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 achieved tranquility for long, and eventually becomes restless. Feeling in need of training or enlightenment, he embarks on a journey and sails across oceans in a small sail boat. Eventually Link completes his training in foreign countries and begins to sail back to his home, Hyrule. But then suddenly the seas turn rough as the skies become dark, a thunder storm is stirring up. Link tried to valiantly fight the strong currants of the waves, even tying himself to the ship with some rope. But a bolt of lightning strikes the ship and everything turns dark.

Link washed up on the shores of Koholint Island.

Later in 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 closer look, she finds an unconscious Link and tries to wake him up but with no avail. Unable to do anything else, 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 of Princess Zelda's, but wakes up to discover that it was the voice of Marin. Not knowing where he is, the girl and her father, Tarin, explain the island to him. Miraculously, Link had been washed ashore on Koholint Island. Link starts his preparations to leave the island, and Tarin returns him his shield.

Yet Link's sword is nowhere to be found. Searching in the beaches of the island, Link eventually finds it next to his boat that was shipwrecked. 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, or else Link cannot leave the island, and 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 wonderment, Link is forced to listen to 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 goes through several enemies and puzzles in this early dungeon. After defeating the boss, Link finds a magical instrument, the Full Moon Cello. Although not knowing 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 journey throughout the rest of the island and find these mystical instruments.

Eventually 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. Yet one of the animals of Animal Village tell Link that Marin and her beautiful voice and song 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 explains to him 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, the 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 reassures him and tells him to trust his feelings. Link paves on and continues to find the remaining three instruments. Eventually he finds Marin on Tal Tal Mountain Range being attacked by monsters, and Link saves her. For a moment, she tries to tell Link something... but changes her mind. The owl knows about her singing and the song of awakening that she always sings, and wonders if she was trying to awake the dreamer, the Wind Fish.

Later Link has now obtained all eight of the Instruments of the Siren. The owl says that now is the time to awaken the dreamer. Link heads up the mountain tops 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. Suddenly an entrance cracks open from the egg, and Link goes inside.

Inside, Link finds the true mastermind behind all of the chaos of Koholint, the Nightmare who has the power to transform into other forms. 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. 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 very ones in dungeons that guarded the eight instruments. But now Link had defeated the last of the Nightmares, and that the Wind Fish's dream is at ease once again. With the Nightmares gone and the Eight Instruments of the Siren retrieved, the Wind Fish can finally be awakened. The owl then says that his role in this dream is now complete and says farewell to Link before vanishing rather than flying away.

Suddenly a wail is sounded and the Wind Fish appears right before Link's very own eyes! The Wind Fish says that in his dreams, a whole world had appeared. Yet he could not awaken due to the Nightmares. Yet it is only natural that dreams are to end, and when he awakes Koholint shall disappear. He says that Link may someday recall this dream world 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 and slowly, the whole island and its inhabitants fade away. The entire island disappears, but the ocean is kept in place. 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, once part of his ship. Just as it was predicted, Koholint Island was a dream and Link was back in reality. As he recalls all of the events, a shadow looms over him. Looking up, he sees the Wind Fish flying in the sky. Link then smiles, realizing that maybe he did actually help to awake the Wind Fish. Link's journey of awakening had finally came to an end.

The Legend of the Wind Fish

The writing in Southern Face Shrine.

It would appear that The Wind Fish could be 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 something about The Wind Fish. Marin for example is a very good example of a simple citizen of Mabe Village, yet knows the existence of the Wind Fish, even wishing that she could wish on The Wind Fish to turn into a seagull. However it's not quite sure if she too believes whether it is just a myth or real herself, 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. Only the Owl and possibly Marin seem to know the actual existence of the Wind Fish. Shortly after Link clears the Face Shrine dungeon, a boy in Mabe Village would be asked by Link 'when they had appeared on the island' but had no idea what Link meant,[3] 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 the most information about the myth of The Wind Fish, and the sayings on its walls about the island being a but a dream is very much true. Judging by the writing on the walls, the shrine seems to have been built only for the person who would awaken The Wind Fish.

The Perfect Ending

If Link had never died during the game before seeing the game's ending, an additional scene can be seen after the ending credits. Both show Marin as a seagull (or simply having seagull wings) while the Ballad of The Wind Fish theme plays in the background. This may possibly either hint that Marin had her wish come true and was "saved" from the fading dream world, or simply Link having a memory 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 skies and clouds, again her song theme will be playing in the background although she won't be singing it. Shortly after, 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".[4] 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.[5] Link's Awakening is followed by A Link Between Worlds centuries later.

Completion Records

Main article: Speedrun Records
Time Performer Date Notes
02:54 [6] Flynn May 2, 2014 Any%
1:03:34 [7] Darko May 10, 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.[8] 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.
  • Very unusually for a Zelda game, it is possible to complete Link's Awakening without ever acquiring the Bow. Doing so does require getting the otherwise optional Boomerang, though.
  • 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).


Box Art



Title Screens

Video Gallery

North American Ad

Canadian Ad

European Ad

Japanese Ad

Japanese DX Ad

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. "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)
  4. "Ever vigilant, you decided to journey away from Hyrule on a quest for enlightenment. . ." (Link's Awakening manual, pg. 3)
  5. "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)
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Any%, glitched, ZeldaSpeedRuns.
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Any%, warpless, ZeldaSpeedRuns.
  8. "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

Games in The Legend of Zelda Series

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