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Zelda Oracles: The series most imaginative instalments

Saluting Capcom's masterpieces: Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons

Given that The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons were released for Game Boy Color in the UK in October 2001 when everyone was enjoying their new Game Boy Advance consoles, it's hardly surprising that these games should perhaps be the most overlooked adventures in the Legend Of Zelda series.

Which is why it's great news that Zelda Oracles are coming to the 3DS Virtual Console. Aside from the new Monster Hunter 4 trailer, the news that Oracle Of Ages and Oracle Of Seasons will be available to download should be celebrated as Capcom's adventures deserve their moment in the spotlight.

Indeed, in their brilliant Legend Of Zelda 25th anniversary magazine, GamesMaster suggested that they are two of the most imaginative instalments in the entire series. You can find out why by reading the mag's retrospective on the Oracles games below. If you want to read the whole magazine, it's available digitally on iOS.

Think of gaming pairs and the mind immediately goes to the likes of Pokemon Red and Blue: one core game released as two titles thanks to a few small additions and omissions in each version. You'd be forgiven for thinking the same of the two Oracle games too, but in reality Capcom's first ever contributions to The Legend Of Zelda were two completely unique games: games that could be linked up for an even greater adventure afterwards...

Oracle Of Seasons and Oracle Of Ages saw hero Link journeying to two very different lands and vanquishing two new foes, Veran and Onox. In Oracle Of Seasons, that new land was Holodrum, and it's there that Link met dancer Din. In Oracle Of Ages, meanwhile, Link visited Labrynna where he encountered a singer named Nayru. Secretly both Din and Nayru were also Oracles - the Oracle of Seasons and Ages respectively - and when both were kidnapped, Link set out on two wildly different journeys to rescue them.

The first port of call for both games involved tracking down the Maku Tree. Male in Seasons and female in Ages, the Tree acted as each world's guardian but could only help once Link had found all eight of the Essences of Time/Nature scattered about the worlds' deepest, darkest dungeons.

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The games boasted completely unique lands and dungeons too, but more than that they - quite brilliantly - also featured very different game mechanics.

It's here where the Oracle series truly stood apart in Zelda lore. Sure, the foundations for the adventures were immediately familiar to all franchise fans, but while Oracle Of Seasons was an action-focused game with plenty of combat, Oracle Of Ages was far more puzzle-heavy and threw Link up against some deviously designed colour conundrums.

Thanks to the Harp of Ages and the Rod of Seasons (no prizes for figuring out which item belonged to which game), the twin adventures played completely unlike one another. Using the Harp in Oracle Of Ages opened any hidden time portals in the on-screen area, letting Link jump between past and present versions of Labrynna to alter events in history. The timelines featured unique worlds, and combined they made for one giant adventure.

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  1. shy guy 64 Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 16:18

    i do love the oracles, maybe i should give them another play through soon

  2. KH81314 Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 16:21

    What did that trailer have to do with Oracle of Ages/Seasons.

  3. Liefesa Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 16:28

    Ah yes, the animals to travel on were interesting. And Subrosia was a pleasingly large sub-area.
    The overworlds were nice and varied too for a 2D game, with underwater cities, sunken villages, and the usual forests and lakes.

  4. Jelder Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 16:32

    Oh man, I was super jacked when I saw that commercial as a kid. I didn't even know they were making one much less two zelda games

  5. NeonJ Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 17:47

    ... "instalments"? Heheh.

    I'm kinda sad that I can't play this game (these games?), but ah, well. I'll wait for the 3DS VC release, whenever that happens, heh.

    I can't help but feel I'd enjoy Seasons far more than Ages, though...

  6. HughPR Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 17:55

    True, they are imaginative and generally awesome. 'Nuff said :P

  7. NintendoForLife Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 18:19

    Personally Seasons (the only one I've played so far) is my least favourite Zelda game. It looks and plays too closely to Awakening rather than being an original game in the series. Yes menu issues due to lack of buttons were ironed out from Awakening but they didn't detract that much from the game anyway.

    It felt incomplete as I played through because you need to connect Ages and Seasons together (with just passwords or link cables as well, I'm not sure) to collect everything and one of the Heart Pieces appears from one of those nuts that you get by planting trees. The odds of getting good items (including the heart piece) increase by what enemies you defeat, but on my second full play through it didn't appear which really irritated me as all other Zeldas I've completed are at 100%.

    Although the game did actually save after the final boss. Interesting.

  8. MartinIsAwesome Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 18:29

    I'm glad that you mentioned the fact that it was originally going to be three games. It would be interesting to know what story and world were initially planned for the third one.

  9. Violet Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 18:40

    These two games have AMAZING dungeon design, with fantastic puzzles. Some of the greatest and most challenging mazes in the series and lots of tough bosses. For real gameplay "meat", these two games outclass most other Zelda games. They're the last really challenging Zeldas too, in my opinion.

    Their flaws are just that the stories are pretty basic and mainly there to serve a purpose, which is to get Link exploring and questing. Which is fine in my opinion, they're very "pure" Zelda games. Seasons is my favourite because it's more focused on battling alongside the puzzles, while Ages is mostly puzzle based. Both are similar but Seasons feels more balanced.

  10. shy guy 64 Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 18:47

    I'm glad that you mentioned the fact that it was originally going to be three games. It would be interesting to know what story and world were initially planned for the third one.

    well from what ive read it was going to have the time travel aspects and the game witch became oracle of ages involved colour based puzzles

  11. HughPR Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 21:17

    I can't help but feel I'd enjoy Seasons far more than Ages, though...

    Tbh they are both quite different games. Graphics aside I found that they play very differently, so whilst you may think you prefer seasons, please do NOT leave out ages if you like Zelda games! :) I honestly think that they are both gems (I have very fond young childhood memories!).

    Unfortunately I can't find my cart for OoA, but I'm not worried...yet. It must be somewhere......

  12. Waldy565 Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 23:16

    Aww these sound great. Seasons is the one that really appeals to me I must say, but trading them rings sound great! I'll end up getting both at some point, plus Link's Awakening! If I'm ever depressed, I look to this series and I remember the smile on my face the first time I ever booted up OoT on the Wii, my first Zelda experience, getting on 5 years ago...

  13. Waldy565 Friday 22nd Feb 2013 at 23:19

    I'm glad that you mentioned the fact that it was originally going to be three games. It would be interesting to know what story and world were initially planned for the third one.


    THIS, basically hehe. Isn't our little ONM community great! Hehe

  14. DonegalAlan Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 at 11:56

    Oracle of Seasons was actually my first ever Zelda game. Quickly followed by Oracle of Ages, of course! Both excellent games in their own rights, and I'd highly recommend anyone who hasn't played them to give them a go. You can't truly consider yourself a Zelda fanatic unless you do! ;)
    And when you have both of them, and link the games up, you see the true epic finale at the end! Worth buying for it alone! :D

  15. Komodo_Wolfgang Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 at 14:36

    Oracle of Seasons was actually my first ever Zelda game.


    Same! I thought the game was great. I then got the gamecube with MK DoubleDash with the LoZ collectors disc. Played Oot and MM and then noticed I had fallen in love with the series

  16. Matthew Bunton Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 at 15:41

    I would have liked to have seen a 3DS version of these games.

  17. wii_love_u Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 at 17:26

    I would have liked to have seen a 3DS version of these games.


    you do know nintendo just announced it for 3ds in japan?

  18. The_BAAD_Man Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 at 23:47

    I've been wanting to play these games for a VERY long time. I wasn't able to get them when they came out, and they became hard to obtain very quickly.

  19. wghtmf Sunday 24th Feb 2013 at 18:41

    I haven't played them, so I'd love to download them. Are they being released serperately, or together as one download?

  20. alexkinch Sunday 24th Feb 2013 at 19:14

    heres a though will the gba hidden shops be in this port?

  21. wii_love_u Sunday 24th Feb 2013 at 19:49

    I haven't played them, so I'd love to download them. Are they being released serperately, or together as one download?


    In Japan they will be available seperately or as a two-game package

  22. Tommyputt Sunday 24th Feb 2013 at 22:18

    Can't seem to find the magazine on iOS? Can anyone help?

  23. widdlersbrew Tuesday 26th Feb 2013 at 18:00

    MUST BUY NOW FARARGARGAHGRHAGGHFHAGFHGAFGH

    Ahem. Sorry about that. As you can see, I'm quite excited.

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