Link's Awakening - Box Art, Cover

Maybe it’s the game, but I prefer to think it’s me. By this point, I started to get the hang of Link’s Awakening. The game can be difficult, but as long as I’m focused and I avoid¬†carelessness, I can easily get through most of the challenges it throws at me. It requires skill, but it’s fair and forgiving when it needs to be. At no point did I feel tricked out of a victory.Continue reading

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Cover, Box Art

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Angler's Tunnel Compass

I got the compass within the first few rooms. The stone beak was right after that and the map soon after.

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Fake Jump

I spent a lot of time trying to make the jump across the deep water here. I don’t think it’s doable.

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Cue Ball

Cue Ball, the mini-boss, was ridiculously easy. I got hit only once. You just charge around the center and hit it in the back.

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Flippers

Considering how easy the Angler’s Tunnel was, the item I got was amazing.

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Cheep-Cheep

Yaaay! More Mario enemies!

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Boss Room Jump

You can jump from this spot to the lower right exit and back.

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.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Angler Fish

Even the boss was extremely easy. Just hit and don’t stop. No strategy needed!

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.

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Cover, Box Art

Getting the Honey

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Photo

I visited the Camera House, so I was now able to take photos at specific locations.

I got out of the Key Cavern and then circled back around Richard’s house to explore for a bit. I took a wrong turn and stumbled into the area with the beehive, which turned out to be very lucky, because Tarin was there, and he asked for the stick I got from the monkey. He used the stick on the beehive, so the bees chased him away and I was able to get some honey. Here’s a note for a random googler:

  • After the Key Cavern, go to the beehive and give Tarin the Monkey Stick for some Honey

The Color Dungeon

I then went back to the village to use dash on the unreachable book in the library. The book contained hints on how to enter the Color dungeon, which is a secret dungeon in the DX version of Link’s Awakening, I’m guessing. There were some numbers with some direction in the book, as well as a mention of the graveyard and finding the correct grave stone. In hindsight, I should have probably written all of this down, so I’ll have to come back later to do just that.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Photo 2

VBA ate my screenshots again, so here’s a photo.

  • Color dungeon hint: Use dash to knock down book in the village library

Papahl Lost in the Hills

I decided to go north, past the Mysterious Woods again. I took a look at the egg, to hopefully get a screenshot this time, but it looks like my emulator is somehow overwriting them, so I didn’t get one this time either.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Papahl

This happens a bit later, not on my first visit.

I was able to get a bit further with dash this time, so I got to a screen where I could see Papahl. I guess he finally got lost in the hills as he said he would. I couldn’t reach him, though, or, in hindsight, maybe I could, but I just didn’t realize at the time.

The “Desert”

I went back to the Savannah and with dash, found a way into a desert area filled with (currently) unkillable dragon knights. I thought this was the desert the owl told me to go to after the Key Cavern, but it turned out I was wrong. I died, so I went in a different direction from the last check point and got to the Animal Village.

The Animal Village

At the Animal Village, I was immediately told that Yarna desert was to the south, so the part I died in was not the desert at all, since it was to the north. I started exploring the village, taking notes as I went along.

  • The Animal Village and the Mabe Village are “Twin Cities”. Mabe Village is the starting village?
  • A bunny loves hearing Marin sing
  • There’s a Dream Shrine in Mabe Village. I don’t know what that means.
  • There’s a painter who made the mermaid statue by the bay.
  • There’s a writer, like the one in the north. She wants a Hibiscus flower before talking to me.
  • There’s a cave in the back of the village, but I don’t have any bombs at the moment.
  • I traded the Honey for a Pineapple with a bear chef in one of the houses.
  • A walrus is blocking the way to the Yarna desert. Marin can wake him up.

It was obvious I need to go back to Mabe Village and get Marin, so that’s exactly what I decided to do. Before that, though, I wanted to figure out what that armor knight place was.

The Armor Knight Area

I went back north and carefully navigated through the maze, dodging enemies. I found a seashell in one of the nooks and finally reached a small dungeon. There was just a boss room in there and the boss was difficult, at least at first. The only thing I could hit him with was my dash, but dashing to hard or at the wrong moment meant getting hit myself.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - The Knight Boss

The boss had three phases, each faster than the previous.

After many attempts, I managed to get through all three phases of the fight and finally beat it. This got me the Face Key, which I have no use for right now, and it opened the way into the back room, where there was a mural.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Mural

So the island is a Dream? That’s sad.

The Mural said the whole island is just a dream, dreamt up by the Wind Fish. If I wake up the dreamer, the dream will go away. I will be able to go to, but the dream will be gone. I actually knew about this plot point from a video before, but now that I played through the game a bit and realized what a charming world it was, this made me kind of sad.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Marin and Link

But what about Zelda?

I got out of the dungeon and the owl was there, saying there’s no way to be sure if what I read was true. The only one who really knows is the Wind Fish and the only way to find out was to wake it up. In any case it was time to go get Marin.

Getting Marin

Marin was at the beach, south of Mabe Village. Finding her triggered another cut scene with more charming scenery, making what I just discovered that much stronger. After a talk, Marin joined Link and I took her to the Animal Village via a nearby shortcut. She woke up the walrus and I was able to get to the desert.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Marin

…chance? Maybe Link, maybe.


The Yarna Desert

The desert consisted of several screens and it wasn’t to hard too clear. The last screen contained a mini-boss who guarded the Angler’s Key. Even the boss was extremely easy, so I didn’t die at all here. All I had to do was to dodge its slow movement, hit it when I could and avoid falling through the quicksand. I can’t be completely sure, but I think I also got a seashell while I was there.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Yarna Desert

This guy inspired Pin from the Binding of Isaac.

The Waterfall

The lock the Angler’s key was meant for was north of the Savannah, next to a huge waterfall. I already walked past the lock several times while exploring, so I knew exactly where to go. It was even near a warp point, so getting there was easy.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX - Angler's Key Lock

This is where I used the Angler’s Key.

Using the key on the lock caused to waterfall to retreat, opening the way to the Angler’s Tunnel, the next dungeon. I could get there from the lock, though. I had to go several screens west, then north, through a cave and finally to the place where I’ve seen Papahl in the hills.

As I said before, I wasn’t sure if I could reach him, but now I definitely could. The water that blocked the way was actually shallow, so I could walk through it. It’s possible that using the key made the water shallow, but it’s also possible it was like that to begin with and I just didn’t notice.

Saving Papahl in the Hills

In any case, I got to Papahl and talked to him. He was hungry, so I gave him the Pineapple, getting a Hibiscus flower in return. I already know who to give that to, but right now, it was time to get into the dungeon. Here’s a note first:

  • Give Pineapple to Papahl in the Hills, in exchange for the Hibiscus flower.

To get to the Angler’s Tunnel entrance, I had to go to the screen directly north of it and then jump down. This got me right in front of the dungeon. There were also stairs next to the entrance, which lead to a one-way cave back down to the main area, next to the Angler’s Key lock.

I got into the dungeon and did a “Save & Quit”. That was it for now.

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Cover, Box Art

Key Cavern, the third dungeon of Link’s Awakening, was definitely a big jump in difficulty compared to the first two. I started dying on a regular basis here, mostly because some of the enemies started doing larger amounts of damage, compared to the half hearts I was losing up to now.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX  - Bomb Enemies

These Bomb Enemies are annoying. Once hit, they bounce around the room and explode.

Even so, I somehow managed to get both the map and the compass, though I only got the compass when I already explored most of the dungeon. The focus of the dungeon was getting four keys in order to gain access to the boss area. The boss area was a separate area of the dungeon, connected with the main area by a side scrolling part, hidden behind a total of four lock blocks. Basically, it was all about getting keys. I needed to get one key to enter a room with another key, etc., until I got into a series of rooms where I could get more than key at a time.

Mini-Boss: Dodongo Snakes

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX  - Dodongo Snakes

It’s easy to waste bombs in the Dodongo Snakes battle, but if you waste more than two, you lose.

The mini-boss was a pair of worms that swallow bombs, so that was the only way to kill them. The difficulty there was that I could only carry ten bombs at a time, and I needed 8 in total to kill both of them. They love to change movement directions, so it was easy to waste a bomb. After several attempts, I managed to do it with one bomb left. This got me one more key and I was finally able to enter the room with the item of the dungeon – the Pegasus Boots.

Item: Pegasus Boots

The Pegasus Boots allow link to dash, which allows him to kill some enemies more easily, break through some objects, such as those green crystal pillars, and when combined with the Rock Feather, jump greater distances. The last ability was the crucial to get the Nightmare Key and eventually, get to the boss room.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX  - Pegasus Boots

Pegasus Boots were key in getting the last key!

Boss: Slime Eyes

The Key Cavern boss was a giant blob with an eye in the middle. It was actually easy, compared to the rest of the dungeon and the Bottle Grotto’s boss. In the first phase, I had to dash into it until I managed to split it in two. On each hit, Link gets knocked back, so the difficult part was staying on top of the boss and dashing into him before he recovered.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX  - Slime Eyes

The Slime Eyes were actually easy, considering how hard the dungeon was.

Once the first phase was over, I just had to kill each of the two halves. The key here was not to spam-attack both of them, because then both would jump into the air, jump back down, stun Link and then damage him. Focusing on one at a time on my second attempt made the second phase extremely easy and the fight was one.

Zelda - Link's Awakening DX  - Switch Room

This room is easy to clear, it’s close to some stairs, and it contains a heart or two. Great for healing!

I got another heart container and another instrument – a Bell. Now, it was time to explore the world with my new dashing ability. I already have a couple of locations in mind. The Key Cavern is done for.