The Year of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

A while back, I set myself the goal of finishing all of the Zelda games I’ve yet to play before I start the latest game in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Oracle of Seasons is the first one I can tick off that list.

Originally released for the Game Boy Color back in 2001, just as the ageing handheld was being superseded by the Game Boy Advance, Oracle of Seasons is an odd fish. For a start, it was the first Zelda game to be developed by an outside studio, Capcom, and confusingly, it was actually released as two games – Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages. At the time, I assumed that this dual release was a way to jump on the Pokemon bandwagon, a tactic of releasing two basically identical games with a few minor differences. But that’s not the case – each game is a fully fledged, unique, standalone adventure, although there’s an overarching narrative that spans the two. Cleverly, you get a password when you complete one of them that lets you carry over your save game to the next instalment, although it doesn’t matter which order you play the games in.

Apparently, the whole thing was originally going to be THREE games, each representing an aspect of the Triforce. But the third game was cancelled, and the protracted development saw the concept undergo enormous changes – hence why the games were released so late into the GBC’s life cycle. In fact, they didn’t emerge until well after the release of the GBA, the GBC’s replacement. The Oracle games’ huge ambition and wonderful graphics are typical of late-stage software for an ageing console, as developers finally master the hardware and are able to push it to its absolute limits.

The Rod of Seasons lets you change, ahem, the season, which is key to solving puzzles.

But to start with, I wasn’t enormously enthusiastic about playing Oracle of Seasons. I recalled a few reviews from the time being a little lukewarm about the game, especially in the wake of the astonishing Ocarina of Time, so I never saw it as a ‘must-play’ title. How wrong I was.

I’ll just put this out there right now – I reckon Oracle of Seasons is better than Link’s Awakening. In fact, I’d easily class it in my top 5 Zelda games, it’s that good. It’s just packed with so many great ideas, such as a boxing kangaroo called Ricky that you can ride on to leap over holes and punch out enemies. (In fact, that bit was so fun, it’s a real shame that Link stuck to riding boring old horses in the later entries – bring back Ricky, I say.) The collectible items are also inspired, particularly the magnetic gloves, which allow you to attract or repel certain enemies and pull yourself across gaps by latching onto a metal pole.

Hey Ricky, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Ricky!

But it’s the brilliant dungeons that really make the game. The below instalment of Boss Keys does a much better job than I could of explaining what makes these dungeons so good. They’re a joy to play through – challenging but never frustrating, with a real sense of achievement when you make it through alive. Wonderful stuff.

I’ve already started on the next game, Oracle of Ages, and judging by how much I enjoyed Oracle of Seasons, The Year of Zelda is going to be a very fun year indeed.


This article is part of The Year of Zelda, an attempt to play through all of the Zelda games I’ve yet to finish.

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6 Comments

Filed under The Year of Zelda

6 responses to “The Year of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

  1. Although the concept of Oracle of Seasons is more appealing to me (as time-traveling had already been done a few times in the Zelda franchise before it came out) I think Oracle of Ages is the better game here. Both are excellent, though.

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  2. Adam T

    Loved the Oracle games! Never had Ricky though, I seem to recall a flying bear companion of some kind. I was never convinced I’d fully completed them, despite checking online guides after the fact, as there were still empty inventory slots at the end of the games. Maybe that’s due to the scheduled third game that never was?

    Loved the customisable Ring system as well 🙂 I remember playing on my brand new GBA and unlocking a secret ring or two, don’t remember if they actually did anything useful though!

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  3. Awesome. Never seriously tried either Seasons or Ages but you’re making me want to. Minish Cap is another one I’ve not played – now I think about it, the only handheld Zelda I’ve played is Link’s Awakening, which I love.

    By the way… am I understanding correctly in that you’re not playing Breath of the Wild yet, and you want to playthrough previous entries in the series first? If so, that must shows great self-discipline on your part! (Possibly some insanity too but who am I to judge?!)

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  4. Hm. I’d really like to do a replay of most of the Zelda series myself one of these days, but that’s a tough one to find time for. Someday…

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  5. Pingback: From The Armchair: Fire Emblem FTW | A Most Agreeable Pastime

  6. Pingback: The Year of Zelda: Link Archer Amiibo | A Most Agreeable Pastime

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