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   The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons - Staff Retroview  

Seasons of Fun
by Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
Moderate
COMPLETION TIME
10-15 Hours
OVERALL

3.0/5

Rating definitions 

   The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons is part of the 2001 Game Boy Color dual game set which also contains The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Developed by Capcom and published by Nintendo, these two games are sold separately and can be played in any order, but when played together via a password system, they make for an even greater adventure. Seasons is the more action oriented of the two, while Ages is heavier on the puzzle side. While they may both be part of something greater, Oracle of Seasons is quite capable of standing on its own.

   As far as story goes, this game offers nothing more than what is normally expected of a Zelda title. The focus of Seasons is rescuing Din, the Oracle of Seasons, from Onox, the General of Darkness. Onox appears to capture Din in the game's opening moments. Link must go forth into the land to gather the eight lost essences in order to restore the seasons back into balance. There are no major twists and turns throughout the game, so don't expect an epic adventure. This is a light hearted adventure that takes Link through both the overworld and underworld in order to find new items that will allow him to progress to new areas. NPCs are interesting, yet slightly bland, but they add to the world environment of Oracle of Seasons to make things a little more entertaining overall.

Rock Man. Oooh shiny.

   The interaction menus of Seasons are limited by the lack of buttons on the Game Boy Color. With only two action buttons and two menu buttons available, players will be constantly changing menus in order to change weapons or to view maps. This can be rather annoying during boss battles where players may need as many as four different items to sufficiently win the battle, and will have to pause mid-action to do so. Aside from the lack of buttons, Oracle of Seasons does well with what the Game Boy Color has to offer. Movement is generally easy with the exception of some side-scrolling that takes place in certain areas. Items are easy to control and saving is allowed at any time, making this game playing experience enjoyable.

   Combat in Seasons takes place in typical Zelda style. Link has the option of equipping two items at any given time, though in most cases one of those items will be a sword. Along with the sword, gamers will obtain a boomerang, a feather that allows Link to jump, bombs, the power bracelet, a slingshot, and a magnetic glove just to name a few. Most of these items can be found in prior Zelda games, but a few are new, such as the magnetic glove. This item takes the place of Link's traditional Hookshot and allows Link to not only cross certain gaps but can also be used to move special magnetic balls around in dungeons and to fight certain magnetic enemies that would otherwise be difficult to hit. Link can also gather rings throughout his adventures. These rings, once appraised, can give him bonuses such as a boost in sword power or the ability to detect things in the ground. None of the items or other changes to combat are completely revolutionary, but they serve Link well and are a nice change.

Dance party! Don't step on my toes.

   Oracle of Seasons is not much different from the prior Zelda titles except for a few minor things. First, the password tie to Oracle of Ages is a nice addition, but it doesn't truly add anything original to the gaming experience. The major originality factor is the changing of seasons. Throughout the game, Link will have to change the seasons in order to progress. In some cases, Link will have to change the season from winter to spring to open up access to a cave that was frozen shut or he will have to change it from spring to winter to make it possible to walk over a pond. It's a nice change, but that is truly about the only things that differ this game from that of prior incarnations.

   The visuals of Seasons are rather good for the Game Boy Color era. Though they may pale in comparison to modern day systems, at the time the graphics were pretty decent. The same can be said of the music, as Seasons doesn't really offer anything groundbreaking, but it makes effective use of the technology available.

   Oracle of Seasons is a fun title. The puzzles and bosses are challenging, and the gameplay is solid enough to make the experience enjoyable. Seasons stands out as a decent stand-alone game that can be made even better when paired with Oracle of Ages, as the pairing does help to extend play time. Overall, Capcom did a pleasing job with Nintendo's action RPG series.

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