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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) artwork

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) review

"The elfin warrior clad in a forest green tunic dashes in at breakneck speed on his noble white-maned steed, decimating the frontal forces of the Skeletons with a dozen well-cast arrows zeroed in where a living being’s heart would be. Vaulting off his horse, changing from cavalry to sword master in a lesser span of time than a heartbeat, he takes his blade out of his scabbard, and after a threatening thrust meant as a warning to the skeletons, he gyrates in a 360 with such proficiency and prowess..."

The elfin warrior clad in a forest green tunic dashes in at breakneck speed on his noble white-maned steed, decimating the frontal forces of the Skeletons with a dozen well-cast arrows zeroed in where a living being’s heart would be. Vaulting off his horse, changing from cavalry to sword master in a lesser span of time than a heartbeat, he takes his blade out of his scabbard, and after a threatening thrust meant as a warning to the skeletons, he gyrates in a 360 with such proficiency and prowess that no mortal being could hope to transcend. He is one with the sword. He is the sword, a baneful weapon that is the vanquisher of any evil it comes into contingence with. His piercing green orbs display a burning passion for justness, capable of channeling his absolute focus on any one enemy. All to find the woman he loves.

Action is an integral foundation of Ocarina of Time, and is the nicotine for many diehard fans. Furnished with only a glossy sword, a protective tunic, some regular leather boots, and a trusty shield, Link, the Hero of Time, must battle various enemies that have a wide range of techniques of assailment, many of which are challenging, and many of which are annoying. The Fire Keese will come out of nowhere in a nose-dive intended to injure you and piss you off to no end, whereas the Like Like will block all but the farthest of sword swipes, in the meantime striving to ingest you. The powerful Iron Knuckle will unleash a furious barrage of strikes with its own anguish sealed away in a dark realm. Each of these can be kept in sight of the three dimensional camera through the use of Z-Targeting, a feature that allows you to concentrate your sight on one nemesis and one nemesis solely. During normal battle, one can roll around, jump, charge and swing your blade in a 360 and swipe at a foe. Using Z-Targeting, the player can additionally do a back flip, leap sideways, and jump at an archrival with sword outright.

However, combat is not restricted to the way of the sword. Three items can be further equipped, each with their own individualist use. Exploiting them will further one’s progress on the battlegrounds – the Hookshot and its upgrade can be fired to stun an enemy, and hook onto certain metals and wood. The Fairy Bow and Slingshot can be fired from a long distance. The Megaton Hammer can put a crimp in an enemy’s style by impairing their ability to react with a strong first swipe. Bombs can be utilized to harm specific creatures and destroy decrepit walls. However, the equipment that plays the key role throughout the game is the Ocarina of Time.

In Ocarina of Time, a player can perform on an ocarina. Twelve tunes have special functions in this game that lend a fantasy feel to the already mystical world of Ocarina of Time. The Song of Storms can mean the difference between a flood or a drought, as raindrops lightly fall down in peace at the simple performance of its messiah. Zelda’s Lullaby is practically the emblem of the Royal Family of the land of Hyrule, swaying Link’s position to one of where what he requires, he gets. Six of the twelve songs give you almost free reign of the world, transporting you to six diverse locations.

Ocarina of Time comes with the puzzles that are virtually the Zelda series trademark, all translated into three dimensional environments. Remember that time in A Link to the Past where you had an orgasm due to sheer bliss? Take what remaining recollection you have of that incident, and amplify it by at least ten, if not one hundred. Many of the classic puzzles remain, such as pushing around blocks, bombing walls open, lighting torches, and weighing down switches. It is inconceivable that an individual could be let down by this aspect of the game.

Linearity is not in this game’s vocabulary, and with good warrant; sidequests are galore, and a drought of alternatives to the main quest does not come until the end of the game. You aren’t just faced with a few extra weapons and the collection of Heart Pieces to pursue; Ocarina of Time also gives you a trading sidequest for the most powerful sword in the game, mini-games of skill to upgrade your bomb bag, seed bag, and quiver, Great Fairy Fountains spread throughout Hyrule in which the denizens will each grant you magical power, and the most difficult feat of them all; capturing the tokens of every one of the one hundred Gold Skulltula. The Gold Skulltula are special one-time creatures found across the world, through hell, and back, and although they may sometimes be easy to find, other times, they are so seclusive that they could literally be hiding under your nose.

Subterfuge is the specialty of this game’s sound effects. You barely notice the soft falling of a waterfall, the echoing of your footsteps, or the light slicing of air as you throw your boomerang. But when you have a thought at it, it gives way to quite the impression at how well the sounds were done; and not just the ones that nobody notices. The grunts, screams, and war cries of Link have been excellently executed, if used somewhat excessively, and the clanging of sword against metal is neat.

The music is what is indefinitely agreed to be the shining point of this game. Besides the twelve well-done tunes that are professionally played, the player can also create their own songs with the aid of the C buttons and A button that seem to fit perfectly. Although a good amount of the classical Zelda music has been removed, sometimes making this department a real downer, the new orchestrated music strongly makes up for it. The chanting of the Forest Temple leaves a haunting burned impression imprinted in a person’s mind, and the totally arcane music of the Spirit Temple is a knockout. Other notable one-hit KOs are the Fire Temple, Gerudo Valley, and Shadow Temple. I would also like to mention that the music of the final boss actually feels like what it should – final. Never before have I actually heard music that so expressed a game’s ending.

Unfortunately, the graphics, although overwhelming in some areas, are underwhelming in others. While the character models are detailed and textured, they are at the same time often detailed by only a few shades of the same color. However, one cannot deny the beauty of the rising sun, as rays of light reflect off the crystalline surface of Lake Hylia, the distinction of the vast and arid desert area of the Haunted Wasteland being clouded by strong sandstorms, and the gorgeousness of the green Lost Forest. The ambience of this game is one of quality, one of adventure.

But, just what does this whole game revolve around? A game as majestic as Ocarina of Time surely has a story to suit. And it does. Among the Kokori, a group of forest people who never grow up, there lives a certain boy known as Link. The Kokori have their guardian fairies, watched over by the Great Deku Tree. However, Link doesn’t have the gift of a fairy. That all changes one day, though, as the sentient Deku Tree sends to Link his own fairy, named Navi. From there, Link traverses through the Deku Tree to lift a curse inflicted upon the tree, and gets the Kokori Emerald. With this in hand, Link learns that he must gather the three Spiritual Stones and enter the Sacred Realm with the Ocarina of Time. Only in here can he obtain the Triforce, a magical object so powerful that it can grant the total desires of whoever possesses it. After he is hijacked by the evil Ganondorf who uses the Triforce to take over Hyrule, Link must as an adult travel through five temples and save five sages for there to even be a possibility of his facing Ganondorf for once and for all. On the way, he must travel back and forth through time to accomplish the tasks set before him.

To summarize, Ocarina of Time is a very good game – it has even garnered the highest average video game score overall. It has a few flaws, but the rest of the game more than makes up for the bad atmosphere the blemishes make.

I just wish it wasn't riddled with so many hard-to-find glitches and was too easy.

yamishuryou's avatar
Community review by yamishuryou (June 28, 2004)

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