Guest Review – Ocarina of Time

This is a special post, as it’s the first of Should I Buy’s new writer Neil. He’s starting his own personal opinion blog over at: too, so go check him out. Also, it’s a celebration of the rerelease of one of the medium’s true classics. Feel free to hunt down the original N64 cartridge online or in stores, but here I’m just gonna list the price for the new 3DS release and the Wind Waker/Ocarina of Time Master Quest bundle for the Gamecube. (Note: the Master Quest version is slightly harder.)

Hey Listen!

Yes, that’s right; it’s time for a review of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. If you haven’t heard of this game then where have you been for the past, what, thirteen years? Scratch that, if you’ve not heard of the LoZ series you’ve definitely been living under some kind of rock since about 1986.

For those of you who don’t know, the Legend of Zelda is a long running staple of the Nintendo juggernaut. Each game in the series follows the same basic formula: You play as a brave youngster by the name of Link, the princess Zelda is kidnapped by the evil thief/sorcerer Gannondorf (also known as Ganon in some titles). As Link you must travel across the land of Hyrule in search of the Master Sword, which is the only weapon capable of killing Gannondorf. Are with me so far? Complex stuff, I know.

Now, while Ocarina of Time follows this basic pattern, it’s such a milestone game not just for Legend of Zelda, but the entire medium for a number of reasons. This title was the first in the series to go 3D, giving the game designers wider freedom with the dungeons and puzzles which made the series so popular. It also blended mechanic and plot in ways games had struggled to before and delivering a cinematic experience unlike pretty much anything seen before.

The titular Ocarina of Time is a magical artifact you gain that allows you to play a number of songs with differing effects. Time also plays another role as you’re required to jump between your childhood and seven years in the future. These two things are key to developing the storyline, as Link travels between his past and future selves. This adds more depth to the narrative and offers up two subtly different Links to play as. You can see the juxtaposition between the two worlds, the blissful ignorance of the past and the dystopian struggle of the future.

One of the key aspects of gameplay that is new to this incarnation is the lock on system. With 3D environments giving enemies more room to manoeuvre the Z-targeting system adds a new dynamic to the gameplay that wasn’t in gaming before, though it seems pretty standard now. It makes combat much more fluid and introduces a fairer learning curve. Some enemies can only be defeated using certain tactics or weapons for example, and the dungeon bosses are the best example of this. Challenging foes that force you to rely on a different gameplay technique.

The game contains ten dungeons, spread across the seven in-game years. These consist of classic Zelda puzzle solving as well as introducing newer problems which utilise the 3D aspect of the game. Like the crazy ceiling-walking in the water temple. The old formula is still in use, Link must find a map, compass and boss room key in every dungeon before he can move on.

While this can be repetitive at times, the differences between the dungeons can be refreshing (and somewhat frustrating at times, if you’re familiar with OoT’s Water Temple, you’ll know what I mean). Each dungeon culminates with a boss fight. Each weak to the special item you gained in that dungeon, handy that

As well as the dungeons, side quests and mini games abound in this game. Whether it is trading items with people for a powerful sword, or shooting galleries for quiver upgrades, there are hours of content to distract you from your main quest.

That’s the thing about this game, whenever you play it through you get a sense of freedom. You could rush through all the temples to the final confrontation, not touching the sides on the way. Or you can take a more nuanced approach, finding everything the land of Hyrule has to offer, before continuing with your larger quest.

At any rate Ocarina of Time, in one form or another, is something every gamer should have under his or her belt.

Price: £30 – CEX (Nintendo 3DS)
£14 – CEX (Gamecube)
1000 Wii Points – Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console


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