The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages is a Game Boy Color game released simultaneously with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and follows Link's adventures through the land of Labrynna. The game is published by Nintendo and developed by Flagship. The two Oracle games feature unique connection options, allowing players to collect treasure and objects using a link-up or password mode.
The developers intended initially to make three games, all of them representing one part of the Triforce. Upon realizing that this system would be too difficult they canceled the third game and decided only to work on Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.
Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons release dates were very close to that of the Game Boy Advance. The developers were indecisive as to whether or not they should add Game Boy Advance functionality to the game, because doing so might push back the release date and result in the game coming out after the Game Boy Advance launched. Luckily, the Game Boy Advance was delayed, giving them enough time to add the functionality and the games still came out one month before the Game Boy Advance.
Oracle of Ages is a traditional Zelda game. Link explores the overworld, gathering clues and occasionally, items. After traveling about, Link makes it into various dungeons (eight dungeons are in this game, referred to as levels) and collects an item within each one that is normally used to go about the dungeon and eventually beat the dungeon's boss battle.
A variety of areas in the game are not in the traditional Zelda style. Instead, they take a style more familiar with the Mario games. In these side-scrolling areas, Link can still use all of his items as usual.
Introduced in this game are Gasha Nuts and Magic Rings. Gasha Nuts can be planted in certain areas around the overworld. After they grow, the seed on the tree can be opened for an item, normally a Magic Ring. Magic Rings can be appraised and then worn, for various effects, from transforming Link into an Octorok, to upping defense.
The game makes heavy use of the Harp of Ages which opens up time portals to go between the past and the present. In the late game there are additional "Tunes" which don't require the usage of a portal to travel through time, allowing players to travel at will between the two times. There are many things that are changed between the two times. One example is that the Black Tower is not finished in the past, but it is finished in the future. Some other buildings also have slightly different layouts depending on the era.
After finishing Oracle of Ages, passwords can be gathered in Oracle of Seasons which can then be told to various NPCs (non-playable characters) in the overworld. After telling the various NPCs the password, an item is presented to Link. Items vary from the Master Sword to a Piece of Heart. After collecting the item, the password given to Link by the character can then be used in Oracle of Seasons.
The game starts with Link dropped into Labrynna. After walking around he finds a woman flanked on all sides by monsters. Upon Link's arrival, the monsters run away and the woman (who turns out to be Impa) asks Link to help her find a singer in the forest. The two find the singer, who is Nayru, the Oracle of Ages, singing and playing her harp for the forest creatures. The demon sorceress Veran emerges from Impa and possesses Nayru's body which causes all time in Labrynna to go into chaos. Impa gives Link a sword and tells him to go see the Maku Tree, who tells Link that he must get the eight Essences of Time to rescue Nayru.
After collecting the essences, Link faces Veran. The game doesn't end after the credits roll, unless Oracle of Ages is being played as a linked game. A cutscene is shown at the end of the game in which Koume and Kotake (better known as Twinrova) plot their revival of Ganon. A code is shown at the end of the game as well, and if typed into Oracle of Seasons when starting a file, the real ending of both games will be shown.
A unique feature of this game and Oracle of Seasons is the ability to input a password from one at the start of the other, turning the other into a direct sequel with extra hidden secrets and a continuing story. This can also be done by hooking up two Game Boys with a link cable, one with the beaten game and the other with the one the player wishes to have the progress transferred to.
Though Link does not start the game with all the items from the other game, he does begin with the wooden sword (instead of having to find it at the beginning) and four heart containers instead of three. Certain characters will also know you as the hero of the land from the previously beaten game (in Oracle of Ages, Link will be known as "Hero of Holodrum"), and you'll be reunited with the same animal companion as the other game as well.
Beginning a linked game also expands the plot away from the main Veran story, tying it into the main series further by having Zelda arrive and get kidnapped by Twinrova, who are hoping to sacrifice her to bring Ganon back. The game then concludes with an extra dungeon and a battle against Ganon. (Side note: though both Ages and Seasons conclude the same way and behave similarly when the passwords are input, according to Hyrule Hystoria's timeline, Seasons takes place canonically first. It doesn't make a difference when the games are played, but if that's important to you, then keep it in mind when playing.)
The last major aspect of the linked games are the inclusion of secrets, where certain characters will ask you to tell a secret to someone else. Upon telling the correct person the secret (a specific combination of characters), you'll be given a new item, generally an upgrade to a previous one, eg the seed satchel to a larger one. These are not necessary for achieving the "true" ending, but can give you items that you would be unable to receive otherwise, such as Bombchus.
| Link is the main protagonist of every official Legend of Zelda game (except for a few games on the CD-i, although those games are not technically considered part of the Legend of Zelda franchise). In Oracle of Ages, Link is sent to Labrynna by the Triforce, and then tricked by the evil Veran into opening seals that protect Nayru. Link then retrieves the Essences of Time and uses them to defeat Veran.
| Nayru is the Goddess of Wisdom, and one of the three goddesses who created Hyrule. In Oracle of Ages, Nayru is a singer. Her voice brings peace to all who hear it; which attracts many visitors. She is possessed by the evil Veran at the beginning of the game, and upon getting free, Veran possesses Queen Ambi instead. Link and her friend Ralph are both attempting to save Nayru from Veran, and Link manages to do so by using the Essences of Time.
Veran is the main antagonist of Oracle of Ages (although Twinrova is the main antagonist of the two games). Veran is the Sorceress of Shadows, and she uses her unique abilities to possess several people in the game (Impa, Nayru, and Queen Ambi). She first appears when she possesses Impa, and harmlessly requests that Link escorts her to Nayru. She tricks him into taking her to Nayru, and promptly possesses her. Link eventually tracks down the possessed Nayru, and manages to defeat her.
Veran escapes, however, and proceeds to possess Queen Ambi. Under this new influence, Queen Ambi begins to build the Black Tower. Upon completion of the tower, she flees to the top floor. When Link manages to make his way up to the final battle, he frees Queen Ambi from the control of Veran. Veran finally transforms into her final form and flies around the room attacking Link. Upon her defeat, the Black Tower begins to collapse, but Link and Veran fall to the base of a tower. This is where their final showdown takes place, and Veran takes on many forms. Link manages to destroy them all, but not before she is able to light the Flame of Sorrow, one of the three flames that is needed to resurrect Ganon.
Ralph Ralph is a friend from Nayru's childhood, and he assists in guarding her. In the beginning of the game, he distrusts Link, but as the game progresses, he begins to like Link more and more. He is a descendant of Queen Ambi, although he never mentions the throne. Ralph appears consistently throughout the game to provide his advice and opinions. He is resourceful and knowledgeable, making him an essential part of Link's success.
Queen Ambi Queen Ambi (despite being under the influence of Veran for a large portion of the game) is the queen of Labrynna. Her one true love was lost at sea, so she began to build a large tower so that he could see it and return to her. If Oracle of Seasons is linked to Oracle of Ages, Queen Ambi is able to meet her lover.
| Impa is the protector and maid of Princess Zelda. She was originally sent to bring Nayru and Din to Hyrule so that the lands of Labrynna and Holodrum would be safe, but she fails at this quest when she is possessed by Veran. Link must then save these lands. In the beginning of the game, she is under attack by Octoroks, similar to the original The Legend of Zelda. After Veran leaves Impa, Impa gives Link a wooden sword (if it is a linked game, then she will give the player a wooden shield).