Link’s Awakening [9] – Exploring With the Hook Shot

The hook shot is one of those items that usually open up quite a bit in the worlds of the Legend of Zelda games, especially in the shortcut department, so I was looking forward to exploring for a bit. I figured Link’s Awakening can’t be an exception to this.

I Wanted to Explore With the Hook Shot

I knew is that there’s quite a lot to do up north, in the mountains. I got a few items here and there along the way, but nothing major. The first thing of note I discovered was the chicken’s breeder house at the start of the mountain area. He looked like Mario of the Mario Brothers, but I’m not sure if this is intentional. He said something about how chickens used to be much tougher, so he might be new to the DX color edition of Link’s Awakening. I know I’ve already tried to hit chickens into attacking me, but it didn’t work like I remember it working in the original Link’s Awakening.

Along the way, I’ve also stumbled into a secret cave, somewhere down south. Sadly, this was a few days ago and I can’t remember where, so the lesson here is not to take long breaks without taking proper notes. What I do remember is that the cave had an unlit brazier with a pillar decorated with a skull on each side of it. I figured I might need magic powder to light the brazier, but I didn’t have any on me.

Zelda - Link's Awakening Brazier

Calling an upgrade “punishment” is probably a trope, but it’s not that common.

Later on, I found out my assumption was correct, when I found a similar cave up in the mountains. This time, I had some magic powder, so I used it and it summoned an imp or something like that. The creature decided to punish me, so it increased my magic powder capacity so I would be “forced to carry more of it”. Now I have to remember where that first cave was and go back to it. I think it was in the grassy area next to the bay, but I’m not sure.

There was another cave in the mountains, for which I needed bombs to enter. I got in, but I couldn’t get to the end of it because a flamethrower turret was blocking the way. I’m not sure I need an item for this, but I’ll take note for both of these just in case.

  • I need to find the first imp cave somewhere to the south, it needs magic powder.
  • I need to get past the flamethrower turret in the bomb cave in the mountains.

I Stumbled into the Face Shrine

As I said above, my intention was to explore the world with the hook shot. I had a lot of notes about places where I needed it already, and I had plenty of ideas about where I might need them.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Sing Post Maze

The trick is to look at the column or row in which the sign is, not Link.

I already knew I needed to visit a frog to learn another piece of music, because Ulrira told me so on the phone. What I didn’t know was where the “Sing Post Maze” he was talking about actually is. I basically went through Mabe village, exited to the east and stumbled into it completely by accident. Since I was there, I decided to solve it.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Sign Maze

Solving the maze opens a staircase.

The idea behind the maze was to find the starting sing post and then just follow directions, reading the sign posts in the correct order. The trick is not to read the wrong one by accident, because then you have to start over. Once I got through them, a staircase appeared, I climbed down, met the frog king and learned the song. It sounds much better on the ocarina than when the frogs sing it.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Frog

The original frog song sounds a bit like the battery on the emulated GameBoy is dying.

Now, I have no idea what the song is for, but I knew it and Ulrira now had another hint for me. I needed to go to that mini-dungeon where I learned the terrible secret of Koholint Island. I remembered there was a cave on an island with two Armos on it that I couldn’t explore without the hook shot, so I decided to go there because of that. However, as soon as I got into the general area, the owl appeared and told me there are actually two shrines here I needed to visit. The first one was to the south, which was the Armos boss shrine, but the second one was to the north, and I never saw that one.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Owl

I triggered an owl when I got here, so I decided to revisit the shrine in case I missed more of them.

First, I went down south, just in case, because I obviously skip on things and triggers when I visit dungeons out of order. While here, I had a huge realization – I can kill Armos with the Bow. It’s extremely easy to, it just takes one shot. To think I had to use my sword against the boss earlier, because I didn’t have the bow yet.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Mural

This is the mural that talks about dreams and illusions.

The shrine didn’t reveal anything new, but at least this time, I wrote down what I read in there:

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!

I left the area and this time, went to the north through the maze. I also realized I can kill the flying Bomber enemies with an arrow, just as easily as the Armos. I found an owl statue on a peninsula, which said:

The Wind Fish slumbers long…
The Hero’s life gone…

So, if I’m understanding this, not waking up the Wind Fish means I’ll die. I guess that’s at least some motivation.

I visited a fairy cave nearby to heal up and entered the water to explore that island cave. As expected, I needed the hook shot to get through, so I used it and soon got outside again, on the island with the Face Shrine, the sixth dungeon of Link’s Awakening.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Face Shrine

I didn’t want to go to the Face Shrine, but since I got here, I figured I might as well.

Well, I was here, I had the key (from the Armos boss) so I figured I might as well do it. The secrets and the exploration won’t go away.

I Forgot to Mention Something

I Got the Magnifying Lens

At some point, I used the scale given to me by the mermaid on the mermaid statue by the bay. This opened a way into a secret cave where I got the magnifying glass, but only after going through a room with invisible enemies.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX_24

The fish song sounds “tropical”.

The magnifier is a passive item which allows me to see these enemies, as well as other things in the game. For instance, it allowed me to read one of the books at the library, but that didn’t get me too far. I completely forgot what the book said, so I’ll come back later and write it down.

I Learned a Song from a Fish

I missed two caves when I got out of the Angler’s Tunnel. One of them had a heart piece (or a heart scale, the way they’re actually called), and the other one was home to a huge fish which taught me a song for my ocarina. This one teleports me to the cave with a fish when used outside, or to just outside the dungeon when used within a dungeon.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Mermaid Statue

The scale opens the passage to the cave with the Magnifier.

I Got through the Color Dungeon

It sucks that I missed writing about this, but on the plus side, now I know why VisualBoy Advance loses my screenshots. It starts counting from zero on each run, so it overwrites them. From now on, I have to make sure to back them up before every session.

In any case, I got through the Color Dungeon. To get in, I used the instructions from the book at the library to move the five gravestones at the cemetery. Inside, there were a bunch of simple color puzzles and three bosses, each with a weakness to a different weapon. Some of the enemies’ color matched the ground and there was a lot of emphasis on color in general, so I’m guessing this dungeon would have been quite hard to beat on the original GameBoy.

At the end, I was able to pick my reward in the form of a new tunic. The blue one would increase my defense and the red one would increase my attack. I picked the red one, of course, so now all of the enemies I hit are flung back and I think my sword does double the dame it used to.