Things you may not know about The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening (Facts and Secrets)

Link’s Awakening was the first outing for The Legend of Zelda on the Gameboy, and is one of the strangest stories in the series. There’s no Hyrule, there is no Princess Zelda, instead we have something called The Windfish and a huge egg on top of a mountain. Even though it’s very strange, it’s a memorable Zelda game, and today I want to run through some facts and secrets you may not know about The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening.

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Without futher delay lets dive into the Link’s Awakening facts and secrets.

Side project

Link’s Awakening began as an unsanctioned side project; programmer Kazuaki Morita created a Zelda-like game with one of the first Game Boy development kits, and he used it to experiment with the platform’s capabilities. Other staff members of the Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development division joined him after-hours and worked on the game in what seemed to them like an “afterschool club”. The results of these experiments with the Game Boy started to look promising. Following the 1991 release of the Super NES video game A Link to the Past, director Takashi Tezuka asked for permission to develop a handheld Zelda title; he intended it to be a port of A Link to the Past, but it evolved into an original game. The majority of the team that had created A Link to the Past was reassembled to advance this new project. Altogether, it took them one and a half years to develop Link’s Awakening.

Bomb Arrows

If Link equips a bomb and the bow, and you press both A and B buttons at the same time, then Link creates a bomb arrow.

Tree Secrets

Once you have the Pegasus Boots, you can run into the trees to see what comes out. Sometimes you can shake Bombs, Fairies, and even secret seashells. Link can find five trees that hiding treasures in their branches all over Koholint.

  • Mabe Village – Behind Marin and Tarin’s House.
  • Mabe Village – The screen between Madam MeowMeow’s House and Fishing Pond.
  • Ukuku Prairie – The lone tree near the Warp Hole.
  • Kanalet Castle – One screen to the right of the Kanalet Castle entrance.
  • Face Shrine Area – The lone tree near northeast corner of Face Shrine area.

Cucco attack

If Link attacks a Cucco 35 times, then other cucco’s will attack Link. However, if you kill the original Cucco with the Fire Rod or the Magic Power (or leave the area), then they will stop.

Secret Player Select Songs

If you choose ‘Zelda’ as the name for your character in the game, then you’ll get a remixed version of the main theme to play, instead of the regular Link’s Awakening theme in the player select screen. Different song variants also play for other names including ‘Marin’, and ‘Totakeke’.

Totaka’s Song

If you wait inside Richard’s villa for 2min 30sec then Totaka’s Song will play. Totaka’s Song is a simple, 19-note, 8-bar melody. Nintendo sound designer Kazumi Totaka is known for inserting it into most of the titles that he has worked on. The song is often hidden several minutes into a rarely-heard song in the game, requiring a player to find a place where the song plays and wait.

Inspiration for the series

Several elements from Link’s Awakening were re-used in later Zelda titles; for example, programmer Morita created a fishing mini-game that reappeared in Ocarina of Time, among others. Tanabe implemented a trading sequence; Tezuka compared it to the Japanese Straw Millionaire folktale, in which someone trades up from a piece of straw to something of greater value. This concept also appeared in most sequels.

Easy Pols Voice

If you play The Ballad of the Windfish near a Pols Voice, then you’ll instantly kill them. You can also play the Frog’s Song too.

Thief

It’s possible to steal items from the Mabe Village shop by picking up items and circling around the shopkeeper and leaving while he’s not looking. Beware if you do this though, as everyone will call you THIEF instead of your chosen character name. If you return to the shop, then the shopkeeper gets mad and kills Link. After this happens, Link is free to return to the shop like nothing happened.

Summoning the Walrus

If you want to see the Walrus again, then play ‘Ballad of Wind Fish’ in the entrance of Yarna Desert, and the Walrus will resurface because he thinks Marin is coming.

Beware the mutts

There are few mutts in Mabe Village. If you hit one of the mutts once, it will bite you.

Nintendo references

Link’s awakening is packed full of Nintendo character references.

  • Marin bears incredible resemblance to both Zelda and Malon.
  • Tarin is similar in appearance to Mario and Talon.
  • Richard is a main character from a game called “Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru” (“For Frogs the Bell Tolls”).
  • Mr. Write is a reference to Will Wright. The letter he got contains the picture of Princess Peach from Mario series.
  • Mamu is based on Wart, the final boss of Super Mario Bros. 2.
  • The Henhouse Keeper is similar in appearance to Luigi from Mario series.

Kill the cuccos and the mutts

Once you get the Fire Rod or Magic Powder, you can finally successfully slay the mutts and cuccos without being attacked. This does not work in the 2019 remake, as Cuccos and Mutts are invincible.

Convert Buzz Blobs to Cukemen

If you dust some Magic Powder on Buzz Blobs (cactus-like enemies with electric sparkles), and they’ll transform into Cukemen. Then talk to a Cukeman and it’ll give you information about the Ocarina and the three songs you can learn to play with it. In the original version of the game, Cukemen would say something different every time you talk to them:

“Hey Mon!”
“You know me, I like short names the best…”
“It can display millions of polygons!”
“I definitely need it, as soon as possible!”

Boomerang Rooster Attack

There is a very powerful attack you can do in the game with a combination of items. When you have the Rooster, Power Bracelet, and Boomerang, you can do this trick. Throw the boomerang and quickly grab onto the rooster before the boomerang comes back. You will be flying while the boomerang circles around you…and you can fly around while attacking enemies.

Anonuma remake hint in 2016

The game was first revealed in February this year during a Nintendo Direct, but it turns out that series producer Eiji Aonuma had actually teased the remake way before then, back in 2016. The tease came from an issue of EDGE magazine, in which Aonuma discussed potential future projects at the time “Actually, Nintendo has been telling me to create a new IP. But then, they’re also telling me to make more Zelda games. I can’t really share much; I’m not sure I’m allowed to say anything. But I really like the idea of a game where I can live as a thief. That’s all I’ll say.”

Quintessential

In an interview about the evolution of the Zelda series, Aonuma called Link’s Awakening the “quintessential isometric Zelda game”. At another time, he stated that, had the game not come after A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time would have been very different. Tezuka said that he prefers the game over A Link to the Past, as he enjoyed the challenge of making a similar game on lower-specced hardware.

Miyamoto’s role

Shigeru Miyamoto, who served as the producer of Link’s Awakening, did not provide creative input to the staff members. However, he participated as game tester, and his opinions greatly influenced the latter half of the development.

Twin Peaks

Tezuka intended the game’s world to have a similar feeling to the American television series Twin Peaks, which, like Link’s Awakening, features characters in a small town. He suggested that the characters of Link’s Awakening be written as “suspicious types”, akin to those in Twin Peaks—a theme which carried over into later Zelda titles. Tanabe created these “odd” characters; he was placed in charge of the subevents of the story and wrote almost all of the character dialog, with the exception of the owl’s and the Wind Fish’s lines. Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost had previously met with a Nintendo engineer in 1990 for a conversation regarding a Twin Peaks video game, and they discussed the inspiration of Twin Peaks in regards to the expansion of the Zelda universe. Tanabe implemented a previous idea of the world ending when a massive egg breaks on top of a mountain; this idea was originally meant for A Link to the Past. Tanabe really wanted to see this idea in a game and was able to implement it in Link’s Awakening as the basic concept.

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