Platform: Original: Nintendo 64, Remake: 3DS
Play Time: 25 hours and 5 minutes
Where am I? I finished the entire game with one hundred percent of the items, including all one hundred Gold Skulltulas and twenty heart containers. As I always like to say, consider this another Zelda mastered.
Gameplay advancements: The core gameplay doesn’t change much when Link turns into an adult. Everything gets slightly more complex though. Dungeons now feature locked doors, weapons are used far more often and overall the enemies are tougher. Oh and let’s not forget how Link travels around Hyrule Field, via his trusty steed Epona. That element surely moved the series forward because at that point in time Link used his trusty feet to get where he needed to go in all the previous games. Today the experience of galloping out onto Hyrule Field remains a key moment in gaming history.
There is one other enhancement I didn’t mention earlier and for a very specific reason. What am I talking about? The gyroscope and how it’s used for improved aiming. Some will argue that analog nub is better, and if they believe that, power to them. I find the ability to move the system to aim about a hundred times more accurate than it ever was in the original version. Case in point, acquiring the biggest quiver. In Gerudo valley there’s a targeting range where you have to hit a bunch of pots and targets in order to score a certain amount of points. On the N64 it took me ages before I could get the 1,500 points needed for the quiver. This time around, thanks to the improved aiming the gyroscope offers, I was able to do it in only three tries. It does throw off the 3D effect, but it’s well worth the improved aiming.
Ahmed already discussed the infamous Water Temple, and to be perfectly honest I never understood all the confusion. I made it through the whole temple in about forty minutes or so. I remember having a bit of trouble in the original version with the back and forth, but even then I wasn’t stuck there for hours. The new dungeon hasn’t been changed at all, except for little color paint that shows you where the different water level panels are located. I’d hardly consider that a restructured dungeon as I originally had thought Nintendo was going to do.
The biggest gameplay advancement added to the second half of the game is traveling between the two time periods. Originally this aspect was supposed to be significantly deeper than it turned out. Using the N64DD add-on players were supposed to be able to cut down a tree in the past and then it would never appear in the future or make a slice into a sign in the past and it would remain seven years later. Sadly none of these elements made it in the final game, having been completely scrapped when the title was set for the N64 alone. As such time travel plays almost exactly as the realm travel between the Dark World and Light in A Link to the Past. There were a couple of instances where Link could make a change in the past to alter the future, but these were all scripted events. In the end it didn’t matter at all as time travel proved to be just as exciting as everyone had hoped for.
Ocarina of Time was the first 3D Zelda and by today’s standards it does show. The dungeons aren’t overly complex, and for the most part Link is forced to use his weapons on a semi-regular basis. That said there are those that are ignored almost completely. I’m looking at you Bombchu. Magic is another element that was slightly underused with Din’s Fire being the exception. The other two spells were useful if players took the time to use them, but from talking with most gamers over the years, I’m not alone in saying Din’s Fire was the one magic spell you couldn’t do without.
There’s not much else I can say except that Ocarina of Time is the game that set the standard for what 3D action adventure games should be like. The dungeons are varied, exploration is rewarded and the battles are epic. To this very day OoT is copied, but there’s nothing like going back and playing through the one that set the bar so very high.
Let’s talk weapons: The main weapons Link receives as an adult include the Hookshot, Longshot, the Fairy Bow, the two tunics, Megaton Hammer, Iron Boots, Hover Boots, Fire, Ice and Light Arrows, Lens of Truth, and the Mirror Shield. There’s nothing wrong with any of these items whatsoever, however I do have something to say about not being able to use the boomerang as an adult…why? I never quite understood why Nintendo didn’t allow adult Link access to the boomerang. Sure he had the Hookshot, but that’s not the same as a cool-looking boomerang. The fact is you’re only the child for such a short time and missing out on a wicked weapon like that for the almost the entire game is a shame. Oh well, what can you do, that’s why there’s time travel I suppose.
One of the most often ignored items on this list is the Lens of Truth, but I think it happens to be one of the greatest items because of the nostalgia factor. For anyone who played the original Legend of Zelda on the NES, you simply can’t forget the fake walls. I remember it used to take me months to complete some of the later dungeons because of those damn fake walls. You’d have to literally walk Link across every wall just in case one of them was fake. Oh and don’t forget about the Wallmasters coming after you, which was always fun. With the Lens of Truth Nintendo was able to add this element back into the game, but make it much more enjoyable. Being able to actually see the holes in the walls is great, but for players like me, it’s still an experience just messing around and remembering which walls were fake and which were real.
At the end of the game I’d say the bow and arrows and hookshot were used more so than any other weapon in the game. The rest of his armory was useful and surprisingly most items were used quite frequently in the adventure, with the exception of only a few items. Like A Link to the Past before it, Ocarina of Time manages to have one of the best balances of weapons and items in the series.
Plot Points: You’d think I’d have tons to say here considering my last update only had Link becoming an adult, but surprisingly much of the rest of the game simply pertains to Link finding and rescuing the five remaining sages.
The first sage in the Forest Temple is revealed to be none other than Saria, which we all saw coming a mile away. She says now she’ll always be able to help you. It’s a nice touching moment, but story-wise doesn’t reveal much. After the temple is completed Link meets the Deku Tree Sprout, which pops up and scares him in a hilarious little scene. The sprout reveals the biggest news of the entire game, up until this point. It turns out years ago a woman escaped a gristly war and entered the forest. She was gravely injured. The great Deku Tree promised the woman he would care for her child, as the woman passed on. This explains why Link never had a fairy to begin with and why he ages at all. The Kokiri remain as children forever. That’s right, Link is not Kokiri, he’s a Hylian. Dun, dun DUN!
After completing each of the remaining dungeons Link has a brief chat with Sheik, that mysterious person we were introduced to in the Temple of Time. For some reason Link can never get too close to him/her without Sheik disappearing. Bizarre.
The next temple Link headed out to was the Fire Temple. Upon completing it, the Sage of Fire turned out to be Darunia. Surprise, surprise. Looks like anyone that had any sort of contact with Link as a child is actually a sage. Darunia thanks Link for saving his people from the rock-eating dragon on Death Mountain.
Link then heads for the Zora’s Domain, just as he did when he was a child. After completing the Water Temple we learn that Princess Ruto is the Sage of Water and thanks Link for saving her.
After the Water Temple, Link heads to the Shadow Temple and rescues Impa, who just as you guessed is the Sage of Shadow. How mysterious. She does as the rest, and adds her power to yours via a shiny medallion.
Finally Link heads out to Gerudo village and has a wonderful time there tackling the Spirit Temple. Along the way he meets up with someone named Nabooru who eventually is revealed to be the Sage of Spirit. She’s an important character in that she’s the leader of the tribe, under only Ganondorf. Apparently one Gerudo male is born every hundred years and he’s destined to lead the Gerudo people. Nabooru dislikes Ganondorf and wants to stop his evil ways. What better way of doing that than joining Link. Oh and being a sage is also pretty useful.
At this point Rauru tells Link to head back to the Temple of Time to meet someone he has been searching for since he became an adult. As Link enters the Temple who should appear but Sheik. Sheik is reveals that she’s Princess Zelda. She also tells Link some interesting information. According to her when Ganondorf entered the Sacred Realm and touched the Triforce it shattered. The person who touches it has to have equal parts of power, wisdom and courage. Since Ganondorf only cares for power, that portion of the Triforce stayed with him with wisdom going to Zelda and courage going to Link. Ganondorf then shows up, steals Princess Zelda and reveals he has to capture all three people that have the Triforce parts in order to control it all. Now he has two portions of the Triforce. Link then heads out for Ganon’s Castle to finally put an end to all this madness.
This final portion of the game is perhaps the most exciting. Link faces off against Ganondorf, beats him and then Ganondorf starts to bring down the entire castle with Link and Zelda inside. They make their way outside and just when you think all is good, bam Ganondorf transforms himself into Ganon and the final battle begins. This is a great battle with fire all around Ganon and Link. Ganon flings the Master Sword away and Link has to tackle the monster with his other weapons. Eventually Link gets the Master Sword back and ends Ganon by shoving the Master Sword right into his face. Classic stuff. After that the Sages come in and seal Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm. He floats away saying that he will return and if he can’t have his revenge on Link and Zelda, he’ll take it out on their descendants.
Zelda then takes back the Ocarina of Time and sends Link back to his time, saying that she never meant to trap Link for seven years. After he disappears the credits roll where we see everyone is happy and celebrating. Finally we see child Link place the Master Sword back into the Pedestal of Time before walking off. Navi leaves Link and Link makes his way back to Hyrule Castle to speak with the young Princess Zelda, apparently informing her of what Ganondorf’s plan was, thereby altering time and making everything you just did moot. Or…was it?
Final thoughts: Normally I’d add how we could improve upon Ocarina of Time, but I’ve already mentioned what the 3DS remake improved and what it neglected. Instead I simply want to say that Ocarina of Time is a game that changed so much in the industry it’s hard to ignore. By today’s standards there are a lot of elements that are a bit outdated, but there’s no question OoT’s magic is just as strong today as it ever was. It’s also one of the only 3D games in the series that rewards heavy exploration and demands it. The others seem to add exploration as a secondary thought, which is somewhat sad because exploring a vast world is so enjoyable.
I really hope Grezzo is given the opportunity to tackle Majora’s Mask next because that’s one Zelda that I haven’t completed as often as this one. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back shortly with my first chapter dealing with Phantom Hourglass.
To locate all installments in this series: http://www.projectcoe.com/category/hands-on/legendary-journey