Link's first handheld outing is worth a look.

User Rating: 8.5 | Zelda no Densetsu: Yume o Miru Shima DX GBC
Despite being a Zelda fan, somehow I missed Link's Awakening the first time around. Probably because I was a stupid child who owned a Sega Game Gear instead of a Game Boy so it eluded me for years.

Thankfully the 3DS came along with the Eshop and this was one of my first purchases as this and the two Oracle games are the only Zeldas I haven't played (at least until the new 3DS title comes out).

Much like Majora's Mask, Link's Awakening is more a spirtual, personal journey for Link. Following the "Dead Link" timeline after the Oracle games (according to Nintendo's Zelda timeline), Link is sailing the high seas training for the return of Ganon when a storm leaves him shipwrecked on a strange island. A young girl named Marin finds him on the beach and Link awakens and learns that if he wants to leave this island he must find 8 magical instruments to awaken The Wind Fish, a creature who sleeps in a giant egg on top of the mountain. Ok then. There is no Zelda, no Triforce and no Ganon and unlike MM, no real threat of the world ending.

One of the more unique aspects of this title is the Mario character cameos. One of the first folks you meet is a pudgy mustachoied man named Tarin who's running around the woods looking for mushrooms and turns into a racoon. (Mario be trippin) But also a local resident has a pet Chain Chomp and various dungeon enemies resemble Mario baddies and even Wart, the one time villian of SMB2 makes a cameo as the frog king as well as Kirby and Dr. Wright from the SNES SimCity. Makes for what could almost be an amusing crossover.

Gameplay is pretty standard Zelda fare you've come to know using the template setup by it's predecessor "A Link to the Past." You have eight main dungeons as well as the added "Color Dungeon" for the DX version which allows you to enhance your attack or defense. You have an easier time getting around the island thanks to phone booths placed around where Urial will give you hints as to which way to go. Also you have a few worthwhile side missions like a long trading sequence that will get you a super powerful boomerang and collecting seashells to make your sword more powerful. While Kolohint Island seems small, there's a fair amount of stuff crammed in here but never feels like it drags on too long.

If I had any complaints is that some bosses feel a bit too easy. Many bosses I was able to beat within seconds of them appearing on stage. Of course getting the boomerang really makes the game easy especially the final boss. Also the last two dungeons are somewhat overly complicated in their design. They involve way too much backtracking and doing things in a certain order. I had to take a look at to figure out how to finish them at one point.

But still I got a good sense of satisfaction once I did finish the game and experience the rather bittersweet ending. If you're looking for something to download to your 3DS, this shouldn't be missed.