king9999's The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (Game Boy Color) review

A game worthy of the Zelda name.

NOTE: This review was written by me over 10 years ago. I managed to dig it up from the void, and now I'm sharing it with the world!

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A note for those of you who have read my Oracle of Ages review: the gameplay in Seasons is the same, but the storyline, characters, world, etc. are different. Oh, and Seasons is lighter on puzzles. There, now go play.

Now, for the remaining readers, Zelda: Oracle of Seasons is one of the two Oracle games released simultaneously. Both games are independent of each other, so buying both games wouldn't be a bad move at all. In fact, if you want to complete the entire series to the fullest, you need both games!

Seasons begins with our hero, Link, travelling to the land of Holodrum to seek out Din, the Oracle of Seasons (she's also a mighty fine dancer, too). However, upon arrival, Din is captured by the evil general Onox, and the Temple of Seasons is submerged into the ground, thus putting the four seasons into chaos. There's a reason for what looks like random destruction, but you have to play the game to find out what Onox's true motives are. Naturally, Link must rescue Din, but in order to do that, he must find the eight Essences of Nature, hidden among eight dungeons. Typical Zelda fare, yes, but who would want it any other way?

Seasons, unlike Ages, is less puzzle-oriented and focuses more on action. This means more enemies on the screen, and straightforward dungeons and boss battles. This might sound bad, but it really isn't. You'll still find the odd brain-teasing puzzle, but the puzzles never get as tough as the ones found in Ages. In Ages, Link had to master using the Harp of Ages in order to get anywhere in Labrynna. In Seasons, however, Link must manipulate the four seasons by using the Rod of Seasons. Each season has special characteristics. Winter freezes certain bodies of water, creates snowbanks, and makes trees wither; Fall fills pits with leaves (so you can walk over them), and transforms rock mushrooms into regular mushrooms, which can then be picked; Summer creates vines to climb, and dries up certain bodies of water; Spring makes flowers bloom, some of which can be used to reach new heights.

The Ring system, like in Ages, is present here. There are about 60+ rings you can collect, and each of them give Link a special ability. One ring, for example, decreases the time it takes to charge your sword for a spin attack. There are some useless rings in there too, like the ones that transform Link into a monster. You can't even attack! In order to use a ring's effects, you have to get it appraised at the ring shop.

The best thing about the Oracle games is how they interact with each other. When you finish one of the games, you get a special password for use in the other game. When you input this password, the story continues from where you left off in the finished game! Even better, you can collect secret passwords from characters in the new game to be given to characters in your finished game. Once you find the desired person, you will be given a new item or enhancement, and a new password! This new password will allow you to use your new item in the new game (confused yet?)! There are some very cool items/enhancements to get via the password system.

The Oracle games are the first (and maybe only) games to take advantage of their compatibility with the Game Boy Advance, even though the games are Game Boy Color games. Pop one of the games in your GBA, and you'll get better colours, not to mention a hidden store, present only if you play on a GBA!

Oracle of Seasons is a must-buy for the Game Boy Color. If you can only afford one of the games at the moment, however, I'd go with Ages. Ages is slightly better, because of its greater emphasis on puzzles, which are a Zelda staple. Both games are recommended if you want to get the most out of the Oracle series, but they are worth every penny.

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