This is probably the easiest part of my Zelda series playthrough because I secretly played both Oracle of Seasons and Oracles of Ages earlier this year... and loved them.
I played these games a bit as a kid but never beat them then. Earlier this year they were on sale together on Virtual Console for 3DS so I picked them up on a whim not remembering much about them.
The Oracles games are basically taking everything they learned from Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask and using that to make the best Game Boy Color game they could make. It controls wonderfully, has amazing design, never feels frustrating with progression, and the two games feed into one another. If you beat one you can import your save into the other and after finishing that... you unlock a true final boss and secret ending to the game!
I can't believe how much I love these. With all that said, they're still a little bit limited by the Game Boy Color hardware they're running on so they don't quite reach the level of awesomeness that is A Link to the Past.
If you've never played these two games I highly recommend them. They are fantastic 2D Zelda experiences.
For me, I think of them as one full game together, but since I have to pick one to go higher on the rankings than the other it has to be Oracle of Seasons. Seasons has fantastic combat, less puzzles, and super creative uses of the rod of seasons (the key item in the game). I could make an argument for Ages being better if you made me... but this is my ranking and I just like Seasons better.
But seriously, if you missed these when they came out and you already own a 2DS or 3DS you should pick them up digitally and give them a shot.
Current rankings look like this:
- A Link to the Past (1991)
- Oracle of Seasons (2001)
- Oracle of Ages (2001)
- Majora's Mask (2000)
- Ocarina of Time (1998)
- The Legend of Zelda (1987)
- Link's Awakening (1993)
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1988)