This was the first Zelda game I played, and I am still playing it.
Link's Awakening's story was a bit different than the other Zelda games (but back then I didn't know anything about the series' plot.) Link came into a horrific storm, crashing him into an island of Koholint. As he woke up from his crash, he realizes that someone saved him: Marin and her father, Tarin.
After knowing his whereabouts, Link gets ready to seek the answers of a place he never entered before. Once he figures out the secrets of the island from the words of a wise owl, Link decides to accept the owl's words and finds the 8 instruments to awake the Wind Fish, a mysterious being which is in slumber.
The game took me at least five years to complete, mainly because I was busy playing the other Zelda games at that time. After five years of finding hearts, solving puzzles, entering dungeons, etc. etc. etc., I really enjoyed myself playing Link's Awakening to the end. I still play this timeless game to this day, but I have been interfered by other handheld Zelda games so much that I don't get time to play it anymore.
This is still one of the best handheld games I have ever played. I don't know why I was so critical about this legendary franchise before playing this game that has stood the test of time. Get it now. You can usually browse through Gamestop or EB Games to find it.
If that isn't enough, get Link's Awakening DX which has an extra dungeon and new content. (DX is the only Zelda game I never played yet. I better start browsing through GameStop to find it.)