The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening/Version Differences

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This is a sub-page of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

There are a multitude of differences between the many revisions of the game.

Contents

Introduction Background

Japanese versions International versions
Not really island-ish... That's more like it

The background in the introduction sequence has been changed for the international versions of the game. The somewhat odd-looking trees were turned into palmtrees, and the shadows they cast have been redrawn. This difference also carries over to the DX versions.

The Hippo

Japanese version North American version
...Hippo breasts Cartoon hippo

The Hippo in Animal Village has breasts and a sheet in the Japanese version, the implication being that she's doing some artistic nudity for the painter. This was changed in the North American version to remove the breasts and sheet.

Japanese version North American version
Cover your shame! Cover your...um

This explains why the hippo sits down when Link comes in: she's covering herself.

This censorship doesn't exist in the original French and German versions, which appear to have been based on the Japanese game. However, in the DX versions, the censorship is back in.

The Mermaid

Japanese North American
Sexy. Aww. Probably worth more, though.

In the Japanese version, the mermaid's missing item was actually her bikini top. This was evidently deemed too "racy" for American audiences, and it was changed to a necklace in subsequent releases. The text icon was also modified accordingly.

The original French and German versions don't have this censorship, but the DX French and German versions do. The DX French version also changed the text for when you dive underwater near the mermaid (in the Japanese and original French versions, she basically calls Link a pervert):

Original version DX version
Petit coquin!
J'ai déjà     
cherché par là

Trendy Dog

JP revision 1.0 Later revisions
Grrrrrrrrrrass surrounds the dog Hooray?

The dog outside the Trendy Game Shop starts in a different position in the first release (JP 1.0) of the game. Probably you would carelessly hit it while trying to cut the bushes and get bitten by it in return.

Cave Pit

JP revision 1.0 Later revisions
The CURSE The curse is broken

A nasty little bit of layout failure. Once you fall into the pit on the left, there's no way out. Thankfully, this was fixed for all other revisions.

Bottle Grotto

JP revision 1.0 Later revisions
You're missing some jars there Where could the power bracelet be?!

In the first release of the game, you can go east of this room without the Power Bracelet. This was changed for every other version of the game by adding two more jars at the bottom of the screen.

In addition, the number of times the boss' bottle has to be thrown isn't the same in all the versions. In the Japanese and North American versions, you have to throw it three times before it breaks; in the French, Canadian and German versions, you only have to throw it twice. This difference still remains in the DX version.

Angler's Tunnel

Shallow (JP 1.0, NA 1.0 & 1.2) Other revisions
What could possibly go wrong? Step lightly

In the revisions JP 1.0, NA 1.0, and NA 1.2 of the original game, it's possible to jump across the water with the Pegasus Boots. This can lead to an unwinnable situation where you run out of keys in the dungeon and can't get more. Fixed in other revisions of the game by adding two more deep water tiles. This makes it impossible to access this door without the Flippers.

Unused Room in Eagle's Tower

JP revision 1.0 Later revisions
Hello room More torches, too bad I STILL CAN'T SEE THE ROOM

For some reason, this inaccessible room was given a cosmetic upgrade for later revisions of the game.

Link's Awakening DX

When Link's Awakening was colorized years later, there were other noticeable changes made to the game besides the obvious.

Cosmetic Adjustments

The DX version has a few graphical touchups. For example, the island's egg has clouds surrounding it on the title screen, the trees' spirals look jagged and less like those seen in A Link to the Past, the grass has more details (which reverts if played on a Game Boy or Super Game Boy), and a "chimney" (which is actually the well tile) was added to Grandpa Ulrira's house for decoration. A Super Game Boy border was also added, although it defaults to standard shades of green as the color palette.

Original version DX version
That looks about right Who puts a well on their roof?

In addition, the HUD is one pixel more to the left in the original version compared to the DX version. The HUD was probably moved so that the letter "B" is not as close to the edge of the screen anymore. The sub-screen also no longer scrolls in and out of view - it now fades in and out, and information such as remaining Pieces of Heart, number of photographs out of twelve and Link's clothing color can be seen if the player presses select.

In at least the English versions, the Heart Piece graphic seen in the dialog boxes was moved a bit to the right in the DX version as to not intrude on the text like it did in the original black and white release.

Original version DX version
Original DX

The Photographer

One of the more significant additions to the DX version was the photographer: a strange mouse who shows up periodically when a "photo op" arises. The photographer's involvement is optional, but he can take pictures of specific moments in Link's travels if he is at a certain time and place (meaning that some photographs are permanently miss-able). There are up to twelve slots that can be taken for Link's personal album, with one picture having two outcomes. His sidequest activates once Link visits him, but the picture taken if Link steals will occur regardless if Link met the photographer.

Original version DX version
Perhaps he was protecting prime real-estate? That "camera" tile is also a new addition.
Link is feeling claustrophobic about now. Say cheese!

In the original version, the screen containing the photo studio was an empty field with a single moblin wandering around. The interior of the studio (located, map-wise, just below the quints' house) was simply yet another of the game's many inaccessible, empty filler rooms.

Color Dungeon

The Color Dungeon (labelled "L-0") can be accessed at any point after returning BowWow, as long as he does not have another companion with him. It is located in the southeast cemetary screen with the five tombstones, and Link must push them in a certain order to uncover the staircase to it. This is also hinted in a new book added to the Mabe Village library requiring the Pegasus Boots. Once entered, two NPCs will check if the game is played on a Game Boy Color and up, or else progress is halted. It includes new enemies and three bosses, and ends with the Fairy Queen giving Link a permanent upgrade to the Red or Blue Clothes, which increase sword power and defense respectively and can be stacked with the Guardian Acorn or the Piece of Power and Level 2 Sword. Link can see the Fairy Queen again to change his current clothing. This addition also inadvertantly created a new glitch, in which Link can change his tunic on the overworld if the 90th defeated enemy has a certain internal value.

Dungeon Hints

Original version DX version
That doesn't even look like it fits in right Go to hell, Owl

All dungeons barring Angler's Tunnel have additional hints. Since it would be inconsistent for a single stone fragment to fit several different stone slabs, the stone slab and fragment from the original were replaced with the owl statue & beak.

Treasure Chest Changes

Most of the dungeon levels have differences in treasure chest contents. These are all between the original and Color version of the game.

Slab fragments are listed as (Owl Beak) for convenience sake.

(Source: Xkeeper)
Long way to go for a beak

Level 2: Bottle Grotto

Original: Map.
Deluxe: Owl Beak.

Because we really needed to see that owl's face more in the game

Level 2: Bottle Grotto

Original: (Owl Beak).
Deluxe: Map.

Hoot! Press the A button to scroll text! Hoot!

Level 3: Key Cavern

Original: (Owl Beak).
Deluxe: 200 Rupees.

Hoot! Press the A button to scroll text! Hoot!

Level 3: Key Cavern

Original: 50 Rupees.
Deluxe: Owl Beak.

Be hardcore, make your maps on paper

Level 3: Key Cavern

Original: 200 Rupees.
Deluxe: Map.

Subtle, guys

Level 3: Key Cavern

Original: Map.
Deluxe: 50 Rupees.

It looks like a wavy X

Level 5: Catfish's Maw

Original: Map.
Deluxe: Owl Beak.

Maw is a cool word

Level 5: Catfish's Maw

Original: (Owl Beak).
Deluxe: Map.

Mo' Rupees Mo' Problems

Level 6: Face Shrine

Original: 50 Rupees.
Deluxe: 200 Rupees.

A spoonful of rupees makes the medicine come up

Level 6: Face Shrine

Original: 50 Rupees.
Deluxe: Medicine.

Disclaimer: Do not put a bomb into a chest in real life

Level 7: Eagle's Tower

Original: 20 Rupees.
Deluxe: Bomb.

CAWWW

Level 7: Eagle's Tower

Original: 100 Rupees.
Deluxe: Medicine.

I needed those rupees so badly

Level 8: Turtle Rock

Original: 20 Rupees.
Deluxe: Medicine.

The Genie

The fireballs of the Bottle Grotto's boss had their firing speed slowed down for the DX version. In the original he fires every 30 frames (1/2 second). In the DX version he fires every 45 frames (3/4 second).

Moreover, an additional line of dialogue has been added whenever the bottle is stunned.

. . . . ! I can't
move! But I am
still all right.
Your little
sword won't
break this
bottle!

Eagle's Tower Map

In the original, the floors on the map were marked with 1F, 2F, etc. The DX version removed these, probably because of the new PUSH SELECT notice, making the 2F and 4F labels unable to fit.

Original version DX version
Original version DX version

The Ending

The game's ending is different if cleared with a no-death file. Originally, the game went to a black "The End" screen, then Marin briefly appears with a new set of wings while singing, indicating her survival in some form. In the DX version, "The End" shown against the still sky, then a portrait of Marin shows up in the sky accompanied by a short rendition of Ballad of the Wind Fish. The image and song soon fade away into a seagull who flies away, instead implying that she reincarnated into that seagull, followed by a message from the developers at the end. Both endings suggest that Marin's wish to see the world beyond Koholint came true. The original extended ending is still available if the game is played on a Game Boy or Super Game Boy, also removing the bonus message. The game also includes additional credits for the remake team.

Text Changes

Some text changes were made in the last revision (1.2) of Link's Awakening DX. Most of these were to fix typos in the script, but Richard's dialogue from after you accept his mission was sadly made much more generic. The original dialogue is actually closer to what he says in the Japanese version and the new text doesn't mention anything that the older one doesn't, so who knows why this change was made.

Earlier Revisions DX Revision 1.2
It will take 
effect when you
lose all heart!
It will take 
effect when you
lose all hearts!
How did I know
your name?  You 
think it's weird
eh?  Well, I saw
it on back of
this shield!
How did I know
your name?  You 
think it's weird
eh?  Well, I saw
it on the back
of this shield!
You got your
Shield back! 
You can use it
to flip enemies!
You got your
shield back! 
Press the button
and repel
enemies with it!
If you hold the
Button down, you
can defend your-
self from enemy
attacks, and you
can fillip some
enemies, too...
If you hold the
Button down, you
can defend your-
self from enemy
attacks, and you
can flip some
enemies, too...
Smashing!  To
tell you the
truth, there are 
five leaves, and
I want them all!
Okay, you'll need
to do some dig-
ing, so buy a 
shovel!  Are you
off then? Good
luck!
I am impressed.
There are five
leaves in all.
Remember to buy
a shovel on your
way back.

Bug Fixes

Oddly, some of the bugs fixed in NA 1.1 reappear in NA 1.2. The 1.2 revision seems to be an update of the first North American release instead of the revised 1.1.

(Source: Zelda Chaos)

Invisible Tiles Bug

In the original (non-DX) versions of the game, if you manage to get more than 14 hearts (there are many ways to achieve this) and then die, choose "Save and Quit" and try to start a new game or load a different save file. All the background tiles will disappear, and you will only be able to see the monsters and "important" items. You can delete the faulty save file to stop this madness. If you try to trigger this bug in the DX version, you won't be able to load any of the save files or start a new game until you delete the faulty file.

Fishing Bug

Swimming with the...oh.

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, NA 1.0

Immediately after quitting the fishing minigame, when the fisherman is done telling you to "live a little", bring up the Save & Quit menu. Selecting "Continue" will drop you off in the fishing map with normal controls. You can swim around here if you have the flippers. Exiting to the left brings you to the raft house, and exiting to the right brings you to Bow Wow's kennel.

Level 1 Dungeon Bug

What kind of sick dungeon is this

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, NA 1.0, NA 1.2

Fall down the pit in the Moldorm boss room, and hold Up + the Roc's Feather button. You'll warp into a bad map with no escape. This seems to be the same area without the "Side-Scroller Room" bit set.

Fixed in later revisions by adding warp data to this room. Exiting by jumping up will take you to the room outside of the Nightmare's Lair.

Map Bug

Bugged version Fixed version
A mountain house on Turtle Rock I am here

Present in: (Original) NA 1.0, NA 1.1, NA 1.2, French, German

A small bug with the map screen. After getting the shield at the start of the game and hitting select, the game will display your position at 0,0, instead of the correct location.

Interestingly, this bug seems to have been introduced in the localized versions of the game. Both of the original JP revisions display your position correctly.

Screen Warp Bug

Top of the egg, ma!

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, NA 1.0, NA 1.2

Definitely the most well known of the Link's Awakening bugs. Pressing select just before entering the next screen will "warp" you. You'll enter the room at the X and Y position you were in when you pressed select.

Characters Talking On The Map Bug

Dialog with Marin.

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, JP 1.1, French

Another bug using the select button. When you try to talk to characters while opening the map, the dialog appears on the map which is then all screwed up. However, it only works with some characters such as Marin or the Shopkeeper.

Introduction Bug

Octoroks in the sky!

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, JP 1.1, French

Sometimes, when you open the Save Screen and choose "Save & Quit", if there were Octoroks on the map, the game introduction will screw. Instead of a lightning, you will see something made of pieces of Octoroks.

Freeze The Blocks Bug

Just to block the blocks.

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, JP 1.1, French

In Eagle's Tower, you can freeze the blocks' movement in the room where you find the black orb. To do this, you just have to enter the room, head toward the lever, press the Power Bracelet button and release it. The blocks will freeze and it will be easier to leave the room.

Virtual Console changes

As with many other Virtual Console releases, a few changes were made to the 3DS Virtual Console re-release of DX.

Text changes

Game Boy Color Virtual Console
YAHOO! I worked too hard and now my broom is worn to the handle! HELLO! I worked too hard and now my broom is worn to the handle!
YAHOO! YAHOO! A new broom?! For me? YIPPEE! YIPEE! A new broom?! For me?

Two bits of Grandma Ulrira's dialogue were changed, likely to avoid accidentally referencing the internet search company Yahoo!, which uses all capital letters in its logo. The company was not founded until the year after the original release of the game.

Screen flashes

Hmmm...
To do:
GIFs


Screen flashes (for events such as capacity upgrades) were slowed down. A similar change occurred to Paper Mario's re-release.

Spotlight

Hmmm...
To do:
Screenshots


The scene where Wart Mamu teaches Link his song had spotlights, which are not present in the Virtual Console version. The sequence originally flashed a black overlay at a speed quick enough to appear transparent; since the Virtual Console doesn't preserve the Game Boy's low refresh rate, leaving it in would potentially trigger epilepsy in some players.