Name: The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
Format: Game Boy Color
Developer: Nintendo and Capcom
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 2001

Development

The first thing you'll probably notice when you fire up this cartridge is probably going to be the title screen; no shit. More specifically what you'll notice is Capcom's company name emblazoned across the screen. Now just for those of you who don't know Nintendo started work on a triple whammy (thank you malcster) of Zelda titles for the Game Boy Color all of which would be interactive with each other. Unfortunately due to the amount of bugs such a system would cause on the Game Boy Color the third game was canned leaving just this game and Oracle of Seasons remaining.

Moving back to the Capcom thing it may shock some of you that Capcom actually had some part in the production of a Zelda game. But fear not (or rejoice not for some of you this game will be following pretty much the same guidelines as was set for Zelda Games on the Game Boy Color by Link's Awakening so this means no crazy-ass specials with epilepsy inducing lighting effects; but it does mean a storyline that makes an inch of sense. I guess Nintendo handled that department because the storyline beats hands down Capcom's usual stuff. Their normal effort is "Heros go and fight a villian for some (sometimes unknown) reason", and this instead has Nintendo's trademark Zelda 'Lone Elf hero goes to save the world for a very apparent reason' storyline. It plays in an incredibly similar way to it's older sibling Link's Awakening in terms of controls, graphics and music.

Plot

Anyway enough backstory and onto the real meat of the game; the game starts off with Link waking in the forest to the sounds of screaming in the distance; Link (being the Hero of Time that he is) runs off to investigate. As it turns out Impa, servant of the Princess Zelda herself, is being attacked by a group of monsters (I recognise them as Octoroks if anyone says any difference then fine, where's your node?). After, presumably, helping her (details of what went on here are quite vague) they venture further into the forest as Impa explains she is looking for a singer named Nayru. After some undoubtedly hilarious stone pushing antics (details on the hilarity of this moment are also vague) they come across a young woman singing to an audience of animals; when Impa reveals that she is not really Impa at all(oh Nintendo what a tangled web you weave) and that she is actually Veran Sorceress of Shadows(allegedly) and as some kind of twisted double helix of ingenious story-telling she in turn reveals Nayru is the Oracle of Ages foretold in the title (dun-dun-duuuuunn) and Veran is here to kidnap her and use her powers of time control for her own twisted deeds and this is where you, the player (of the game, nothing else) take control of link as he travels time to save Nayru.

Items

Harp of Time - Probably the most important item in the game. This allows you to learn songs (in a similar fashion to Ocarina of Time) which can be played for certain mystical effects. The first song allows you to open time portals that are "sleeping", so you can travel to a different time period, but eventually you gain more powerful songs which allow you to manipulate time to your ever need...

Flippers are named as those of a Zora's but are found in a grave, Cheval's Grave no less. Anyway Flippers allow Link to swim in water but wading into the darker waters will cause Link to drown because to swim in these you require the...

... Mermaid Suit which allow Link to swim freely whereever he wants.

Probably the most interesting of the items is the Gasha Seeds which, when planted in soft soil in the past, soon grow to be a full tree when you travel into the future.

The usual default Zelda stuff gets into the game as usual. Swords, Shields, etc. are included but their functions are largely unchanged from previous games so you should probably read about them somewhere else...

Finally Goronade is a high-energy drink and gets a mention simply because the name in itself is fantastic.

Dungeons

The game features 8 "normal" dungeons, in common with many of the other games in the series. Out of each dungeon, after beating the mandatory boss, a spirit is gained. This spirit is the equivalent of the instruments in Link's Awakening and the remains Masks in Majora's Mask - you need all of them (and therefore, you need to finish all the dungeons) before you can take on the final boss. In this case, the final Boss is Veran, and you have to trek through the ominous sounding Black Tower (a final dungeon) to get to the fight.

Link up

Hah. You see. Link. Like the link between games, but also... he's called Link. I crack myself up.

One of the main draws of the game is that it links to it's counterpart, Oracle of Seasons. If you complete one game, you are given a password, which then you then enter in the other one of the pair. If you do this, the game changes slightly - in the case of finishing Seasons and using the password in Ages, you are given slightly more hearts to start with, and their are heaps of charactesr in different places. Also, the most important and interesting change is that after beating the normal boss of the game you have to complete a lengthy section afterwards to get to the real climax ending of the series. Suffice to say, some familiar faces crop up...

Interestingly, although the game was released for Game Boy Color, it was, like it's sister title, compatible with the Game Boy Advance. If you played it on the newer system, then a new shop opened up, allowing you to buy extra items like a Gasha Seed and a few Magic Rings. These were a big part of the game in itself - you could find or buy a large selection of Rings, which gave special powers such as increased damage or defence. This system is very similar (although I don't know whether it's intentional) to the Relic system in Final Fantasy VI - only a few may be equipped at a time, so you have to work out which are the most useful.

It is also possible to link up two cartridges with the Link Cable, assuming you have two Game Boy Colors to play with. This allows you to do things like trade magic rings with a friend's game.

Rumour Mill

Okay maybe I'm being a little unorthodox by putting my crazy ideas forward to scrutiny by the world but after also playing Oracle of Ages' sister game, Oracle of Seasons, I found out that the Oracle in that game goes by the name of Dinand Oracle of Ages Oracle was called Nayru . Now those were the names of two of the 3 great Fairies in the N64 classic The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, so my theory is the third (cancelled) game's Oracle was called Farore, it would've featured a tasteful green cover and would've undoubtedly featured travelling of some description (my preference would be that of travelling between dimensions). But since this is just the idle speculations of a raving fool, I wouldn't pay too much attention to it...


Thanks to gilthor for reminding me (can't believe I forgot this one) that Farore does appear in the game. "She was present inside the Deku tree, as the "Oracle of Secrets", who allowed you to bring stuff from Seasons into the Ages game, such as Bombchus" - thanks for reminding me about that!


Thanks to malcster for some help with this writeup.
Thanks to Servo5678 for suggestions and helpful advice.
Thanks to gilthor for reminding me about Farore.

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