Review by plasmabeam
"Just like I remember it"
Introduction: I would like to start off by saying that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is quite possibly the greatest game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. It was my second Zelda game, and although it took me a while to get into it, I was more than happy when I had completed it. It is easily the best reason for anyone to go out and buy a Nintendo 64. Everything about this game is special. From the breathtaking environments to the fun gameplay, you will be amazed. It's a great game for just about anyone. It was released in November of 1998, and it won Game of the Year from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. It got much hype, and it lived up to it in my opinion. The Master Quest version is a nice addition. It has remixed dungeons that are great if you've beaten OoT multiple times.
Graphics - 10/10
At the time, these graphics were the best around. Everything looks great in 3D. The character models are done nicely. Link looks the best he could possibly look on the Nintendo 64. His clothes move, when he runs. His weapons are clear and nicely detailed. His body movements and facial expressions capture his emotions and responses. Some of the other characters aren't as great, though. Often the hands on some characters are way too big. The heads are also large sometimes. The landscapes are brilliant, and the dungeons are full of detail and color. It gives the game a brilliant atmosphere. It really brings the game to life. Hyrule Castle looks spectacular if you go into first-person view. Some places, like Lake Hylia, look great during a sunset. In a fire-based dungeon, there is lava and steam everywhere. The bosses are immense. I was really amazed by the creativity in some of the boss designs. They are so fierce looking and brilliantly imagined. There is also some nice cut scenes that you'll see during the game. Nintendo truly did a fantastic job on the graphics, with just a few small flaws. The resolution has been upgraded in the GCN version.
Sound - 9/10
The sounds in this game are great. Link yells when he is in pain, and he makes threatening noises when he attacks. The characters often make sounds when you talk to them. You might hear a quick laugh or a giggle. The sounds that the weapons make are clear and realistic. For example, when you hit a metal object with your sword, you will hear a "clang" sound. Enemies make certain sounds when they are defeated, such as a small cry. My only major gripe is the annoying noises that Navi, your sidekick fairy, makes during your quest. You'll be exploring or fighting, and Navi will yell something annoying like "Hey! Listen" or something like that. It becomes a pain over time, but you'll get over it. Other than that, the sounds are great.
Music - 10/10
The music in this game is simply amazing. You'll be humming some of it during your quest. The music fits the areas that it's played in very well. A quiet town has slow, relaxing music, while a busy market has an upbeat tune. Some of the ocarina songs sound cool, despite the fact that they're very short.
Story - 8/10
Nintendo made a nice effort with the story. You are Link, the only Kokiri (children of the forest) without a fairy, who is an outcast. One day a dark wizard casts a spell on the Great Deku Tree. The Great Deku Tree sends a fairy named Navi to get Link to come see the Deku Tree. Link helps the Deku Tree, and he sends Link on a mission to talk to a princess. Eventually, you will travel through time to try and stop the villain. Over a seven-year span, you will go through dungeons, solve puzzles, and fight enemies to advance through the story. Sometimes, you will have to be in a certain time period to obtain an item or make something occur. Will Link be able to save Hyrule from evil? You decide. I won't go any further into the story, because I don't want to spoil it for you. Trust me, it's good.
Gameplay - 10/10
The gameplay is absolutely brilliant. As Link, you go on an adventure to save the world from the evil Ganondorf. You will go through dungeons, fight bosses, play mini-games, search for items, learn new ocarina songs, and even ride a horse. There is plenty of variety to keep you busy in this game for many hours. There are also a good amount of side quests to keep you busy for a long time.
The combat is very fun in Ocarina of Time. This game uses the same camera view that Super Mario 64 used. The main thing that made this game so innovative and fun is "Z-targeting." Z-targeting lets you lock-on to an enemy, which makes it easier to slash it or shoot it with arrows. It also adjusts the camera's view, so that you can get a better view of the enemy. Swordplay is very satisfying. There are plenty of different ways to attack with your sword. You do vertical swings, horizontal swings, jump slashes, stabs, and much more. The other items work great, too. Classic items like the hookshot, bombs, and bow & arrows work wonderfully in the 3D environments.
The dungeons are the heart of the gameplay. They usually are elemental themed (fire, water, etc). Dungeons are basically giant levels, where you must solve puzzles and fight enemies in order to reach the boss and complete the dungeon. The puzzles in the dungeons are very clever. You move blocks, so you can stand on them to reach ledges. You'll burn spider webs to make areas accessible. You bomb rocks and walls to find secret rooms. You fight many enemies in order to advance. In each dungeon there is a new special weapon that you need to complete the dungeon. The weapon is usually effective against the boss, also. Getting new weapons is very fun, and it adds to the game's variety. Some weapons are also important for solving the game’s many puzzles.
The bosses are fun and creative. Sometimes, there is also a mini boss in certain dungeons. Each has a unique way of attacking you. Some will rush into you, while other shoot projectiles at you. Each has a different style of attacking you, so they're not repetitive. Some are difficult to defeat, but each has a special way to hurt it or a noticeable weakness. Each boss requires you to do different actions in order to make it possible for Link to harm it. It often takes a few different steps to reveal the boss's weak point. Most bosses are fun. Some may be hard, but you can stock up on healing potions or fairies (they revive you, when you lose all your energy) to give yourself a better chance against them. Also, Navi may give you helpful hints on ways to defeat the bosses.
There are a bunch of mini-games that you can play. Most of them give you upgrades, such as letting you carry more bombs. The mini-games require you to use your skills to hit targets, score points or advance to the next room. Some of them are fun, while others are rather bland. There is also an amazingly fun fishing mini-game that adds tons of replay value. It is easily the king of Ocarina of Time's mini-games. You can also ride a horse in this game. It allows you to travel across Hyrule at a faster pace. You can even shoot arrows on horseback.
When you're not in a dungeon, much of the game requires you to find certain items or learn new ocarina song in order to progress through the game. It adds a lot of fun, because it lets you explore the vast land of Hyrule while still moving through the game's story. While you're searching, Navi will provide hints and try to help you. The ocarina songs are unique, because they can cause different things to occur, help you obtain secret items, and warp you to different parts of Hyrule in seconds! You can also play your own songs on the ocarina, if you want.
Controls - 9/10
The controls are great and easy to learn. Every button on the standard N64 controller is used. I really liked using the C-buttons to use items like the bow. As I mentioned before, Z-targeting is a great part of this game. In the options menu, you can choose to use "Switch" or "Hold" for the style of Z-targeting. Switch locks-on to the enemy until you defeat it or target a different enemy. Hold requires you to hold down the Z button in order to stay locked-on. The A button lets you roll, when running. It also allows you to talk to people, open doors, and examine things. The B button swings your sword (I already talked about this in the Gameplay section). The R button lets you bring up your shield. It can be helpful and sometimes is required to defeat certain enemies. I thought the controls were solid and pretty simple.
Replay Value - 8/10
As I said before, there are plenty of different mini-games. There are also side quests, such as defeating these golden spiders, selling masks to certain people, collecting heart pieces to give you more energy, learning magic, and obtaining a powerful weapon. There is plenty of stuff to do, even when you're not progressing through the story.
Ocarina of Time is probably the second easiest Zelda game (with Wind Waker being the easiest). Some complain that it is too easy. I didn't die many times on my first time through. However, solving certain puzzles or finding out where to go next can be difficult. The bosses can be hard, but they're mostly easy. The game is easy overall, but it is a challenge. Master Quest's puzzles are harder, but both games are mostly the same.
Overall - 10/10
This is a game that EVERY Nintendo 64 or Gamecube owner should have. If you like an Action or Adventure game, buy this. It's huge, innovative, brilliant, and fun. It has great graphics, great sound & music, a good story, top-notch gameplay, solid controls, and good replay value. The only thing bad about this game is the fact that Navi can get annoying sometimes, but you'll get past it. It's a long game, too, so don't expect to beat it in a weekend. I would suggest this game to anyone. It combines the best things from past Zeldas with a 3D world. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time should not be missed!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/08/04
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