Review by MSuskie

"This is not how you do justice to the greatest game of all time."

I'll just go ahead and say it: The Legend of Zelda is absolutely my favorite videogame franchise of all time. The original Legend of Zelda on NES was a breakthrough for action/adventure titles, A Link to the Past rocked the SNES in the early 90's, and Ocarina of Time remains my favorite game of all time. So, I waited with great anticipation for the new Zelda on GameCube, titled Wind Waker (Cel-da or no Cel-da). As a special treat, Nintendo threw in a bonus disk for all customers who pre-ordered Wind Waker by February 2003.

So, what better way to hold us over for Waker than with a new version of Ocarina? The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest is that bonus disk: A repackaging of the original Ocarina as well as a never-before-released redux of it, dubbed Master Quest, not to mention a few movies of (at the time) upcoming GameCube games. And it's free. Go figure. Now, if I need to explain exactly why Ocarina is hands-down the greatest game of all time, then please check out my review for the Nintendo 64 game before proceeding to actually go out and buy the game. The main focus of this review is to highlight what's new here and to… uh, review it.

As soon as you pop this one into your ‘Cube you'll be given the option to choose between the original game and this new Master Quest. Although the Master Quest was obviously the star attraction of this disk, if you have for some reason never played the original game, then I would strongly recommend that you play through that first. It'll give you a taste of exactly what Zelda is all about and will prepare you for Master Quest.

Now, what is this Master Quest I keep mentioning? Master Quest was originally created for the Nintendo 64DD. However, when the 64DD bombed in Japan and was never released in North America, the poor gamers here were left without it, until now. It's basically just a redux of the original game, with altered dungeon designs and brand new puzzles, made for Ocarina veterans. Now, outside of the new dungeons, the game is pretty much unchanged. In fact, the only change I've noticed between the original and Master Quest is that the Peahats – those annoying pink helicopter bastards in the overworld – have mysteriously vanished, making Hyrule Field a rather barren place.

In fact, I would actually go so far as to say that Master Quest is easier than the original game. Although the new dungeon designs are sometimes played somewhat backwards from those in the original games (which will disorient veterans who have played through the original layouts millions of times), the puzzles are actually easier to solve and some sections actually have enemies taken out, which takes away the challenge of staying alive. Some of the new additions, such as the cows in Jabu-Jabu's Belly are interesting and even funny, but at the end of the day most gamers will prefer to play the original over this Master Quest redux.

Now, the transition from N64 to GameCube has been a somewhat slippery one. Now, since you're no longer playing with the N64 controller, the controls are mapped slightly differently. The basic layout is the same, with a few changes. All four C buttons can be used by tapping in the according direction with the C-Stick. This can feel awkward, especially when playing the ocarina. Now, you can also use the X, Y and Z buttons to use the C-Right, C-Left and C-Down buttons respectively, which makes things better. There is no set button for C-Up.

As for graphical and audio changes, the game really hasn't gone through many. The graphics are still the same – eye-popping by N64 standards and very dated by today, with blurry textures, blocky models and a jerky framerate. However, for this GameCube version has lost the N64 version's blur filter, giving the game an overall sharper look. However, this now means that things such as 2D objects and pixelation are far more visible. As for music, it remains the same, but it occasionally skips, especially when entering your menu. And Nintendo could have added the classic Zelda overworld theme, which remains mysteriously absent. Still, minor flaws.

Pros

+ The great game of all time, repackaged.
+ All-new Master Quest for veterans.
+ Same brilliant gameplay, control scheme, etc.
+ Loss of blur filter gives the game a sharper look.
+ It was the perfect holdover until Wind Waker arrived.
+ Sneak peeks for GameCube games.
+ It's free!
+ Or, at least, it used to be.

Cons

- Master Quest is actually easier than the original.
- No graphical upgrades, giving it a very dated look.
- Controls on the GameCube controller just aren't the same.
- 2D objects are more visible.
- Music skips.
- The classic Zelda theme remains missing.
- It's not free anymore. Missed your chance.

Overall: 7/10

Now, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remains my favorite game of all time and probably will be forever, but this is not how I'd like to see it on GameCube. What I'd like to see is the game completely rebuilt with revamped graphics, music, and control on the GameCube and with new areas and story elements. That would be nice, wouldn't it? Master Quest is a nice addition, but after playing through it once I don't think I'll ever play it again, simply because I enjoyed the original more. Ocarina fans should definitely check this out, though, and since it's free, it's hard to get a better deal.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/22/03, Updated 08/23/04


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