Nintendo's new duo of Zelda games is out in Japan. Time travel, weather manipulation, and embittered sorcerers are just a few of the many things to expect when both Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons hit US shores this May.
Nintendo's latest Zelda release, a two-game series for the Game Boy Color named The Legend of Zelda: Fruit of the Mysterious Tree, is now out in Japan. Developed by Capcom's Flagship group (the same group responsible for the Resident Evil and Illbleed series), the series has two chapters: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. Contrary to what was assumed when the series was announced, neither chapter is a remake of any preexisting Zelda game, NES or otherwise. Although the storylines for both games intertwine and a password feature allows item sharing between the two chapters, each is its own stand-alone experience and each has its own unique blend of story, characters, and items.
Regardless of which chapter you choose, the beginning is the same: Link is transported to a faraway land by the ever-omnipotent Triforce. In the Ages chapter, Link awakens in the land of Laborennu, just in time to see the Sorceress of Time, Nell, abducted by an evil witch known as Veran. In the Seasons chapter, Link is instead thrust into the land of Holodrum, right on cue to witness the abduction of Din, the Sorceress of Earth, by the evil wizard Gorugon. Although Nell and Din are two different people, the effects of their kidnappings on their respective lands are the same: chaos and death. As Link, it is up to you to rescue Din and Nell, figure out how their kidnappings relate to one another, and uncover the dreaded plot twist that links Laborennu and Holodrum to Link's home of Hyrule.
Just as each chapter in the Fruit of the Mysterious Tree series has its own villain and damsel in distress, both chapters offer different populations, hidden tribes, and guides who come to Link's aid. In Ages, the Rennu people become Link's main benefactors, while a lizard tribe known as the Zora helps him out during a time of great crisis. The central guides of this chapter are a female Maka tree and a medicine woman named Impa.
In the Seasons chapter, however, Link must save the Holon people, while an underground race of Gorons known as the Uura eventually bequeath to him the power to control the seasons. In this chapter, your Maka tree guide is a male, while Impa is replaced in cheerful fashion by a saxophone-playing wise man named Socra. Regardless of their differences, the two chapters share enough cameo appearances and similarities to keep you wondering what it is that binds the worlds together. Neither game is necessary in completing the other, but Nintendo is hoping you'll purchase both anyway in order to fill out each half of the story.
In terms of gameplay, the Fruit of the Mysterious Tree series will seem familiar to anyone who's played Link's Awakening DX. Both chapters feature the same top-down action-RPG battle system, the same inventory system, and the same general focus on dungeon crawling that became standard with Link's Awakening. Similarly, while there are many new characters and enemies to discover within either chapter, both Ages and Seasons borrow heavily from all six previous Zelda games in order to fill out their respective enemy and boss cast lists. Molbins, Goriya, Stalfos, Pol's Voice, and Octoroks are just a few of the many returning enemies you'll encounter, while Gleeok, Aquamentus, Dodongo, and Smasher return as boss characters. Additionally, while some weapons, such as the peashooter and Dodongo flute, are new, old favorites such as the boomerang and Roc's feather return as integral parts of Link's arsenal.
Longtime fans of the Zelda series will also find much to like within the two new chapters. From the NES Legend of Zelda, the old men who exclaim "pay me for the door repair charge" return. From the SNES A Link to the Past, it's the beating of chickens and destructible route markers. For those just polishing off Majora's Mask, the masked Gorons and lizardlike Zora should spark feelings of familiarity. Each game has its own smattering of such déjà vu-style ingredients to experience.
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- Game Universe:
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA, SNES),
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, GC),
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GC, WII),
- The Legend of Zelda (NES),
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES, FDS, GBA),
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (WII),
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS),
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS),
- Link's Crossbow Training (WII),
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)