01 - Mabe Village
02 - Sword Search
03 - Awakening (Overworld)
04 - The Woods
05 - Dungeons
06 - Tal Tal Mountain Range
07 - Ballad of the Windfish
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has the distinction of being one of the first games to cause me to shed a tear over a game's story. Since Final Fantasy IV released 2 years prior, that game may have been the first, but even the (meaningless) deaths of characters there didn't hit me as hard as the ending in Link's Awakening. The music was a huge part of that, and I'm a bit sad that the game seems to be so widely under-represented in the music community.
Helping remedy that issue, we have here a fun seven-track tribute album to one of my most adored Zelda games from DJ CUTMAN and Spamtron. I don't think I've heard a DJ CUTMAN song I disliked, so this source and artist combo was something I didn't want to miss out on. Like the duo's work on The Triforce of Bass, the music here is very faithful to the original tunes, but jazzed up and sometimes with a hint of a dance feel to it, thankfully without going fully into dance music. Mabe Village, the opening track, is as delightful as the original song, but just more... fun. That may not be the most musically descriptive description, but it's the best way I can describe it.
The order of the tracks loosely follow the progression of the game, moving on to the early game "Sword Search" and a very upbeat remix of the main overworld theme. The next track, "The Woods," is one of my favorites in the set. As usual, it's a more upbeat and bassy rendition of the song you're used to, but it retains the haunting sensation of Koholint's Mysterious Forest. Mixing in a bit of Ocarina of Time's Lost Woods music just makes the track that much more fun to listen to.
"Dungeons" feels like a dark, almost hollow mix of the dungeon music in Link's Awakening and a bit of the NES original. It certainly makes you want to grip your shield just a little tighter and see what's around that next corn— OHMYGOD WHY ARE POLS VOICES SO CREEPY!?
TalTal Heights' music takes the super-fast beats of the original and, yes, speeds it up. It's a very high-energy track, and every bit as adventurous as your quests in the mountains were in the game. It's also where the album title seemed the most obvious, with occasional cameos of cat and dog meows and barks in the background. I mean, you and I both know Bow Wow was a Chain Chomp, but everyone in the game thought he was a dog, so just go with it, okay?
Finally, one of the most emotionally resonant pieces of gaming music for me, the Ballad of the Wind Fish. This version doesn't make me cry, but then, a moody, haunting song wouldn't belong on an album like this. There's an undertone of the classic song here, blended with some airier elements and crunchier sound effects that come together to create a lovely textured rendition of an already-great song. The result is that I get to listen to one of my favorite songs without collapsing into a heap and — wait, have you played it? Because this is going to spoil the ending — screaming about how unfair it is that it was all a dream and how can Marin be so lovely and not real and why couldn't she co-exist with Link and go on more adventures and and and
... So anyway, this is a really great little album to a really great classic game, so if you have fond memories of Link's Awakening, I heartily recommend picking it up. If you've never played Link's Awakening and have a 3DS, it's on the eShop, and you need it.
Reviewed by: Michael. Salbato