Mon, 07 Mar 2005

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

Oracle of Ages is one of a pair of Game Boy Color games. The other is Oracle of Seasons; each can be the sequel to the other, depending on which you play first. I started with Oracle of Ages, finished it, and got a password to enter into Oracle of Seasons. When I did so, I got a continuation of the story as the introduction to Oracle of Seasons. Apparently, there will be several points where people will give me passwords to transfer back and forth between the games, to synchronize my actions between the two. It's an interesting system.

Gameplay-wise, Oracle of Ages is much like the other Zelda games I've played (Zeldas I, II, and III). From what I've read, it has more in common with the N64 Zelda games, in terms of puzzle solving and so on, while Oracle of Seasons is more old-school. I suppose I'll see.

There were a lot of puzzles to solve, and a number of the bosses were more puzzle-based than skill-based. Many were of the "hit it with a sword and don't get hit yourself" variety, though.

One big complaint I had was that the format of the game didn't really lend itself well to the Game Boy format, mostly with respect to saving. Saving worked like the console Zelda games I've played--if you save within a dungeon, when you restore, you start back at the beginning of the dungeon. Actually, it was worse than other games, because if you saved in the overworld, when you restored you'd be back at whatever point you entered the overworld, which could suck if you'd spent some time working to a particular area. The specific reason that this is bad is that the Game Boy is a portable system--there are many cases where you might need to save and exit it quickly. I play primarily on the bus and train, and I have to stop when it gets to my stop. That sometimes meant losing some of the progress I'd made.

Oracle of Ages also contained my first real exposure to Zelda's trading games. My roommate informs me that they've been doing this a lot in more recent games, but I don't remember much along those lines from the earlier games. In order to get the Master Sword, you have to run all over the world trading key items for other key items in sometimes bizarre ways. Get old mail from someone or other. Give the mail to someone in the toilet and receive a stinky bag. Give stinky bag to someone with a stuffy nose and get something else. And so on. I did have to resort to a FAQ for a couple of the trades, sadly.

So it was a reasonably fun game, but with parts that marred the experience, especially on a Game Boy.

Phil! Gold