The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages - Gameplay

Gameplay

See also: Gameplay of The Legend of Zelda series

The gameplay of Oracle of Seasons and Ages is similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, copying basic controls, graphics, and sounds from the Game Boy title. Like most The Legend of Zelda titles, exploration and combat take place from an overhead perspective. Link uses a sword for his primary attack, complemented by secondary weapons and items. Basic items, such as bombs and a boomerang, are common to both games. Some new items are exclusive to one game, usually with a counterpart in the other, with similar uses (e.g. the slingshot in Seasons and the seed shooter in Ages both shoot seeds, while the magnetic gloves in Seasons and the switch hook in Ages are used to access otherwise unreachable areas via special targets). Unlike most Zelda titles, a sword and shield is not always equipped when the player possesses them; they can be assigned like any other item into either of two available slots. Most of each of the games is spent finding the eight Essences (Essences of Nature in Seasons and Essences of Time in Ages), each hidden in a dungeon—a large, usually underground, area containing enemies and puzzles. Each dungeon culminates with a boss that guards the Essence.

When not in a dungeon, Link explores the overworld. In Seasons, the overworld consists of Holodrum and the subterranean world of Subrosia. The two worlds are linked by several portals. In Ages, Link travels between present-day Labrynna and the past, connected by Time Holes. In either game, some areas of one world are accessible only from portals from the other and vice versa. Holodrum, Subrosia, and Labrynna contain optional side quests and upgrades for Link and his equipment. One such side quest is ring collection; rings provide Link with various bonuses and abilities, such as improved defense. Some rings do not have any practical uses, such as those that transform Link into an enemy creature, or do not have any uses at all, such as the secret GBA rings. Another side quest is the optional trading game, in which Link receives and delivers special items to certain people throughout the land. Once completed, Link receives an upgraded sword.

In both games, there are many circumstances when a previous item can be upgraded into a more useful form. The latter three dungeons in both games will hold a more powerful version of an item received earlier in the game. Both the sword's offensive power and the shield's defensive abilities can be upgraded twice, once through passwords and again through side quests. If Link swings an enhanced sword at full health, a sword-shaped beam will escape from the sword as a ranged attack. The number of bombs and Mystical Seeds that can be held can also be increased through the same ways as the shield and sword. Roc's Feather and the Power Bracelet are special cases, as, while the two are in both games, the former can only be upgraded in Oracle of Seasons while the latter only in Oracle of Ages.

The central item of Oracle of Seasons is the Rod of Seasons. By standing on a stump and swinging the rod, Link can change the season and affect his surroundings. For example, to cross a body of water, Link can change the season to winter and walk on the ice. Changing the season to summer causes vines to flourish, which Link can use to scale cliffs. When Link obtains the rod, he initially cannot use it. In the course of the game, Link visits four towers that house the four spirits of the seasons; each tower Link visits allows him to switch to an additional season.

In Oracle of Ages, the central item is the Harp of Ages, which Link uses to manipulate time and travel between the past and the present. In the course of the game, Link learns three tunes to play on the harp. The Tune of Echoes activates Time Portals at fixed locations; the Tune of Currents enables Link to travel from the past to the present without a Time Portal; the Tune of Ages allows Link to switch between the two time periods at almost any location on the map.

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