Review #037: The Legend Of Zelda – Links Awakening (DX) (GB/C) ~ Where is the color?!

Links_Awakening_boxWikipedia entry

One of my first Zelda games was the Oracle Of Ages game. When I finished the game and saw that the game was going to be continued in Oracle of Seasons, I hunted for a copy on garage sales like a mad-man. One time, I found this game instead of Oracle of Seasons. I started to play it and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t own the remake in cartridge form, since I have it on my 3DS as an eShop title. Anyways, let’s keep this introduction short, I want to review this game. As always, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or my article.

Where is the color?!

ZeldaLA-DX_comparison

I found this image on it’s WikiPedia page. When the game first released, it was in typical gray-white gameboy graphics. Honestly, I didn’t care. But since there was a fan outrage, Nintendo remade this game with color and an extra dungeon. Apart from that, it’s as good as the same game. So, that’s why I combined both games into one review.

Let’s first talk about the story. Since this game doesn’t take place in Hyrule. You are Link, traveling home from a long day at work…? If I tell why, I spoil parts of another game, so yeah. Joking aside, Link is caught in a storm and is shipwrecked on an island.

This story doesn’t really feel like a Zelda story. The final parts of the game doesn’t help either. This game has a very lighthearted story that doesn’t take itself seriously. And you know what, it’s a nice break from always saving the world and killing Ganon.

Yet, in terms of writing, I have one complaint. The text when you find the compass in a dungeon gets annoying quickly. It talks about the new feature it has. That you hear a sound when a key is hidden in that room. Sweet update, but why do you need to see that each and every dungeon?

You might already know that there are various Mario references in this game. I’m honestly on the fence about it. While I feel that adds to the personality of this game, on the other hand, I feel like it makes the game look unoriginal and at those places and part recycled.

DX TIME

Legend_of_Zelda_Links_Awakening_DX_GBC_ScreenShot3

The gameplay of this game was groundbreaking for the series. For the first time ever in a Zelda game, you could have two different items on the A and B button. This made for some interesting puzzles. So you would think, actually almost all those puzzles are solved with the Pegasus Boots and another item. But hey, it was their first attempt, so it’s a nitpick.

Before I forget to mention it, there is something that feels extremely out of place in a Zelda game, and that are power-ups. Yes, you read it right. There are power-ups in this game. Sometimes an enemy drops a power up that gives you a temp attack or defense boost. This is extremely out of place for a Zelda game in my opinion.

Apart from that, I have no big complaints in terms of the gameplay. It’s your typical Zelda fare. Go from dungeon to dungeon, while defeating the boss. In the DX version, there is an additional color dungeon. The puzzle to get to it is quite nice. But the dungeon in itself is quite short and I beat it on my first try.

The difficulty of this game is not so well done. While some bosses can be annoyingly difficult, some bosses are really easy. Also, the reward in the color dungeon is just overpowered. I won’t spoil it, but my advice is that you beat it near the end of the game.

This game also has a side quest. Since it’s the first time you had side quests in the Zelda series, you need to do a part in order to advance.

Other elements

ZeldaLinksAwakening1

 Earlier, I already talked about some parts of this game’s design. Some enemies are recycled from other series. But overall, the design and animation of this game is really well done. They made a portable Zelda game have the Zelda vibe the console games have.

Both the black and white and the color version both have their charms, so DX isn’t the better looking game because it has color. Honestly, if you dive deeper into the story then what’s just presented on screen, the black and white theme is actually more fitting.

The music for this game is just 8bit-gameboy-chiptune glory. Sometimes I can’t get a tune from this game out of my head. It’s that good in my opinion.

Oh, before I forget, you can also be a thief in this game. But if you steal from the village’s shop… Never go back in or your name will be permanently changed to thief.

Lengthwise, this game is actually quite long for a gameboy game. It has 8 dungeons before the final boss. The whole world is quite big and it’s worth exploring. Since the controls are just perfect for the gameboy.

One thing that annoyed me too is that there isn’t a way to gain more then 1 ruppee at a time. Apart from treasure chests, the enemies only drop one ruppee. Which I can understand because you don’t have color, but couldn’t they do anything with the size of the sprite…?

Anyways, I think it’s time to go to the conclusion of this review. I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Let’s just warp this one up!

Conclusion

The bad:

– The text for the compass.

– Recycled enemies.

– No more then one ruppee.

– The colorless version is a let-down for some people.

The good:

+ The game looks good.

+ Great soundtrack.

+ Silly, yet entertaining story.

+ Great controls.

+ Nice gameplay.

Final thoughts:

This might be my least favorite portable Zelda game, but it’s not a bad game. Not at all. I agree that this game has some flaws, like the recycled enemies, but it doesn’t ruin the game. Also, this game did some things that are now a staple in the Zelda series!

So, that were my thoughts on this game. I hope you enjoyed reading them. I also hope to see you at another article on my blog.~ Until then guys!

Score: 80/100.

Game Music: My Favorites – Numbero 11: GB(C) month special.

GameMusic_InArticle

Let’s start off with an article that last month’s theme lacked. An article about video game music. In this series, I take a look at my favorite game tracks. I can’t pick one track as my favorite and since I want to talk about so many tracks, I started this series. This time I want to talk about my favorite tracks of some gameboy (color) games. Keep in mind that these are my favorite tracks and they might differ from yours. Also, this isn’t a top 10 or anything like that. So, don’t be mad if your favorite track isn’t in this article. Man, I’m sounding now like I’m introducing the wrong type of article and trying to make the introduction longer. I’m totally not doing that, believe me. Okay? Anyways, the rules are simple. Only one track of a game per article. Oh, and feel free to leave a comment on the tracks, content of this article and or your opinion of the soundtracks of the GB(C) games. 

#1: Pokémon Blue & Red (GB) ~ Battle Theme

Blue-and-RedLink to my review – Link to the music

Who doesn’t remember the good old gym leader theme of Pokémon Red & Blue? As a kid I was always pumped whenever I heard this melody pop-up. I wanted to defeat that gym leader.

Whenever I hear this melody, I get hyped. I know that something big is coming that has to do with Pokémon.

I even remember that I sometimes let my gameboy play just hear this song. Since it’s the only way I can hear it “clean”. What I mean by that is that near the end of almost every version of YouTube, Pokémon battle sounds start playing.

But hey, it’s still a memorable and nice track to listen too!

#2: The Legend Of Zelda – Oracle Of Ages (GBC) ~ Nayru’s Song

260px-OracleofagesReviewLink to the music (extended)

There are two songs that makes me sometimes tear up of nostalgia in the Zelda series. One of these songs is Nayru’s song. The reason why is because it’s the first puzzle I solved in my favorite Zelda game. It was the start of a thrilling adventure I never forgot.

As a kid I didn’t have a console or a good PC. So, I played a lot on my gameboy. So, that’s why my love for the gameboy games is so big. While I don’t remember if this was my first Zelda game or the NES remake on the GBA, but it was one of the first.

It was also a different game then I used to play. Different from the pure puzzle games and platformer games. Yeah, the memories.

#3: Super Mario Land (GB) ~ Overworld

250px-SupermariolandboxartLink to the song

The hate this game gets is just… Well, it’s mixed for me. At one side,  I understand how this game is a mediocre Mario game compared to the other Mario games. It isn’t in color, it’s outside the Mushroom Kingdom, the story is about another princess, the fireballs bounce, you can’t save…

At the other hand, it’s the Mario game I grew up with. It’s the first Mario game I ever played. Even when I played the NES game at my cousin’s house, I found that the NES game wasn’t as much fun as Super Mario Land. Something didn’t click with me.

Wow, I got sidetracked extremely fast. But the memories behind this game are just too big. Maybe I should write an article about it…?

#4: Tetris DX (GB/C) ~ Type A

2209074-tetrisdxfrontLink to the music

So, I got a gameboy color… And what’s the first game I get myself? That’s right! Tetris DX! Why? Because my grandmom got a Gameboy color herself.

In this gaming nostalgia article, I talked about how my aunt’s brick, I mean oldschool gameboy died. The only two games I could play on there were Pac-Man and Tetris. So, when I saw this, I wanted to play Tetris again.

I have multiple stories about this game, but this game is the sole reason why the Tetris theme is so memorable to me. It’s one of the biggest tunes in gaming is it not?

#5: Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets (GBC) ~ Main Theme

61JZMX48MJL._SY300_Link to the music

I was a kid right when the Harry Potter craze was in full swing. Besides Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Ho, Harry Potter was extremely popular with the kids.

While this game was also made on the PC and several other consoles, I played the Gameboy Color version. I didn’t have any fancy consoles or the game on PC.

But I enjoyed myself. I had both games, from the first movie and the second movie. The reason why I picked this track is because I had a hard time finding the music of the first game of the gameboy version. And this popped right up in my search results.

Closing words

As I feared, this article turned into a sort of gaming nostalgia article. When it comes to gameboy and gameboy color games I always want to talk about more then just the music. I hope you can forgive me for that.

So, till Christmas, I will write a few articles of gameboy and gameboy color games. I’m going to try to do my best to not be overly nostalgic like in this article. It’s for that reason why I kept this article shorter then my usual articles.

I hope you enjoyed reading it! Hopefully I can see you another time here on my blog for a new article. Take care guys~

Game Nostalgia #5: My Gameboy Retrospective

SGame Boys Advanceo, in the last article of this series, I talked about my history with the DS and 3DS. So, I think that it’s now time to talk about my memories with the gameboy series. While I’m supposed to talk only about the Gameboy Advance, since it’s this month’s theme, the article wouldn’t be as long as it should be. That’s why I decided to write a whole article about my memories of all the Gameboy’s I got. That way you have an idea of my journey through the world of gaming, since I mostly only played on the gameboy. That and my hobby of writing was my childhood. So, prepare yourself for a personal story. Feel free to leave yours in the comments or your opinions on my story.

Exploding start

Nintendo Gameboy

The first gameboy I played on wasn’t actually mine. It was my aunt’s. She only had Pac-Man and Tetris. Somehow my young mind didn’t need anything more. It were my first real encounters with gaming, but I was hooked. I used to play games like DuckHunt or Mario Bros. at my nephew’s place, but those moments were then far and few between.

One day, I was at my aunt’s place and I stopped playing since the back of the gameboy started to feel hot. A few moments after I put it down, the batteries actually exploded, damaging the gameboy heavily. That was a big shocker. I didn’t know what to do. My aunt wasn’t even mad, since it wasn’t my fault. It turned out that there was a flaw with the batteries we used, and it leaked battery acid into the system. Yeah.

That story was my earliest memory with a gameboy. A bit later, my aunt started to take me to her babysitting job. At that place, they also had a gameboy and more then one game. I remember it well, it were two girls, two sisters. While they were doing their girl things, I was allowed to play on the gameboy. My love grew and grew even stronger.

I already talked about how awesome my family is. When they saw that I was so much in love with the Gameboy, they actually got me a gameboy. Not only was it the latest model, they got it in my favorite color! To this day, I still own that very silver gameboy pocket. I was so happy, I had my own gameboy. I did jobs around the house to be able to buy new batteries for the gameboy. Then they got me rechargeable batteries, and my life was complete.

Garage sales

Garagesaleloot
I never showed my latest garage sale loot here on my blog. Whoops.

In my childhood, we had this tradition to go to the sea on holiday. Man, always to the same house. I used to look forward to it every single year. Sadly enough, the owners of the house sold it, and the tradition is over now.

But back then, they used to take me to garage sales. So, as a young kid, they asked me to wake up early in the morning in the summer holidays. I honestly didn’t care one bit. Since I was allowed to buy games.

My family didn’t want that I bought a lot of games, now-a-days that’s a very different story, since they were so expensive. A garage sale was such an easy solution. The best thing they did was that they let me roam the garage sales on my own with a notebook and a pen. They said that I could write down the games I wanted and then I had the difficult job to decide which one I wanted.

To this very day, I love to wake up early and go to a garage sale. Every year, I go to around 10 garage sales, if not more. I never go alone, since that would ruin part of the fun for me. The nostalgia of hunting down games, which were pretty rare on the garage sales I went too, is just amazing. The moment a family member bumped me in the arm and pointed to a game, I think they loved to see that sparkle in my eyes of happiness.

Typical me is typical

ss (2012-10-24 at 11.45.23)

Garage sales memories are for another article. I was extremely attached to my games. I was always hard to pick games I had to sell. I had to sell a few games before I was allowed to buy new games. Now-a-days, I don’t have that restriction anymore.

One time I forgot my gameboy at a restaurant and I begged my mother to turn back and get it. I even begged that they called the restaurant so that nobody could pick up my gameboy and claim it.

Later, my gameboy pocket became my sister’s gameboy and I got a gameboy color. Then my sister got a purple gameboy advance and I got a silver gameboy advance SP, the one with the tattoo design on it.

To this very day, I still own most of the games I had back then. Of course, my library of games has grown quite a lot. If only I had the library I had back then, the nights I kept playing on my gameboy would be so much more fun. I remember that I had a lamp you needed to hit a button at the top in order to the lights go out. Since my room was at the end of a hallway, I could hear my parents and a simple slap on the lamp and putting the gameboy screen down, gave the illusion of my sleeping.

My parents knew that I was playing the gameboy under my sheets, but they were never able to catch my red handed. Okay, honestly, they were able a few times but usually, I was always able to dodge the bullet.

I could talk hours about my memories of the gameboy days, but I think I will end my article here. Since I have reached my usual length. I hope you enjoyed reading another special entry in the gameboy advance month. While it isn’t fully about the GBA, I hope you don’t mind that much.

Thanks again for reading and until another article. Also, don’t shit your pants but it’s Halloween.

Review #004: The Legend Of Zelda – Oracle Of Seasons ~ Which weather do we take today?

TLOZOOS

Link to the page in the Zelda wiki about this game.

So last review we went over the sister game of this game. Or brother game, whatever you prefer. I gave the Oracle Of Ages game a very high score. But is this game worthy of the same praise? It was released on the same day but that could make it flawed and feel very rushed. Well, for that you will need to stick around at the end of the review to get your answer. One thing I already can tell you, the game is pretty neat. But now I will dive into this game. The game that you need to play after Oracle of Ages, or before. It’s not that I’m trying to write this intro as long as the image for making it visually more interesting to read. Okay, I might be just doing that. So, enough rambling about the intro here and let’s dive into this game and check if it’s actually good or not. Maybe I lied earlier in the introduction, who knows?

Dancing on a tree stump

ZeldaOOSS1 In this game’s story you aren’t left alone. The introduction of the game is the same as the Oracle Of Ages game, you start by riding you trusty horse Epona. (Dirty minds aren’t my problem.) So, now the first people you meet actually claim that Din saved you. Which is strange, since they let you rot two screen away in the bushes. 

In the other game you talk to animals which doesn’t get explained, but who cares, it’s an adventure game. In this game, the problems pop up way sooner as Din is kidnapped. To be fair, this game has a great story. It might be your standard “rescue the kidnapped damsel in distress” but it has a twist in this game.

What’s pretty neat in this game is that you can change the seasons once you have the season staff. A concept I liked over the Ages game.

The story is now about a sleepy tree that aids you on your quest. Lucky for us, the tree doesn’t want to marry us. As you don’t receive the blade right away, it’s obvious that this game has less puzzles and more action. Yes, the Oracle games have split the Zelda formula in half. This is the more action game. As the other Oracle game, this game has also a 2nd dimension. It’s smaller, but it does the trick. I even dare to say that this game’s world is bigger then the ages game.

Overdoing Link’s clothing

Seasons

In the other dimension, the characters look like they are fans of Link. They all wear a green tunic, but in overdrive.

And this brings us to a disappoint point of the game, the bosses and some characters are and feel borrowed from previous games. As it’s an awesome nod to the older games, it makes the game feel a tad bit creative. There is certainly missed potential with remaking the bosses of the older games.

Yet, to be fair, the animation is great in this game. I really enjoyed the animation in this game and it really pulled me in this game. Also the graphics are extremely well done. How fast you can move through the seasons is better compared against the longer time travel animation of the Ages game.

The worlds look colorful, and white in the winter, and lively. The game has multiple chase quests that can get frustrating because of the limitations of the gameboy.

It still is impressive how the code linking works. If you named the child in the Ages game, the child will be here in the Seasons game. Like in the Ages game, there is also a trade quest, with the same pay-off. Play it to check it out.

Hairpulling

egaerear

The game is difficult. No doubt about that. You won’t go through this game in one sitting. The controls are pretty tight and if you die, it’s your fault. Even the jumping is less annoying the in the Ages game.

The items are actually creative. It still has the same gameplay as all the other Zelda portable games but like I said in my previous reviews, it’s extremely well implemented. But back on the subject of the items. You have great items, some of the Ages game, that you get to aid you in your quest. This game might be more difficult then Ages in terms of action but the puzzles in this game can be pretty hairpulling sometimes.

The biggest hair pulling moment is where you need to fight Onox. The final boss is extremely difficult because you need to use your spin attack, which is difficult to pull of since he uses Din as a shield. With Veran in Ages I had less trouble. The challenge is still pretty fair and after some practice you get the pattern down and you’ll be able to defeat him.

The last thing but not least, are the music and the sound effects. Like in Oracle of Ages, the sound effects are pretty standard. But the music is still pretty amazing. I extremely enjoy the music and really sets the mood. It’s really upbeat and the melodies sometimes kept stuck in my head for days on end.

Oh, before I forgot. In the Ages game you were able to select the track you wanted easily. Not here, if you want the right season, it’s using the staff on a tree stump and hoping it goes to the right season. Little bit annoying though.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Challenges everywhere.

+ Nice animation.

+ Extremely well done music.

+ Great story.

+ Unique items.

The bad:

– Soundeffects are pretty mediocre.

– The seasons should be better selectable.

– The chase missions.

– Missed opportunity with the final bosses.

Conclusion:

Do I truly need to repeat myself? This game is extremely well done but is a bit weaker then the Ages game. The game world is pretty big so this game will least you quite a while. I seriously enjoyed this game and I replay it often. I missed the moments where I was able to explore the game for the very first time since then the game is the most fun.

Score: 97/100

Review #003: The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages (GBC) ~ No need for a car.

260px-Oracleofages

Zelda Wiki link for more information.

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 fanboy-ish 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 lose. The flow of time gets then disrupted and it’s up to you to fix what Veran destroyed.

zelda-ages-screenshot

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 Seasons 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

zelda-oracle-of-ages-oracle-of-seasons-3ds-screenshots-1There 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 TLOZ 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 to 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 harddrive 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 desgin is nicely implemented.

But is this game perfect?

Legend_of_Zelda,_The_-_Oracle_of_Ages

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 gameboy games and fail to impress me. I even have trouble with placing some of the 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…

Conclusion

The good:

+ Great music.

+ Decent story.

+ Great, long adventure.

+ Lovely puzzles.

+ Nice graphics.

The bad:

– Cheaty Maple.

– The cheap “buy GBA” promotion.

– Weaker sound effects.

Conclusion:

I had an 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 gameboy 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.

Score: 99/100