Review by JPeeples
"One of the most spectacular games ever."
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most majestic games ever released. It has a charm all it’s own that transcends the usual limits placed on video games. In this adventure, Link sees the beautiful land of Hyrule made into a world called catastrophe due to the actions of Ganondorf. He must seek out and slay the gargantuan Ganondorf if he hopes to return peace and civility to Hyrule. This quest was an amazing one to trek through when it was first seen by gamers back in November of 1998 on the Nintendo 64. Now, over four years later, and as a free release bundled with the Master Quest edition of the game that never saw the light of day in the U.S., it still holds up well as a testament to the fantastic game design in OoT.
Ocarina of Time hasn’t seen any huge changes in the transition from the N64 to the GC. The graphics have been smoothed out a bit, and the control scheme was been redone to suit the GC pad. I prefer playing OoT with the GC pad since the pad is more comfortable than the N64 pad, and the control scheme seems to make gameplay that much easier. Some things, like the Z-targeting system on the N64 version, were a bit of a pain to use regularly due to awkward button placement. Now, thanks to the reconfigured controls, the targeting system (which has been moved to the L button for the GC release) are easy to do.
The gameplay in OoT has remained unchanged since the original N64 release, thankfully. The game is still a joy to play, with dynamic character and an engrossing plot that will keep you playing until you reach its’ apex. The interaction between the characters is believable, which, even today, is a rarity. I enjoy playing a game in which I can suspend my state of disbelief and say that the dialogue going on between these characters is realistic, well, about as realistic as you’re going to get for a game starring a kid with a fairy.
The graphics in the game hold up pretty well today. The pre-rendered backdrops are still captivating, and a lot of the little touches (such as smoke billowing out of Death Mountain) really show the attention to detail in this game. However, the character models don’t stand the text of time all too well. The blocky joints really look horrible, but the detailed facial expressions make up for it. Nintendo did a fantastic job at making sure that every facial expression showed some kind of emotion, whether it be joy, sadness, or anything in between.
The sound in the GC version of OoT remains relatively unchanged, except for a small skip in music that can occur when you enter a new area in the game. I found the music in OoT to be some of the most amazing ever in gaming, and my belief of that only gets stronger each time I hear some of the music in the game. Each and every piece of music in the game fit’s the area, or the scenario that it is used in. The music in the Lost Woods has a very mysterious, ominous sound to it, which evokes a heightened sense of fear in the player. Conversely, the music in Zora’s domain has a very melodic tone to it, it’s quite melodic, which suits the tranquil surroundings perfectly.
Ocarina of Time is one of the few games that I feel compelled to play through numerous times. The characters and story drove me to beat it once. Then the smaller things grabbed my attention, things like the facial expressions and the details in the graphics. With each play of the game I noticed something new, something that had somehow eluded my attention in my previous play sessions with the game. Hopefully, you will also notice things that you’ve never noticed before. If you’ve never played OoT before, you owe it to yourself as a gamer to do so as soon as possible.
The Wind Waker bonus disc also contains, on top of OoT, the remixed, more difficult version of OoT called the Master Quest, as well as tons of videos on upcoming Nintendo game releases. I would recommend checking out the F-Zero movie, as it is jaw-dropping. If you’re looking for something to get you hyped up for the release of Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time will certainly do just that. The inclusion of the Master Quest is pretty historic since it was never released outside of Japan before.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/19/03, Updated 02/19/03
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