The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time

The box art for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (for the N64)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is another title in the Zelda series, the first title ever for the Nintendo 64 and therefore the first to feature 3D graphics. The game follows Link (as usual) who ends up meeting Zelda, a young princess of Hyrule. When he does, he learns of her concern about the King's growing trust in Ganondorf, the leader of the Gerudo and a very deceitful warrior. It ends up being that Link must travel through three realms: Forest, Water, and Fire, in order to recover three jewels. Then he has to use the Ocarina of Time (now you're starting to get it, right?) to open the Door of Time in the Temple of Time (boy, how important is time?) and reach the Master Sword. However, once he obtains all three jewels and returns to Hyrule Castle, Zelda and her caretaker Impa are being chased by Ganondorf, who, in a cutscene (where he looks really stinking scary) knocks out Link and pursues them further, believing that Link is no real threat. However, Ganon did not notice that Zelda threw the Ocarina of Time into the moat before Ganon arrived, and Link was indeed able to open the door and retrieve the sword. However, he ended up in a state of sleep, and although he woke up 7 years older (able to use the sword and Hylian Shield), Ganon used the jewels and ocarina to make himself King of Evil (really? He's actually calling himself evil now?) and has dominated all of Hyrule. However, Link receives help from Sheik and Rauru, the Light Mage, who send him on a quest to receive power from all the Mages so as to be able to face Ganon and save the land.

You may have been surprised to see that my listing of the game is for the Nintendo 64. Actually, I myself have a functioning N64 and a friend of mine happened to find an old copy for his, so he brought it to my house and we played through part of it (getting to about midway through the Forest Temple).

The game is actually pretty good. At the time, I remember being astonished at how good the graphics were in comparison to Twilight Princess, as that was really not too far away from the N64 titles. This was a definite revolution in Zelda games, as it established not only a 3D formatting but also a whole new style of gameplay that defined an era which we are currently living.

If you've played Twilight Princess or Majora's Mask, then you've experienced a style of gameplay similar to this one. This one introduced the jump attack, although I think it's missing the boomerang (which disappoints me). However, this was the first game (as far as I know) to feature the Clawshot, so in the end it's an improvement. The enemies were also a great deal more engaging, as they had far more planes to move on, meaning you had to integrate advanced tactics and strategy compared to the previous titles.

The game is a nice challenge with the interesting layout of the dungeons, but this is sort of where a complaint comes in. As you went along, the dungeons got longer and harder to a ridiculous degree. This is the big reason why we stopped playing like, halfway through the Forest Temple; it was incredibly difficult and it felt like it never ended. You have to go through temples like this about 9 times or so, so it's a big investment if you're looking to finish this.

I have one more good opinion / complaint to mention. I really enjoyed navigating this vast overworld. Going through the water world, or the Hyrule Field (especially), or through the Goron caves was really enjoyable, and made you feel like you were on an adventure. However, I wasn't partial to the way they kind of left you to your own resources to find out where to go. I know, I know, you might be sick of hearing me complain about having to explore around in a Zelda game, but here's my response: you have to remember that there are a wide variety of side quests and enemies in the newer games. This means you can go one of three ways: 1) You could possibly figure your way onto the right track; 2) you could find a quest that looks important but leads to a relative dead-end (not where you want to go) or, 3) you could eventually die from fighting all the wandering enemies. After too much time of not finding the right path, you may get demoralized if you just...can' do.

Still, I admit I may be being a little overly critical; in the end, I really enjoyed watching and playing Ocarina of Time, not only because it reminded me of the other Zelda titles that I was used to playing, but also because of the new and exciting environments, challenges, interactions, and the value of this kind of gameplay if you're doing it with someone else who's just as big a fan of the series as you are.

I'd say this is a buy under certain conditions: unless you're like me and can play the game for no charge after having it turn up somehow, you'll either have to buy it for 1000 points (and have a Classic and/or Gamecube Controller) to play on the VC, or buy the new version for the Nintendo 3DS, in which case you won't much be able to play with anyone else. If you feel confident in your research that you think the game would be good, or that you want a classic adventure game to keep you occupied for a long time, you should definitely get this game. However, if you're not a fan of big, open world type games, or if you're usually going to play alone and feel like you can't tackle the game without a partner, I suggest skipping it.