Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Replaying Link's Awakening DX on the 3DS

Following my playthrough of the Oracle games it only felt natural to continue with Link's Awakening, where this time I decided to play the Virtual Console release again, so I can make a couple of posts on Miiverse. Again I finished the game in one sitting during the evening, which took around five hours for a 100% run.

I actually wasn't hurrying, I even wasted quite some time, e.g. I arrived in front of the Eagle's Tower without the Bird Key and then had to go all the way back. And this wasn't the first time that had happened, I do go up the mountain, where the cave with the Bird Key is, but then I get distracted by the other things up there and forget the key. :D

But I lost count, how many times I destroyed Koholinth by now, and I have become exceedingly efficient at it. It's a short, but sweet experience, Link's Awakening (the monochrome original) was my first Zelda game and it's still one of my favorites.

In the past I've already written various posts, where I praised the game for its greatness and I suggest to take a look at them, because I won't repeat these points all over again:

This time I actually want to focus on some things, which I don't like too much about the game and which became especially apparent after playing the Oracles, which took the engine of Link's Awakening, but improved many things. Though it's rather small things...

The worst offender are probably the slooooow unskipable texts here and there, especially with the fishing minigame, where the guy keeps telling you the controls again an again, or whenever you find a Compass. Every single time you get this long text:

You've got the
Compass! Now,
you can see
where the chests
and Nightmare
are hidden! This
Compass has a
new feature-- a
tone will tell
you if a key is
hidden in a room
when you enter!

It's even longer in the German version and even worse than listening to the Owl, because the Owl at least tells you something different on every encounter and not the same thing nine times total.

And while I actually like having the random power-ups with the Guardian Acorn and the Piece of Power, the music is very repetitive. I couldn't listen to the first two dungeons' music at all, because it kept playing the power-up song.

I also think that there could be more short cuts here and there. For example you should be able to jump down from the higher level of Kanalet Castle, so you don't have to go back through the entire interior. Or there could be a quick path out of the Pothole Maze, where you find the key, like a boulder behind a hole. But this complaining on a high level, since the game is short enough as it is.

Now, while playing on the New Nintendo 3DS XL I noticed something for the first time, which I either had forgotten about or never seen before. When you change screens from the Tal Tal Heights to Kanalet Castle, while swimming through the moat, you can see, how the Moblin turns into a Darknut and vice versa:

This totally makes sense, since they are exactly the same enemy type in behavior, but apparently the game simply takes the same enemy and changes its skin based on your location. You can only really notice this at this spot, because elsewhere you don't have these skin changed enemies next to each other. But because of that it also shouldn't be possible to have Moblins at Kanalet Castle, since the Darknuts are basically already the Moblins here. Knowing this, it would be interesting to check the Oracle games again for similar effects.

Talking about enemies, especially around the Ukuku Prairie there seem to be many enemies, which are tough to kill with just your sword, so that the Bow actually becomes quite useful here, if you get it early on. As soon as you get the overpowered Seashell Sword, everything will get blasted anyway... which is something, I have really missed in the Oracle games. This moment, when you exit the seashell hut and blast those Moblins away in one strike, it just feels so good. The sword beams in the Oracle games became too weak and don't deliver.

But besides the sword this game has so many options to kill things, it's a lot of fun. Even the Boomerang is devastating in this game and it was also the first Zelda game, where you could unequip your sword for different combinations of items. People tend to use the sword for everything, but this game has it more interesting. And now I'm back to praising the game, aren't I?


Well, the last time I played this game on the Virtual Console, I used the red tunic for the playthrough and I also got the normal photograph in the beginning. To complement this experience, this time I went for the blue tunic and I got the photograph, where Link is unconscious, which happens, if you keep saying "no" to the photographer mouse. He knocks you out and takes a picture. And that's basically the only choice you can make in the game, which is only minor, when compared to the animal buddies in the Oracle games, but it's still nice to have both outcomes available.

I also got this odd path through the Wind Fish's Egg:

→ ↑ ↑ → ↑ ↑ → ↑

I was aware that it existed, but I don't think, I actually ever got this before, it's usually one of the other three. But at least I feel like in the end I created a somewhat more unique savegame here.

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