The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

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US cover.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages is a Metroidvania video game developed by Capcom and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color on 2001-02-27. The game is part of the Zelda series and was co-released with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. The two games can be linked together to share items between the two and it also unlocks additional content, including a new shared ending. The game uses the engine from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

The game takes place in the land of Labrynna where Nayru, the Oracle of Time, is possessed by the villain Veran. Veran uses her ability to travel through time to her advantage to the detriment of the people of the land. Link is helped by the Maku tree and tracks down Harp of Ages which lets him travel through time as well to collect the Essences of Time from the past in order to stop Veran.

Personal

After being disappointed with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, I stopped playing Zelda titles for awhile. I knew that the Oracle games were based on the engine of Link's Awakening, and didn't receive much love from the fans, so I didn't give them much thought. However, knowing that these were probably the last 2D Zelda games that would ever be made, I decided to give them a try. I started with Oracle of Season, and, after finishing it, began this one.

I beat the game on 2022-11-28. I have all the items, but I'm missing two heart pieces. I think Oracle of Seasons is the stronger game. I have yet to beat any of the linked game.

I don't own the game, but I own the The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Season / Oracle of Ages - Official Strategy Guide.

Review

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5 6 6 6 8

Best Version: Game Boy Color

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The developers were able to retain the cute charm of Link's Awakening (by borrowing much of the art and sound), but still having an original story with a lot of new characters.
  • The pixel art is top notch, as usual, and makes good use of the platform's limited color. I the animation associated with the mermaid's tail looks great.
  • The game's music, though largely borrowed from Link's Awakening contains a lot of new wonderful tracks.
  • There are many devious puzzles to solve, especially in the dungeons. Some of them had me scratching my head for awhile. The segment where the Tokay steal your equipment and you have to solve a variety of puzzles to get everything back was well-made.
  • The time travel mechanic creates a lot of fun map puzzles. It reminded me of the magic mirror in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • The game has a lot of new puzzles like the mine cart, switches, and gates, the color tiles, the pushable color block, the cover-the-floor paths, etc.
  • I like the ring mechanic: minor upgrades that will only help you in specific areas.

Bad

  • Just like with Link's Awakening, I wish more items, like the bracelet and shield, were always on. Having to switch so frequently is annoying.
  • Dungeon 7 is a pain in the butt with all the backtracking you have to do.
  • Replacing the pegasus boots, ocarina, bait, and candle with seeds doesn't make any sense.
  • I don't like how the game mixes underworld and over world monsters. Like-likes don't belong on the over world, and peahats don't belong in dungeons.
  • I don't like that you can't swim under bridges.
  • The rings that let you turn yourself into monsters are lame because you can't use any of their abilities.
  • Too many of the game's treasure chests are rings and seeds. Each time I got one, it felt like a letdown.
  • Once you get the third song which lets you move back and forth in time at will, the other two songs should have been removed from your inventory to speed up item changes.

Ugly

  • The layout of both over worlds is pretty bad.
    • In both the present and past, a large percentage of the rooms are completely empty, to the point where most of it feels like a walking simulator.
    • Much of the map also is difficult to access requiring going back and forth through time repeatedly or through a maze of caves to get to your destination. The first time you do this makes sense because it's a puzzle, but you have to do it each time you want to go back to the area, which is annoying. More shortcuts should have been put in place to prevent having to repeat the mazes.
    • The long thin rock walls, whirlpools, and polluted areas of the ocean don't look even remotely organic, It really hurts immersion.
  • The animation of playing the Harp of Ages and traveling through time takes too long for how frequently you have to use it. I don't understand how this made it through playtesting.

Media

Box Art

The Japanese and US boxes are very similar, just with different lettering. They depict Link holding the Harp of Ages with silhouettes of Veran and Nayru in the background.

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Longplay.

Representation

Bechdel test?FailThere are several women, but none really talk to each other.
Strong female character?FailMostly damsels in distress.
Strong non-white character?FailNone of the characters have a clear race.
Queer character?FailNone of the characters appear to be queer.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
Japanese ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎの木の実 〜時空の章〜 Zelda no Densetsu: Fushigi no Ki no Mi ~Jikuu no Shou~ The Legend of Zelda: The Fruit of the Mysterious Tree -Chapter of Space and Time-

Links

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