Metroid Fusion (2002) Review

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Metroid Fusion is the fourth entry in the Metroid Series and is the second game to be released on a handheld console. The game was developed and produced by Nintendo.

It takes place after the events of Metroid Other M and as of this review it is at the end of the chronological timeline of events.

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While flying over the planet SR388 Samus is attacked by an Alien Organism called X, she crashes her ship but is thankfully rescued by the Galactic Federation, the organism affects her nervous system and almost kills her before she is cured by having Metroid DNA pumped into her body, with her new DNA she is now able to absorb the X parasites and gain energy and ammunition from them however she is now damaged by cold due to cold being a Metroid’s weakness.

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An explosion on the space station that Samus is being recovered on gets damaged by an explosion, Samus is commanded to investigate, its here that she is introduced to a new computer system she names ADAM after her ex-commanding officer, the computer informs her that the X parasite is able to clone its prey and that SA-X (That’s Samus Aran X) have been made and are highly dangerous, and its from here that Samus and ADAM work together to find a way to destroy the parasite and save humanity.

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Metroid Fusion is a unique game in the series because for the first time the game-play changed drastically, the main idea is the same you do explore various locations and find many secrets such as Energy Tanks, Missiles and Power Bombs but this time the parasites make enemies a lot more difficult to kill, the reason for this is because when you destroy an enemy it releases the an X parasite and if you don’t collect it fast enough it will either re-spawn the enemy or will attach itself to another enemy making it more powerful.

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The game is a lot less cryptic than its predecessors this is due to ADAM telling the player where they need to go to reach their objectives, the game actually pin points almost everything on the map making the adventure feel a lot less immersive and much easier than you might expect, the only thing that really bothers me about this is that a lot of free exploration was not available here and it sucks because you could explore freely in all of this games predecessors, security doors no longer require weapons to open either as you can find security rooms that can unlock all of them, I actually prefer this idea as it allows Samus to save on ammunition.

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Even though the game does hold your hand a little bit by guiding the player throughout the majority of the adventure, the locations are just as beautiful and fantastic in art design as they were in Super Metroid.

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Throughout the game Samus can upgrade her suit and with each upgrade she will gain new abilities and sometimes a new colour, however none of these colours are the traditional orange, this is because orange is the colour of the Samus Clone SA-X that at some points in the game will hunt you down and try its best to kill you, this creature is extremely powerful and does major damage to the player if they are hit, its actually quite scary and reminds me of the film invasion of the body snatchers.

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There are many bosses to fight in the game and all of them are creepy and have amazing features and I absolutely love the design of all of them, my favourite is the nightmare a big robot with a goopy face that melts the more damage that you do it, its honestly quite tragic watching its face melt off but in a Nintendo game its also really cool, the issue that I really had with boss fights is that they all get killed the same way and apart from the final boss I remember killing all of them with just missiles and compared to Super Metroid where the bosses were killed in more creative ways this was little disappointing.

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What is new about the boss fights here though is the core that they leave behind after blasting a boss with missiles they will die and release a core, the core will also need to be blasted with missiles in order to release an X parasite that will give Samus one of her past abilities and weapons.

A few changes were made to some weapons here, the high jump and jump ball are now combined, the missile upgrades all act as one weapon instead of separate weapons, the X-ray scope is gone however the Super Bombs can now show secret passages instead and the grappling lazer is not in the game at all.

One other thing to note is that the spin jump is now much easier to pull off, in Super Metroid it is quite difficult to master but here players should get the hang of it after a few uses.

The soundtrack is fantastic due to the Gameboy Advances sound capabilities, just like in Super Metroid the music is creepy and dark, Samus is trying to survive and the new threatening parasite has made enemies more powerful and she is afraid but feeling hopeful, the music really gives this impression through the way its orchestrated and is generally really good, but its not all creepy as a good number of action packed tracks are used to compliment the slower ones, this is best shown when Samus runs into the SA-X and is running away trying to escape from the terrifying clone of herself.

With all of its flaws I actually really like Metroid Fusion, it is linear in its gameplay but the environments are fantastic, it has great boss designs and its plot makes the game a lot scarier than its predecessors. What I think this game did really well was that it showed the player from the beginning that the hero Samus Aran who has survived many missions can die, she is only human like the rest of us and that makes the adventure feel much scarier and more important that players try to survive, the game is full of great details and even has voice acting which is actually really good for what you would expect from a gameboy advance game.

I only wish that you were able to explore more freely and that the game was not as easy as it is, however on the flip side this is a great game for people who want to be introduced to the Metroid series as compared to the previous games this is the least frustrating.

7/10

hope you enjoyed this review of Metroid Fusion for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance.

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Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (1987) Review

What a horrible night to have a curse.

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Before reading this review please check out my review of the first Castlevania game

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2018/07/06/castlevania-nes-review/

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Castlevania 2 Simons Quest is a 1987 NES action plat-former created by Konami, it takes place many years after the first game. During the final boss battle of the first Castlevania Dracula’s body parts are spread across the land and Simon is cursed, this curse does not affect Simon for a very long time and its during the events of Castlevania 2 that Simon Belmont must find the various body parts of Dracula and burn them in an attempt to remove the curse.

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The game is very different to its predecessor, while it is an adventure plat-former it executes this completely differently, this game is much slower due to players having to grind enemies to earn heart currency, a lot of very cryptic puzzle solving and back tracking is also required for players to progress through the game. The puzzles in this game are really unfair and too cryptic for players to figure out without using a guide, a prime example is having to kneel down next to a lake, after a few seconds stairs and a platform appear that allow you to walk into the lake that would normally kill you instantly, another really frustrating part of the game are fake blocks that appear everywhere and most of the time they kill you, you can see through these by throwing holy water but this becomes very boring when you are throwing holy water every step in the castles to avoid a fall to your death.

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There are many objects you can acquire in the game by either killing bosses or buying them from NPC’s, for me the most useful item was the holy water as it helped to destroy fake blocks and made killing enemies that were below me very easy. The sacred flame is another very useful item that makes a wall of fire that can do serious damage to enemies however it costs currency to use it. You can find use in some of Dracula’s body parts for example you can use his rib as a shield to deflect fire balls and his heart can be shown to the ferryman to find a path to one of the castles.

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There are not many bosses in the game and all of them are really easy including the final boss, the two other bosses you encounter can just be ignored unless you want to fight them for new weapons.

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What many people dislike about this game is the day to night cycle and vice versa, it happens on a time loop and really has no point to it other than the illusion of days passing, it really sucks because you cant use towns during night time and you may need to heal or buy a new whip or sub-weapon and a lot of the time you will find your self just waiting around for time to pass.

The soundtrack is great I prefer this to the music in the original game because I feel its a lot more immersive and each track has a great beat to it, my favourite song in the game is bloody tears, this is the song that I associate with the Castlevania series, its a fun and adventurous track that suits the game-play style perfectly.

Castlevania 2: Simons Quest is one of the most hated games in the series for a lot of the reasons I covered in this review, however while it may seem that I have complained a lot about the game, I really do not think that its as bad as its made out to be, yeah its slow and cryptic and the day to night cycle will make you want to tear your hair out but it is a much more immersive game as you will be talking to a lot of town folk and finding religious churches to recover health, the majority of it takes place outside of Dracula’s castle and provides a lot of really memorable areas and enemies, its has a very creepy feeling to it which is perfect for this series and the platforming while at times frustrating for the most part works quite well. I wouldn’t say it a good game but I wouldn’t say its a bad game either.

5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (1987)

Happy Halloween 2019

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Will Vinton’s Claymation Comedy of Horrors (1991) Review

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In a forest on Halloween Sheldon Snail and Wiltshire Pig are testing out a new carnival ride on their friend Vince, the caring Sheldon is worried for his friends safety while Wiltshire Pig is more interested in making a large profit from those who ride it.

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After an accident with the ride causes a crater to be made in the ground, the two friends discover Frakenswines Diary which tells the story of the mad scientist and the monster he created, Wiltshire Pig is overly excited about this as directions to the doctors castle and lab are left in the diary encouraging both Sheldon and Wiltshire to seek them out in hopes of finding the monster.

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The entire movie is made using Claymation and is very impressive to look at and admire for how creative the project is, we don’t see much claymation work these days so this was very nostalgic to someone like me that grew up in an age where this style of animation was regularly used in movies and television.

The short is very funny and charming, the funniest parts are when Wiltshire Pig is trying to convince the monsters in the castle that he’s not alive so that they wont harm him or throw him out, the most hilarious encounter is with his dead grandmother, Wiltshire never attended her funeral and begins to panic trying to give an excuse as to why.

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My favourite clay model in the short was a fat green monster that Sheldon and Wiltshire meet when they first enter the castle, the Frankenswine Monster was also a really fun design and its personality was unexpected and hilarious after all of the effort the duo went through to find it.

I had never heard of this special until today and after watching it I think its going to end up being an annual occurrence to me, the whole special was really funny and the animation style was fantastically made and a joy to watch, I would highly recommend checking this short animation out, as of this review the film is available on YouTube and I assure you it is excellent. I only wish it was a little bit longer as I enjoyed it so much.

9.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Will Vinton’s Claymation Comedy of Horrors (1991)

Happy Halloween 2019

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Dracula’s Daughter (1936) Review

Before reading this review use the link below to check out my review of Dracula from 1931

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2017/10/07/dracula-1931-review/

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As a sequel to one of the greatest  horror classics of all time its a very difficult task to try and replicate the influential masterpiece of the 1931 film starring Bela Lugosi. This film does not have Lugosi to give his chilling performance so the new vampire played by Gloria Holden had to really try and wow audiences.

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Gloria Hoden pictured here next to co star Irving Pichel was a beauty on the screen and gives a wonderful performance by portraying a character that does not want to be a monster but is still driven to hurt and kill others in order to get her fix of human blood.

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The film begins where the last movie ended, Van-Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) had just slain Count Dracula but he is unfortunately captured by two policeman who arrest him and take him to Scotland Yard for questioning

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While Van-Helsing is in custody the Countess Marya Zaleska steals her fathers body and burns it in the hope of turning her into a mortal as she is desperate to remove her cravings for blood and live free of the curse of being a vampire.

The movie is tragic and very sad, you really feel sorrow for the Countess and are left on the edge of your seat praying that Van-Helsing can prove that Vampires exist and is able to save himself from the gallows or a sanitarium. Van-Helsing calls for Dr Garth (Otto Kruger) a Psychiatrist and one of his ex-students for help defending his sanity.

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Draculas Daughter does not have the same impact as the original film but I wouldn’t say its only because of a lack of Bela Lugosi but also because both of the films have a different atmosphere and pacing, the original film was creepy and slow but this one is faster paced and at times rather comical, I would argue that Dracula (1931) was scarier but that Dracula’s Daughter is more entertaining due to it packing more of a punch and is a lot more lively

I hope you enjoyed this review of Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Happy Halloween 2019

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Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (1994) Review

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Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is the follow up to the highly successful Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. It has Wario as the main playable character which was a first for the Mario Universe.

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After being booted out of Mario’s castle in Mario Land 2, Wario travels to kitchen Island hoping to steal a golden statue of Princess Peach from the notorious Sugar Pirates, he will then sell the statue back to Mario for the cost of a new castle.

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In a similar fashion to Mario Land 1 and 2 Wario Land is a 2D platformer but this game is not as simple as getting from point A to point B because it has a new style of gameplay that helps it to stand out compared to its predecessors.

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Your main goal in Wario Land is to collect coins, you can find many coins in the 40 levels of the game and you can also use keys to open doors to hidden treasures that will add value to your final money count.

Wario can also collect hearts and once enough are collected he will earn a new life.

In the game Wario can also find items to help him traverse the stages. these items come in the form of hats allowing him to ram, fly and and breathe fire onto his enemies and certain terrain.

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The boss fights in this game are the best in the Super Mario Land series, there is boss for every world and they are all very unique and they cannot all be defeated in the same manner, some can be jumped on but others need to be attacked with certain items or by having items thrown at them.

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After every level Wario can play one of two minigames, one allows him to throw items at enemies to earn more heart points and the other is a gambling game where he can earn more coins, I really struggled with the heart game so I stuck with the coin game throughout my playthrough.

The best part of collecting money in the game is that how much you collect will determine your final reward, I was lucky enough to get my own planet which is the highest reward, I recommend finding all of the treasures because it is a lot of fun and they are quite easy to find once you get the hang of the game.

The soundtrack is ok for the game but its really not anything special, I had the same issue with the Super Mario Land 2 soundtrack so hopefully the music is better in the later Wario Land games.

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A lot of the levels look very similar in design which is fine but I would of preferred the developers to take more inspiration from the different worlds of the game and maybe tried to theme the levels to suit the foods they are based on.

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is the best game in the Super Mario Land trilogy, it is a lot of fun and gave the series a new spin in its gameplay and platforming, I love the idea of getting different rewards based on how well you did in the game as it added a lot of replay value. The game is very easy but is a lot of fun, my only complaints are the similar stage designs and the medicore soundtrack but putting these two things aside this is possibly one of the best games for the original Gameboy and was a great debut for Wario as a playable character.

9/10

hope you enjoyed this review of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 for the Nintendo Game Boy.

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Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992) Review

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Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was released for the Nintendo Gameboy in 1992, It is the sequel to the 1989 game Super Mario Land.

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While Mario was in Sarasa Land during the events of Super Mario Land his home island as well as his castle has been taken over by his evil counterpart Wario, Wario has brainwashed the island inhabitants making them attack Mario leaving him no choice but to defeat Wario and claim back his home and save the island.

mapThe game uses a world map which allows players to choose stage locations in any order they please, this is really cool and was a first for a Mario game, I always play the game starting from the left side of the map working my way clockwise across the zones

 

 

There are six worlds in the game and completing each world will earn you a golden coin and you need all of them to take on the final stage and boss.

My favourite worlds are the space zone because you can float making the platforming much more challenging than the rest of the game which is very easy and I love the pumpkin zone because of its creepy imagery.

If you use the route I do you will tackle each world in this order

Tree Zone

Space Zone

Macro Zone

Pumpkin Zone

Mario Zone

Turtle Zone

All of the worlds have a different theme and each one stands out due to how they mix up the game play for example as previously mentioned the space zone adds anti gravity, the turtle zone is mostly water based and the macro zone has the player shrunken to the size of an ant.

 

 

Every world has its own boss and they all very creative, however they are all very easy to beat.super-mario-land-2-tree-zone

The game has the usual Mario items such as mushrooms, power flowers and power stars but one new addition is introduced here and that is the bunny ears, if Mario finds a carrot he will grow bunny rabbit ears which allow him to float through the air, this is the best item in the game in my opinion and it makes the adventure much easier than it should be.

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In each stage if you hit the highest bell at the end of a level you can play a mini game, there are two types you play one uses a crane and the other one is a game where you have to create a path for electricity.

A final note is that with the money you collect in the game you can use it in special zone where you can win multiple prizes and lives.

The soundtrack is nothing special but I do really like it, its got very simple tunes and melody’s which all suit each zone and the levels that they represent however none of the music really stands out and I wouldn’t say its that memorable.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is a great game and is a lot better than its predecessor, the developers took a different approach with this one and it works really well even with its odd premise and weird design for a Mario game, it also introduced us to Wario who would eventually go on to spawn his own popular video game series Wario Land, Wario World and Wario Ware. The game is really easy and can be finished in just a few hours but that does not take away from the experience and this is one weird Mario adventure you do not want to miss.

I really hope for a HD remake one day.

8.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins for the Nintendo Game Boy.

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The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening (Nintendo Gameboy/Nintendo Switch) Review

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The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening was released in 1993 for the Nintendo Gameboy, it was the first handheld game in the series and is by far the strangest. The game was re-released in 1998 for the Gameboy colour which is the version I am going to be focusing on in this review. I will be discussing the 2019 remake for the Nintendo Switch as well in order to see if it is better than the original.

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After the events of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link travels by boat to various islands to train his skills however during one of his voyages a storm destroys the boat and causes him to be washed up on Koholint Island.

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He is rescued by a young girl called Marin who takes him to her house, after Link recovers his sword a mysterious owl tells him that he must wake up the wind fish to go home, the wind fish is inside of a giant egg on top of a mountain and Link must recover eight instruments from dungeons to wake him up.

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Links awakening mostly follows a very similar pattern to the games before it as you will need to travel across Koholint Island solving puzzles, meeting new characters, discovering dungeons and defeating bosses, two new items are introduced in this game, one of them is rocs feather which allows Link to jump over small gaps and attack flying enemies and the other is the Ocarina which Link can learn to play music on to trigger events in the game such as teleportation, raising the dead and eventually opening the final dungeon.

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2D side scrolling sections return in this game but they are executed much better than they were in Zelda 2, these are short and sweet and are a lot of fun, they are also the best places to find enemies from the Super Mario series. Mario enemies are all over this game its really cool and fits the sillier nature of the title, when you play the game you will realise that it is quite silly and comedic, this a Zelda game that does not need to be taken seriously and that is something I would like to see more of in the future.

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There are a few things that I feel really hold back this game from being one of the better games in the series. The map is really confusing as nothing is easy to find, almost all of the buildings look the same and are labelled as shops, I really wanted to collect all of the photographer pictures but when I tried to find the the building before I took on the final boss I could not find it and eventually gave up.

I also think that a lot of secrets or dungeons are too cryptic and hard to figure out in this title, some things are more obvious than others but a lot of the time because the dungeons all look so similar you will find your self pulling out your hair trying to get through them.

I think all of these issues could have been fixed with some labels added to the map and I can only hope that the 2019 version of the game fixes this.

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Visually the game looks really good, for the gameboy’s limitations the developers pushed the system to put out  lots of colours and great animations.

I love this soundtrack, its really charming and fits the games setting really well, there are some classic Zelda tracks thrown in so you cant really go wrong, my favourite music is from Mabe village.

The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening is an odd game to say the least, its very charming and to a lot of people its one of the best in the series, I personally enjoy the game but I don’t think it doesn’t have its faults. The confusing map added a lot of stress to my play-through but apart from that this is a good title and I would like to see a sillier game in the series again.

Recently the game has been remade for the Nintendo Switch

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On September 20th 2019 a new HD remake of Links Awakening was released on the Nintendo Switch, the game came with a beautiful graphical upgrade and new and impressive renditions of the music, the new soundtrack is fantastic and is just as enjoyable as the originals soundtrack.

Here is the soundtrack if you would like the compare the two

Unfortunately due to the game only releasing in the last 24 hours I could only find the soundtrack as one video however the up-loader has added time marks to skip tracks.

This game is filled with bug fixes and small improvements to the original game but I am only going to focus on the changes that I feel will have the biggest impact on returning players.
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I love the new visuals, the game is extremely colourful and is a joy to look at, the designers took a very child friendly and almost toy inspired design for the game and it suits the silly nature of the adventure perfectly. the game is packed with wonderful visuals and smooth animations including a fully animated opening cut scene.

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Some other important changes are new ways to play some of the minigames which are now much more challenging in my opinion, a much easier to read map that allows the player to place markers, the option to choose where to land after using warp pads and key items being assigned to buttons meaning that players do not have to go the inventory all of the time.

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For me the worst part of the remake is its dungeon creator mode which replaces the photography in the game, players can use areas from dungeons they have finished to build new dungeons that they and their friends can play through. I generally do not enjoy creative game experiences like this so the loss of the photography which was my favourite part of the original game was a little upsetting for me.

Lack of photography or not it would be unfair to say that this is not the superior version of the game, it looks and sounds better and makes the experience a little less tedious than it used to be and that is exactly what you should expect from a remake, the developers put their hearts and souls into this and the outcome was a very good Zelda remaster.

Links Awakening DX – 8.4/10

Links Awakening 2019 – 9.3/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening

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