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Retro Game Club Discussion Thread 19: Zelda Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons [community]

The lands of Labrynna and Holodrum cry out for a saviour.
The forces of evil are gaining power.
The Triforce summons you.

As Link, take up your sword once more to determine the fate of two worlds, in the Game Boy Colour classics. Wield the powers of the Oracles to traverse time and control the seasons. And link your quests to reveal the hidden truth in an epic meta-adventure that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Primary Discussion Begins on page 3!

Heroes of Power
(Complete Oracle of Seasons)

Heroes of Wisdom
(Complete Oracle of Ages)

Heroes of Courage
(Complete the linked ending to both games)

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Posted: 05/20/13, 17:26:43  - Edited by 
 on: 08/09/13, 02:04:50
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I used to use the Heart ring a lot, although regenerative health *does* take a bit of the challenge out . Likewise the rings that up your power or defence. Swimmer's ring got some play in the water dungeons, and there's probably a few other situational ones, but nothing game breaking.
Posted: 07/14/13, 23:21:26
Ah, ok. So my parading around as an Octoroc is mere whimsy.
Posted: 07/15/13, 00:09:23

Oh yes. Much whimsy there
Posted: 07/15/13, 00:52:46
Ugh! My first set-back in Oracle of Ages: Dungeon 5.

I'm finally making some progress after wandering around for hours. Thumb is sore from boody wandering!
Anyway, I have The Cane of Somaria, onwards!
Posted: 07/17/13, 15:06:07

I am most on where to go. I need something from the gorons to get the mermaids key I think. I just forget where I still have to go. Who I still have to try talking to. Lamesauce. I've already danced a bunch too.
Posted: 07/17/13, 17:56:59
My next essence is...inside a fish? I'm guessing down on the beach somewhere...


There's a Goron in the dancer's house that gives a hint...he'll say something like "I see you in the future riding a mine cart" or something of that nature. He doesn't go into specifics, but it helped me when I got stuck.
Posted: 07/17/13, 18:08:31
I'm playing Link's Awakening now.

Yes, the dungeons are far simpler. The game is substantially shorter. Progression can sometimes seem a little obtuse unless you're paying close attention and follow a "throw everything but the kitchen sink" at it approach.

But I still feel it's the best game of all of these. The sense of humor is awesome, and already leads you to think "something isn't quite right about this island." The whole premise of the game lets me more readily dismiss some of the game's more random moments, and it's just so quirky in general that I don't really care if I have to do something weird to progress. I love the vague comments from the owl statues scattered throughout the overworld. They keep trying to warn you about what will happen. Uncovering the secret in the Southern Shrine is really unnerving.

The story is far more engaging. The music is way better, even if one of the dungeon songs, I've noticed (Angler's Tunnel) is simply a sped up version of the cave theme. The characters are all instantly lovable in a way that the characters in the Oracle games aren't. I chalk that up to the Oracle characters seeming more like clones or cop-outs (I've already vented my frustration about Malon and Talon existing in three or four different games....I guess everyone is indeed reincarnated all the time, with the same roles, and looking exactly the same...). The Mario cameos are great and fit in perfectly with the wacky nature of the game.

Timeline spoilers and LA ending spoilers: And actually, if we take into account that Link's Awakening is the SAME Link from the Oracle games...it actually makes so much sense. Really, Link is having a dream primarily based on the adventure he had in the Oracle games, explaining why Zelda (in the Oracle games) looks exactly like Marin does (smart move on Capcom's part). Of course, Link is really having a dream that encompasses adventures from every Zelda game, which is why some of the more "gamey" aspects of the game work so perfectly. It really feels like one of the only Zelda games, IMO, that actually has a reason for why you're solving puzzles the way you are.

There are moments of peril, moments of humor, moments of sadness, etc. It hits a lot of emotional beats that the Oracle games just hit. Is the adventure as 'grand' as in the linked Oracle games? No, not really. But the adventure on the whole feels intimate and personal, begging the question "What is exactly going to happen when I wake the Wind Fish? Am I going to die?" It's quite an odd feeling knowing that even you, yourself, might vanish after waking the Wind Fish, if you are indeed a part of its dream.

All in all...if we look at all three of these games from a micro level, I think the Oracle games win out. The dungeons can take as long as 45 minutes and up to complete. The puzzles in the overworld can be pretty devious. The boss battles are more creative. But on a macro level? LA is just a better, more rounded experience, and leaves me more satisfied in the end.

I will retract my statement that I think Link's Awakening is a BETTER game than A Link to the Past...but I think in the end, it's my favorite of the two.

ALSO - I still think the game was better in black and white. It just works so much better for the story. What would've been cool would be if the whole game was in grayscale, with the game's final moments being in color. How freaking cool would that have been?

I kind of wish Nintendo could do something like this again, but they couldn't simply recycle the story. I think Majora's Mask is the closest they've come to capturing the feel of Link's Awakening (in terms of its oddness, its humor, its melancholy undertones). I truly wish Nintendo could make another Zelda game that unnerves me at times, because the games as of late haven't really had any moments that have creeped me out or truly intrigued me on the same level as LA (and Majora's Mask...which I have a love/hate relationship for many reasons, but certainly not its atmosphere). I suppose they kind of got there with Wind Waker, but that feeling didn't really permeate the story as much as it did in the other two games.
Posted: 07/17/13, 21:17:11  - Edited by 
 on: 07/17/13, 21:25:12
Yeah - I nailed the dancing section but then got waaay frustrated with the trading sequence to get the mermaids key (I still have some lava juice left over - any takers?)

I'm into the Mermaids Cave and I have 2 dungeon keys but, so far, nowhere to use 'em.....
Posted: 07/19/13, 13:55:42
So Level 7 in Ages can die in a fire. Seriously. I'm stumped, and I barely started that dungeon.
Posted: 07/21/13, 19:26:37

It can't! The dungeon is full of water! the fire does nothing!

But yeah, that dungeon is a bitch.
Posted: 07/21/13, 23:12:22
I'm somewhere around the raft part in Ages and I have to say, so far this game isn't really grabbing me as much as Seasons did. It feels more obtuse (yes, I'm going to keep using that word!) and the first two dungeons didn't really have a particularly interesting hook (actually the first dungeon had no hook at all, nothing happened.)

I'll keep at it of course.
Posted: 07/22/13, 00:37:01

Don't worry, one of Ages' dungeons has a very noticeable 'hook' ...

yuk yuk yuk
Posted: 07/22/13, 07:20:43

I see what you did there.

Found the initial key to get things moving, so it's bearable now.
Posted: 07/22/13, 13:31:37
Huh, I finally realized where Zero was stuck (they were talking about it on RFN)

There's a very obtuse clue where they tell you about an "old man" near the seashore who gives you an island chart. You have to get this from Tingle, who you get by using Ricky who is...somewhere on the map. I think near the graveyard?
Posted: 07/22/13, 19:30:39
Congrats to Lord Jabu-Jabu, consistently my least favourite Zelda dungeon.
Posted: 07/24/13, 23:35:39  - Edited by 
 on: 07/25/13, 00:05:39
@Super_Conzo It's brutal. LOTS of backtracking and memory requirement. "Wait, did I need to go to this room when the water was drained or full?"

The Oracle games' dungeons, like all Zelda dungeons are all about this:

- Identifying a roadblock that you can't surpass.
- Going everywhere else until you get a key or new item
- Returning to said roadblock with key or new item

The thing about that dungeon is that you have to backtrack so much, it's easy to forget about what you were doing in the first place. Your normal list of "to-do's" gets turned on its head because it's hard to discern where you need to go and then. There's one spot EARLY in the dungeon that you can't get past. By the time you CAN get past it, you've completely forgotten about it.

My problem? I totally forgot that I even obtained the special item for the dungeon because after all, it's simply an upgrade to an item you already have.
Posted: 07/24/13, 23:58:46

I finally beat Jabu-Jabu myself last night. Now...where do I go next? Not the black tower, but...somewhere in the past? Most of my map is filled out now, so I really don't know.
Posted: 07/26/13, 18:12:13
So-o-o-o close to quitting for good because of him. That was not fun.

Straight to the Sea of Storms then back to Crescent Island -- BOOM! Final dungeon.
Posted: 07/27/13, 10:49:51  - Edited by 
 on: 07/27/13, 10:54:16

It's pretty similar to the Water Temple in OoT, I think.

Anyway, I'm kinda stuck there right now too. I gotta get through it!
Posted: 07/27/13, 10:56:45

I think it's worse. Partially because I never had issues with OoT's Water Temple, but also because of the difference in styles. The 2D perspective makes it harder to kinda tell what you're doing, where you have to go. Also grids. The dungeon is more maze-like, so it's harder to navigate.
Posted: 07/27/13, 11:15:59  - Edited by 
 on: 07/27/13, 11:17:10
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