VIDEO GAME REVIEW
‘Oracle of Seasons’
Link’s Latest, But Still So GoodBy Chad Serrant
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (Nintendo)
Rated E for Everybody
Hype: it’s one of those words I don’t like. Usually, the more you hype a game, the worse it becomes. The Zelda series is a well-known series and has been the recipient of tremendous hype as of late. But ... dang it, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, uncannily rivals the great hype with a great game to match.
Oracle of Seasons and its twin sister, Oracle of Ages, are the two latest games to hit the Game Boy Color. Nintendo is good at making Zelda games playable. They are also good at using the same basic gameplay formula, but making it varied enough so you aren’t bored of playing it.
Oracle of Seasons starts with the hero, Link, entering the new and unfamiliar world of Holodrum. He meets Din, a mysterious woman who forces him to dance with her (for all of his fighting skills, he is still a very shy guy). Link’s other problem is that evil forces spring up out of nowhere and screw up the world he is in. Right on cue, the general of Darkness, Onox, enters and captures Din. She is actually the Oracle of Seasons, and without her guidance, the seasons are thrown out of order. This will eventually destroy the world, so Link has no choice but to go on a journey and kick some butt.
People who have played other Zelda games will find the game to be very familiar. You must travel through the overworld to reach the eight dungeons that you must conquer to save the world. Each dungeon has locked doors, monsters, new weapons, and the occasional boss to defeat. When you do this, you are rewarded with more life and some hints on the next dungeon. Between dungeons, you are talking to people, getting money, using your equipment, and exploring new areas. Everything nicely intertwines together in a cornucopia of happiness, and there is enough variety that you won’t get bored of it.
Oracle of Seasons adds several gimmicks and bonuses to keep things fresh and avoid redundancy. Throughout the game, you can find rings that give you small bonuses. The rings make life a lot more convenient. My favorite is the “Blue Holy Ring,” which nullifies fireball attacks, so I can swim in peace. Another feature is the rides on which Link goes. Link gets to ride a kangaroo, a lizard, and a flying bear. Link eventually gets a flute that allows him to summon one of them. There’s just something about riding a flying bear that works in this game.
Link also gets a collection of weapons that allows him to travel further and fight better. Link’s boomerang lets him stun enemies from far away. Roc’s feather, one of my favorite items, lets Link jump over small pits. The slingshot makes its first appearance on the Game Boy Color, and it allows Link to shoot enemies from afar. The magnetic gloves are really fun because Link can attract and repel magnetic objects, or he can drag his own body towards them.
The dungeons are just the way I like them: long and tough. You have a fair amount of freedom to roam around the dungeon, so you don’t have a feeling of being cramped. The dungeons have a lot of puzzles to keep you entertained, too. The dungeons are blended well so you aren’t simply button mashing, but you’re not getting frustrated while tackling and endless wave of puzzles.
The graphics are above average for the Game Boy Color, but it still has a tile pattern on all of its surfaces (then again, the game is huge, and this is a Game Boy Color). The sound is okay, but varied (as if you’ll care...). You won’t even notice the windmill music from Oracle of Time (it’s there, I promise you.)
As a cheap marketing ploy, you won’t finish the game once you beat the final boss in Oracle of Seasons! Instead, you will get a password that lets you continue your quest in Oracle of Ages. You get new bonuses, secrets, and bosses to find and discover. This forces you to buy both games if you want everything.
But dang it! I’ll fall for their trap. Oracle of Seasons is so good I’m going to buy Oracle of Ages anyway. But who would ever think of creating two games and forcing you to buy both to get the whole experience? Gotta catch ’em all!