Today is the 20th anniversary of Link’s Awakening DX for Game Boy Color. Released five years after the original, this game includes several additions to Link’s Awakening, including the entire game being in color and a new dungeon. The story, however, still centers around collecting the eight Instruments of the Sirens (plus the ocarina) and performing the “Ballad of the Wind Fish” to awaken Koholint Island’s creator, the Wind Fish. The melancholic melody awakens memories of Link’s adventures across Koholint Island and especially of Marin, the songstress who longs for life beyond the sea (and for Link).
On this platinum anniversary, I wanted to highlight the paramount piece of music in Link’s Awakening DX. Being one of my favorite Zelda music covers, RichaadEB‘s metal cover of “Ballad of the Wind Fish” was my obvious choice.
Medli’s Melodies is a series in which we choose our favorite songs from The Legend of Zelda franchise, or highlight a special piece of music from the perpetually creative fan community. Music has always such been such an integral component of Zelda games, and we’re here to celebrate that every week!
The cover begins with slow, echoing guitar, invoking a dreamlike atmosphere. How appropriate, considering Link’s Awakening DX occurs within the dream of the Wind Fish. Another guitar soon joins with a melodic line, backed up by cymbal rolls. Then, the rhythm guitar and drums enter with a pounding eighth note pattern, giving off a major power ballad vibe (maybe he should have called the cover “Power Ballad of the Wind Fish?”).
This continues for a spell until the primary melody rips in and propels the tune into a momentous new feel, supported by a driving syncopated rhythm on the drums and accompanying sixteen note riffs on guitar. I confess, I hadn’t played Link’s Awakening DX before hearing this cover (don’t worry, I have since rectified this), but the moment where the drums hit really reeled me in and ensured I was on the line for the whole ride.
The cover continues with another round of the first part of the melody, this time adding a nice harmony. It progresses to the second part of the melody with underlying heavy drums and dissonant chords. Back to the first part of the melody again, then a meter change into a triplet feel for a brief but blistering guitar solo. The tune returns to its original meter for the second part of the melody again, then relaxes back into the dreamlike state like the beginning. Just when you’ve caught your breath, the melody comes back and the drums fire into double double time to get some more adrenaline flowing. The piece culminates with a shredding guitar solo and superb drum fills that leaves the listener wondering if it was all a dream.
Although RichaadEB forgoes the Instruments of the Sirens (unless you count the thunderous drums used), I think we can agree that this cover certainly has the energy to provide a wake-up call. Hopefully listening will provide some fuel to get you through the rest of the week.
If you’re into VGM covers, you are probably no stranger to RichaadEB. If you haven’t heard of him, be sure to check out his other epic Zelda covers.