The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages
I'm sorry I made you worry...But I saw it. A world filled with sorrow and despair...withering away!
The seventh and eighth games in The Legend of Zelda series were developed by Capcom and released at the same time on the Game Boy Color in 2001. Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are the first portable Zelda games since Link's Awakening, and use similar graphics and gameplay styles.
Their most notable feature is the "Linked Game" system, which means that after you finish one game you can link your saved file to the other game and continue your adventure as a sequel. Other new elements include collectable rings with special abilities that can also be traded between the games.
Each Oracle game starts with Link being called to a new world by the Triforce. In Seasons he is called to the world of Holodrum and meets a mysterious dancer called Din, who turns out to be the Oracle of Seasons. Resident villain and Black Knight Onox captures her and sends the Temple Of Seasons underground, throwing the world's seasons into disarray. To save the world, Link must collect the Essences of Nature hidden across Holodrum, use their power to confront Onox and rescue Din. To aid his quest, Link is given the Rod of Seasons, which he can use to manipulate the seasons and open up new ways forward: for example, overgrown vines blocking a tunnel in Spring will have wilted in Winter.
In Ages, Link has been sent to the world of Labrynna. He meets a mysterious singer called Nayru, who turns out to be the time-travelling Oracle of Ages. Resident villain and sorceress Veran possesses Nayru's body and uses her power to travel centuries into the past, where she intends to manipulate the royal family into creating an Evil Tower of Ominousness. To save Labrynna from Veran's machinations, Link must collect the Essences of Time hidden across the world by using the Harp of Ages to travel between the past and present ages.
An interesting fact about these games is that they are the first canon Zelda games created with third-party involvement. It was originally titled The Triforce Series and was intended to be a trilogy of games with the same premise of linking the games together (in any order) to form one solid narrative. However, complications and budget forced a reduction to two games. In addition, one of the games was intended to be a remake of the first Zelda game, which was reworked into Oracle of Seasons after the Triforce Trilogy was cancelled, explaining why Holodrum's game map was similar to the map of the first Zelda game.
- As You Know: Used at the beginning of Oracle of Seasons.
- Ax Crazy: Because Twinrova sacrificed herself (since Link had pretty much killed her anyway) instead of Zelda, Ganon Came Back Wrong and was resurrected as only a bloodthirsty killing machine.
- Bad Future: Inverted in Ages -- the present's generally bright and cheery while the past is screwed up.
- Played straight with Symmetry Village.
- Barrier Maiden: The Oracles.
- Beneath the Earth: Subrosia in Oracle of Seasons.
- Bishonen: Ralph has some female NPCs in Ages commenting on his appearance.
- Bizarre Seasons: Occurs in Seasons. The seasons are all a jumbled mess because of the Oracle being imprisoned and the Temple of Seasons being sunk below the earth.
- Boxing Kangaroo: Ricky.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Some of the rings. One is awarded by using a Hero's Secret. Another two can be bought from stores that are only available by playing the game on a GBA. Another ring is given as a reward for beating Ganon in a linked game. There's also the rings you get for killing 1000 enemies and breaking 100 signs. The first ring you get would even count as one.
- Clown Car Grave: Each game has at least one undead themed dungeon, where this trope is played straight. Though strangely, undead enemies are seen a lot of other locations where there aren't any graves at all.
- Continuity Nod: Seasons has a ton of references to the first game, which makes sense, considering that these games began development as remakes of the NES games. Most notably, the first level shares the exact same layout as the first level of the original game, and the same boss is also featured.
- The other bosses from the original are also in Seasons. Dodongo returns to his role as the second boss; Gohma (actually the last level boss to appear in the original, first showing up as the boss of the sixth dungeon) is up fourth; Digdogger is again the fifth boss; Manhandla, the third boss of the original game, guards the sixth dungeon; and a three-headed Gleeok (like the others, a recurring boss in the first game, ranging in head count from two in its initial appearance as the fourth dungeon's boss to four as the eighth dungeon's boss) guards the seventh dungeon.
- Most of the other games in the series are referenced, as well. Subrosia bears more than a passing resemblance to the Dark World of A Link to the Past, and Link's Awakening is also heavily borrowed from (somewhat inevitable, as the Oracle games are built on the same engine as Link's Awakening).
- After killing the Twinrova sisters in Ocarina of Time, they say that they'll come back to haunt Link. They probably don't realize it's a different Link, nonetheless, in the Linked Game, you see what they meant.
- Cute Witch: Maple.
- Cut Song: Here.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Din in Seasons.
- Dark World: Subrosa subverts this; despite being made of lava and and having erupting volcanos it's actually a rather pleasant place with few enemies.
- Deep Sleep: The Maku Tree in Seasons does almost nothing besides sleeping.
- Demonic Possession: Twice in Ages; in both cases it's a good thing you have the mystery seeds (from the second dungeon), the seed shooter (from the third dungeon), and the switch hook (from the fourth dungeon).
- Damsel in Distress: The Oracles. More egregiously with Din; Onox sends a little tornado to carry her away and she's not seen again until Link goes and rescues her. Less so with Nayru, because Veran possessed her, and presumably she didn't have the strength or the time (likely both) to resist, and she's freed approximately once you're about two thirds through the game. And Princess Zelda in a linked game.
- Dual World Gameplay: Oracle of Ages has time portals connecting the past and future. A few of them are conveniently opened at the start of the game when Nayru's time powers are used, and the Harp of Ages lets Link open them on his own. Once Link learns more songs, he can travel Back To The Future from the past, and by the end of the game he can jump back and forth anywhere he wants.
- A less literal example is Seasons, where the Rod of Seasons changes the seasons but you remain in the same world. The effects are the same though, the environment changes to open/close new paths depending on the season, like snow piling up or lakebeds drying up.
- Dummied Out: A bit of a meta case; an entire game was dummied out. The Oracle titles were originally supposed to be a trilogy, with a third title based around color-changing puzzles. Making three linked games quickly became too much to handle for the development team though, so they cut it down to two. Remaining evidence in the game code is limited to just the existence of Farore, and Koume and Kotake claiming Ganon's resurrection was initiated due to three bad emotions when only two plot events occurred to cause them (they worked around it by having Zelda's kidnapping cause the third). This situation is given a Shout-Out in Minish Cap, in which all three Oracle girls appear in cameos, but you can only have houses in Hyrule Castle Town built for two of them to live in.
- It's also worth noting that, in Minish Cap, giving Farore, the one whose game was Dummied Out, a house, you get a better charm.
- Giving her a house means the charm has the effects of both Din and Nayru's charms, but not as potent.
- Another reason why the third Oracle game was cancelled was revealed in an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly (check the August 2000 issue). The developers realized that with three games, making a continuous story through three games that could be played in any order was a tall task indeed, and they also didn't know what order people would play them in (whether it was 1-2-3, or 1-3-2, or whatever).
- Using permutations, there would be a grand total of 6 ways to play all three games in sequence.
- It's also worth noting that, in Minish Cap, giving Farore, the one whose game was Dummied Out, a house, you get a better charm.
- The Dragon: Both Onox and Veran to Twinrova (and Ganon).
- Onox takes it literally in the final battle since he is a wyvern.
- Dual Boss: Twinrova.
- Empty Room Psych: The rooms for linked secrets.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: A red Dodongo that you can ride to swim through fast currents. He can also eat enemies in one gulp. And you can pick him up and throw him to hurt enemies. Also, he's the hardest friend to get a flute for in Seasons (in Ages, you just buy the flute at the store).
- Final Exam Boss: Three times in Ages. Two of those times are related to the Demonic Possession gear mentioned above, while the other one is... a giant statue.
- Flat Character: Onox is... some evil general who wants to throw the seasons into chaos and... that's just about all you see of him until you fight him. Veran at least shows up a little more.
- Fun with Palindromes: Oracle of Ages features Symmetry City, whose survival depends on the total equality between the two sides. The name of the artifact that mantains the balance? Tuni nut!
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Link isn't actually present in the scene where Veran mentions what her weakness is. All he knew was that she "desired" them, according to Ambi, which could've meant anything.
- Giant Hands of Doom: Ramrock, the boss of the eighth dungeon in Ages.
- Global Currency Exception: Subrosia in Seasons uses chunks of ore as currency, not rupees.
- God Save Us From the Queen: A subverted example. Queen Ambi in Ages is actually a very kind and good woman; the reason why things get bad is because her naivety allows Veran (in Nayru's body) to manipulate her with ease. Then, later on, it's because Veran possesses her.
GrandfatherGrandmother Paradox: Ralph confronts Veran, possessing his ancestor Queen Ambi, in Ages.
Ralph: "Fine! If I slay you, I vanish! Maybe it is terrifying... But if I must, I must. To do nothing and live just isn't me."
- Veran promptly ruins the moment, and Link has to save the day.
- Ghost Pirate: The skeleton pirates.
- Grave Clouds: The cemeteries in both Seasons and Ages are perpetually dark and dreary.
- Grimy Water: The sea in Ages, until you complete a quest to cleanse it of the filth.
- Hailfire Peaks: The Sword-and-Shield dungeon in Seasons. The floor shaped like a shield is ice-themed, while the floor shaped like a sword is fire-themed.
- The Hecate Sisters: Din, Nayru, and Farore.
- The High Queen: Queen Ambi, although her possession by Veran twists this.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Actually, it was hijacked by Koume and Kotake, his surrogate parents from Ocarina of Time. Ganon is the Final Boss, but he's not directly involved with the plot other than the fact that the plot was to revive him.
- Hot Witch: Veran, the villainess of Ages. Just see here. She does have a bit of a Vain Sorceress vibe to her, though.
- Ironically, her true form is a turtle, which can turn into a bee and a spider...even she remarks she is reluctant to use it, because it is so hideous, and may have something to do with her vanity in retrospect...
- Human Sacrifice: Twinrova tries to sacrifice Zelda to light the Flame of Despair in order to raise Ganon from the dead.
- And when you foil their plan, they perform a self-sacrifice, but it messes up the ritual.
- Human Shield: Onox uses Din as one in Seasons.
- Veran's possession ability might be a variant; as she laughingly points out to Ralph in multiple cut-scenes, trying to strike her will only hurt her victim.
- Hypocritical Humor:
Captain: You call yourselves pirates? Shameful fools! Getting sick the moment you set sail? It's... Oooh... Uhnn... It's no use! Put 'er ashore!
- Idiot Ball: Twinrova fight Link to the death when he interrupts their resurrection ritual and end up having to sacrifice themselves to bring back Ganon, and an incomplete one at that. Koume and Kotake can only be harmed by each other's magic. Why on Earth would they fight him together? Instead of providing Link with the necessary ammunition to take them both down, there's no apparent reason why one couldn't have remained behind to complete the ritual while the other trapped Link in a Hopeless Boss Fight.
- Interquel: Set in between A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening, according to Hyrule Historia.
- Interspecies Romance:
- The Maku Tree has romantic designs on Link in Ages, which is more of an interKINGDOM romance.
- Debatably, Queen Ambi (human) and Cap'n (undead).
- In Seasons, Link woos and dates Subrosian pop star Rosa so he can borrow her magical key to unlock a few doors.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Two of them, the Master Sword and the Biggoron Sword. There are also tons of items and bonuses that you can only get by playing a linked game.
- The Red Ring, awarded in Oracle of Seasons by defeating four golden enemies, doubles your sword damage without any drawbacks.
- ISO Standard Urban Groceries: In the ending for the linked game, the MacGuffin Girl from Ages is seen with this.
- Jump Physics: Subtly improved from Link's Awakening, as jumping during the top-down portions of the game (i.e. almost all of the game) moves you through Z-levels (as in, actual altitude) instead of faking it by putting you in the "jump" state while artificially moving you through Y-levels. This also explains why attacking in the air doesn't hit enemies on the ground, but instead hits the ones that are in the air (meaning they can hit flaming bats if they're low enough, or the jumping Stalfos mid-jump).
- Large and In Charge: Onox, a Tin Tyrant extraordinaire who wields a ball-and-chain, is one of the more physically imposing villains Link has had to face.
- Kangaroo Pouch Ride: Ricky, the boxing-glove wearing kangaroo.
- Lethal Joke Item: The Fool's Ore which the two Subrosians give you after they steal your Roc's Feather is, for the most part, a useless piece of junk that does nothing. However, if you dig up a Fire Pokey, you can one shot it with the Fool's Ore (it takes several hits from the sword to do the same thing). Unfortunately, Fire Pokeys are the only enemy you can use it on since you leave it behind when you get the Roc's Feather back.
- Lethal Lava Land: Subrosia has tons of lava, with the occasional eruption for you to dodge, but it's really more of a subversion: there are few enemies, and the inhabitants are friendly.
- Let's Play: Boltage McGammar's LP has him playing Ages first. If you want to see Seasons played first, check out CeilingNinja's LP.
- MacGuffin Girl: The titular Oracles, and Princess Zelda in the linked game.
- Magic Wand: The Rod of Seasons.
- Magnetic Weapons: Link's magnetic gloves in Seasons. In order to defeat one boss, he has to crush it by directing a giant spiked ball with them.
- Mama Bears: Seeing Twinrova sacrifice herself for the sake of bringing Ganon Back from the Dead just goes to show how much Koume and Kotake cared for Ganon(dorf).
- The Man Behind the Man: At first, Onox and Veran would appear to be the Big Bads of Seasons and Ages respectively, doing what they're doing because, well, they're insane and just like being evil. But later on, it turns out that all along, both of them were actually working at the command of Koume and Kotake, and their actions actually had a deeper purpose: to light some magical flames as part of a ritual to resurrect Ganon, the primary antagonist of the Zelda series.
- Meanwhile in the Future: The story progression of Ages can be monitored by the progress of the Final Dungeon, regardless of what era you're in.
- Missing Secret: If you play Ages first there's one square on the map that you'll never be able to explore.
- Ms. Fanservice: Without a doubt, Veran.
- Narrative Shapeshifting: This appears to be the case when Link is telling the Funny Joke to the depressed boy, as Link's body contorts in ways never before seen from our favorite Heroic Mime.
- Nerf: The jumping distance when using the Roc's Feather was shortened compared to the jumping distance in Link's Awakening.
- This is however inverted in Seasons when you pick up Roc's Cape which is a L2 Roc's Feather.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Ages, the only reason Veran is able to possess Naryu is because Link disrupts the barrier separating the two in a But Thou Must! moment.
- A much more literal example in ages, is the second dungeon. After going through the fairies' woods to reach it, there is a rock in the way. Okay, equip the power bracelet, and move it, except this makes the WHOLE FREAKING DUNGEON COLLAPSE...and you have to use time travel to get in at that point...(in retrospect, why hasn't ganondorf done this in any of the 800 other dungeons in the LoZ series, just one would doom link to failure...)
- Nostalgia Level: The aforementioned references to the first game often involve similarities between dungeons. In particular, the first dungeon of Seasons has the exact same layout as the first dungeon of the original Legend of Zelda, with the same boss.
- One Game for the Price of Two: Both averted and played straight: the games by themselves are completely different (items, dungeons, bosses and so on), but if you want to complete the storyline you need to play a Linked Game requiring both games.
- And a linked game is a sort of New Game+. You start off with one more heart container than normal and can access more things than a fresh game.
- One-Winged Angel: The final bosses of both games. Veran has three.
- Petting Zoo People: The Tokay, anthropomorphic lizards with a penchant for theft.
- Playable Epilogue: A non-linked game has this, allowing you to continue to play in the peaceful world- this has to be done to facilitate the password-unlocked sidequests.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia: Link goes into one of these after receiving a Smooch of Victory from Princess Zelda in the combined ending.
- Puzzle Boss: Smog from Ages.
- Randomly Drops: Most of the rings are obtained randomly from Gasha Nuts, minigames, or Maple. Also, Maple randomly drops a Heart Piece.
- Rule of Funny: Skeleton pirates that get seasick due to losing their touch from staying beached so long. Including the captain.
- Saharan Shipwreck
- San Dimas Time: In Ages, Veran goes back in time to alter things in her favor. Some of the effects are instantaneous, while others, like the construction of the Tower, are incremental based on your progress through the game.
- Save This Person Save the World: Play straight with Din in Seasons, but averted with Nayru in Ages. Link actually manages to save Nayru and get her back to the present shortly after the sixth dungeon, but Veran is able to possess Queen Ambi and as she's still in the past can use Ambi's influence to complete her scheme even without Nayru.
- Shout-Out: Many, many to the original Legend of Zelda in Seasons. Even most of the bosses in Seasons are re-worked versions of the original Zelda bosses.
- One of the Mini-Bosses in a linked Ages game is a shout out to the original Donkey Kong arcade.
- Sequence Breaking: It is possible in Seasons to do the 5th dungeon before the 4th one if you know how to get Autumn.
- It is possible to skip the Subrosian Dance to get the Level 1 Boomerang, by using a bomb to activate the switch in the winter tower.
- Sidequest: A bunch are unlocked after you beat the first game and can only be completed with passwords that you use in the second.
- That One Sidequest: The Hero's Cave in a linked game. In an unlinked game, it's just a short dungeon in Seasons that you go through to first get your sword, and it doesn't even exist in Ages, but in the linked games, it's 21 rooms long in Seasons and 15 in Ages and in both cases you need to have the equipment from the 7th dungeon in order to clear it.
- The second-to-last puzzle in Seasons is hair-pullingly hard, because you need to perform a very precise boomerang throw to hit a switch. And the boomerang is FAST, which mean you need a hell lot of reflexes to pull it off. However, you can circumvent that puzzle by using Pegasus seeds to control the return path of the boomerang in such a way that it goes through the blocks and hits the switch on the way back.
- Simon Says Mini Game: The Subrosian dance in Seasons and the Goron Dance in Ages.
- Lampooned by the Subrosians in a linked Ages game: in the past, several of them are admiring the Goron dance, implying the Subrosian dance is based on theirs. In the present, Rosa thinks the Goron dance is a poor imitation of the Subrosian dance.
- Slasher Smile/Psychotic Smirk: The villains in the page's image.
- Smooch of Victory: Defeating the linked games gets Link a kiss from Princess Zelda.
- Snot Bubble: The Maku Tree in Seasons always has one of these, despite being, well, a tree. Popping it with your sword is the only way to get him to wake up and engage in conversation.
- Stable Time Loop: A ton of these can be observed in Ages, since there's a lot of time traveling.
- Stealth-Based Mission: Ambi's Castle in Ages.
- The Subrosians in Seasons are fond of this. You have to stalk Rosa to find the portals into Subrosia to begin with, and later on the Strange Brothers steal your Roc's Feather and you have to follow them to recover it.
- Super Drowning Skills: Played straight in both games until you get the Flippers. In Ages it continues to be played straight even after getting them, because another item that you acquire much later in the game is required for swimming in "deep water" (such as in the sea).
- Swirly Energy Thingy: In Ages, these are the warps between the eras of Labrynna. In Seasons, these are the warps between Holodrum and Subrosia.
- Tennis Boss: It's a Zelda game, so naturally each game has one miniboss in which you must deflect its blasts before you can injure it. The one in Seasons is an homage to Aghanim as well as Ganon's "Technique of Darkness".
- Terminator Twosome: In Ages, Veran and Link. Threesome, if you count Ralph.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In rare instances, you can run into Maple on particularly watery maps. If all of her items sink underwater during the collision, she'll treat you to some alternate dialogue.
- The Mentor: The Maku Tree in both games. After completing each dungeon, they are able to sense that you've just collected another Essence, and are able to give you a hint about where to go to find the next one (the Seasons Maku Tree dreams about them, and the Ages Maku Tree "hears" them.)
- The Three Faces of Eve: The Oracles. Din as seductress, Nayru as mother, Farore as maiden.
- Time Paradox: Ages again, of the Ontological variety... just where did that Bomb Flower on Rolling Ridge come from, anyway?
- Or the Goron Vase, come to think of it?
- Time Travel: Ages again. In fact, the Better Than It Sounds for Ages is: Boy plays a harp and goes back and forth in time.
- Underwater Boss Battle: The sixth and seventh dungeons in Ages--the boss of the sixth moves back and forth between the surface and underwater, while the seventh is underwater for the entire battle.
- Valley Girl: Rosa from Seasons.
- Verbal Tic: The Tokay in the Japanese version have a Pokémon-Speak tic of using "toka" at odd moments. This was removed in the dub since Western audiences don't find that quite as endearing.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: The cuccos are still around.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Pols Voices? You don't need bombs if you got a flute or a Harp!
- Weather Control Machine: Onox uses Din's powers to mess up the seasons. Later on, Link gets a rod that can do so whenever he's on a tree stump.
- Wise Tree: The Maku Trees, moreso in Oracle of Seasons. The one in Ages can be a bit more... childish.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: Valuable items like Pieces of Heart and Gasha Seeds are sold in junk stores in Subrosia. Another Subrosian is seen throwing such items into lava in order to cause a volcano to erupt.
- Sadly, they cannot be caught out of the air.
- Yin-Yang Clash: One miniboss in Ages wields a supposedly unbreakable sword, and a supposedly unbreakable shield. You can only defeat him by tricking him into hitting the one with the other, breaking both.