By Jonathan Higgins / July 30th, 2012
One of the Best Soundtracks in the Entire Franchise
The most appealing part of the game was not the personal growth I experienced, or the time I almost threw my Gameboy against the wall during a vexing repeating room puzzle found in the sixth dungeon—it was the game’s soundtrack. I’ve spoken at length about how the music in video games appeals to me. This was the first ever game that made me realize the potential music has to influence life, even outside of the medium. I would wander a dungeon or parts of the world without purpose sometimes, if only just to hear the tunes of the game. (And you better believe I got something in my eye when the Symphony of the Goddesses concert played ‘The Ballad of the Windfish’ during one of its encores.)
The over-world theme is truly worthy of being heard for almost your entire quest. A dungeon like Angler’s Tunnel that features a sped-up version of the games “cave” music offered a sense of urgency. The eerie music of the game’s two Face Shrines truly made the revelations revealed within that much more unsettling. The theme for Tal Tal Heights makes you feel like you’re taking things to the next level when you arrive, and the increase in difficulty is accommodating to the music. And Link’s final moments on Koholint Island are just a series of blips and whirs that ultimately give off the sense that you’re waking up from a dream.
I’m not the only one to feel the impact of the game’s music, however. My favorite theme from the game was featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and there was even an updated take on The Ballad of the Windfish, but that wasn’t included in the final game. And I know OCRemix has released an album inspired by tracks from the game. There’s nothing in the world that can better encompass the nostalgia that a game brings than hearing a modern take of its soundtrack.
My Own Awakening
I’ve played through this game a countless number of times on every platform it’s been available to me. And even though I’m confident enough to say I’ve “memorized” this game (the locations of some of the Heart Pieces are absolutely cruel), I can’t help but experience something new each time I make my way through it. For example, I once played the game with a character following behind me for almost my entire journey because of a glitch. And…I always wondered why the mermaid in the game was so embarrassed she’d lost her necklace that she couldn’t dare show herself above water. Turns out, before Nintendo of America got its hands on the game from oversees—the mermaid’s lost necklace was actually her lost bikini top. Suddenly, things make a little more sense! It’s just crazy to think about what was considered controversial back then versus how video games are handled in today’s world.
To be perfectly honest though, the core of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remains absolutely unchanged, despite the numerous upgrades to the game over the years. Its complex nature is ultimately simple, looking back. And that, coupled with the memories of almost twenty years of playing the game, is what makes something timeless in my eyes. I hope the recollection of one of my most treasured games of all time has stirred up memories of your own. Please do discuss the games that influenced you in a similar way. Who knows—we might even cover them sometime soon!
We are indeed a community with similar interests and beginnings. I wonder where these experiences will take us.
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