If you have a GameBoy, you owe it to yourself to get this game. It may just be the best 2D Zelda game ever made, due to its fantastic gameplay and being the possessor of the only slightly different story to come out of the Zelda series…ever. It even has a couple slightly unexpected twists! For a Zelda title, that's amazing.
"Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end."
The beginning? Link is on a boat, in a storm, and the boat gets hit by lightning…or something…and, evidently, Link is thrown off. He's found on a beach by a kindly middle-aged man and his daughter, who bring him in and bring him back to health.
The middle? Link does fetch quests, and traverses dungeons, while occasionally learning about the world around him.
"Sproing! Sproing! Sproing!"
If you want to imagine what Link's Awakening plays like, imagine Link to the Past, only on the GameBoy, with the ability to jump added. In fact, that's EXACTLY what it is. While the story motivating you along the way is distinctly different from that of LttP, it has all the same weapons, items, abilities, and even shares a mini-game or two. But it also has jumping - and a chicken which allows you to fly! While some might complain at this merely being more of the same…they stink. Anyone who's played LttP knows how cool it is.
Also, the dungeon design for LA is actually BETTER than its 16-bit counterpart, due to the aforementioned ability to jump. The rooms often have multiple levels for you to traverse and explore, adding the third dimension, in a sense.
There isn't much more to say here, the gameplay has been very thoroughly described in my The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past review.
When it comes to GameBoy games, it usually doesn't take a whole lot to push you ahead of the pack. This can be said for LA, which, while just as mediocre and black and white as any other GameBoy title, has a neato bit of cinematic-ness in the beginning - a BRIEF flash of what looks like almost hand-drawn art work. Sure, it isn't much, but you won't see that in pretty much ANY other game on this graphical lightweight.
Oh, and there's a color version of the game for GameBoy Color called Link's Awakening: DX. It has an extra dungeon in it or something. ~Snore.~
"There's music here."
Once again, it's hard to go wrong on the GameBoy, and Link's Awakening does just enough to be a little better than the rest. Its music, while not awe inspiring, is pretty darn good. And what else can you really ask from the GameBoy?
Once again, if you have a GameBoy, you really just have no excuse not to own this game. It's classic Zelda fun plus a little extra effort, a couple more toys to keep you interested, a slightly bigger dungeon or two. It roakes!