i’m getting near to the end of finishing all the games in the zelda series. of the three i had remaining i decided to tackle oracle of ages for game boy color. i’d played its companion, oracle of seasons, a few years ago and had enjoyed that game, but since i knew the games were going to be very similar i’d held off on it, and for better or worse the game does feel very much like seasons. both were heavily based on link’s awakening, so already the game felt overly familiar, just in terms of the presentation.
in terms of the gameplay there really weren’t many surprises, aside from one wholly unique item, a unique race, and the occasional minor variation on previously seen items. as with seasons it was fun to see the animal helpers again and some 2-d versions of characters from ocarina and majora’s mask. although the general reputation seems to be that seasons emphasizes action more than ages, which emphasizes puzzles, the amount and level of the puzzles in ages didn’t seem much different than usual. the game’s central past/present game mechanic felt tired by now, so it suffered in comparison with the slightly more-unique ability to change the seasons in seasons, even though seasons is probably less unique overall due to its many references to the original NES zelda. as with seasons the rings felt fairly pointless, and the pair’s linking system didn’t really grab me either, although a playthrough in the other direction might make me appreciate that more. i didn’t end up bothering with the password feature at all which put me at a distinct disadvantage for the linked endgame since i hadn’t gotten any of the linked-game powerups, including the best sword in the games. this ended up making the final battles harder and more frustrating than they should’ve been, but i suppose i can’t really fault the games for that too much.
all in all this was a typically solid zelda game, but coming near the end of my zelda experiences it really didn’t feel like it adds much new to the series as a whole. hopefully by the time i finish the last two games there will be some new zelda games to tackle, and although i haven’t made much progress on replaying the other series that i’ve finished, it’ll definitely be interesting to see what i think about this game the second time through.
aged the legend of zelda: oracle of ages links:
– many of the links in my post about oracle of seasons are relevant
– official site for the game: includes screenshots, movies, and info on the cast of characters
– entry at zeldawiki.org for this game and for the pair, including details on the the linked-game passwords
– official FAQ and walkthrough at zelda.com
– official japanese site for the games with even more official character artwork
– an interesting article on early versions of the games