The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Nintendo/Capcom (2001) GameBoy Color

Oracle of Ages

 

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages is FUCKING SHIT.

It has been 3 months since I wrote the above line as my entire review, and I still haven’t got over my hatred for the game. But, now, I will try to expand on things.

Story

The Triforce calls out to Link, and he is transported to the land of Labrynna. Here, Link (along with Impa) find Nayru, who is then possessed by Veran.

Basically, this allows Veran to travel back in time, since Nayru was the Oracle of Ages. This causes a time split, and it is up to you, Link, to restore order once again.

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Fuck you Nayru!

Background

OoA was released at the same time as Oracle of Seasons. There is no specific order to the two games, but if you play one as a sequel to the other, with a link password, you can unlock a secret ending, featuring Ganon

As there is no specific order for these games they sit above each other in the official Zelda timeline, and occur just before Link’s Awakening.

OK, I’m super seriously lost

At no point in OoA did I know where to go, some sections (Dungeon 4 as an example) require warping backwards and forwards in time, as well as swimming under water. This is a horrible game design. There is no possible way for you to figure out the way you should go without resorting to a guide.

Some things like the mine cart/traffic light puzzles are simply bad design choice, and require you to backtrack numerous times just to flick a switch.

Cresent Island is another poorly designed section, here you lose your items. To get them back you have to keep swapping an item with the shop keeper, so you can only use one item at a time, and, you need to keep switching age. It honestly is no fun, it just drags.

Difficulty

Other than the final boss (rip off of Link’s Awakening final boss) the game is actually easy. The places you get stuck are because of bad game design, not the actual act of it being hard.

Some of the minigames are a pain too, and unlike in previous Zeldas they aren’t optional. Here they are all required to progress, not for an item quest, but for the dungeon key. And, they are all a bit shit. The Sword Ceremony is lame, the bomb the fishmen on Cresent Island feels broken. In all, the mini games all feel rushed and incomplete.

The minigames combined with some of the dungeons, and bosses, means the game feels all over the place, with a final boss that, I still can’t beat. I gave up.

The minigames also cost you rupees, so, when you fail for the 4th time, and have no money, you need to go grind for an hour to go back and try 5 more time. This stops being fun VERY quickly.

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Constantly Switching Age

Link to the Past did time switching well, and it felt fairly intuitive. In OoA it isn’t. I mentioned the water section, and Cresent Island, but it also occurs in places like Symmetry City. Again, this is just a pain, and not in the slightest bit fun to play.

Overall

OoA made me take a 2 month break from playing games, and it will be a very long time before I try Oracle of Seasons.

Maybe it rubbed me the wrong way, but I hate it. My original score of 6% WAS a little unfair, but, man, OoA is shitty. Personally i’d say avoid it like the plague.

Pros: The Oracles are named after the magic spells from Ocarina of Time/goddesses of Hyrule (+1 point), it isn’t as bad as the CDi games (+5 points).

Cons: Dungeons are terrible (-5 points), getting to dungeons is terrible (-5 points), traffic light puzzles are terrible (-3 points), the FORCED minigames are terrible (-3 points), Tingle, Cresent Island is terrible (-5 points), switching “Age” 15 times to get into Zora Domain is terrible (-5 points), Trade quests are mandatory (-5 points), Mermaid Gil makes swimming terrible (-1 points). FUCKING. SWORD. CEREMONY (-5 points). Can’t complete 80% of it without a guide (-5 points), first Zelda to make me rage quit (on 2nd boss) (-5 points). Is Terrible(-5 points).

45%

Score based on Link to the Past to be a little more generous.

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