636th played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Game Boy Color
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Capcom/Flagship
Publisher: Nintendo

These games have a bit of a special place in my heart. I got these games when I got my Gameboy Advance – the first Gameboy I owned – and it was special. Like the Pokemon games that were already popular at the time, this was a game that had two versions, but where Pokemon – and most other versioned games – usually have smaller differences but still very similar storylines and a lot overlapped.

So here’s the other side of this: with two distinct versions, to cover a single game here, I have to play it twice.

Our Thoughts

Again, it’s worth emphasizing how different the two games are. Not only are the stories different, not only does the map change in different ways depending on the version – one changing the seasons, the other having you switch between past and present – but the focus of the games changes just as much. You find out soon enough, especially once you reach the first dungeon, that Oracle of Seasons has more of an action focus – more enemies and so on – while Oracle of Ages throws more puzzles at you. It’s probably not a surprise at this point that I prefer the latter.

So what we have here is a set of two games that have a shared ending, only available when you have played both of them – and the pont where you actually encounter Gannon. It’s a neat concept, and the amount of content in each game actually make them feel worth the price. Even when you only have one of the two games, it’s still worth it, too, considering the length of each game and the size of the world.

Aside from the usual lengthy main quest – similar to other Zelda games, but with the game-specific additions – there are several hitns at other quests that I barely started here. A lot of it is the usual trading back and forth you get in more of these games, but it adds some more scope to the world. Maybe trickier is what seems to be RNG based nut growing to get badges as an equipment mechanic, a neat idea but one that feels like it’d make it easier to mess with things.

Aesthetically, the game only vaguely improves on Link’s Awakening – it looks fine, with some charming animation, but it’s very functional. It makes it clearer what’s going on, and allows for some interesting character, but nothing amazing either.

Final Thoughts

Oracle of Ages might well be my personal Zelda game so far, as the puzzles felt more interesting and challenging – the focus on one element over the other actually makes it that much more enticing and seems like it allows the developers to set up more interesting challenges. The two games are also so much more distinct thanks to the game-specific mechanics and story changes. It’s a pretty amazing combination that is a delight to play.

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