Review by EonSchism

Reviewed: 04/20/03 | Updated: 04/20/03

One of Nintendo’s greatest achievements, for FREE!

Being that this is a free pre-order only special, and that pretty much everyone wants the Wind Waker, there is absolutely no reason for any Gamecube owner not to pick this one up, its FREE! Considered by many to be Nintendo’s great achievement, this game is an absolute joy to play. If for some reason you missed out on this game on the N64, you definitely need to check this one out. This game was awarded game of 1998, as well as countless other awards. At the time of its release, it was absolutely revolutionary. Many people complained about the new 3D perspective, proclaiming it would never work (such as 1st Person Metroid Prime and the new cel-shading in Wind Waker). But they couldn’t have been more wrong. The end result of years in development was N64’s best game, and one of the greatest games ever created. This review may be somewhat pointless, seeing as the game isn’t even purchasable, but to those curious, read on to see how good Ocarina of Time and the awaited Master Quest are on the Nintendo Gamecube

*Presentation: 8
*Graphics: 4
*Sound: 7
*Gameplay: 10
*Fun: 10
*Multi-Player: -
*Replay: 7
*Overall: 9 (not an average)

-= Presentation: 8 =-
The bonus disk comes in a Gamecube case, complete with instructions. It basically looks like a normal game, minus the top Gamecube tag normally put on game covers. Upon booting up, you’ll be given 3 choices: Ocarina of Time, Master Quest, or preview videos. The preview videos are of released or soon to be released games, including Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, F-Zero, and others. You can choose between the 2 games right off the bat. Most will probably go with the remixed Master Quest, but you do have the opportunity to replay the original version. The menu in the game now looks slightly pixilated, but the general calm and cool mood of the opener is still present. There is no opening movie, per say, but the intro cut scene is decent. The storyline involves a young boy of the forest, who is the chosen Hero of Time. In the beginning he is given a helper fairy named Navi. He is sent off to collect the 3 stones so that he can open the gate of time, to stop the world from the games villain, Ganondorf. The story goes through a roller coaster of events eventually ending with one of the greatest endings you could experience in a video game.
-Menus are decent, and include great bonus preview videos. The classic menus look a bit outdated. The story is of epic proportions, and will always be: 8/10.

-= Graphics: 4 =-
Perhaps it’s unfair to score this game against other current Gamecube games, but the outdated graphics have little affect on the end overall score. Back in 1998, this game was considered ahead of its time. It was an absolute shock to see a game so beautiful. It’s now 2003, and in as little as 5 years, these look horribly outdated. Although it still holds up fairly well, it’s no longer a sight to behold.

The textures are probably the most noticeable shortcoming. They are as blurry as could be. The fact that the game runs in hi-resolution now further exploits the poor textures. Polygons are minimal. The characters in game have squares for hands and feet, and everything else about them is pointy. The worlds all have minimal pop-up. You can literally see Death Mountain from miles away. The animation still looks as fluid and great as ever. The particle effects and real-time lighting are impressive for a game of this era, and still hold up.

The charming graphical style within this game is what keeps the game still enjoyable to look at. Everything has a cartoonish look to it, yet it never strays too far from realism. The game takes place during some type of pre-medieval fantasy time. The characters are all distinguished and have their own look. The different locales are imaginative and range from complete opposites in just 10 minutes of travel. The evil areas truly look and feel evil as well.
The great graphical style still holds up to this day, but it’s still simply a hi-res version of the N64 classic: 4/10. .

-= Sound: 7 =-
Seeing as this game was released for the musically challenged N64, one cannot expect too much. The music, while wonderfully written, is all completely in low quality midi. The music is so well written; you’ll often be humming along with the tunes in while playing. One disappointment, though, is the lack of the over world theme featured in many other previous Zelda’s, such a Link to the Past. The sound effects still fare well against current GCN powerhouse games. Everything from footsteps, to Link’s grunts and screams, to the different sounds of his sword hitting various objects are well done.
-A great midi score, and diverse sound effects: 7/10. .

-= Gameplay: 10 =-
This is the meat of the game. Ocarina of Time plays so incredibly well, you’ll never want to put it down. From the time you first boot the game up, until the final cut scene, you will be enveloped in Link’s world. Everything from the exploration, to the interaction, to the battle system is perfect. This is the classic style Zelda; everything takes place in Hyrule, and your mission is to save the world along with Zelda. The controls in game are very simple. You control Link with the main control stick. L and R swivel the camera view, but the camera pans back behind you as soon as you move.

Exploration and discovery play a huge role. You won’t be able to reach one area, without first completing an area before it. While it is fairly linear, they give you the feeling of complete freedom. Towards the end of the game you will be able to go wherever you like, and complete all the side quests/collect all items. In the game you’ll explore a deep forest, a volcanic mountain, and deep lake, a vast desert, and many more diverse locations. The people within each region are also completely different. You’ll meet many different races during your journey; including Hylians, Fairy People, Gorons, and Zoras.

Interaction with other characters in game is important to your progression and the optional upgrades to weapons and inventory. Going on the massive Biggoron side quest will reward you greatly. And helping out the cursed family by finding all of the Gold Skulltulas has many wonderful rewards. Along your journey you’ll meet more than 100 distinctive inhabitants of Hyrule, from shopkeepers to ancient Shiekah to desert thieves. You’ll also get to enjoy tons of mini-games that are incredibly well made and deep; such as fishing, archery, horse racing, and the bombchu game. There is plenty to do within Hyrule to keep you busy for hours upon hours.

The battle system, for it’s time, is revolutionary. It involves a Z-targeting systems (but for Gamecube its now L-Targeting) with allows Link to lock on to one enemy at a time. The system works so that link is always facing the enemy, allowing the player to sidestep or move back and forth. There are several moves that can be executed, such as a jumping slash or a spin move, among others. Battling bosses is often a little different. The L-targeting will then focus on a weak point for you to shoot or slash at. It controls fairly easily, but may take a while to get the hang of.
-Exploration and interaction is the mainstay of the Zelda, and its all executed flawlessly for the first time in 3D. There is so much to do, it will take over 25 hours to complete the game, side-quests and all: 10/10. .

-= Fun: 10 =-
Lengthy games such as this one usually have periods of complete staleness, parts where you literally feel as if it’s a chore to get through in order to move on to the next, hopefully exciting, part of the game. Nothing such as this occurs in Ocarina of Time. You constantly have tons to do, and none of it is boring. You’ll never go through long periods of not knowing what to do. Everything in this game is executed to so well, that the only frustrating sections are when in dungeons, and not knowing exactly how to solve a certain puzzle. The battle system is so simple its fun, and battling huge enemies gives you a rush. You actually will feel like the Hero of Time. The exploration in game gives you something to look forward to. If you played the Ocarina of Time on N64, then the Master Quest will give you some new thrills with the newly designed dungeons. Everything is executed so well, there is never a dull moment.
-The feeling of being a legendary hero, exploring through dangerous dungeons and defeating huge enemies is indescribable: 10/10. .

-= Multi-Player: - =-
-No multi-player: -/10 .

-= Replay: 7 =-
While you may not want to completely restart the game after you have beaten it, there is still plenty to do after you have. Quests such as the Biggoron Sword, Golden Skulltulas, and collecting all hearts will take you hours upon hours. Many people in fact do restart the entire game, but usually only a hardcore fan would go as far as to complete the entire game all over again.
-Completing all side-quests and games will keep you playing for a long, long time: 7/10. .

-= Overall: 9 =-
This game deserves every bit of acclaim and recognition it as acquired. Anyone who considers himself an avid gamer should have at least played through this game once. If you missed out on this game for the N64 for some reason, this is your chance to experience it, in hi-res with minor improvements. It’s rare that a game actually makes you feel like you are involved in something important and urgent, but Ocarina of Time succeeds. The plot is deep and filled with surprises, leaving you eager to find out what happens next. Anyone ages 10 to 100 can enjoy this masterpiece. Although this game won’t impress you visually, everything else in it will. The only problem you may have with this game is the sometimes-difficult camera. If you still don’t own this game, try and get a hold of it soon, as quantities are limited to fewer than 1 million copies.
-Nintendo’s classic returns with the same great story, gameplay, control, and fun; only now with remixed dungeons. For the low price of nothing go and pick up your copy while you still can: 9/10. .

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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