A Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time - Review

The More Things Change...

By: Red Raven

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 3
   Plot 3
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

30-40 hours

not average!

up dere!

   When Zelda: Ocarina of Time was finally released in November of '98, there was a collective sigh of relief. The gaming community was finally happy after waiting over two years for the next Zelda; Nintendo was finally happy because they released their system's killer app. Some might say the only reason for the hype was because the 'Big N' had been teasing the N64 owners for way too long. Others insist the hype was because this game was actually that good. The verdict: probably both.

   The one thing you can say for sure about the Zelda series is that they are consistent. You assume the role of Link once again as he ventures forth to save Princess Zelda from the evil Gannon. You meet some friends and participate in some side-quests before meeting up with your old nemesis, but it's pretty identical story-wise to Zelda: A Link to the Past. The only twist is the fact that using the Master Sword,

Lookie that!
Hyrule has never looked better  
you can jump between the present (young Link) and the future (adult Link). This adds a nice wrinkle to the plot, but ends up essentially the same.

   The Zelda series has never been about the story anyway; it's been about the gameplay. Thankfully this Zelda continues the tradition into the third dimension with the addition of great idea: Z targeting. With the simply push of the Z button your fairy friend Navi will lock you onto a target to attack. While this is activated you can jump sideways, slash with your sword, or use a magic spell all without worry about your position. This function makes fighting Gannon's minions a whole lot easier, and safer for would-be adventurers.

   Adventuring is definitely a must in the expansive world of Hyrule. Going to and from location now means you'll be walking across all sorts of large expanses of grass, mountain craters, lakes, Castle commons, ghost ships, and more. It is quite easy to become lost in the beauty of the countryside, on foot or on the back of your horse Epona. This Zelda has the absolute best graphics seen on the N64 without the 4MB RAM expander. The best part is there is absolutely no pop-up, an amazing feat considering the quality of the visuals. While wondering the serene landscape, it would be good to watch as the sun rises and sets during the game. The effects of a more or less real-time day system means that things during the day will be different at night.

afeart of lightnin
"It was a dark and stormy night..."  
Indeed, the villagers eventually go to their houses, Hyrule Castle closes its drawbridge, and monsters start to appear at dusk. Not to worry, a quick tune from the Ocarina of Time can change night into day or vise versa, and can be used for other such means.

   The music for the game is decent considering the primitive sound hardware available on the N64. However this handicap translates into no memorable themes, and the Overworld song is mysteriously missing from this Zelda title. The sound effects somewhat make up for the lackluster music; from the parry of two swords to the sweet music of the Ocarina, the Zelda world is full of such sounds.

   Despite the introduction of the third dimension and the smart Z targeting, this game is not original in any form of the word. In fact, it is essentially the same as all the other Zelda games that have came before it. If you've played one game then you have played them all. That's not to say that it is not fun, it is just that the concepts and items and story are all very similar.

   The game is easy enough with only a few battles and a few puzzles that might take longer than the rest. Depending on how long you spend appreciating the scenery, this bad boy could take about 30-40 hours.

you can't say naughty things!
Gannon looks considerably more badaft in 3D  
Not bad for a game that isn't technically an RPG at all. Replaying isn't out of the question either considering how fun it is just to look around at Nintendo's handiwork.

   This is one of those rare occasions where a game has more or less lived up to the monumental hype surrounding it. Nintendo has proven once again that it can produce stellar titles on any platform they try. With awesome visuals and great gameplay, this is one game that will make you proud to own a N64. It was worth the wait.

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