Release Date: November 21st, 1998 (Nintendo 64), May 3, 2003 (Nintendo GameCube) and June 17th, 2011 (Nintendo 3DS - also my birthday!)
Well, here we go. A review of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the internet which will positively gush over how good and near perfect this game is. Fresh take huh? Well let me start by saying when the big N is directed by Uncle Shigaru Miyamoto to make a Nintendo 64 Mini Console, it is well beyond certain that this masterpiece will be one of its headline acts.
Well, I think a certain other game will be the top advertised game, but until a finalised list of included games is released, that is a matter of conjecture. We’re here for an analysis of Ocarina of Time.
When I played it for the first time on Christmas night 1998, I was entirely new to the wider franchise. If I hadn’t, I might have seen the broad similarities between it and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past. Did that enhance my enjoyment? No and neither did it scupper my enjoyment either. As the franchise makes the incredibly risky and huge step from 2D to 3D gameplay, it is only logical that the game should take cues from its own past so that when presenting an uncertain form of content, there is a massive dollop of familiarity to help franchise experienced hands, also newbies such as myself when we play any of the instalments of the wider Zelda franchise.
By the way, this is a Nintendo 64 first ballot Hall of Famer without doubt, but the 2011 re - make on the Nintendo 3DS (remember that console? Well worth a revisit) I’d argue is now the definitive way to play this classic. This is mainly because it’s an incredibly faithful remake, it makes changes such as improving the graphics, taking out the Islamic chant of the Fire Temple in original copies and making the Iron boots equipable as an item, so it is just a single press to put them on or off. Trust me, this sounds innocuous to the point of tedium, but in the Water Temple, this is unbelievably useful. Speaking of the water temple, it is a long running joke that each game’s Water Temple has to be the worst part of any Zelda game. But in the Nintendo 3DS re - make, it has been changed to feature wall markings in different colours to make it less labyrinthine.
Although if like me, you are colour blind, though well intentioned, the use of this is slightly limited.
The story is nothing new. As mentioned, before it parallels to A Link to The Past but that is nothing too bad given the radical differences in gameplay across the games. It has certain departures too and never feels like it is simple a straight re telling of that game.
Also, ultimately it is an incredibly enjoyable aspect to the game. Although I will say that when the game came out, I was a child and guessed correctly who Sheikh’s true identity was. Anyone who does not, I invite you to feel rather ashamed of yourself.
The game has been termed as a ‘virtual patent office’ for how many gaming innovations it brought to the fore which were simply so well received, they are now virtually standard fare in games to this day after all these years. Z targeting is my particular favourite. I honestly can’t imagine modern games not being improved with its inclusion. Also, I certainly cannot see how this masterpiece would endure so long without them, Z targeting in particular.
True story: there are many milestones in people’s lives, the Friday morning when i finally completed the initial 3 dungeons and went from Child Link to his 17-year-old counterpart was one of mine. That is just a huge testament to the power of this game’s story.
Or it could be that I was a kid, so of course this was great and that affects my perception of the game. Possibly. But not only do I prefer the former interpretation, but other huge moments such as Janus unmasking himself in GoldenEye 007, while equally also incredibly effective, just do not stand up in the same way. That just lends more strength and credibility to this game in my humble opinion.
The only true drawback would be that Hyrule Field seems very much like trying to have a night out during the daytime, nothing you really want to see or play (in this case) is to be encountered here. I think it is essential there is a large, open plan area to practise movement, swordplay etc, but if that was Hyrule Field, it is just far too large. It also includes massive enemies in a specific corner. They are basically flying multi bladed tartan thingies. To this day, I have no idea why, but they are utter nightmare fuel. Thankfully, they are easily avoided.
While nothing new to the series, the energy deadly Tennis games versus Ganondorf are nothing short of satisfying and thoroughly excellent. I myself have been known to replay the game for multiple reasons, this is definitely one of them. Please bear this in mind, it is a safe bet that everyone reading this will also enjoy this and many other aspects of this absolute belter of a classic game.
In conclusion, the games graphics have certainly aged in the near quarter century since it dropped. That is however, to be expected. The actual game play though, it is still oven fresh as ever. If you have played it, it is well worth another play - through. If you haven’t, please please PLEASE give it a go. However, while purists will insist on experiencing it through the Nintendo 64 original, I will recommend playing its remake on the Nintendo 3DS to satiate the problems.
Well except for the Hyrule Field one mentioned above. But that’s ultimately a minor niggle and if the leading criticism of a game is basically just splitting hairs, this game certainly deserves its 99% of a 100% rating.
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