About a year ago I suddenly felt like playing those GBC Zelda games. Then I found that the 3DS store was closed and so I couldn’t get it. I was rather disappointed as I had fond memories of the game. When the GB player in the Switch was announced I got ecstatic when they announced that games coming for the service showed these two games.
To explain : these two Zelda games mechanically are very similar to the Colour upgraded version of Links Awakening. This means if you liked that game you are going to love these. But these games are so much more than that one.
First these games are built for the Gameboy Colour so they already have more power and complexity.
Both games start with Link approaching a temple where the Tri-Force whisks him away to a far-off land. Holodrum in seasons and Labrynna in ages. Both have Link encounter a young maiden only for dark forces to kidnap them and it’s revealed that the maiden was an Oracle, a woman of magical importance and then things start to go wild. In Seasons the seasons go mad, you can go from summer to winter by just moving into the next area, while Ages has events in the past alter the present as people start to vanish or turn to stone.
To save the day Link must venture into 8 dungeons claiming items that will allow them to save the Oracle, beat the villain that imprisoned them, and restore time and nature to normal.
But why release two ? Well, they link up. Unlike Pokémon where it’s basically the same game with minor differences link which Pokémon are available. The Oracle games are more like 2 halves of the same game. Each have different items you collect, different worlds to explore and different stories. But when you complete one of the games there are plot elements that are, unfinished. You get a code that you can enter into the other game, and the story continues. While you could have played the second game separately, this run now treats you as having completed the other game, so those plot threads and carried over.
But it’s not just the story that continues, as you play through that second game you will find npcs who will give you passwords that you carry over to the previous game which will grant you new items. They could just be more hearts, or perhaps further upgrades to tools. like your sword, maybe an item that is new to you. Once you do that they give you a password which will bring that item over to your current game.
Which game you play first will mean that the second game is different. So, you can play Ages first followed by Seasons, or Seasons first followed by Ages and see how playing the other game first changes things.
These two games are the definitive Gameboy era Zelda games in my opinion. While I’m amazed by what Link to the Past was able to do, these games build onto that into a full masterpiece. It’s worth to note there was to have been a third game, but as the plans came together that was dropped due to how complex it would make the game. While we may wonder what Oracle of Courage would have been, in no ways does it make these games worse.
So if you want to try some of the best Zelda games the handheld era had they are available on the Gameboy player.