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Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages & Seasons Package Art
GENRE
Capcom/Flagship
DEVELOPER
Nintendo
PUBLISHER
1
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
unknown
CONNECTIVITY
unknown
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Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages & Seasons

It's taken a while, but we finally have two new Zelda games based on the Link's Awakening engine, in full color, with enough link cable features to choke an ox. What originally started as 3 separate games with intertwined stories has been remolded, polished and has finally hit the market as two different games, Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. These are definitely a couple of games for the ages (... and seasons).

visuals

Although the core graphics haven't changed much since Link's Awakening, they have been colored and updated with exceptional taste and vibrance. There's a lot more animation of little things that make such a difference in your overall opinion. For example, in Seasons, while in the Holodrum, small dragonflies flutter around an old ladies garden while she hoes. One thing that new over the past GB game is the animated cutscenes that are now included in the game. This game offers a lot of eye candy, and should even impress those GBA-only gamers who will want to pick these games up (there's even some hidden surprises for GBA gamers to enjoy).

audio

If I had to give an award to a GB game for best audio in the systems 12 or so years, I would be a blasphemous liar if I were to give it to any games other than these. Nostalgic ballads mixed with brand new classics make for aural bliss. Could Koji Kondo be any more of a genius?

Of particular note is the tune Nayru sings at the start of Ages, which I literally sat listening to for 20 minutes or more. Anyone wishing to impress the quality of 8-bit music on another need only point to the classy songs and cool sound effects of this pair of games.

gameplay

Although it seems impossible to the Zelda fans out there, some gamers won't be familiar with the gameplay in these games, so humor me while I inform the uninitiated few out there. Zelda is essentially a role-playing game, although turn-based RPG purists tend to denounce the hack-n-slash nature of the battles, calling the game an adventure. Most Zelda games are broken in 8 dungeons, a final boss battle, and a ton of interaction with non-player characters. There tends to be a fair bit of collecting, trading, and whittling away time in mini-games as well. If you haven't played any of the Zelda games, you're missing out.

What's very unique about these two games is that when the primary part of one game is complete, you can access all the secondary parts in the other game. It does not matter which order you play the games in, and each game is independent enough of the other that you can buy one game, and get full value for your money without having to buy the second - although you will want to buy the other the second you've finished the first. Trust me. Both games are separate games with different stories, unlike something like Pokemon, with only minor gameplay elements differing between the version.

A lot of recent games have turned people off from collecting things, and the designers took that into considering when they designed a totally optional system of collecting and trading rings between games. Spread across the land are patches of soft soil perfect for planting Gasha seeds. When a seed is planted, how far you travel, how many puzzles you solve, how many people you help, and how many beasts you slay affect how good of a prize will come out of the nut that will grow on the tree. Rings can give special abilities, like increasing your swords damage or strengthening your shield, but you're never forced to collect them to progress further, so an odd phenomenon occurs - you'll actually want to collect all 60+ rings in the games, if for no other reason than bragging rights.

Other secrets can be traded between games as well. When you start a second game with the password given to you at the end of your last game, strangers will start showing up in common locations, asking favors of you. For instance, if you're asked to tell a Goron in Ages a string of letters, he'll recognize you as a helpful messenger and upgrade your stats or give you a stronger weapon, which can be used to your advantage in your new game. As you tell, if replay value is your thing, these are your games.

Storywise, each picks up where the other left off, so to allow gamers to play through the pair however they want, the story really starts to pick up after completing the first game. Familiar favorites like Tingle the fairy, the sages from the N64 games, and Princess Zelda herself all play a part in the game. I won't spoil the story for you, because this is really a game you have to appreciate for yourself.

In general, Ages tends to be more focused on puzzle solving while Seasons makes you concentrate on fighting. Personally, I played through Ages first, and after getting through the tougher puzzles the first time around, I had no problem blazing through Seasons. Either way, you will want both games, so I recommend looking for a sale to pick up both at the same time.

multiplayer

See above.

overall

If you needed to be told to buy these games, I fear for your safety. Put on your helmet, walk down to the store, and buy both of these, right now. Still not sure this type of gameplay is for you? Pick up Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX. It'll give you a good idea of what you're getting into. You need these games. Absolutely legendary

final score Adventure/10


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