Getting Reacquainted With Zelda: Link's Awakening, An Irreverent And Silly Classic

The Switch is getting its second Zelda game, but it perhaps wasn't one that people were expecting. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening was the franchise's first serious foray into the handheld arena (if you don't include the 1989 Game & Watch release, that is) and remains a beloved entry in the franchise; it's also a game that, thanks to the subsequent Game Boy Color re-release and its publication on the 3DS Virtual Console, is easy enough to experience in its 'original' form, even in 2019. So that's exactly what I did; I took my trusty modded Game Boy DMG-001, slotted in my dusty Zelda cartridge (which, amazingly, still has a working battery after more than a quarter of a decade spent largely in storage) and decided to revisit Koholint Island one more time before playing the Switch remake, which is out this week.

Originally launched in 1993, Link's Awakening followed in the footsteps of the SNES title Link to the Past, which was (and perhaps still is) considered to be the finest entry in the entire series. Link's handheld quest apes the visual style of its 16-bit sibling superbly, considering the vast gulf in processing power between the Game Boy and the SNES, and this went a long way to building up hype for its original launch; you've played Zelda on your TV, now embark on a stylistically-similar adventure on the move. It was an easy sell, especially to the 14-year-old me; it's not hyperbole to say that Link to the Past had been a life-changing experience, and I was hungry for an adventure of the same scope. The fact that it would come in portable form was a neat bonus, as it meant I didn't have to neglect my quest when my family left the house to visit the 'real world', an environment which seemed dull in comparison to the lush beaches and dense woodland of Koholint. Oh, and like so many UK teens, I did whatever Rik Mayall told me.