Innovative and fun.
This game was released simultaneously with a second Oracle title back in 2001. It and its counterpart, which I'll discuss in a second review, mark a departure of sorts from previous Zelda games, but one I wish they'd explored more in other games. The short explanation of what I mean is that you will not get the full story unless you play both games and "link" the second game with the first. You can of course use a link cable and two Game Boy Color units to do this, but there's a much simpler if somewhat longer way. When you complete one of these games you'll receive a password, called a Secret, which you'll write down and use when you boot up the second game. Your name from the prior game will be carried over and you'll also notice other tweaks as well. Of course you also want to be sure you save your completed game file from the first game when prompted, because at various points during the second game you'll receive passwords from various characters which you'll give to characters from the first game. These passwords will unlock various items which you can carry over into your second game via further passwords. The potential problem stems from the fact that these passwords are different each game, so if you didn't save your first game file after beating the first game, the passwords you get in the second game won't be recognized even if you use the main password from the first game. These lesser passwords can enable you to gain a variety of useful items and even upgrades to weapons which you can only get through linked games. Some items can only be acquired by playing the games in a certain order. You might be able to get some items by playing Oracle of Seasons first that you can't get if you play Ages first and vice versa. Regardless of whatever incidental passwords you might use, you do need to link the games with a main password to see the full storyline of these games and face the ultimate boss. In this instance it doesn't really matter which game you play first, though there are a few subplots that begin in Ages that you can only see truly resolved if you play Seasons second and again vice versa. The story of Oracle of Ages is that the Triforce has sent Link to the mysterious land of Labryna to protect Nayru, the Oracle of Ages. Shortly after his arrival, however, Nayru is kidnapped by Veran, the evil Sorceress of Shadows, who seeks to use Nayru's power over time to create an age of darkness and despair. In order to stop Veran, Link must collect the eight Essences of Time. To do this, Link must travel back and forth between the past and the present. Only then can he hope to stand a chance of defeating Veran and restoring the timeline to normal. But could there be a darker purpose behind Veran's actions? You'll have to link the two games to find that out. The gameplay and audio are much the same as in Link's Awakening. The item fanfare and many sound effects are ripped directly from that prior game as is the overworld theme. Like Awakening, however, each dungeon has a unique theme, most of wich are quite catchy. Even some characters have their own themes. The controls are also very similar to Link's Awakening, complete with the ability to set items to either the A or B buttons. The only difference is how you save. In Link's Awakening you had to hit all four buttons at once (A, B, Select and Start), to bring up the save menu. You don't want to try that here, otherwise you'll perform the reset function. Here you access the save menu simply by pressing Select and Start together, which some people may find a lot easier. All in all Ages is definitely a game worth owning and the same is true of its counterpart.
Reviewed by: Bryan Peterson from Twin Falls, Idaho.