Link's Awakening is best described as "a stranger in a strange land." Link becomes stranded on a bizarre island that's startlingly familiar yet full of sights and sounds unlike anything the series had ever seen. Link eventually finds himself in appropriate surroundings again: on top on a mountain, fighting monsters high above Koholint Island while a charged, inspirational battle cry wails from the Game Boy's speakers.
It's not just an upbeat, infectious tune - it also drives home our assertion that Koholint is the same yet different, as the overall tone sounds like it should be from the NES Zelda, but the execution is just a little too wild and crazy for plain old Hyrule. Makes us want to grab a sword and go!
Near as we can tell, the closest legal means to an official soundtrack is the game itself. There might be some official disc buried out there somewhere, but if it does exist, finding a copy would be prohibitively difficult. There are much easier ways...
Prolific remixer and generally awesome zircon not only braves the mountains, he synths and shreds the hell outta them with Clash at the Mountains.
Wind Waker has no shortage of excellent tunes, each a windswept siren song beckoning Link to the open ocean, but if we could only take one to a deserted island, it'd be the Dragon Roost Island theme. It just doesn't sound like a Zelda song at all, a perfect complement to a game that defied Zelda conventions from the beginning. No poorly sampled instrument noises, no electronic beeps, just easy listening you'd expect to hear while exploring a volcanic island inhabited by bird people. Right?
This tropical, organic music helped set the stage for what would become one of the GameCube's best games, and one of the best overall soundtracks of the past five years.
Want 133 totally legit tracks of Wind Waker greatness? Game Music Online is still slinging copies for 40 bucks.
Remixes of note
Amazingly, there's only ONE remix of this song, Tyler Heath's all-orchestra story of the Pirates of Dragon Roost Isle. Good stuff, but not as easy to jump into as some of the other mixes on the list.
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