to be a seagull, so that she could fly around the world and share her songs with many people. She hopes that she can make this wish to the Wind Fish. Afterwards, Link learns from Marin how to play the Ballad of the Wind Fish on his ocarina, a song of awakening. However since it is not enough to awaken the walrus, Marin tags along with Link to Animal Village. Marin decides to stay in the village after the walrus awakes, and Link finds the Angler Key in the desert.

Official artwork of the game.

Sometime before getting the sixth instrument, the owl flies to Link and tells him to go to the Southern Face Shrine. When Link arrives there, he learns a horrible truth about the island. On a wall depicting the Wind Fish himself, the words read "TO THE FINDER... THE ISLE OF KOHOLINT, IS BUT AN ILLUSION... HUMAN, MONSTER, SEA, SKY... A SCENE ON THE LID OF A SLEEPER'S EYE... AWAKE THE DREAMER, AND KOHOLINT WILL VANISH MUCH LIKE A BUBBLE ON A NEEDLE... CAST-AWAY, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH!"

Link now faces a dilemma, whether he should awaken the Wind Fish or not. But the owl tells him that none know if the inscription is true, and advises him to trust his feelings.[4] Link continues on, finding the remaining three instruments. Eventually he discovers Marin on Tal Tal Mountain Range being attacked by monsters. Link saves her, and for a moment, she tries to tell Link something... but changes her mind. The owl knows about the song that she always sings, the Ballad of the Wind Fish, and wonders if she was trying to awaken the dreamer, the Wind Fish.[5]

After Link has now obtained all eight of the Instruments of the Sirens, the owl says that now is the time to awaken the dreamer. Link heads up the mountaintop and encounters the giant egg, in which the Wind Fish sleeps. With his ocarina in hand and the other instruments, Link plays the Ballad of the Wind Fish. The egg cracks open, and Link ventures inside.

Inside, Link finds the true mastermind behind all of the chaos of Koholint, the Nightmare who has the power to transform. After a long battle, Link defeats the Nightmare, the last of the island's evils. Suddenly a stairway opens and Link climbs up, where he finds himself in a strange black room filled with rainbow clouds and stars.

There the owl comes to see Link one last time. The owl explains that he is in fact part of the Wind Fish's spirit, and thus was the guardian of his dream world.[6] All was peaceful in the Wind Fish's dream, until nightmares began to invade it. Many of the nightmares that Link had faced were the ones in dungeons that had guarded the eight instruments. But now Link had defeated the last of the Nightmares, and the Wind Fish's dream was at peace once again. With the Nightmares gone and the Eight Instruments of the Sirens retrieved, the Wind Fish could finally be awakened. The owl then states that his role in this dream is now complete and says farewell to Link before vanishing.

Suddenly Link hears a wail and the Wind Fish appears right before the hero's eyes! The Wind Fish says that in his dreams, a whole world had existed.[7] Yet he could not awaken due to the Nightmares. It is only natural that dreams are to end, and when he awakes Koholint shall disappear.[8] He says that Link may someday recall this dream in the waking world, the only memory of the island.

The Wind Fish then fades away and says that they should awaken together, and commands Link to play the song of awakening one more time. Link does so slowly, while the whole island and its inhabitants fade away. The entire island disappears, but the ocean is still there. Suddenly Link is forced out of the Wind Fish's room by a stream of water.

The sky above shines brightly as seagulls fly overhead. Link awakens on a wooden board in the sea, part of his ship. Just as it was predicted, Koholint Island is gone and Link is back in the real world. As he recalls all of the events of his latest adventure, a shadow looms over him. Looking up, he sees the Wind Fish flying above him in the sky. Link smiles, realizing that he actually helped to awaken the Wind Fish. Link's dream journey had finally come to an end.

The Legend of the Wind Fish

The writing in Southern Face Shrine.

It appears that the Wind Fish is a mere myth to the inhabitants of Koholint Island. The egg on top of Mt. Tamaranch is rather large and can be seen from a distance, making it obvious that some of the inhabitants of Koholint Island would know at least something of the Wind Fish, however. Marin is a very good example of a simple citizen of Mabe Village, yet she knows of the existence of the Wind Fish. She even dreams of wishing on the Wind Fish to turn into a seagull. It's not quite obvious if she too believes it is just a myth or if it is real, however, Marin can be spotted on Tal Tal Mountain Range for no apparent reason. The Owl seems to believe that she may have tried to awaken the Wind Fish with her song.[5] Only the Owl and possibly Marin seem to know of the actual existence of the Wind Fish. Shortly after Link clears the Face Shrine dungeon, a boy in Mabe Village was asked by Link 'when they had appeared on the island' but had no idea what Link meant by this,[9] obviously suggesting that the inhabitants of Koholint Island have no idea that they are part of a dream world.

The Southern Face Shrine is the only place that holds much information about the myth of the Wind Fish, and the script upon its walls, about the island being but a dream,[10] is very much true. Judging by these writings, the shrine seems to have been built solely for the person who would awaken the Wind Fish.

The Perfect Ending

If Link completes the game without dying, an additional scene can be seen after the ending credits. Both versions of the game show Marin as a seagull (or simply having seagull wings) while the Ballad of The Wind Fish theme plays in the background. This may either hint that Marin had her wish come true and was "saved" from the fading dream world, or simply that Link was thinking of Marin and her wish of being a seagull.

The perfect ending varies between the original Game Boy release and the Game Boy Color remake. In the original, a Marin with wings on her back will fly around the words "The End" while singing her song. In Link's Awakening DX, a full-colored image of Marin can be seen within the clouds, and her song will be playing in the background, although she is not the one singing. Shortly afterward, the image fades into a seagull who flies away.

Timeline Placement

The timeline found in Hyrule Historia confirms that Link's Awakening is the sequel to both A Link to the Past and the Oracle series. It takes place in the "Downfall" split timeline after Ocarina of Time, where Ganon defeated the Hero of Time. The prologue speaks of Link defeating Ganon and saving Hyrule, an apparent reference to A Link to the Past. Link journeys away from Hyrule to embark on a "quest for enlightenment".[11] The "quest for enlightenment" away from Hyrule is the story told in the Oracle Series. After defeating Ganon once more at the end of the Linked Game, Link leaves Labrynna on a boat. This leads to the events of Link's Awakening.[12] Link's Awakening is followed by A Link Between Worlds centuries later.

Completion Records

Main article: Speedrun Records
Time Performer Date Notes
01:21 [13] Global-Trance August 16, 2015 Any%
52:35 [14] Darko August 24, 2015 Any% - Warpless



Bosses and Mini-bosses




Items and Equipment




Ports and Remakes

Link's Awakening DX

Link's Awakening DX North American box art
Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX for Game Boy Color is a remake of Link's Awakening with several new additions, most notably the entire game is now in color. It was released just before the release of Ocarina of Time. The engines and color palettes in both of the Oracle series games are likely based on those used in Link's Awakening DX.

Link's Awakening DX can also be played on a Game Boy as well, however playing it on a Game Boy makes accessing the optional dungeon Color Dungeon impossible.

Nintendo 3DS re-release

It was announced at Nintendo's E3 Press Conference by Shigeru Miyamoto that Link's Awakening would release that day alongside Super Mario Land as the first 3DS Virtual Shop games, June 7, 2011.[15] The eshop price for the game is $5.99 in the United States, $9AU in Australia, and £5.40 in the United Kingdom.


While not as influential to the overall structure of Zelda games as The Legend of Zelda or A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening introduced a number of elements that recur in later Zelda games, including:

  • The use of a location other than Hyrule as a setting.
  • A list of songs playable on the game's instrument that must be learned and have different functions, although unlike in Ocarina of Time and some later games the songs simply play when selected, rather than having to be played note by note.
  • The first occurrence of fishing.
  • Unique background music for each dungeon rather than reusing the same single theme or few themes, as its predecessors did. Most games after Link's Awakening follow its lead in this respect.
  • The first trading sequence in the series.
  • The first clear example of a lava- or fire-themed dungeon in the series, with Turtle Rock.
  • The Roc's Feather.
  • An Owl who periodically meets Link and gives him advice on where to go or what to do next.
  • A set of well-hidden collectible items that have no use by themselves but can be redeemed at a certain location to receive useful items. (Secret Seashells in Link's Awakening, with Gold Skulltulas and Poe Souls as examples of successors.)

References to other Nintendo games

File:Christine Photo.png
"Christine" (actually Princess Peach)

There are many references to Nintendo games in Link's Awakening. The majority are from the Mario series.


  • Princess Zelda is not featured at all in Link’s Awakening, though she is referenced by Link, initially confusing Marin for her.
  • If the name ZELDA is used when creating a new game, a remixed Zelda theme will play in the background.
  • Link’s Awakening is the only Zelda game in which the majority of the bosses can speak.
  • In the first shop, Link can sneak an item past the shopkeeper and acquire it for free. He will, however, be labeled "THIEF" for the rest of the game. Upon returning to that shop, the shopkeeper will kill Link with a giant beam. The shop can be reset, however, by saving after Link dies from the attack.
  • When viewing the photographs, there is a photograph that depicts Link stealing an item from the shopkeeper. On the wall there are three posters. One, a bomb poster written in English, the two others, written in Japanese kanji. One reads, "万引防止" (Manbiki bōshi), which translates to "Prevent Shoplifting". The other, reads "万引は犯罪です" (Manbiki wa hanzai desu), which translates literally to "Shoplifting is a crime."
  • The additional scene after the credits that is obtained by completing a file with no deaths is unique among games in the series.
  • Rather than the usual maximum of 20, this game has a maximum of only 14 heart containers. This is tied for the second-lowest maximum heart capacity (along with non-linked Oracle games) in the canon series, trailing only The Adventure of Link.
  • Link's Awakening has nearly the same cover art as its predecessor, A Link to the Past.
  • With the exception of Eagle's Tower, every dungeon in Link's Awakening has a map that forms a picture of an object, such as a Moldorm in the case of Tail Cave or a Key in the case of Key Cavern.
  • The music for this game was composed by Kazumi Totaka (composer for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and Mario Paint, later more famous as the voice of Yoshi), Minako Hamano (composer for the Metroid series), and Kozue Ishikawa (composer for Star Fox 2, EarthBound, and later Wario Land 2 & 3).


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Links and Reviews


  1. "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 3.83, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX 2.22"Xenogears vs. Tetris, RPGGamer.
  2. "42. Link’s Awakening"Guinness lists top 50 games of all time News, Euro Gamer.
  3. "Hoot! Hoot! So you are the lad who owns the sword...Now I understand why the monsters are starting to act so violently... A courageous lad has come to wake the Wind Fish... It is said that you cannot leave the island unless you wake the Wind Fish..." — Owl (Link's Awakening)
  4. "Hoot! 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 only one who knows for sure is the Wind Fish... Trust your feelings... Someday you will know for sure..." — Owl (Link's Awakening)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Hoot! That girl sang her song in front of the Egg! Her 'Balled of the Wind Fish' is a song of awakening! Did she actually intend to wake the Wind Fish?!" — Owl (Link's Awakening)
  6. "As part of the Wind Fish's spirit, I am the guardian of his dream world." — Owl (Link's Awakening)
  8. "But, verily, it be the nature of dreams to end! When I dost awaken, Koholint will be gone." — Wind Fish (Link's Awakening)
  9. "Dude! You're asking me when we started to live on this island? What do you mean by 'when?' Whoa! The concept just makes my heard hurt!" — A boy (Link's Awakening)
  11. "Ever vigilant, you decided to journey away from Hyrule on a quest for enlightenment. . ." (Link's Awakening manual, pg. 3)
  12. "Link borrowed the power of the Oracle of Seasons and the Oracle of Ages and threw himself upon the ceremonial altar. He cornered and defeated Twinrova, but the twin witches sacrificed themselves to resurrect Ganon. Because the ceremony had not been completed, however, Ganon returned as a witless, demonic beast. Link brought down the rampaging Demon King and rescued Princess Zelda, restoring peace to the lands of Holodrum and Labrynna. Bidding a fond farewell to all the people he had met during his trials, Link boarded a ship and set sail for the next land in which he would train." (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books), pg. 101)
  13. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Any%, glitched, ZeldaSpeedRuns.
  14. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Any%, no wrong warps, no OoB, ZeldaSpeedRuns.
  15. "As part of a video montage shown at the conference, it was confirmed that Super Mario Land and The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening would be two of the games coming to the 3DS Virtual Console."3DS Virtual Console Will Play Game Boy Games, The Official Nintendo Magazine.
Forest minish.png Names in Other Regions Jabber Nut MC.gif
Language Name Meaning
Japanese Japan ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島 (Zeruda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima) The Legend of Zelda: The Dreaming Island
German Germany The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Korean South Korea 젤다의 전설 꿈꾸는 섬
Chinese Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau (Traditional Chinese) 薩爾達傳說 夢見島 Triforce piece.png
Mainland China (Simplified Chinese) 塞尔达传说 梦见岛 Triforce piece.png

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