A game archaeologist / hacker is at it again, this time restoring the nudity to the North American version of Nintendo's 1993 Game Boy quest The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening that was cut when the game was localized out of Japan. Relax; this isn't another of those stupid hacks to upgrade Link's sword (if you know what I mean). The original Japanese version of the game featured two minor elements that, while innocent, were too risqué for North American players, but now you too can gawk at a topless hippo as nature intended. Y'know, if you're into that sort of thing. Hacker and Zelda enthusiast Artemis251 explains.
In the U.S. release, the Hippo that Schule is painting looks harmless enough, yet oddly immediately sits every time Link enters the house. This is because originally, she was meant to be a nude model, hiding behind a cloth when Link enters. [Nintendo of America] surely axed this due to the nudity, even though it's meant to be for artistic reasons.
Also restored is an altered part of the trading sequence in which Link is tasked with recovering the mermaid's necklace. The Japanese version switches the necklace with a more understandable item.
Another oddity (that becomes apparent after seeing this change) is the mermaid's flushed face when Link sees her in Martha's Bay. Surely a lost necklace isn't enough to prevent you from sitting atop your favorite rock, eh? Also, why does she flee when Link dives under the water near her? Simply put, she originally lost her top in the Japanese version, which is why she looks and acts so flustered. This is also why she's so quick to flee when Link tries to take a peek while diving. This change is really rather funny and gives a more flirtatious feel to the game.
That certainly makes more sense than the mermaid's reaction to her missing necklace. The hack that restores these lost elements comes in two flavors - original monochromatic Game Boy version or minty colorful Link's Awakening DX for the Game Boy Color, plus it also includes a cave that was cut from the final version of both games. If that's not enough, Artemis251 also has a listing of characters and elements that were dropped from the original adventure such as the old man from the original Nintendo Entertainment System title and some prototype images from the DX version's photography. Definitely check it out if you're still dreaming of Koholint Island after all these years.
(via Tiny Cartridge)