Well loyal reader, you asked for it and we heard you, and I am, if not anything else, someone who aims to please his audience, so today we review The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Released on November 21, 1998 on the Nintendo 64 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time took a favorite franchise among Nintendo fans and thrust it into the mainstream and put Link up there with other video game heroes like Mario, Sonic, and Mega Man.
When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was first released on the N64 it was really the first game that gave the player a true sense of adventure. Sure that was the concept of the series from the start, but the top down perspective of the The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past were big games for the time, they pale in comparison to the 3D third person adventure we went on with Link in Ocarina. Not only do we have the vast open world of the fields of Hyrule, but the game also sends us 7 years in the future and bag.
This was really the first sandbox open world game we ever got. We start out in Kokiri Village among the children of the forest, and we get our fair Navi (who you’ll either love or hate by the end of the game) and she lets you know that the Great Deku Tree has summoned you. You got to the tree and he lets you know a darkness has invaded him and Link must go inside and defeat it. This opening dungeon is a great “training” level for new players and gets you used to the controls you’ll need to master to go out into the world of Hyrule and save it. After you defeat your first boss the Great Deku tree sends you out on your adventure and tells you to seek out Princess Zelda, and this is when we leave the village and head out into Hyrule.
The open world of Hyrule does a great job of giving you that sense of adventure and really immerses you in that world that can almost seem daunting at first, especially since there hadn’t been a game of this scope until its release. Nintendo, however, does a great job of having you the player along with the character grow. You start out as a young boy and end as a young man, but that’s not the only growth in the game. You start out with a small sword, a wooden shield and only a handful of hearts. Through out your adventure you collect new weapons, more hearts, and you get stronger with new skills, songs for your ocarina, as well as magic spells.
From there we get into the same Zelda tropes we’re used to. Gannon attempts to kidnap Princess Zelda in order to capture the Tri-Force. From there it is up to Link to get the three medallions in order to unlock the Master Sword, and from there it’s off to free the Seven Sages. Once they are freed you can go off to fight Gannon.
Of course I’m simplifying this deep deep story line, but this is a review, not a novelization of the game. The game play is crisp and spot on. The Z targeting system which is introduced in this game for the first time. This allows for more of a cinematic battling, this also allows you to use your shield to defend. This system isn’t perfect but it works very well.
Also new is the Ocarina of Time (“roll credits”), this instrument is given to you by Zelda and gives you man abilities, along with fast travel, time travel, calling upon your horse Epona, along with other things like the song of storms that makes it rain.
As I said in the beginning of this review the game seems daunting at first, shoot while just writing this review I keep having flashbacks to different dungeons that almost seem like I was playing a different game. That’s how big this world is, you’re only playing one game, but because of the time travel and the size of Hyrule this seems like an adventure of a lifetime instead of just one adventure.
Honestly, my only complaint about this game is the Water Temple. It’s a labyrinth and can get annoying, but I will say this, outside of beating Gannon at the end (spoilers) completing this temple will make you feel so accomplished.
There is so much to collect in this game if you just stick to the main missions but there are a ton of side quests along the way that will aid you in your journey. They are not mandatory, but help you greatly along your journey. Some of the items you can grab among these quests are your horse Epona, the Goron Knife (a giant sword to Link), extra heart pieces, bottles, bigger wallet, masks, and a bigger inventory bag. These side quests, though optional, fit nicely into the quest along the way, so they don’t ever feel tedious.
Final Verdict: There is a reason why when ever someone talks about their favorite Zelda games this game is usually #1 or #2 on their lists. For me it’s easily number one. In fact I’ve owned 3 different versions of this game. The original on the N64, the Gamecube rerelease that I got when I preordered Wind Waker from Bestbuy and now the 3DS update (which is the copy I used for this review). This game is a fantastic experience and we give it the rating of Relive It! And I might add, if you have a 3DS I highly recommend you play this version as to me it’s the superior version of the game with updated graphics, sound, and controls, plus it has the Master Quest on it as well, which was an N64 DD add on in Japan originally.