I Entered the Angler’s Tunnel
It seems to me like the difficulty of Link’s Awakening isn’t on a constant increase like you would expect with your typical game. The Angler’s Tunnel, for instance, was an extremely easy dungeon. Don’t get me wrong, I did die once, but that was only because I entered it at low health and then got hit twice. Outside of that, there were no deaths.
This was a water dungeon, but it was no Water Temple, of which I heard the dreadful stories, but had no first-hand experience. Most of it just consisted of navigating through shallow water, avoiding enemies pushing you into deep water, going back and forth from one side of the dungeon to the other and getting keys.
The enemies were easy. I mostly had to fight Spiked Beetles and Red and Green Zols, with a bunch of Peahats, Sparks and Whisps to avoid for good measure. I also encountered a brand new enemy – the Iron Mask. This guy inspired the zombies in the Binding of Isaac. You have to hit it from behind in order to kill him, but he moves slowly, so it isn’t hard to actually get behind it.
I Fought the Cue Ball
This time, the mini-boss was appropriately placed almost exactly half-way through the dungeon. It was extremely easy to beat. The Cue Ball, as I found out it’s called, just kept charging at me around the central wall. The only thing I had to do was to keep charging away from it until I caught up a full circle and hit it from behind, by dashing into it. I think I was hit once, but that was only because I was being careless.
The Cue Ball guarded the item of the dungeon – the Flippers. The Flippers are a passive item and probably one of the most useful items in the game. I can now swim through water, which means no water surface will ever be a danger to me again. I can also press A to swim a bit faster or, even better, press B to dive, which avoids all attacks for a short time. The flippers made the extremely easy Angler’s Tunnel even easier.
How to get the Nightmare Key in the Angler’s Tunnel
After getting these, there was a slight challenge in finding the Nightmare Key. Technically, I knew exactly where it was, but I had trouble figuring out how to get to it. After a few minutes, it dawned to me. There were two rooms in the dungeon, each with five special tiles. In one of the rooms, a glow that shifted from tile to tile indicated on which tile I needed to step on. Stepping on all of them in the correct order opened a door.
In the other room with five tiles, there was no glow, but stepping on them in the same order as in the previous room had the same effect, except this time, it revealed a hidden stairway. Getting through the stairway got me to the platform with the Nightmare Key, just a few rooms away from the boss room.
Also, the room right before the boss room had a nifty shortcut. Instead of going the long way around, the Roc Feather allowed me to just jump over the chasm. It was a bit of a tricky move, but it was doable.
I Fought the Angler Fish
The boss was unique, compared to what I’ve seen up to now. It was easy, but it was unique. I had to fight the Angler Fish in a side-scrolling area below the actual boss room. I first tried being tactical and avoiding its attacks, but then I realized I could just stand in one spot and swing my sword until it was dead. I started out at full health and, even with some mistakes, I had more than half remaining when the Angler Fish died. I’m not sure if I should even count it as an actual boss.
In any case, I got the Surf Harp, which is the fourth instrument, and I got my heart container, so I guess the game did count it as a boss. Next up, I have to go to the bay. It looks like I’m half way through the game now, or if it’s like A Link to the Past, I might be only a quarter way through. We shall see.