The end of June means half of 2017 is over already… How crazy is that?
This Friday showcases a pair of Legend of Zelda games that were originally released for the Game Boy Color with a unique connection, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.
Released for the Game Boy Color handheld in 2001, the Oracle Series were a pair of games with parallel plots that gave Link the ability to control the element the game was named after, either the Ages or the Seasons. In Ages, Link travels back and forth in time, his actions in the past affecting the future in different ways, while in Seasons, Link controls the Seasons, allowing him to solve puzzles on this quest. Originally, a third installment — Oracle of Secrets — was going to be included that starred the third Hyrule goddess Farore, but she was instead included in both games to aid the player with linking the other two via passwords.
Both games were well received by fans and critics, with Oracle of Seasons scoring slightly higher than its Ages counterpart. According to the timeline of Hyrule Historia, the events of Seasons happen before Ages as well.
Each game starts off with Link meeting a performer, either Nayru or Din, before the performer is kidnapped by the villain of the game, Veran or Onox respectively. The performer is revealed to be the Oracle whose abilities the villain wishes to use for her or his own powers. Link embarks on a quest to save the Oracle, utilizing time-travel and the seasons to his advantage in order to rescue Nayru or Din.
The Oracle Series resembles Link’s Awakening in graphics and many game mechanics. Controls are similar, and even some of the sprites from Link’s Awakening are reused in the Oracle Series. Like many games in the franchise, the Oracle Series each have eight dungeons and a large over-world map to explore.
While the Oracle Series are each a full game in their own right, but the pair are marketed to be two halves of the same whole. Upon completing one of the games, the ending will reveal that there is a larger evil at play, hinting that the player should link the two games in order to play through the linear plot of the series. Linking the two completed games will give the player the extended ending and a battle with the true villain.
The Oracle Series were released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2013, and I almost immediately downloaded them. I had never gotten a chance to finish the original games. Unfortunately, I had seemed to have gotten a glitched copy of Oracle of Ages that did not allow me to progress through the eighth dungeon. Perhaps with the Virtual Console copies, I can finally see that extended ending for myself!
Have you ever played the Oracle Series? What did you think of them?