Review by Katon
"One of the best games ever gets a GC facelift!"
Nintendo may have doomed itself with its failed N64 console, but no fanboy can deny the quality of games pumped out on the big N's cart-based system. While third-party software was scarce, Nintendo produced superb game after superb game, with the pinnacle of the bunch being The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When OoT was announced in Japan as a free preorder bonus for The Wind Waker, I fumed. Why? Because I was almost certain American gamers would miss out on this outstanding bonus. However, Nintendo surprised me by including this and Ura Zelda (Master Quest) as a preorder bonus for American fans as well. For those unfortunate gamers who missed out on OoT the first time, you are in for a treat and need to preorder this immediately. Others will quickly become comfortable with this friend, which has faithfully been ported to the Gamecube with great results.
The N64 was never known for stunning graphics, but OoT's were quite state of the art back in the day. Of course, compared to games like the GC versions of Resident Evil and the Xbox's Splinter Cell, OoT's graphics are today bland and unimpressive. The transition to the GC has provided for some smoother texturing, allowing for greater detail in the game screens. However, everything still has the same basic washed-out appearance it had in its N64 heyday. One must remember this game's age, and when considering that, the visuals are not bad at all.
The Zelda series has always featured some of the coolest music in the video game world, and OoT is no exception. I would highly recommend for any serious gamer to go out and grab a copy of the soundtrack for this game. I have one myself, and I enjoy listening to the finely orchestrated tunes Zelda has to offer. Sound effects are also wonderfully done and provide for a great deal of immersion in the game world. The Zelda series rivals the Final Fantasy series for great sounds, and OoT is a shining example of this.
The move from 2D Zelda into 3D Zelda was one handled with brilliance by Nintendo, which has showed in the recent past with its updates to the Metroid and Mario franchises that it can keep the same 2D gameplay in 3D as well. OoT's gameplay is simple, yet addictive. I'm going to assume that most of you know the basic gameplay from the original OoT and talk about the differences between the GC and the N64 versions. Basically, there aren't many. Z-targeting has now been replaced by L-targeting, which I prefer. The C-stick is now used for playing Link's ocarina and can take some time to get used to, especially if you are used to the N64's C buttons. Once you get the hang of it, however, you'll probably prefer the Gamecube's control scheme. Link responds to commands fluidly, which is important since OoT can be a challenging game at times. Link will embark on several side quests in addition to the main story, including finding all the available heart containers, a staple of this franchise. OoT is very addictive and fun to play, a trademark of Nintendo-produced games. You'll have a hard time putting this one down until you're finished with it.
Link is out to save the world... again. You would think the premise would be getting tired by now, but it is most assuredly not. OoT also throws some time traveling into the mix for good measure. I won't spoil the story for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of playing this game yet, but suffice to say, it is an enjoyable journey.
I have already stated that OoT is very addictive, and if you are like me, you will come back to this game time and again to try to find that last heart container and complete that last side quest. Even if you get the game completely finished, you'll still probably want to sit down with OoT from time to time, at least, to revisit the amazing land of Hyrule. OoT may not have much in the way of unlockable secrets, but the pure fun factor will keep drawing you back for more.
Ura Zelda (Master Quest):
I really don't feel Master Quest deserves an entire review, so I'll briefly mention it here.
Ura Zelda (''other Zelda'') was a proposed game for the 64DD add-on in Japan, but it never was released. The basic idea of the game was to take OoT was use rearranged dungeons and puzzles to give a slightly new twist to the gameplay experience. Ura Zelda was also released with OoT as part of The Wind Waker's preorder program in Japan and has also been included in the American release. Ura Zelda has received the new moniker ''Master Quest'' and is quite a fun game as well. Don't expect any great new gameplay experiences out of MQ, but it's nice to play a few times after you have had a fill of OoT for a while. MQ would probably not be worth buying as a separate game, but as a freebie, it's great!
What can I really say about OoT that hasn't been said countless times before? This game is simply one of the most fun, engrossing experiences you can find on the market today, and it's great that Nintendo is giving gamers who missed out the first time another opportunity to play this classic. If you are a Gamecube owner, you need to preorder Zelda: The Wind Waker and get this bonus disk at once. The Wind Waker will be a must-buy, and you might as well pick up another classic adventure while you're at it.
Overall score (not an average): 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/23/03, Updated 02/23/03
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