Many of us know the development story of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: After A Link to the Past went gold, programmer Tōru Ōsawa started experimenting with Game Boy development kits to see how far he could take a Zelda experience. The results were so impressive that more staff started contributing to this unofficial passion project and eventually it got the nod from Nintendo’s top brass to go into full production.
But an important element is often omitted from this story, the foundation of Link’s Awakening was not built from the ground up. The team used the skeleton of a recent Game Boy version developed by R & D1; Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru – translated as The frog for whom the death knell tolls.
Unlike its little brother, this game has never had the chance to come out of Japan and we are still waiting for an official localization, even if in 2011, passionate fans took matters into their own hands.
Those moments in Link’s Awakening where the perspective goes up and down to side-scrolling? This comes straight from The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls. Heck, even the police come from this game. The two are very closely related and without the foundation and influence of this game, Link’s Awakening as we know it wouldn’t be like today.
Join us as we explore the basics laid by Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru and dive deeper to see what makes it distinct.