9) Link’s Awakening
It’s easy to forget now, but there was a seven year gap between A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. In that time period there was only one major Zelda game. That game, of course, was Link’s Awakening. A direct follow-up to A Link to the Past and the Oracle games, it deviates from the typical Zelda formula and puts you outside of Hyrule. The story finds Link ship wrecked on Koholint Island and saved by a girl named Marin. It’s your mission to gather eight instruments of the Sirens to wake the Wind Fish, the guardian of the island. Gathering these instruments ensures you a way one ticket back to Hyrule.
Link’s Awakeing was the first portable Zelda game and proved what was possible on the Game Boy. Link’s Awakening isn’t just a good portable Zelda, it’s a good Zelda game period. Everything necessary for a great game are there. The items, the dungeons, and the puzzles, are all good. The variation in the game is impressive, especially given the hardware it’s on. Let’s not forget about the trade-a-thon that can take a majority of the game. With a dream-like ending (hehe, get it?) and genuinely good characters, Link’s Awakening is a treat.