Review by ThePenguin56

"What? You'd rather play a different game? Well, that makes one of you."

Everyone has heard of Ocarina of Time. It's easily one of the most recognizable games ever created, and easily one of the gaming world's most elite titles to most. Some claim that it achieved perfection upon its release some thirteen years ago now. While I do not agree that it's perfect, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the closest to perfect we've seen out of a video game.

Okay, so Ocarina of Time's plot isn't terribly original – some even go so far to say it's simply a rehash of A Link to The Past – but that aside, its storyline is still top-notch. Growing up in the humble village that is the Kokiri Forest, a young Link is called upon by the Deku Tree – guardian of the Kokiri children – to rid him of a lethal curse and eventually save the land of Hyrule. Plot twists are abundant; Ocarina of Time's general theme is one of the more emotionally-driven in the Zelda series. There's quite a bit of intrigue and mystery as well; you'll find yourself being caught off guard and at the end, many questions have yet to be answered.

While Ocarina of Time might lack the vast amount of side quests available in its sequel, Majora's Mask, the game play is still very enthralling and deep. With a vast array of items to collect, including multiple collection side quests required to acquire various item upgrades. Mini-games are also abundant; examples include shooting mini-games and a treasure chest mini-game designed to test your luck. Dungeons in the game are incredibly creative in design and require both careful logic and combat skill. A perfect example of this is the Forest Temple's twisted hallways; snagging the boss key at the end of the hallway requires you to really explore the area and exploit your mental abilities to think of how you could possibly open a chest that's attached to the wall. The difficulty of Ocarina of Time is often scrutinized for being lacking, but in my honest opinion the game's challenge is perfect. All twelve of the games dungeons are invigoratingly challenging, but this is not pushed to a ridiculous point. Overall, the game play is excellent, weighed down only by occasionally fiddly controls.

Ocarina of Time's graphics contain several minor flaws, including cardboard-like backgrounds and other strange-looking textures. However, they certainly improve upon those presented in Super Mario 64. Ocarina of Time's visual atmosphere is appropriately dark where the story takes negative twists, and color is vibrant and abundant in many of the game's cheerful and happy environments. Faces of Ocarina of Time's characters show beautifully executed expression; eyes widen, eyebrow angles change, mouths widen as shock, happiness or sadness is plastered across their faces. All in all, the game's graphics are solid for their time.

Ocarina of Time's soundtrack is one of the best ever made for a video game. Music is wildly catchy and recognizable, and portrays the atmosphere of the area flawlessly. A perfect example of this is the ambience of the music used in the Deku Tree, the game's first dungeon – the hollow, woody echoing melody you'd expect to hear when you're inside of a tree. Sound effects are equally flawless. Gasps are realistic and passionate, and, while Link's sword-swinging scream is aggravating to some, it seems to perfectly show his determination and strength as a swordsman. When it comes to sound, Ocarina of Time is top-notch, beaten by no other game that I've seen.

Dungeons in the latter half of the game can be completed in nearly any order. Side quests, while not terribly plentiful, are difficult and worthwhile. The story is lengthy. Perouse the GameFAQs boards and you'll see that many players are on their fourth or fifth playthrough of the game – an intriguing story and countless ways to beat the game – three-heart, no damage, speedy playthroughs – make this game very replayable. Once you beat the game you'll be itching to start a new file and do it again.

Buy this game, whether it's on the original Nintendo 64, the Wii's Virtual Console, or in 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. It'll improve your life vastly.

STORY: 8/10
SOUND: 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/08/11, Updated 08/05/11

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (US, 11/23/98)

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