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The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Game Boy)/Version Differences

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

To do:
Compare the European and Canadian French scripts.

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

Introduction Background

Japan International
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 palm trees, and the shadows they cast have been redrawn. This difference also carries over to the DX versions.

Title Screen

Japan International
The Dreaming Isle Link's Awakening

The title logo in the Japanese version includes the Game Boy logo, while the subtitle is stylishly done in an image of an island surrounded by palm trees and seagulls.

The Hippo

Japan/France/Germany US
...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 American version to remove the breasts and sheet.

Japan/France/Germany US
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. Interestingly, the 2020 Nintendo "gigaleak" includes some messages implying this was originally meant to survive in the English version too.

The Mermaid

Japan/France/Germany US
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 and German versions also updated the text to make it similar to the English script. Like the hippo, the 2020 "gigaleak" includes uncensored dialogue for the mermaid:

Japanese Basic translation Early English Final English
いりえで  およいでたら  みずぎを
なみに、さらわれちゃったの. . . 
XXX  あ. げ. る!
When I was swimming in the bay, the waves swept away my swimsuit...
If you find it, I'll give you my [censored]!
When I was swim-
ming in the bay,
a wave came and 
took my swim    
suit top...  If 
you find it, I  
will give you...
When I was swim-
ming in the bay,
the waves took a
very important  
necklace from   
around my neck! 
If you find it, 
I will let you  
take a scale    
from my tail!

Also, when you dive underwater near the topless mermaid:

Japanese Basic translation Early English Final English
キャーッ!  エッチ!  エッチー!
Kyaa! Pervert! Perveeert!
Hey!  Quit it!  
I have already
looked around
Original DX
Petit coquin!
J'ai déjà
cherché par là
Basic translation You little rascal! I've already looked there
Original DX
Hey! Laß das,
du Strolch!!!
An dieser
Stelle habe ich
schon gesucht.
Basic translation Hey! Knock it off, you rascal!!! I've already looked in that place.

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 American versions, you have to throw it three times before it breaks; in the French and German versions, you only have to throw it twice. This difference still remains in the DX version.

Key Cavern

JP NA French German
Key Cavern Basement. Odd map out. Back to split screens. Keep on splittin'.

In every version of the game except for the English releases, the Key Cavern minimap is split into two floors. For some reason, the English localization team smashed the two floors together on the minimap.

This change also applies to the English DX versions of the game.

Angler's Tunnel

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. This was fixed in other revisions of the game by adding two more deep water tiles, which 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
LOZLA Title INT.png LinksAwakeningDXtitleSolo.png
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 (presumably because the DX version needs to use a different palette for the sub-screen, which would be hard to achieve while scrolling) – it now fades in and out, and information such as remaining Pieces of Heart, number of photographs out of 12, and Link's clothing color can be seen if the player presses Select.

Original version DX version
Original DX

While only relevant in the English versions, the Piece of Heart graphic seen in the dialogue boxes was moved a bit to the right in the DX version so as to not intrude on the text like it did in the original release.

The Photographer

One of the more significant additions to DX 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 missable). There are up to 12 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 of whether Link has 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.

A new NPC introduced for one photo opportunity is a Zora in the Animal Village, which only appears after the Magnifying Glass is obtained. It also offers a useful hint about obtaining the Boomerang (which, as in the original version, is tucked away in a cave you'd be pretty unlikely to visit at that stage of the game). Amusingly, while this Zora is invulnerable to standard sword swipes, you can still murder it with any other weapon (though it respawns if you exit and re-enter).

Color Dungeon

The Color Dungeon (labelled "L-0") can be accessed at any point after returning BowWow, as long as Link does not have another companion with him. It is located in the southeast Cemetery 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 inadvertently 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 and 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 the sake of convenience.

(Source: Xkeeper)

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), whereas in the DX version he fires every 45 frames (3/4 second).

Also, in the French and German versions of DX, both the Genie and his bottle have less HP; the bottle only needs to be thrown into the wall twice, instead of three times like in the Japanese and English versions.

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

The Seashell Mansion

The Seashell Mansion was silent and enigmatic in the original version, but several new lines of dialogue have been introduced. The final line is provided when you enter with 20 or more shells.

I am the spirit 
of the mansion. 
I have been     
waiting for     
someone to      
overcome the    
darkness. Find  
all the secret  
shells and go   
through the     
gate to receive 
the ultimate    
Hmmm. No        
response. You   
must not have   
enough shells.
My job here     
is finished.

Eagle's Tower Map

In the original, the floors on the map were marked with 1F, 2F, etc. Due to the PUSH SELECT notice in the DX version, there is not enough room to display the labels as the map needed to be moved.

Original version DX version
Original version. DX version.

However, the labels are still in the DX version and can be seen in their original positions by setting A8AB to 0x00, which will remove the map.

Couldn't they have positioned the labels below the floors?

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 set of wings while singing, indicating her survival in some form.

In the DX version, "The End" is 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.

Original version DX version
Original version. DX version.

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.

The Credits Song

There's a slight variation in the way the credits song finishes. Because of the extra staff names, the credits and music had to be extended in the DX remake. So the way the song transitions from the main melody, to the closeout melody was changed too. In the original release, the closeout melody starts to play around the 13 second mark, and the DX remake starts at about the 37 second mark.

Link's Awakening

Link's Awakening DX

(Source: FlyingOmelette)

Text Changes

Some text changes were made between the original game and DX.

One was presumably put in to give an early hint about repelling the sea urchins, and one fixed a typo.

Original DX
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...

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.

Original DX
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
I am impressed.
There are five
leaves in all.
Remember to buy
a shovel on your
way back.

An Owl hint after D6 was simplified, so that it gives only one direction to the player instead of two.

Original DX
The going is much
more trying from
this point!
You have only two
more tasks to
The first is in
the east part of
the mountains,
the second in
the west. Go!
The Wind Fish
grows restless!
Hoot hoot!
Your path is
not easy, but
you are almost
there. Go east.
The Wind Fish
is getting

Two text changes were also made in the last revision (1.2) of DX, to fix typos in the script:

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!

Skipping Messages

In the original versions of the game, it is possible to skip through the acquisition text of the Pieces of Power and Guardian Acorns. This is not possible in the Japanese and English DX versions, although it is possible in the German and French versions.

Cukeman Dialogue

If you use Magic Powder on a Buzz Blob, it turns into a Cukeman, who says four messages on loop when spoken to. The original Japanese dialogue appears to be an in-joke by one of the developers ("R-Moto-isms", as they're called), so the translators mostly did their own thing. The English dialogue is thought to be referencing the upcoming Nintendo 64, while the German dialogue infamously has explicit references to sex and war, which were swapped out for the later DX translation.

English Japanese Original German DX German French
Hey Mon!
あんわ? まっええかおもって.
Gib mir Deinen
Saft, ich geb'
Dir meinen... 
Wer unter Wasser
sucht, wird
manches finden!
Yo, t'es québlo!
You know me, I
like short names
the best...
Du bist komisch!
Il est 9H59
ça dissuade...
It can display
millions of
うん わかってるよ。
Sorgen, Nöte
oder Probleme?
Kleine Teufel
Les nanas
de la Hotline,
c'est des pros!
I definitely
need it, as soon
as possible!
いやっ もうあるよ。
...いじょう Rモトごろく
Hey! Hast Du
schon besucht?
Gros bisous
de Kyoto!
       VERO LoZLA-Fr-Heart.gif
Japanese translated Original German translated DX German translated French translated
Really? Ah I was wondering if that was good... Give me your juice, I'll give you mine... Those who search underwater will find quite some things! Yo, you're stuck bro!
Nothing really… NEVER WITHOUT A CONDOM! You're funny! It is 9:59 AM
that's deterring...
Yeah, I understand. Do you have any sorrows, hardships or problems? Mad Batters gift carrying capacity... The chicks of the Hotline, they are pros!
Already got it, actually. …That concludes this collection of R-Moto-isms.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the game!

Hey! Did you visit Crazy Tracy already? Lots of kisses from Kyoto!
VERO LoZLA-Fr-Heart.gif

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 BowWow'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, as 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, NA 1.0, NA 1.1, NA 1.2, French, German

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 and the Shopkeeper.

Introduction Bug

Octoroks in the sky!

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

Sometimes, when you open the Save Screen and choose "Save & Quit", if there were Octoroks on the map, the game introduction will screw up – rather than 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.

Two Shovels Bug

Extra shovel.

Present in: (Original) JP 1.0, NA 1.0

If you swap the shovel for the boomerang before you obtain the bow, you can get an extra shovel. Doing so will make one item inaccessible.

Book's Shadow in the Library

Bugged version Fixed version
Shadow No shadow

Present in: (DX) JP 1.0, NA 1.0

The book present on top of the bookshelf in the DX version's library casts a shadow, and when the book is lying on the floor Link can grab it with the Power Bracelet and attempt to lift it, but it's stuck.

Subsequent releases fix both those issues, but they introduce another change: Projectiles (such as arrows and hookshot) now bounce off the book instead of passing over it.

Water Ripples Animation Bug

Bugged version Fixed version
Eerie. Psychedelic.

Present in: (DX) JP 1.0, NA 1.0

The ripples surrounding objects in shallow water are not animated.

Seashell Gauge Palette Bug

Bugged version Fixed version
LOZLA-SeashellGaugeBug.gif LOZLA-SeashellGaugeFix.gif

Present in: (DX) JP 1.0, NA 1.0

The palette animation of the full Secret Seashell gauge is incorrect until the inventory or map is opened and closed.

Map Cursor Bug

Bugged version Fixed version
LOZLA-MapIconBug.gif LOZLA-MapIconFix.gif

Present in: (DX) JP 1.0, NA 1.0

The icon signifying your position on the map does not flash.

Virtual Console Changes

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

Text Changes

Game Boy Color Virtual Console
YAHOO! I'm fine, and you?! HELLO! I'm fine, and you?!
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?
YAHOO! A new broom! Superb! YIPEE! A new broom! Superb!

Grandma Ulrira's dialogue was changed, likely to avoid accidentally referencing the internet search company Yahoo!, which uses all-caps in its logo. The company was not founded until the year after the original release of the game. This change was reverted in the 2019 Nintendo Switch remake and in the Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda version.

Screen Flashes

To do:

Screen flashes (for events such as capacity upgrades) were slowed down. Similar changes were applied to many other Virtual Console releases as well, due to concerns that the flashing may trigger epileptic seizures.


To do:

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.

German Localization Differences

The German localization underwent a few changes in the Virtual Console releases.

For example, BowWow was called "Struppi" in the original release but is named "Komet" in the VC version. Struppi is actually a reference to the Tintin comic books (Tintin's canine companion is called Struppi in the German translation and the title of the comic books includes his name - "Tim und Struppi") so this might have been due to trademark/copyright issues.

Crazy Tracy's name was also changed, going from "Geierwally" to "Trantrudi". "Geier" could be the short form of the word "geiern", which is the action of being disliked for asking another person for something, while "Wally" is an old fashioned female name. As for "Trantrudi", "Tran" could come from the word "Transuse", which is used to describe a person who is slow-minded, while "Trudi" is an old-fashioned female name. All and all, the reason for the name change is unknown.

These two changes are also applied to the Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda German release, in addition to the Cukeman dialogue using the DX dialogue instead of the original dialogue.