Many of us know the story of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening's development: once A Link to the Past went gold, programmer Tōru Ōsawa began experimenting with Game Boy development kits to see how far he could push a Zelda experience. The results were so impressive that more staff started contributing to this unofficial passion project and eventually it got the thumbs up from Nintendo top brass to enter full production.
But one important element is often left out of this tale, the foundation of Link's Awakening wasn't built from scratch. The team used the skeleton of a recent Game Boy release developed by R&D1; Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru — translated as The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls.
Unlike its younger sibling, this game never had the chance to leap out of Japan and we're still waiting for an official localisation, although in 2011 passionate fans took matters into their own hands.
Those moments in Link's Awakening where the perspective shifts from top down to side-scroller? That comes directly from The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls. Heck, even the font comes from this game. The two are very tightly knit and without this game's foundation and influence, Link's Awakening as we know it wouldn't be anything like it is today.
Join us as we explore the groundwork set by Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru and dive deeper to see what makes it distinct.
I played a bit of the English patch for this game and enjoyed it even as a non-RPG guy. In particular I loved how the Prince wasn't a silent protagonist and had thought bubbles.
this game is great, totally deserving of some kind of reboot
Fascinating. Never heard of this before.
This is the sort of content I'd love to see more of.
This is great. I had no idea about this one and now I want to play it. Could have been another major IP with more games.
Yeah, I finally had a chance to play this in recent years and you can really feel a lot of the shared DNA between the two. This would be a great candidate for a remake of sorts, although it’s a bit short by modern standards and asking $50+ for it would be a tall order without significant reworks.
Perhaps more importantly, Frog For Whom The Bell Tolls has a lot of the same bizarre humor and plot diversions that gave Link’s Awakening more “flavor” compared to its relatively serious and straightforward predecessors.
oh look they gave that assist trophy from Smash Bros his own game
Really cool video. Now I'm hoping it comes with GB NSO or a full on remake.
I remember stumbling upon this one on I believe HG101 several years back. It was a pleasant surprise to learn of it and it was clear to see the similarities to Zelda. It's a good type of game on the GB. One of my favorites on the system was Final Fantasy Adventure, another top-down action RPG game, so I like seeing those on GB.
This game is cool. And love the cover, probably my favorite GB box I own.
Link's Awakening has been my favorite game for 27 years. So it shames me that I didn't give this game a chance until just this year.
I've played it on a GBA through, uh, very legitimate means, and WOW it is a hidden gem. It's bursting with charm and creativity, all spun around pretty vibrant gameplay.
A shame there's no official localization, so much love to the fans who do what Nintendon't ❤
I went played and completed a fan translated ROM last year for this reason. The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls is a very decent, but yet quite charming game. For anyone interested in the game, go get yourself a copy. You're more than likely going to enjoy playing the game and it shouldn't take you long to finish it.
Great game! I loving it so far.
I have a fan translated version on a cartridge. Never got far, but I knew they had to be related somehow.
I've never played this game, but I'm very interested in doing so.
Link's Awakening DX is one of my favourite Zelda games, and if it is anything like it, then I'll surely like it; also, this game seems to have that kind of charm classic Game Boy games have. So a remake in the style of the one Link's Awakening got in 2019 (Perhaps using some of its assets, kind of a reverse process of how this game influenced the original Link's Awakening), or a revival like Kid Icarus: Uprising, or maybe even just a (properly) localised release of the original game would be great.
The Famicom Tantei Club remakes recently released showed that old games can make surprising comebacks, so perhaps there is a chance for Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru to do so? At least there seems to be a bit of an audience for it...
If only there was some where to buy a repro translated copy for a reasonable price and maybe get mother 3 as well.
Maybe search BuytoPlayGame could help?
I love this game. I played it for YouTube a few years back and it quickly became one of my favorites on the Game Boy.
"Time marches on"
Epic thrash riff
Played this recently and it's quite a treat for sure.
You can really see how it is the same Engine^^
Have to give it a try
thank you @JonComms for this video! for as much as I love Link’s Awakening and knew of it’s origins, I never knew that this game was the blueprint of sorts. great video!
Excellent video Jon! Really glad you joined the team! When I heard you were quitting your old job I was like noooo... Then I learn that you got in the NintendoLife team, which I followed since a long time ago! YES! I know it's old news 'cause you've been part of the team for quite some time now but still wanted to say it.
literally every article on the front page of nintendolife at this moment is shovelware.
Jon is such a valuable addition to NintendoLife! I loved NL's uniquely great, wholesome content before he joined, and I loved Jon's content before as well. Now with their powers combined, they get to make all sorts of lovely Nintendo-related content together! Perfect synergy here!
@NintendoByNature That would be awesome. I wonder how much work it would be?
@KnightRider666 I searched for an English rom hack on a cartridge on eBay for this but couldn't find anything.
@BongoBongo123 I got it on this site: ocdreproductions.com Cody is a good guy, quick turn around.
@Mgene15 are you inferring this article is shovelware?? This is the kind of history article that takes quite a bit of effort, and super interesting to boot!
@BongoBongo123 I personally wouldn't know but I feel like the ground work for links awakening makes it possible as stated in the video.
How have I never heard of this game?! I'd be much more hype for an official English release of this game than Mother 3.
I have never heard of this game too! It seems great but the graphics are out-dated. Perhaps a remake would save the day.
Oh, to hell with this all! GTA trilogy remastered is coming to the Nintendo Switch. Rejoice fellow third-party-port-lovers!
It's not very often that my avatar picture relates to a NintendoLife article.
Toruzz-san is working on colorizing this game: http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=21642.0
Enjoyed this video - more of this content please NL!
Might be too late for anyone to read this but would just like to say this was maybe the most enjoyable NL YouTube channel video I have ever watched! Thanks Jon you are a legend
I really enjoyed this. Tons of stuff I didn't know. Thanks for making the video!
Another addition to the RetroArch library😎
I've beaten this game in 2013 and can assure one thing: you barely play it, it's more like a "quick time event", the game plays itself.
The very little you can do is so easy, it's kinda a little interactive story book. It shares the same engine with Link's Awakening, which is a masterpiece, but the similarity ends here.
I first heard of this game I think in 2006 via a video talking about Totaka's song. The game was know as "For the frog the bell tolls" back then
Not to be pedantic about this kind of thing, but "Sablé" pronounced "sab-lay", and also, this wasn't specified in the video so I don't know if Jon was aware of this or not, but "Prince Sablé" isn't his name, he's the prince of the Sablé Kingdom. He technically doesn't have a name, since you name him in the game. Just FYI.
Regardless of any of that, though, This game is magical, I don't think any Nintendo game has truly captured how uniquely fun and light-hearted it is. It really is in well-need of a remake, just so Nintendo has the excuse to finally release it outside of Japan.
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