The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Reader Retroview

Link is Back in 3D!

By: Stewart Bishop

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 6
   Plot 2
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

15-30 Hours


Title Screen

   One of the most popular games on the Nintendo 64, Ocarina of Time was quite possibly the most highly anticipated game ever to be released for the system. Even before the release of the Nintendo 64, 'Zelda 64' was always seen as a forthcoming release. It was a painful 3 years, but Ocarina of Time had finally delivered, but did it live up to the hype? Yes...and no.

   Ocarina of Time is more of an Action-RPG than a pure-bred RPG. You move across a 3D environment, in which enemies can pop up and you butcher them down as you deem necessary. The battles are based on a sort of targetting system, where Link can 'lock on' or focus on one particular target at a time. Doing this shifts Link's view onto the opponent. From here, you can decide on how you'd like to fight it. You can jump from side to side, leap forward or flip backwards in an effort to dodge attacks, while different combinations of directions and the B button lets you hack and slash the opponent.

   As in previous Zelda games, you also have secondary 'tools' which you can use, which differ in use. Some are used to aid in transportation around the huge world, some can be used to fight opponents and there are even magic spells. The interface is simple and easy to learn and become accustomed to. To a certain degree, you can equip what Link uses. You can select the weapon, shield and particular tunic, but that's about all. Though I'll say that I use the Blue Tunic even when I don't have to go underwater. It's all about style.

This World is HGUE
This World is HUGE  

   Speaking of style, Ocarina of Time's music style is not so hot. The non-CD quality really hinders the N64's musical performance, but not only that, the tunes are quite bland and nothing exciting. Old school Zelda diehards will also be shocked to learn that the main Zelda Overworld theme is GONE. It's not there. It's not anywhere. You'll hear tidbits of it in the overworld theme, but it just isn't the same. The sound effects are pretty good, however, from Link's screams to Navi's little "Hey! Look! Listen!"

   The plot also isn't very hot. It's very predictable and doesn't really have much of a compelling grip. Before writing this, I had to think for a long while just to remember exactly what the plot was. I'll tell you one thing, though, there are other RPGs with better "Heros of Time," like Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. The characters aren't very exciting and you can't really get attached to any, because they don't hang around Link very often. The only person that hangs around Link is Navi, and she's restricted to her "Hey!" "Look!" and "Listen!" Terrible plot, terrible characters and terrible character development accompanies this title, so don't expect a story of epic proportions.

   Fortunately, the translation is excellent. Except for probably the little mishap on the back of the box (look for it yourselves), it was very nicely translated. Also, being highly anticipated as it was, everyone that owned an N64 had to get their grubby hands on it, so it was very well localized and quickly became a best seller.

   The overall replay value is pretty good. Several optional things to do, like the Skulltulas, Fishing, Biggoron's Sword and searching for hearts and jars will keep the player at the game for a good while after beating it. After all of this is done, though, playing the game again becomes somewhat of a chore. The puzzles aren't all that puzzling anymore, and you don't really relive anything. The only reason I play RPGs again is usually to relive the story and plot, which frankly, Ocarina of Time has none. This was quite evident to me when I finally got a copy of a gold cartridge AFTER I had perfected my gray one...As I speak, that same gold cartridge is gathering dust; it's been played for probably 2 hours total, maybe even less. You'll have more fun playing the mini-games on your completed save rather than starting a new one.

The Master Sword Makes a Comeback
The Master Sword Makes a Comeback  

   Ocarina of Time's visuals are good, but nothing that really pushes the limits of the N64. It's interesting how Nintendo actually decided to blur textures to hide the pixelation...Ah well, you can hardly notice it. The lighting effects are very good; just stare at the Mirror Shield for a while and you'll see what I mean. Had this been released at the launch of the Nintendo 64, the graphics would have been revolutionary like Mario 64's, but alas, it came too late and delivered too little..

Of course, Ocarina of Time is the best RPG on the Nintendo 64, but to really enjoy it, you must not treat it as an RPG, but instead, treat it as an action/adventure game. Doing so lowers the expectations for a real plot, which RPGs are usually well-known for, and the experience may become more enjoyable. For all of you Zelda die-hards, though, you know this game's for you.

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