This game is the game that got me into the Legend of Zelda series. But it’s not the first Zelda game I played, that was the GBA classic release of the original NES game. When I saw this game collecting dust on a stall at the flea market at my beach holiday, I decided to buy it. And man, did I have fun with this game. I got so frustrated with the “To be continued” screen. Since I needed to buy the 2nd Oracle game, Oracle of Seasons, which I’ll review a later day. Maybe my next review. But this game is great, so I really needed to pay attention that my fanboying love for this game didn’t influence this review. I tried to be as fair and square for each game as I can. So, let’s dive into this game and tell you what is good and what is bad, so you might consider buying the limited re-release on the 3DS e-shop when it comes out.
Accept your quest.
The game starts off with Link riding Epona, checking on the Triforce. Once arrived, the Triforce teleports him to the lands of Labrynna. There you meet Impa, well the more gray version of Impa. And then after some other events, all hell breaks loose. The flow of time gets then disrupted, and it’s up to you to fix what Veran destroyed.
In short, the story was good for a handheld game. It will end up like your typical rescue story, but there isn’t anything wrong with that. As long as it’s interestingly executed. Yet, I like the story of this game over the Oracle Of Season’s one. Yet, it uses elements that were used in a SNES game before. Time travel.
As the name would suggest, insert here a “You don’t say”.jpg, the game revolves around time travel. A lot of puzzles in this game require you to go back and forth from the past to the present. This actually doubles the world map of the already big game area.
What I like so much about the story of this game is that it’s so simple, you don’t even notice it’s there to begin with. The Zelda games are and have been adventure games to the core, and those have always epic tales of hero’s who fight evil. This one is about a tree that wants to marry you.
There is only one minor issue with the start. I got stuck in the first few screens of the game. Since you need to talk all the animals and then again to the bear. Yeah, not that easy. And yes, it’s a sign for what to come. Don’t take this game too lightly. This game is actually a great challenge for each generation. The bosses in the dungeon are creative and require you to think up unique ways to use the newly acquired item in the dungeon.
This game is filled with puzzles. Puzzles where you need to move blocks, where you need to get a floor all colored and where you need to solve puzzles. Okay, scrap that last one. But it keeps the game pretty varied. Sometimes you need to fight the monsters in a certain time limit and other times you need to sneak into the castle. There is one puzzle I liked so much I tried to program my own version of it. I succeeded but the project died.
The big trading
There is a lovely side quest to the whole game with a reward. That reward really pays off the effort you need to do for it. This side quest is actually sort of a standard in the portable games of The Legend of Zelda, because as far as I know, it nearly appeared in each portable Zelda game.
There is a trade quest where you need to trade items with other characters. What the reward is, well I’ll leave that up to you guys to explore.
The gameplay is your standard Zelda gameplay. You get an item, you go to dungeon, get new item, defeat boss, get a heart container, puzzle to open next dungeon and repeat. Yup, nothing new there. And it still holds up till today. The game is still extremely fun and pulls you in. Pay attention when you play this game, the hours will fly by. And the game is quite lengthy too, so you won’t finish this game in one sitting.
Once you finished the game, you can link up the sister game Oracle of Seasons with a password. This way you pass over the names you gave to characters, and you can see the true ending. This game will tease you with a “To Be Continued” screen at the end of the game.
The animation in this game is basic, but it works. Actually, I take that back. The animation is pretty neat but not really for the impatient type of people. Burning a bush can take a while. And you aren’t able to skip certain animations like time travel. Time travel can be annoying when you go too close to a portal, and you go in it by accident.
The music is, as it always in a Zelda game, short of amazing. It was blasting through my speakers the entire time I was writing this review. I even have the music on my hard drive and I listen to it here and there.
The game looks extremely well. The world looks colorful and the past looks aged. I really enjoy both world and the colors given to it. The level design is nicely implemented.
But is this game perfect?
As a big Zelda fan, which I am, I would tell you: yes it is. But that wouldn’t make for a fair review, wouldn’t it? So, let’s rip this game a new— oh, nope, let’s not finish that sentence.
What I didn’t like about this game is how basic the sound effects sound to me. The sound effects are most likely all pulled from a library of other Game Boy games and fail to impress me. I even have trouble with placing some sound effects in this game. (Yeah, I can be into Zelda too much)
Also, the GBA shop is in my opinion a cool addition but truth to be told, it’s a cheap marketing trick to get people to buy a GBA. Well played Nintendo, well played.
Also, I wished that Maple appeared a bit more. She nearly never appears and I often sometimes just pass by the screen and miss her. It’s even more annoying when you miss her, and you needed her for your trade quest.
To finish up this review, I’m going to mention something positive. The controls are extremely well done in this game. Apart from the jumping that can be a bit annoying…
+ Great music.
+ Decent story.
+ Great, long adventure.
+ Lovely puzzles.
+ Nice graphics.
– Cheaty Maple.
– The cheap “buy GBA” promotion.
– Weaker sound effects.
I had a hard time finding bad elements in this game. I went searching around what other reviewers had to say, and they gave it all nearly a perfect score. This game is one of the best Game Boy Color games period. It’s even one of my favorite Zelda games. Actually the Oracle games are my favorite in the series.
As a Zelda fan, you really owe yourself to play this game. And if you love adventure games, you need to play this game. Don’t wait, play it. But first let me know in the comments what you think of this game.