After the longest Direct drought in history, Nintendo dropped a stunning showcase of upcoming 2019 titles on February 13. But none could measure up to the left-field dream game announcement of a “reimagined” Link’s Awakening. And how timely that such an announcement would drop exactly halfway through this very Link’s Awakening analysis series, where I analyze The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening dungeon-by-dungeon! As I have The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, each entry in this series focuses on a particular dungeon, delving into the intricacies of various aspects of design. Because it adds color and an additional optional dungeon, I will be looking specifically at the 1998 re-release The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX. In this entry, I will be examining Link’s Awakening’s final mini-dungeon dungeon, the Wind Fish’s Egg.
After earning the final instrument from Turtle Rock, Link can venture slightly eastward to find the Wind Fish’s Egg. Upon playing Ballad of the Wind Fish in front of it, the giant egg will crack to reveal an entrance. If Link completed the lengthy trading sequence and read the right book in the Mabe Village library with the Magnifying Lens, he will have seen a list of eight arrows which will soon be of use.
The Wind Fish’s Egg is an atypical dungeon in that it is really only comprised of a few rooms — the one Link falls in when entering the dungeon, the identical ones Link walks through to find the boss, and the one containing the boss. Since the only real gameplay here is walking from one screen to the next in the order dictated by the arrows in the library book, the dungeon serves mostly to ensure the player finished the trading sequence. Without any enemies, items, or level design outside of these repeating rooms, there isn’t much to say about the dungeon itself. However, its purple walls and metallic flooring do seem at odds with the inside of an egg and neither betrays the climate of the moment.
Really, the Wind Fish’s Egg is entirely about its boss battle, which is the most intricate, enjoyable, and challenging fight in the game. Spanning six forms, the Shadow Nightmares channel previous Zelda bosses both from Link’s Awakening (Giant Blob and Moldorm), and A Link to the Past (Agahnim, Ganon, and Lanmola) to craft a varied final fight that keeps the player on their toes. Defeating each form requires not only quick reflexes but smart strategizing, as Link must cull from most of his arsenal to emerge victorious. His final form is Dethl, a two-armed, one-eyed behemoth that swings his arms to attack and is only vulnerable when he momentarily opens his eyes. This particular fight has Link use the most iconic weapon in Link’s Awakening, Roc’s Feather, to great effect while landing sixteen(!) arrows in his eye. It’s a tough fight but incredibly diverse, well-animated, climactic, and balanced.
Wind Fish’s Egg is a very short mini-dungeon that is defined by its wonderful final boss. Despite a blase aesthetic and lack of identity, the final battle against the Shadow Nightmares is the single greatest fight in the game. And to top it off, the ensuing cutscene wraps up the game’s story in a poignant and bittersweet manner that also features the most gorgeous artwork in the game — dazzling psychedelia that justifies the DX remake nearly as much as the Color Dungeon.
For deep dives into other levels from Link’s Awakening, as well as levels from other classic Nintendo games such as Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, click here.