The Link’s Awakening remake releases tomorrow, and on the cusp of its arrival it seems appropriate to look back on just how… strange some of its aspects are. And one of those aspects is the sheer number of Nintendo cameos the game boasts — much more than the typical Zelda number, featuring a host of Mario enemies, Kirby appearances, and some other oddball picks. Here’s a rundown:
By far the most plot-central (if you could call it that) cameo is this staple Mario enemy, known on Koholint as “Bow-Wow.” While this spherical pupper is usually chained up in Mabel Village, Link takes him on a walk for a good chunk of the game — where the good doggo will help clear obstacles and gobble up baddies. Pretty nice for a minor Mario enemy.
Dotting the beaches around where Link’s sword falls are these Kirby classics. Gordos (called Sea Urchins here) aren’t nearly the headaches that they are in their home series, however — for one thing, you can move them around with your shield out, and then just cut them down to size with your sword if needed. Not so indestructible now, are we?
The star of the show (whose name you well know), everybody’s favorite puffball shows up in the Eagle’s Tower to do what he does best: eat you alive. Avoiding his suction prowess can be tricky, but you can easily feed him bombs to give him some indigestion (by which I mean blow him to smithereens).
The foremost video game steed makes a cute cameo in Mabel Village’s crane game, where a doll in the dino’s green image kicks off the game’s long and illustrious trading quest. It’s a fairly understated reference compared to the others here, but it’s nice to see Nintendo’s happiest lizard get a little time in the sun.
Now here’s a minor antagonist — the dream king of Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) shows up in Link’s Awakening as well (which, when you think about it, is pretty thematically relevant) as “Mamu.” He’ll teach you a frog song to help you on your quest, which is significantly nicer than chucking mushroom-shaped blocks at your head.
This Mario “bad guy” may not be such a bad guy — but he is a heck of a mimic. In Link’s Awakening, this enemy will reciprocate your movements 1:1, meaning you’ll have to line up a spin attack in order to fell one.
The most ubiquitous minions in all of gaming make their appearance in side-scrolling sections of dungeons. While you can slice them up like other Zelda foes, if you go by tradition and hop on their heads, you’ll not only off them but nab a guaranteed heart.
Also popping up in side-scrolling segments, this bitey plant extends and retracts in order to block your way. Fortunately, Link learned how to jump for this adventure, so you can hop over the carnivorous flora with some basic timing.
A fun little Easter Egg that was added to the Switch version of Link’s Awakening was the addition of Boo. Boo was not in the original Link’s Awakening Game Boy version!
Of all the people to pop up in a Zelda game, who would expect a character from SimCity? Known as Mr. Write in this game, this one-time city advisor is now a pen pal writing to the aforementioned goat-woman, offering Link a broom in exchange for the letter he drops off. It’s unclear whether or not he ever learns the true identity of his correspondent…
By far, the most obscure reference here, the wayward traveler Richard is actually a reference to the Japanese-only Game Boy game Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru, roughly translated as For the Frog the Bell Tolls. You may have seen him in Smash Bros. as the assist trophy Prince Richard. His frog-laden house is also where you can hear the iconic “Totaka’s Song” if you wait long enough.
Any cameos we missed? Let us know in the comments.
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