Early Footage From the Oracle Games

Posted By at 5:01 PM on Friday April 27, 2012

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The following collection of screenshots, magazine scans, and beta footage concerning the Oracle series was gathered with the help of FizzBoing, Cuber456, and Triforce Legend’s Dark Linkaël. The commentary was compiled from feedback by members of The Cutting Room Floor’s forums, including Cuber456, Dark Linkaël, Xkeeper, Reshiram, and Gamma, who previously contributed to my page on the early version of A Link to the Past.

Magazine Shots

Many of these magazine shots are likely mockup images created by the developers to give the media an idea of what the games would look like rather than actual screenshots. Nevertheless, as mockups frequently act as models for how the creators planned to lay things out, their differences with the final games have been dutifully noted.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

The most obvious difference is the slingshot graphic, which is normally blue. In addition, there are no blue Ropes in the Oracle series, only green. The most similar room to this area in the final game appears to be this one from Level 3.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

A slightly differing Level 2 room from Oracle of Seasons. Compare to the final, in which the upper path is narrower, the roller graphics are different, the torches differ in their placement, and an extra pair of lights is added to the southern wall.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

A different graphic for the dead tree. In the final game, indentations in the wall like that are never found with a border along the top of them, because climbable vines grow in the gap during the summer, and players can normally jump down the gaps in other seasons. In addition, Dimitri doesn’t usually open his mouth when you aren’t riding him.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Moosh doesn’t have the same jumping animation in the final game, and also doesn’t use Ricky’s Tornado Punch.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

This area is very rough when compared to the final map. Decorative grass and flower tiles were added, and the border on top of the cliffs was changed from red to blue. The border gap of the upper cliff where Veran makes a time portal has also switched position. The entire map seems to have shifted a tile to the left.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Many of the tiles here are never seen in the final game. While there are walls you can burn, none of them look anything like the orange shape on the right. The torch design is also different. The walls aren’t limited to 16×16 tiles, which is an indicator of this screenshot being a mockup. Not to mention that the square block is halfway aligned with the door, indicating that door occupied two tiles.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

This area went through a heavy redesign. In the final version, the house was removed and a patch of land was added, to which the sign was relocated. The cliff also curves more to the left at the edge closest to Link, and the path to the north was blocked off, with an underwater tunnel being added instead. The man in the picture can never be seen getting angry outside his house.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

A possible early version of this map, which boasts some design updates, such as flowers, a path, fences, and a lack of enemies. It seems Link is damaging an enemy with an Ember Seed. In the final game, an enemy hit by them is entirely set on fire, not hurt by running into the fire, as this screenshot appears to depict.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Giant Cuccoos, which possible to generate in the Oracle games, aren’t normally seen outdoors. The house and surrounding area are different from the final game, in which there are no rocks, only one entryway, a different path, and a sign.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Link’s shield is misplaced, as he appears to be holding it with the wrong arm. The older torch design seems to be recycled from Link Awakening. The room itself doesn’t seem to exist in the final game. Again, we see blue Ropes.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

An unchanged OoA Level 2 room. The only difference is that the enemies are blue, while they are normally green.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

A map that doesn’t exist in the final game. Ricky’s gloves are red instead of a paler colour. An indication of this screen being a mockup is that destructible tiles such as rocks are never placed on the edges of the screen, as players would be able to destroy them, walk to the next map, walk back, and get stuck in a bush or other object.

Press Disk

The following screenshots are taken from the Nintendo Spaceworld 2000 press disk.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

The portrait of Link and Din differs from the final game. In this one, the art is more detailed and less flat, and Link has a different expression on his face.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

“T, that’s my glove! Did you come to give it back to me?”

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Compared to this map (7E) in the final game, additional grass graphics and an Octorok are present.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

“Ah… What a lovely lava inlet…”

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Compared to this map (10L) in the final game, the water boundaries look different. The Leever is not normally present.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Compared to this map (10I) in the final game, the brown path/dirt is new. The person at the top left is also slightly lower.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

“All living things shall perish!!”

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

The graphics of the castle, the strip of green space separating the castle and the forest, the bridge, the details of the background, and the placement of Link differ from the final intro screen.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Because of its position to the left of this screen, the brown path is visible once again. There looks to be piled snow on the right of the screen, which isn’t there the final version (10H). Maple says “If that’s the case, I’ll be taking whatever you drop!”

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

A winter version of this screen.

Magazine Text

When examining the text of the magazine scans that some of these screenshots came from, a number of references to unused elements can be found.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

To paraphrase from ZeldaWiki.org’s excellent article on the games:

The Oracle series was originally supposed to contain 3 titles. Each title was to refer to a piece of the Triforce (the Chapters of Power, Wisdom, and Courage), each revolving around a respective pivotal character (oracle), and each game focused on a different gameplay element of the Legend of Zelda series.

The Chapter of Power was action based and carried a seasonal theme, with players using Rod of Seasons to solve puzzles by altering the four seasons. Its oracle was Din.
The Chapter of Wisdom was puzzle-based and carried a color theme, with players using the colours to solve puzzles. Its oracle was Nayru.
The Chapter of Courage gameplay mechanic was never revealed, but it carried a temporal theme, with players shifting between morning, afternoon, evening, and night to solve puzzles. Its oracle was Farore.

Eventually, these three games became known as the Mystical Seed Trilogy, composed of Mystical Seed of Power, Mystical Seed of Wisdom, and Mystical Seed of Courage. They boasted the unique ability to allow players to link their games together using a password system. However, the coordination of three games proved to be too complex, and Mystical Seed of Courage was cancelled, thus reducing the series to two titles. Oracle of Ages was adapted from Mystical Seed of Wisdom and adopted Courage’s time mechanic, while Oracle of Seasons was adapted from Mystical Seed of Power.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

The whole plot description differs from the final games. Ganondorf never appears in either title, and Ganon only appears as the final boss and Zelda is only kidnapped by Twinrova when players link OoS and OoA. In addition, it mentions how Maple was originally a friend like Ricky was. In the final game, she just used to obtain more items, as seen in this video.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

Nintendo of Japan Pages

A couple of oddities can also be seen if one pokes around the official game pages on Nintendo of Japan’s website.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

In this image, the Rod of Seasons doesn’t appear to be capable of changing the seasons at a point in the game where one should be able to make it summer or winter. The rod is also on the A button. When the rod does have the power to change seasons, it should look like this.

Oracle of Seasons/Ages Beta

This is the very first boss of the game. How does Link have 9 heart containers already?

Spaceworld 1999 Preview Movie

Lastly, an early preview movie from Oracle of Seasons, shown at Spaceworld 1999.

Did we miss anything, be it early game footage or obvious differences with the final? Leave a comment and let me know.

And don’t forget to check out these other articles on early footage from A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask!

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8 Responses

  1. Feanen says:

    Interestingly enough, I’m pretty sure Maple and Ricky were in fact Link’s companions in the Oracle of Seasons manga.

  2. […] If you’re curious to see the rest of GlitterBerri’s article, it is located here.  […]

  3. sgv_sth (tyler) says:

    Since I do not have an account on TCRF, I guess this will have to do for now. There is a minor issue in the section called Nintendo of Japan Pages. Underneath this screenshot:(http://www.nintendo.co.jp/n02/dmg/az7jaz8j/darea/da_10.jpg) The text goes, “…the Rod of Seasons doesn’t appear to be capable of changing the seasons at a point in the game where one should be able to make it summer or winter. The rod is also on the A button…” The one problem I see with that is the mentioning that the rod is on the A button. In the games, the items you gain can be placed on either the A or B button. That might explain this image:(http://www.glitterberri.com/content/zelda_series/oos/beta/beta10.jpg) which appears to show Link’s shield as equipped, but not in use at the moment. Finally, the eyes of the Giant Cuccoos are odd. The image shown has them as 3s, like 006 in the manga 009. They seem to look more like ‘ in the game

  4. […] is some very interesting pieces in this article, so be sure to check out the full version over at GlitterBerri, as this is just a fraction of the original post. They also have a video show casing some early […]

  5. J says:

    I have some more pre-release screenshots from some old UK game magazines I remember seeing one of the Giant Cuccoo with two witches on screen and it was a blown up version of the sprite rather than th different looking one in your picture. I think I remember a couple of other ones not featured here as well. Will have to have a look around later.

  6. CrescentGanon says:

    “The Hyrule Fantasy” – the subtitle of the very first Zelda game in Japan – reminds me of the early development period when these games were originally going to be ports / remakes of the NES games with a third original title.

    • Lee H says:

      CrescentGanon, that is a common misconception. ONE of three was going to be a remake of the original Zelda, whilst the other TWO would be completely new.

      There was NEVER any plan to remake Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

  7. […] at zelda.com – official japanese site for the games with even more official character artwork – an interesting article on early versions of the games Rate this:Share this:MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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