Having conquered the threat that fell upon the realm of Holodrum in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, Link’s Game Boy Color quest doesn’t necessarily end there with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. Granted a password upon completion, Nintendo suitably entices you to treat the companion adventure to whichever you chose first as a sequel.
Far from being some superficial design, using such a code sees you witness an expanded narrative that brings Gerudo witches Kotake and Koume, together known as Twinrova, who capture Princess Zelda and are hell-bent on reviving Ganon. It’s a neat touch as an addition and something that we don’t seemingly encounter as much within today’s games.
Whilst Seasons leverages a resolute action-fuelled challenge to even the most well-versed of series veterans, Ages places itself at the opposite end of the spectrum in presenting more puzzle-orientated gameplay. Stumbling upon Nayru – the Oracle of Ages herself – singing to woodland creatures in the forest, Link witnesses the untimely appearance of the dark sorceress Veran who soon possesses the songstress. The knock-on effect of this is that such bodily abduction alters Labrynna’s flow of time, Veran looking to fill the land with sorrow as Link rushes to switch between present and past to secure the Essences of Time which hold the power to see the truth.
It’s a marvel as you flit between the interlocked time periods, although the visual palette doesn’t quite prove as luscious as Seasons, er… seasons. Link’s equipment is largely similar to that of the accompanying release, the Seed Satchel carrying Mystical Seeds each powered by their own unique properties – lighting torches, speeding Link’s movement, and allowing you to warp around the overworld. Although unique to the game is the Switch Hook, which sees the Hylian hero able to switch places with certain targets, and the Harp of Ages, which allows you to play three separate tunes to alter the currents of time.
The quirky Tingle makes an early cameo, an item trade sequence will challenge you in scouring the entire overworld, and the three animal companions from Seasons will help carry you to hard to reach locations.
Dungeons will perplex, bosses will set your pulse racing, and as a whole, it amounts to equally joyous entry within the long-adored series. Which may surprise, considering Nintendo didn’t take as direct control in development, instead tasking Capcom with crafting each. Both should be treasured, and we can thank Nintendo for their spell-binding Virtual Console appearance.
Version Tested: Nintendo 3DS
Review copy provided by Nintendo