• The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time


  • Action-Adventure


  • Nintendo


  • Nintendo

Release Date:

  • November 1998


  • Windows

Box Art Credit:

  • Wikipedia

Systems Used:

  • Wii (Virtual Console)


On Wikipedia:

There's a certain problem with this game and reviews, one that could be separated into two categories: one group that thinks it's the best game of all time (certainly for Nintendo systems), and one group that think it's just hype (see also: Final Fantasy VII). I'm tempted to say the latter, but that may be because I'm a jaded gamer that played this many years too late, and too slow (2011?-end of summer 2013).

We all know that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a pretty old game, but it has not aged poorly (that cannot be said for most N64 games) and is seen as one of the best video games of the year, of the generation, of the N64, or ever. First announced as Zelda 64 in 1997, the game re-invented the Zelda mythos by featuring where it all began, with Link, Princess Zelda, Ganondorf, the Triforce, as well as continuing to blaze trails in 3D gaming, including targeting (Mario had already kicked off things with a now-standard camera system), and introducing elements common to Zelda games (Gorons, for instance).

You don't get Epona until about a third way in, but man is it fun. (source: Zelda Wiki)

One of the things that stuck with me and made Ocarina of Time less accessible to me (at least initially) was because of the 3D. I breezed through almost every Zelda on handhelds: Link's Awakening, the Oracle series, Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, Link to the Past, and most recently, Spirit Tracks, because it's basically move, slash with the button, assign items, move at a slow pace. With Ocarina of Time, though, it was more difficult: roll! Z-target! aim! wander aimlessly around the countryside! Plus, the fact that I didn't have a console for many years had something to do with that, but still. I told myself that I would beat Ocarina of Time someday, and in August 2013, I finally beat it.

My biggest regret--besides not being of age in 1998 and having one of the biggest plot twists be a genuine surprise--is not having Ura Zelda released at all. It's not the same thing as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest, which was a remixed version of OOT with new dungeons. Ura Zelda was supposed to be a full expansion pack to the game (last year a fan game that tried to "recreate" it with original concepts was canned) on the N64DD.

Despite this, the creators of Zelda, Aouma and Miyamoto, have both gone on record saying MQ IS Ura Zelda, which is a terrible lie or a subtle reveal that development on UZ had been going terribly (Mother 3 on the N64 had been plagued with delays as well), but in terms of UZ, the groundwork had been already laid, and there's some intriguing screenshots at Unseen64, as well as some other cool stuff: like how you could use the Game Boy Camera, import that to the N64DD, and use the mask in-game. Why they didn't utilize that in the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D re-release I'll never know except for the fact that Nintendo has fingers of gold and people will buy it anyway (likewise, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD never put back in the dungeons axed in favor of the "Triforce Pieces" quest).

If I haven't been clear, I really do love this game and embrace it for all of its flaws. Sound and music are great, camera works well, and while it didn't enable the N64 to win the 5th-gen console war, it's a fine game none the less. I recommend you play it in case you haven't. Unfortunately, as N64 cartridges (especially ones like these) tend to keep their value on the used market, you could run out and buy a 3DS with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for a slightly altered play experience, get a Wii and buy it with the Virtual Console feature, or just get an emulator and rock out (you could alter that in all sorts of fun ways, like high resolution textures).

July 5 2012