Review by Falion
"Five years later and it's still the best!"
'The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time' was released to universal acclaim from players and critics alike for the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. The game even debuted at the #1 spot in Japan- quite a feat considering the lack of support that the N64 received in the country. ''OoT'' successfully translated the series from 2D to 3D, and integrated an incredibly innovative ''lock-on'' combat system. Now, the game has been re-released for the Nintendo Gamecube, along with the 'Ocarina of Time Master Quest,' which is a more difficult ''remix'' of OoT. This review, however, will cover only the unaltered version.
OoT has a darker, more complex story than any previous Zelda game, while still keeping the whimsy and light-heartedness that the series is known for. The main character is Link, a child from Kokiri village who is destined to bring peace to the world. Keep in mind that this is yet another character named Link, who is to be kept separate from the other Zelda games. Throughout his journey, Link will encounter many friends- most importantly, Princess Zelda. The princess gives Link a magical ocarina that enables him to control time, to an extent. Link's nemesis is Ganondorf, or ''The King of Thieves,'' who will stop at nothing to capture the powerful Triforce.
Nintendo intentionally made it so that Link never talks. this was done in order to make the game more immersing, so the player will feel that he or she is actually Link's voice, rather than just observing pre-scripted emotion. I can understand the reasoning behind this, but the game's story is very epic in scope, and a ''mute'' main character just seems slightly out of place.
The graphics in OoT were very good for their time, and five years later, they still work. Not only that, but the graphics were cleaned up as much as possible, giving the game a much clearer look than its more blurry N64 counterpart. The graphical style is very impressive, and the enormous, intimidating bosses are just as awe-inspiring as they were the first time I played this game on the N64.
This is a rather tough category. OoT's music was limited due to the lack of space in the original cartridge(which, of course, is the reason why the N64 failed). So while the composition is excellent and the tunes are very memorable, the quality just isn't there. Remember the incredible orchestral remix of the Zelda theme in Smash Bros. Melee? Well, we'll all have to keep waiting to hear something of that quality in an actual Zelda game...
On the flip side, the sound effects are absolutely perfect! In fact, Link's new ''voice'' has been recycled possibly even more times than ''It's-a-me!'' Mario's. The clanking, swooshing, and enemy cries are all just perfect.
Hands down the best gameplay you can get in ANY game! I certainly cannot rave enough about how good of a job Nintendo did in bringing the Zelda series to the third dimension. The biggest concern before the game was released was combat. How can you take a series known for its relatively simple approach to combat and all of a sudden make the battles ''epic,'' while still keeping the controls simple? Well, the ever-imitated ''lock-on'' system did the trick. By simply facing an enemy and pressing the lock-on button, Link will lock onto and constantly face the enemy. This gives Link the ability to perform many impressive attacks and evasions, using only two buttons!
After getting the combat out of the way, OoT had to show its chops as an actual Zelda game. The series is possibly best known for its complicated, puzzle-filled dungeons and OoT definitely does not disappoint. The game has many dungeons, each filled with very tough puzzles. You'll push/pull blocks, light candles, and grapple up to ledges to your heart's content. The puzzles can get frustrating, but never to the point of making you want to give up.
Back in 1998 when OoT was originally released, many felt that it was easily the greatest game of all time. Fortunately, after five long and eventful years, the game is every bit as incredible as it ever was. Truly a classic, and I'm sure it will be released again five years from now to the same unanimous praise.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/15/03, Updated 02/15/03
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