Zelda: Do video games get any better? The original Zelda for NES has been a staple of my video game repetoire for years. The ability to complete both quests inbetween lunch and dinner made me famous on the schoolyard. People would call my house and ask for help on completing parts of Zelda.
Whenever a new game in the series comes out, my thumbs warm with anticipation. I literally become an elf-man. I run around with a green cap on and burn down trees. I only use keys once (unless they have an animal's head on them). I don't move anything in a room until all of the enemies have been liquidated.
And so last week two new Zelda games were released for Game Boy. This is also a good time to introduce my fabulous girlfriend Karen (aka "Baby"). You see, Baby is also a huge video game player and lover in her own right. What this means is that we both bought one of the new Zelda games (well, ahem, I bought them both but she's playing one - heh heh). Equipped with Zelda: Oracle of Season and Zelda: Oracle of Ages we began our journey.
The gameplay is very similar to Zelda: Link's Awakening. If you've already played through that you'll have no trouble picking up the control for this game. There's a few shared items between LA and the Oracle series too that will be easier to master if you've already used them.
I chose to play Oracle of Ages first because I traditionally pick red flavored games over blue flavored games and I wanted a change. Initially I was mighty impressed by the game - cool opening cinema, no boring story to sift thru to get going either. After playing for maybe 15 minutes I had already uncovered a special secret to the game too. See, I will import gaming systems no matter what the cost so I'm playing Oracle on a Game Boy Advance. Lo and behold there's a special shop right away that's only accessible if you have a GBA. Instant bonus points!
Baby and I played thru the whole weekend. It was nice out so we sat outside and played Game Boy getting sunburned in the process. Let me tell you, you get some funny looks when you claim your sunburn is due to excessive Game Boy. Anyways, we played for probably ten hours a day last weekend. In that whole time I was frustrated only once - I thought I had to do this stupid dancing game to get an item I needed so I sat there for proabably two hours trying to dance. I was getting mighty fucking pissed too - ready to toss the damn cartidge across the lawn. So I went and explored a little more and it turns out I didn't need to be doing that. Therefore, since it was my error I did not deduct any points from Zelda's score for it.
Other than that minor problem this game did very little to piss me off. I felt like I always had a rough idea of where to go but they weren't exactly holding my hand - the perfect balance of exploration versus blind luck. The dungeons are also incredibly well-designed and tricky, although six pissed me off when I had to adjust the water levels. But that's a rare sorepoint in an otherwise unfrustrating experience.
It took me a week to finish the game at roughly 25 hours of total gameplay. A solid ending and a great segue into the next game have me drooling to play Seasons. But at this time Baby is still playing it (she's on her way to level 7), so I have to wait a bit longer. I'm sure the score will get a finally adjustment once I've played them both, but for now:
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages for Gameboy Color
I loved: this fucking game!
I hated: how dumb I was trying to dance that afternoon
I cried: when I saw the references to Zelda's of the past, awwwww
I laughed: when I saw Tingle again
I didn't understand: where the hell the story will go after Seasons