Playing Ages first ruined it for me...
Okay, I'll go on record and say this game was amazing
at the time it came out. If I'd played it during my childhood, I probably would have loved it...
But unfortunately, Oracle of Ages was my first Zelda game. And going from that game to this was... kind of jarring.
Again, this game is not BAD, by any means. But it has a lot of glaring flaws that are far
more noticable if you play one of the later Game Boy Zeldas first.
Firstly, the dungeon map system. You know how in other Zeldas, you can only see rooms you've been to until you find the map, which shows you the whole thing? Well in this game, you don't get any mercy. The map interface is always completley blank
until you find the map item... and the game knows
this, and often places the map very
late into a dungeon. (The Item Get
text is even "At last, you got a map!") This adds a lot of Fake Difficulty
Speaking of Item Get
text, another major flaw: this game has a lot of Viewers Are Goldfish
in tutorials. The Compass, for example, reminds you that it has a "new feature", it'll beep in rooms with a Key. Very useful, admittedly, but... the game feels the need to remind you of this "new feature" every time you get a compass
. And it takes about 3 text boxes to explain this, every time.
But the worst case of this is simple pots. Touching one without the Power Bracelet will give you a "wow! This is really heavy!" message. A good hint you need a new item, but here's the problem: even after you get the Power Bracelet, this message does NOT go away.
As long as you don't have the item currently equipped, so much as accidently nudging a pot will produce that message. And it's not just pots: every
obstacle that requires an item to move or break has text like this that will plague you whenever you don't have said item equipped.
Speking of items, you have the Ocarina. Every time you move the cursor over it in the inventory, it brings up the song selection. This also gets annoying fast.
As was mentioned below, Saving is extremely clunky too.
All this may sound like nitpicking, but every single one of these flaws was fixed in the Oracle games. From a gameplay standpoint, those are the superior games these days. Still recommend this game for the Zelda history though.