Review by Mega

"Evil is back, and its up to Link to save the day in what seems like an old school adventure..."

After the absolutely excellent Zelda: Link’s Awakening for GBC, Link was missing on the handheld front for some time. Zelda: LA is the best game for GBC, and the next series in Link’s adventure had some really, really big shoes to fill. What originally was a series of three games in the Oracle series was turned to two, and probably for the better. This part of the Oracle series is entertaining and fun, but gives a feeling of “Been there, done that.” As a special bonus, try to get the song references hidden in the review! I’ve hidden and changed some famous song lyrics in the review, so have fun finding them.

Her name was Din, she was a showgirl… with yellow feathers in her hair…
Those who get the song reference earn major cool points from me. The story is… for lack of better word, thin. As Link finally finds the sacred Triforce, he hears a voice yell “Accept our quest!” A large black hole appears under Link, and he is sucked in. He awakens in a strange new land. In front of Link there lie some bushes he cannot pass, but he hears some music and singing coming from a few yards to the right. Link walks over and meets up with a traveling troupe of actors, all dancing, singing, and having fun. Link is mesmerized at a young woman with fiery red hair dancing on top of a tree stump. As he approaches her, she smiles sweetly and tells him her name is Din, and she is a dancer in this troupe. She asks Link to dance, and he reluctantly agrees. They troupe and Link are having fun when the sky turns black. A loud, booming voice yells, “You cannot run from me, Din, the Oracle of Seasons! You are mine!” With that, a small tornado appears and tosses the members of the troupe into the sky. Din shrieks as the tornado approaches her. Link, the brave little moron he is, rushes in front of her to block the tornado. Predictably, Link is tossed to the side and the tornado engulfs Din. She shrieks, and is whisked away into the sky. Din is the Oracle of Seasons, and the evil Onox has captured her in order to disrupt nature and throw the seasons and the world into complete darkness. Onox also sends the Temple of Seasons, where the Spirits of Nature rest, into the earth. Since the evil Onox captured Din and sunk the Temple of Seasons, the seasons have been thrown into complete chaos. Link must quest through this new land, rescue Din, and restore the Temple of Seasons. To do this, Link must find the Rod of Seasons to help… where is it? This story is pretty weak.

Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me… to kick your ass!
The gameplay here is kind of dull. As Link, you travel around the world to eight dungeons, defeat the bosses, and grab the Essence of Nature hidden in the temple. Once all eight Essences are brought together, Link will finally be able to enter Onox’s castle and rescue Din. This is a classic throwback to the NES days and may appeal to the older veteran gamers, but the newer gamers may become bored with the NES fare. As usual, the dungeons are filled with monsters and mind-numbingly-hard puzzles. One of the more interesting and unique ideas was adding some magical rings into the mix. Scattered around the world are rings with magical properties. Once you find them, you must go to the town jeweler and have it appraised. The jeweler tells you the name of the ring and the magical property, and you are able to wear it if you choose. You are able to carry one ring at first, but as you journey you find ring boxes that allow you to carry more. This idea is good, but the fact that Link can only wear one ring at a time sucks. Does Link only have one finger? Going back and forth to the jeweler becomes repetitive and tedious. The Rod of Seasons is one of the welcome additions to the game. Once a Spirit of Nature has blessed the Rod, you are able to change the season. The terrain differs from season to season, of course. In the winter, snow builds up and allows access to different areas. In the summer time, the rivers dry up under the sun and vines grow and flourish. In fall, leaves gather up on the ground and cover holes while mushrooms are ripe for picking. In spring, Deku flowers bloom and the flowers bloom everywhere. The Rod isn’t all it is cracked up to be, though. You can only use the Rod from on top of a tree stump, and the Rod has no attack powers. When hit by the Rod, the monster only flies back a little. Other then the power to change the seasons, the Rod is useless. The classical NES gameplay is fun for the first time, but quickly becomes tired.

And I was singing, “Bye, bye Mr. Hyrulian guy…”
Ah, the password system. While good on paper, it becomes confusing and needlessly complicated. Let’s say you got the other adventure in the Oracle series first, called Oracle of Ages. Once you make your way through that game and beat it, you are given a password to enter at the start of Oracle of Seasons. Now, you start out in Seasons after you have beaten Ages, so the story if you didn’t put a password in is now different, and picks up after you have beaten Ages. Understand? No? I still don’t really understand it, either. In your Ages game that you have beaten, you can travel around the world and learn “secrets” from people and they will tell you to tell that secret to someone in Seasons. This password system cheats the people who cannot afford both games into feeling like they haven’t experienced the full game, and it makes them frustrated. On the other hand, the password system earns points for being original.

All the leaves were brown… and the sky was gray…
The game’s intro is nicely done, as are the other few animated cut scenes. The sprites are all 2D, and look exactly as they should. The game has some beautiful still shots that feed your eye full of candy. The moblins and the other monsters look exactly like they did in Link’s Awakening, and seemed to be more detailed. One of the major problems was in the underground volcanic world of Subrosia. If you do not have good lighting while you are in Subrosia, you’ll be straining your eyes trying to see where you are at in that dark underworld. The graphics look really good, but they could have done more.

Give me your ears, make it real, or else forget about it.
The classic Zelda theme plays a lot, and it is a joy to listen to. The shwing and clash of your sword and other items sound real cool. At times the music becomes repetitive and starts to give you headaches, especially when playing a tough dungeon. The sound effects are the best out of the bunch, and breath life into this average adventure. The tiny GBA and GBC speaker doesn’t slow down the pleasant tunes that this game pumps out.

When a problem comes along, you must click it…
Controlling Link is a breeze. Some of the item’s affects must be combined to continue. I am reminded of a part where I had to use my Magnetic Gloves (One of the coolest items I have ever seen.) to grab onto a magnet floating above a black hole, and then quickly jump to a platform to the left. Since you can assign items to A and B buttons, doing the aforementioned things becomes a hassle and a test of your patience. Navigating the fairly large menus became tiresome for me, and having to constantly change items to face the varied challenges in the dungeons became tedious.

Ring me bell… ring my bell…
Hunting down the many rings will keep you busy for a few weeks, as with getting the secrets. Of course, you have Pieces of Heart to hunt for as well. This gives the game a pretty good replay value, if you can put up with the game’s flaws.

Let me take you to… FUN-KY TOWN!
If you didn’t get the last two song references, you’re as thick as a rock. As I have stated before, the old school adventure will appeal to vet gamers while it might bore the newer ones. This game is a very good time waster if you are into the painfully average games.

Almost all of the song references are in bold, and come from really, really old songs.
If this wins ROTW, I’ll drink three bottles of ketchup.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/26/01, Updated 10/26/01

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