The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time - Review

A Musical Adventure

By: Jake Alley

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

10-40 hours


The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

   Shigeru Miyamoto has a gift. While other developers can create wonderful games, he has repeatedly created and refined new genres. For this reason, any title he has a hand in is eagerly anticipated by the masses. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is one such title which doesn't disappoint.

   Like most games in the series, The Ocarina of Time's story is a remake of the original's. This time around, the story picks up several years earlier than usual, when Ganondorf (or Ganon) is just getting started on his reign of terror and Link is a small child. Later it becomes possible to travel seven years into the future with the aid of the Master Sword and the titular ocarina. However, while the story has some memorable moments and plot twists, it still doesn't measure up to most full-blooded RPGs.

Shrine of the Sword  

   As the title would suggest, ocarinas play a major role in the game's plot. At various junctures, Link must pull out his simple woodwind and play. Rather than make this into a simple plot device, the developers chose to make this a part of the game. When playing, nearly every bit of the controller can be used to play. While A and the four camera buttons generate the five basic notes which comprise all the songs with special functions, the joystick and other buttons generate octave shifts, allowing just about anything to be played. The game even features a way to record such songs. Songs played on the ocarina can be used to change the weather, open doors, and even teleport around the game's vast world. The music of the game itself is quite impressive and varied as well. In fact, the only blemish on the game's sound is the fairy which always flies around Link's head, warning him to "Listen!" and "Watch out!" in an annoying manner.

   Graphically, The Ocarina of Time is impressive in technical terms if not detail. While other games of it's variety feature small areas or walls of fog to hide limitations of graphical power, The Ocarina of Time contains vast expanses of wilderness with an amazing visual range. Lakes which take minutes to swim across can be viewed from shore to shore. Birds can be seen even when they are but mere specks on the horizon. While one would expect low poly counts because of this, every being in the game is actually quite well rendered, if a tad angular at times.

Exploring on horseback  

   All in all, The Ocarina of Time is a game of exploration. The rich 3D world holds literally hundreds of secrets to be discovered. When exploring on foot grows tiresome, Link even has a horse to ride all over the game's expansive terrain. Even after completing the game, players can keep exploring and playing mini-games for weeks before the game grows dull.

   Simply put, The Ocarina of Time is the best reason to own a Nintendo 64. With a vast world to explore, a very innovative and intuitive interface, and the special charm Miyamoto brings to his games, the end result is an astoundingly fun game. Bundle that with a solid story, and a translation much better that "Dodongo dislikes smoke," and you have an instant classic.

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