With the recent news of Nintendo releasing a remake of the Game Boy classic The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, the 1993 action adventure game has been creating quite the buzz lately in the Retro Gaming community. Many nostalgia-ridden gamers are dusting off their translucent-purple Game Boy Colors and diving back into that classic Link action until the official remake is released.
What they’re finding is a great deal of Mario characters sprinkled into the mix. It all starts with a, “Hey, that guy kinda looks like Mario.” Which quickly turns into a, “Wait is that a goomba?!”If you dig even further, you’ll find that there are more than enough Mushroom Land inhabitant cameos to make you realize that this move by Nintendo was more than just some kind of Easter Egg hunt.
So I did just that, and I was so blown away by how many Mario, and other Nintendo, characters I found in this Zelda game that I just had to put this article together. So here it is:
Yep. In the very first playable scene of the game, Link awakens in a house that belongs to a man named Tarin. Take more than a brief glance at the guy, and you’ll notice he has some striking similarities to our plumber friend, Mario. But that can’t be him…right?
2. Chain Chomp
If you leave the starting house and walk one screen left, that feeling of being in a Mario game only gets stronger. Tied to a post out front is a very feisty Chain Chomp, known in this game as Bow Wow.
Though it seems like you’re done for if you cross its path, this Chain Chomp actually becomes one of your companions, following you around and destroying enemies for you.
Fairly early on in the game, you’ll start what seems like a never ending trade sequence between many of the inhabitants of Koholint Island. The very first item on the list is a coveted Yoshi doll, sought after by Papahl’s wife for one of their children.
Pay the man in the corner 10 Rupees, and you’ll get a chance to win yourself a Yoshi doll by playing the crane game.
The first quest in the game is to recover the sword you lost when you crashed onto the island. A quick trip down to the beach reveals some Urchins, who made their debut in the Mario universe in 1990’s Super Mario World. Not much has changed with them…they’re still spiky and mean.
That’s right. There are freaking Goombas in Link’s Awakening. You’ve barely had time to adjust to the fact that you’ve gone underground and suddenly switched to a 2D scrolling part of the game, when you notice there are Goombas running around.
Thankfully you can still jump on their heads and squish them like pancakes.
6. Piranha Plants
If you’re going to have Goombas, I guess you might as well have Piranha Plants too. That’s probably what the Nintendo team was thinking at this point. We’ve officially gone from just a few Easter Eggs to a full blown crossover.
7. Princess Peach
Okay now we’ve gone full crossover. But why is the picture signed “Christine” when that’s obviously Princess Peach? Was Nintendo really trying to fool us into thinking these weren’t Mario characters?
Not exactly. This pictures surfaces as another part of the trading sequence, in which you deliver a letter to Mr. Write. It’s most likely that Peach and Mr. Write are pen pals, and that Peach is using a fake name, which was common during the time frame this game was made.
Link also points out that something isn’t quite right…
Those mustaches aren’t fooling anybody. This desert area in Link’s Awakening features these Super Mario Bros. 2 wiggling enemies. Careful, they’re definitely pokey.
8. Shy Guys
Speaking of Super Mario Bros. 2 enemies, an early dungeon enemy you’ll find yourself facing is what the Zelda universe calls a “masked mimic.” Nice try, Nintendo…those are Shy Guys.
9. Cheep Cheeps
These guys are rather recognizable too. These Cheep Cheeps follow suit by appearing in the 2D underground platform levels, much like the other Mario enemies you’ll encounter. They even carry on the tradition of jumping out of the water and in an attempt to flop you to death.
Of course Link’s Awakening has an underwater level, it wouldn’t be a Zelda game if it didn’t. Nintendo must’ve thought, what better way to annoy gamers than with these annoying Super Mario Bros. enemies.
I feel bad. I hadn’t intended on putting Luigi this low on the list, but I’m sure he’s used to it. Apparently Luigi spends his days off like most of us…atop a mountain in a house alone feeding chickens.
Nintendo Zelda Link To The Past Cartoon Art Graphic T-Shirt
These guys are without a doubt from the Mario universe. There are actually several different versions of Thwomps you’ll find yourself up against, all of them making their own unique goofy faces at you as you get close. Oh yeah, they still try to smush you.
Any seasoned Mario fan will tell you to approach any pit of lava with great caution. The reason? These fireballs would love to take you down as you jump across the pit from which they arise out of.
If you’ve ever been to Bowser’s Castle, you should be in good shape when it comes to dodging these hot puppies.
Speaking of Bowser, those statues sure do resemble him…
Okay, okay, Kirby isn’t a Mario character, but he isn’t exactly a Zelda character either. He’s also not a friendly character in Link’s Awakening, as he tries to use is inhalation skills to swallow up some of your life points.
15. And many more…
There are plenty more characters from other Nintendo universes that I haven’t even mentioned, including Wart, the main villain from Super Mario Bros. 2, Bob-ombs, Dr. Write from SimCity, and a few other familiar faces.
Did I miss a Nintendo cameo from Link’s Awakening? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t forget to sign up for our Weekly Retro Gaming Gear Giveaways, where we give away free gaming gear every Friday!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made from links found on this page.