GB – #11 – Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons

History:

Actually, the first time I had ever heard of these games was when they were released on the 3DS Virtual Console! Obviously never played though…

Expectations:

A few months ago I’d have told you that I’m not really into the overhead Zelda games, basically anything prior to Ocarina of Time. Then, thanks to this project, I found myself really enjoying games like Zelda and Metroid and other series that I never really liked much. So, I’d like to say I’m not really looking forward to playing this game, but frankly at this point I’d be more surprised if I DIDN’T like it!


Day 1:

After reading up on which I should play first, what I really came away with was that it doesn’t matter, but Seasons is more action oriented while Ages is more puzzle oriented. I have both games, but optioned to go with Seasons. Bad news is it looks like some dropped the cartridge’s PCB into a 2 liter of Coke, good news is after some rubbing alcohol and Brasso it works good as new! Even has a functional battery!

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Off to a good start…

I knew these games were handled by another company, but I didn’t know it was Capcom. My interest in the game has suddenly peaked, and also has been piqued.

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For some reason I was mentally replacing the actual music in this scene with the Charlie Brown theme… Anyway, basic Zelda concept, minus Zelda. Party gets canceled, evil tornado man of doom enters the scene, girl is unveiled as Din, the Oracle of Seasons, Din get kidnapped.

I’m particularly enjoying all the nods to Ocarina of Time in this game, from characters like Din to music tracks like at the windmill. I actually like just about everything there is to see and hear in this game, and I tend to forget I’m playing a Gameboy Color game.

Back to the actual game, after meeting Impa and finding my way into town, I was told of a legendary sword in Hero’s Cave, and a giant tree who will only see those who have proven themselves brave enough.

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So, yep, off to go arm myself. I find the cave easily enough and navigate my way through it by avoiding all the enemies, since I can’t fight back yet. Finally I reach the chest at the end of the cave. The heroic sword of legends is mine!

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…………………………………………….

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Whatever, it does the job.

After a long conversation with a very lazy tree who more or less literally tells me I need to save the world because he’s too tired, it’s off to my first dungeon.

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I’m really happy to have played through the first Legend of Zelda on the NES, as litle things like this side scrolling underground item room suddenly have a lot more meaning to me.

I should also mention how fantastic the controls feels. Yes, swapping out items is VERY tedious and I wish they had come up with a better way, but the actual control and combat feels incredibly good.

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The bosses are also fun!

So the idea is that I need to find eight artifacts to restore the Temple of Seasons to this world and rescue Din. After clearing the first dungeon I have the first artifact! Now I need to find where the temple has actually vanished to…

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Naturally, it’s been sent to a world of robe wearing lava people. Also the hotspring towels on their heads are just fantastic!

After talking to the locals, learning to dance and winning a Boomerang it was off to find this crazy temple that just fell out of the sky.

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It was at this point I saved and quit, but I couldn’t resist coming back a few hours later! Unfortunately, my recorder failed me, more likely due to the USB drive I’ve been using than the device itself… Either way, I played for another couple hours, cleared another dungeon and earned another artifact. Pretended to be Santa Clause and got a shovel for it, and can turn Spring into Winter… so some stuff happened…


Day 2:

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I set off for Spool Swamp in search of the next artifact and, as one would expect, I encountered a kangaroo named Ricky who lost his boxing gloves in a match with some guy. Naturally I went and fought said guy for Ricky’s gloves, and returned them to them melancholy¬†marsupial.

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…then I rode around in his pouch…

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…then I scored a date with a subterranean robe-wearing pop star…

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…then I learned to jump.

I actually got stuck in this stupid dungeon and had to save my progress here. Maybe tomorrow… I’ve gotten this far without a guide but after spending a whole night on this crap I think it might be time to bust out a map. Hey! I’m a poet and didn’t realize that fact until after I was done typing that sentence!


Day 3:

Had some time to play during my lunch today, and it turned out to be just enough to get me out of that damn dungeon. I really hate how obvious the solutions to Zelda puzzles are once you’ve seen them. Maybe when this project is over I’ll be a better practical thinker… or an alcoholic…

Third essence in hand it’s time to put my new jumping ability to use, then head north! Later!

Later…

Later didn’t happen. Kingsman happened.


Day 4:

I’ve been playing a bit over the last few days, but nothing notable has really happened, and updating the post with “Played for 20 minutes, got lost, got bored.” two days in a row didn’t seem very productive.

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I was surprised to see that in all of my getting lost, I actually managed to explore a pretty good portion of the map though, so there’s that.

This game has started making me feel the same way I felt when I tried to play Link to the Past several months ago, which is to say disinterested. I’ve really enjoyed most of the time I’ve spent with this one, and I’m not ready to give up on, so I finally decided to crack open a guide to help get me to the next dungeon!

One of my major complaints about this game, and I realize if I still possessed my child-like wonder and inclination to experiment with everything this wouldn’t be as much of an issue, is that it tends to give you tools, but not tell you how to use them. Much earlier in the game I got seeds that made me run fast, allowing me to avoid timed traps and whatnot. Later in the game I got a feather that let me jump over a single gap. What I didn’t know was that the two items could be combined, allowing me to perform a running jump over a double-wide gap! And those stupid (awesome) flying Cuccos! Here I am hammering away on A to make them fly, turns out it was B… Yes… I realize I sound like an idiot right now…

And don’t you dare tell me about those damn owl statues! They’re never there when I need them!

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Anyway, all it really took to win me back over was a winged, flying blue bear. That’s really all it ever takes…

With new tools and knowledge I was able to complete my Wand of Seasons, allowing me to freely change between all four seasons and opening up a larger portion of the game. I also started in on the fourth dungeon.

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I was WAITING for it! Oh Capcom, you just couldn’t resist putting in a phasing block section could you?

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I’ve actually found myself stick in this dungeon, and it’s a notable step up in difficulty from the last three. I decided to call it a night here and will hopefully be able to work my way out tomorrow. Once I do, it looks like I’ll need to do a bit of backtracking and catch up on the trading sub-game, which doesn’t look like it should be too hard.


Day 5:

I played during my lunch hour today and did manage to get to the end of the dungeon, but the boss made sure my adventure would stop there. I gave her a good four attempts or so but finally decided to call it for the time being. Every time you lost this fight, you had to navigate several dungeon rooms just to get back to her…

Later…

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This time I went in with a plan (and a controller!) and managed to survive the first phase of the fight by flanking her from the sides. I only had a quarter of a heart left when her claw finally fell off, but I did make it…

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In the second phase she starts spitting out little eyeball monsters, which is actually awesome since they can drop hearts!

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It was late, so I called it there. Tomorrow will mostly be a lot of backtracking and exploration in anticipation for the back half of the game.


Day 6:

As anticipated I spent lunch hour doing busy work, mostly going back for any items or heartpieces I may have missed. This game has an item trading sub-quest similar to the masks in Ocarina of Time. For example, you start the game with, uh, some cosmetics items which you trade to a young witch in exchange for a creepy doll, which you give to a woman who “needs to be creeped out” for an iron pot, which you trade for lava soup to give to a cold Goron who gives you a vase and… you get the idea.

That’s pretty much all I did, and I’m just about done with it. I’m hoping to wrap that up and knock out another dungeon tonight.

Later…

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Turns out there was more side stuff to do than I had thought, so I ended up spending a good amount of time doing that. After some spelunking it was finally time to head to the fifth dungeon of the game.

I remember thinking, man, this dungeon is pretty easy! There was never a point where I felt stuck, or got lost or didn’t know what to do for too long. It felt good after needing a guide for the last one. Then I met the sub boss…

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This stupid spinning death cat killed me three times before I was finally able to pass, and then the rest of the dungeon just hammered on the combat difficulty!

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I will say this: Magnet Glove might be even cooler than the Hook Shot… Using it in the platforming sections to launch yourself upwards feels like a DBZ character firing an energy blast into the ground to boost themselves into the air. It’s awesome!

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This boss took me two attempts, and to be honest I didn’t love the encounter. It wasn’t horrible but it was more frustrating than fun. Basically I had to use the Magnet Glove to push or pull that spiked ball around the room, running into the boss. After doing that a few times the boss splits into little versions of himself that bounce around the room, which I then have to crush with the same spike ball.

Eventually I got it though…

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Next it’s off to upgrade my weapons and claim the sixth essence!


Day 7:

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These guys are just the freaking best!

Tonight was just a lot more busy work really. Collecting gems, slaying gold beasts and playing more of the trading game. The payoff to said trading game is that it ends with a very important secret to get you a very important item…

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Eventually you’ll find yourself in the Lost Woods because Zelda, and if you follow the clue…

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The Master Noble Sword is yours! That took up a solid hour, so after I made it to the entrance of the next dungeon I called it for the night.


Day 8:

I’m back!

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So I actually made it to the Dungeon 6 boss earlier this week during a lunch break, but couldn’t beat him until today. Not too hard, but you gotta get a little lucky with that boomerang…

After that it was finally time to help those skeleton ghost pirates out!

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This would eventually land me in a graveyard area, which is always my favorite place in any Zelda game, so I was pretty happy to be there. The dungeon that was waiting for me was appropriately crazy, and had me facing off against the Poe Sisters!

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You fight each individually during the dungeon, but the mid-boss involves fighting both at the same time, while keeping a set of four torches lit! Fail to keep at least one torch going and you’re ported to the dungeon entrance. The big boss here is a re-hash of the first boss in the game, only harder, and more fun.

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After that a series of events would finally lead me to Dungeon 8, where it turns out I’ve actually been playing Super Mario Bros. this whole time!

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Who knew?

I had to save and kill it for now. Turns out my body requires things like food and sunlight… The plan is to come back and beat this thing tonight though!

Later…

Holy crap, this dungeon never freaking ends!

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Dungeon 8’s mid-boss took a few tries to finally take down. It’s an interesting fight, but the mechanics aren’t quite clear. Frypolar, which is easier the best name for an enemy EVER, will shift between a fire and ice elemental. It’s obvious that you want to shot him with Ember Berries while he’s in his ice form, but what isn’t clear is that hitting his icicles with Mystery Berries will turn them into ice chunks you can throw at his fire form. Once I learned that the fight became rather easy.

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Ironically, the dungeon’s final boss was probably the easiest in the game as you could more or less keep her stun-locked for the entire fight.

Now it was time for final preparations. I got myself a potion and headed off for Onyx’s lair. The actual dungeon was just a short hallway leading up to the two part encounter. Well, three depending on how you look at it. In his normal form the fight proceeds as normal, with you only being able to injure him with spin attacks while dodging his attacks, but after a few hits he’ll bring Din into the fight as a shield. At this point you have to switch between knocking her away with your Rod of Seasons, while still damaging Onyx until he eventually enters his true, giant dragon form.

Now you have to jump on his hands and hit him in the head Sigma style. It took me four attempts before I finally got him down, and I did it with just a quarter of a heart left!

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Conclusion:

Oh man… I feel like I’ve been playing this game FOREVER and even though it’s a few games away I’m already dreading Link’s Awakening simply because of the time commitment! That’s neither here nor there though, because when it comes down to it I really loved this game. The music was fantastic, as usual, and graphically this game had me forgetting it was for the GBC! The game was open ended enough that I could explore when I wanted to, while still being just linear enough to keep me on track. The information to get through the game was accessible enough that I was able to play through most of it without ever needing a guide.

The gameplay itself was equally great, and after being able to jump freely in a Zelda game I’ll find it very difficult to go back to being stuck on the ground. On that note, all the items in the game were actually a lot of fun to acquire,.upgrade and use. Actually, that would have to be my biggest complaint about this game, and it’s a minor one at that. You have a ton of items to use, and the game expect you to continue to use them well after you get them. This in itself isn’t an issue. The issue is that you’ll need to be switch items constantly, and the only way to do this is by pausing the game and assigning items to the A and B buttons. Again, it’s a minor complaint, and it being my biggest one speaks to my regard for the game as a whole.

Oracle of Seasons really wore me out, not gonna lie, and I’m hoping I’ll be recovered by the time Link’s Awakening rolls around. For never being a fan of Link to the Past, it’s games like this that get me excited to give it another try!

Liked:

– Zelda’s music tracks have always been fantastic. Of particular note is the rearranged Zelda’s Lullaby theme used for the game’s main town area.
– Graphically could have easily passed as a GBA title.
– New items and new versions of existing items were very fun to find and use.
– Jumping!
– Fun characters and locations add a lot of charm to an already charming game, especially the Subrosians and pirates.
– Every dungeon is unique, and getting through one feels like you just solved one giant puzzle.
– Controls were tight and fun, and the sideview platforming sections were a great touch.

Disliked:

– Constant item swaps could get tedious.
– Game ran a bit long¬†for my tastes, never mind that to get the whole story I’d have to play through an entire additional game!

Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons

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4 comments on “GB – #11 – Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons

  1. Pingback: Playthrough Analysis – 146 Games | 600 Games

    • To be honest I don’t know! It was a lot of fun using it though. The only 2D Zelda game I have left on my list is Minish Cap so if it doesn’t show up there then I guess this is it.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Playthrough Analysis – 193 Games | 600 Games

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