Both Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons have some of the most inventive and enjoyable dungeon designs of any 2D Zelda game, but the puzzle-solving focus of Ages (versus Seasons‘ action-heavy combat focus) allows its dungeons to take center stage as some of the cleverest in a series known for excellent dungeon design. Though Ages only has 8 dungeons to Seasons‘ 9, it packs each one full of innovative puzzle design, carefully orchestrated encounters, and plenty of opportunities to put Link’s vast arsenal to good use. Looking at all the bosses and dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages illustrates how unique it is within the series.
Both the Oracle games take heavy inspiration from the excellent Link’s Awakening, which also has some of the best 2D dungeons in the series, and its influence on the games only serves to make them better. And, of course, all three of these 2D Zelda titles follow in the footsteps of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which is arguably the greatest 2D game in the entire series. Like future Zelda games that use time as a mechanic, part of what makes Oracle of Ages‘ dungeons so unique are the ways that they incorporate Link’s use of the Harp of Ages to bounce back and forth between the past and the present.
Maku Road (Past)
Though not an official dungeon in Oracle of Ages, Maku Road is somewhat of a mini-dungeon or tutorial area where Link initially must explore after arriving in the past. There’s no boss inside the Maku Road mini-dungeon despite the presence of some basic enemies (such as Keese) but there is a reward for completing it in the form of a Piece of Heart.
- Piece of Heart
Spirit’s Grave is the first official dungeon that players will complete as part of Oracle of Ages‘ main quest and the location of the Power Bracelet item that is necessary to explore more of Labrynna in both the past and present. As its name implies, most of the enemies inside the Spirit’s Grave are common recurring foes from the Zelda series that fall into the undead or spooky categories, such as the skeletal Stalfos or creepy and unnerving Wallmaster hands that can grab Link and transport him to the beginning of the dungeon.
- Power Bracelet (Dungeon Key Item)
- Eternal Spirit (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
- Pumpkin Head
|Like most bosses in the Zelda series, Oracle of Ages‘ first boss Pumpkin Head makes great use of the dungeon key item when you fight him. Players must first slash at Pumpkin Head to cause his body to disappear and his head to fall to the ground. Then, using Link’s new Power Bracelet, it’s possible to pick up the Pumpkin to reveal a tiny ghost inside that Link can slash with his sword. Defeating Pumpkin Head is as simple as repeating this sequence a handful of times.
The Wing Dungeon is Oracle of Ages‘ second official dungeon and the first in the game to feature multiple floors after the fairly straightforward single floor of the Spirit’s Grave. The dungeon’s key item, Roc’s Feather, is essential for traversing through the many rooms and avoiding falling down some of the gaps/holes in the ground present throughout the dungeon. Surprisingly, the item plays no part in defeating the dungeon’s boss.
- Roc’s Feather (Dungeon Key Item)
- Ancient Wood (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
- Head Thwomp
|The Head Thwomp is a unique boss in that it’s something that looks like it belongs in Super Mario Bros. (which features the Thwomp enemy type) rather than a Legend of Zelda game. Defeating this foe only requires Link to climb a ladder and toss bombs into the opening at the top of its head, causing it to land on its face. Depending on the color of its face when it lands, one of four effects will play out. If the Head Thwomp’s face turns red, that indicates it has taken damage and it will drop a Recovery Heart for Link to pick up. The other three colors (green, blue, and purple) each trigger different attacks that Link can avoid using the arena.
The Moonlit Grotto gets its crescent-shaped design from its location on Crescent Island and is the third proper dungeon that Link will clear as part of Oracle of Ages‘ main quest. It’s where players will acquire the all-important Seed Shooter as the dungeon’s key item and will need to use it prominently in defeating the dungeon’s mini-boss and boss. Like the Wing Dungeon, the Moonlit Grotto features two floors for Link to navigate.
- Seed Shooter (Dungeon Key Item)
- Echoing Howl (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
- Shadow Hag
|After not needing Roc’s Feather for the boss of the dungeon Link acquires it in, players get to put both it and the Seed Shooter to good use in the fight against Shadow Hag. This witch will begin the fight by splitting into four shadows that Link can jump over using Roc’s Feather. After avoiding her shadows she’ll reassemble, at which point players should equip the Seed Shooter and face away from her, launching seeds at the wall so they ricochet back and hit her.
The Skull Dungeon is the fourth dungeon in Oracle of Ages and another multi-floor labyrinth for Link to traverse in hopes of acquiring the next Essence of Time. The dungeon key item is the ever-useful Switch Hook, which is Oracle of Ages‘ version of the iconic Hookshot from A Link to the Past. Once Link has the Switch Hook in his possession, navigating through the dungeon and defeating its enemies becomes much easier.
- Switch Hook (Dungeon Key Item)
- Burning Flame (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
|Eyesoar first appears with four smaller flying eyeballs surrounding him, which Link will need to remove by slashing them with his sword. Once these protective minions are gone, players can use the dungeon’s key item, the Switch Hook, to swap places with Eyesoar and render him immobile long enough to run in and slash him with Link’s sword. After a few rounds of repeating this process, Eyesoar will succumb to defeat.
Great Moblin’s Keep
Like Maku Road, Great Moblin’s Keep is not actually an official dungeon but instead one of the mini-dungeons in Oracle of Ages. Players will fight the Great Moblin here as well as plenty of standard Moblins as part of the main story in order to save the Goron Elder. Clearing the Great Moblin Keep in an unlinked game will see the enemy set up shop in the other Oracle title.
- Armor Ring L-1
- Great Moblin
|Defeating the Great Moblin is mostly a game of positioning and crowd control, dodging the bombs that his standard Moblin minions throw while waiting for the Great Moblin to toss his own giant bomb. After he tosses the giant bomb, quickly picks it up to throw it right back at him. After a few explosions from his own giant bomb, the Great Moblin will fall.
Oracle of Ages‘ fifth dungeon gets its name from the crown-like resemblance of the first-floor room layout, and it also happens to contain some of the more challenging puzzle sequences of any dungeon in the game. In particular, the floor puzzle that requires Link to navigate the room it’s in using a specific path can be quite tricky to nail down. The dungeon’s key item (the Cane of Somaria) makes a return appearance after featuring in A Link to the Past. Further, it’s an essential item for beating the Crown Dungeon’s boss, Smog.
- Cane of Somaria (Dungeon Key Item)
- Sacred Soil (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
|Though most Legend of Zelda bosses includes certain puzzle elements in their encounters, Smog is one of the only boss battles in the series that places more of a focus on environmental puzzle-solving than combat. Players must use the Cane of Somaria to create blocks that herd the four mini-versions of Smog to form back into the larger whole. Once Smog reassembles, he is then vulnerable to sword attacks.
Mermaid’s Cave is Oracle of Ages‘ sixth official dungeon and the place where Link will acquire the Mermaid Suit, which allows him to dive into deep water as well as swim. It’s also the only dungeon in the game that sees players travel back and forth between the past and present to clear the dungeon and traverse its many rooms. Simply getting to the dungeon is a bit of a process in that it requires Link to find the keys to access it in both the past and present eras.
- Mermaid Suit (Dungeon Key Item)
- Bereft Peak (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
|The battle with Octogon may appear straightforward but Link is especially vulnerable to the boss’ bubble attack while he swims in the arena’s water pool. With the Mermaid Suit handy, Link can dive beneath the surface of the water to give chase and slash at Octogon using his sword, but using the Seed Shooter to attack from range is just as viable a strategy as long as players can line up shots to hit Octogon directly in the face.
Link’s new Mermaid Suit definitely gets put through its paces in Oracle of Ages‘ seventh dungeon, Jabu-Jabu’s Belly. This dungeon contains three separate floors that Link must either drain or flood in order to be able to solve all of the puzzles it contains and reach the boss room, requiring the ability to both swim and dive underwater.
- Long Hook (Dungeon Key Item)
- Rolling Sea (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
|Though the Switch Hook/Long Hook are Oracle of Ages‘ stand-ins for the Hookshot, they behave somewhat differently. A perfect illustration of this is the fight against Plasmarine in Jabu-Jabu’s Belly, which requires Link to use the Long Hook that he upgrades to within the dungeon. Using the Long Hook, players can quickly switch places with Plasmarine after he fires projectiles at Link, placing the boss in harm’s way while keeping Link safe. This is the only way to damage the foe, as direct attacks will shock Link.
The Ancient Tomb is the eighth and final standard dungeon of Oracle of Ages, where Link will acquire both the last Heart Container and the last Essence of Time. This massive dungeon sports 4 different floors that Link must navigate as well as plenty of rank-and-file enemies and a mini-boss. Additionally, the dungeon boss, Ramrock, is one of the more challenging final encounters of any dungeon in the game. A fitting challenge to test Link’s (and the player’s) ability.
- Power Glove (Dungeon Key Item)
- Falling Star (Essence of Time)
- Heart Container
|The challenge of fighting Ramrock comes in it having 4 different phases to contend with. In the first phase, Link can use his sword to deflect Ramrock’s arms back at him. The second phase involves throwing bombs between Ramrock’s hands, while the third sees players using the Seed Shooter to ricochet shots off the back wall to hit him in his flank. The fourth and final phase is where players will use the new Power Glove to pick up the ball and chain Ramrock uses and fling it back at him.
After collecting the eight Essences of Time, Link is ready to enter the Black Tower to confront the sorceress Veran. Of course, simply getting to the top floor where Veran is waiting is no easy feat. Even though the Black Tower doesn’t feature a mini-boss fight, it is chock-full of some of the more deadly regular enemies Link can encounter in Oracle of Ages. Note that defeating Veran here will light part of the flame necessary for resurrecting Ganon, which Link can do as part of a continuing save file from Oracle of Seasons.
|At least during the first phase, the final battle with Veran is very similar to the initial fight Link has with her earlier in the game. Players should hit Veran using the Seed Shooter while she charges attacks, eventually separating her spirit from Queen Ambi’s body using the Long Hook and then slashing with her sword. In her second phase, Veran will transform and begin to fly around the arena, requiring Link to use the Spin Attack to hit her. Finally, her last phases see her assume the form of various animals, each of which are vulnerable to sword slashes or bomb explosions (such as the spider form).
Hero’s Cave (Linked Game)
Players can only enter the Hero’s Cave as part of a linked game after having beat one of the two Oracle games and playing the other. For example, if players beat Oracle of Seasons and then use the password to start a linked game in Oracle of Ages, the Hero’s Cave becomes available after the final boss. The same is true of the opposite order. The main goal of the Hero’s Cave is to reach the true final boss battle against Link’s eternal adversary, Ganon. However, there is a worthwhile treasure in the Hero’s Cave in the form of a Level-3 Armor Ring.
- Armor Ring L-3
|Ganon is the true final boss of Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons and is only accessible after beating the main quest of both games and linking the save file using the provided password. Though he looks similar to his appearance in A Link to the Past, the battle against him in the Hero’s Cave is actually substantially more difficult. Essentially, Link needs to charge up the attack of his sword and try to hit Ganon right as he is teleporting in order to do any damage. The evil demon king is invulnerable to attack while on the move or attacking, making timing hits properly necessary.