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.
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.