even though i’d finished playing a zelda game recently (majora’s mask, as recounted here) i’d been itching to play a 2D zelda game for quite some time, so i started in on the next in line, oracle of seasons for the game boy color. i thought i’d just see how the series’ return to 2D would fare, but by the time i’d gotten the powers of all four of the seasons i was hooked.
it seems a fair amount of the game’s uniqueness is due to the fact it’s paired with the game oracle of ages, so i’m going to withold my final judgement until i play that game. but although i enjoyed playing seasons there wasn’t a whole lot that felt really fresh. the rod of seasons was entertaining but didn’t offer up that much variety; the second world didn’t have a whole lot to make it memorable; and there were a fair number of pseudo-new items, i.e. items that were ostensibly new but had the same effect as items from previous games. there were a handful of unique items that offered up some surprises, though, as well as some animal helpers (a first for the series, i believe, not counting epona), and it was fun to hear some of the tunes (and see some of the characters) from ocarina and majora make appearances here. i also felt nostalgic seeing the game engine, which was clearly based on the classic link’s awakening, and also from seeing the reworkings of elements from the original NES zelda including many of the bosses (and the “pay me for the door repair” man who is back with a vengeance haha).
the useless items to collect in this game are rings which potentially could have been much more interesting as each offers different abilities, but since most of those abilities give only a tiny advantage and you can only equip one at a time the overall benefits are practically nil. also, the game was intended to focus more on action while its companion, oracle of ages, supposedly focuses more on puzzles. i’ll have to see how that ends up panning out, but it did feel that in general in this game the boss fights were a bit more difficult than usual, sometimes pointlessly so. all in all, though, this was a fun game and a classic zelda title, although not likely to end up as one of my favorites of the series. it might be that i prefer my zelda games to have less emphasis on action, so i’m looking forward to playing oracle of ages before too long.
season of links:
– walkthrough and FAQ at zelda.com
– the official site for the game is still up
– nice game site at midnight castle’s zelda site
– the entry at wikipedia includes information on how the two games interact
– review at IGN which recommends playing seasons first
– FAQ that compares the original japanese vs the localized english names
– page at zeldawiki.org, including a gallery of all of the enemies
– guide at IGN