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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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Reviewed by Yoshi-M When you hear the name "Nintendo", many people connect it with two games: Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda. The Zelda series has captured the imagination of gamers since 1986 when the first game graced the NES. People loved it, and continued the adventures of Link through the years. It spawned three official sequels and now, the long awaited fifth game of the series has arrived. It was three years in the making, and a lot of hype went behind it. Magazines and web sites say that Zelda is the best game ever. I don't bend to hype, and usually such hype means a game stinks. My friends, this game lives up to the hype, however, how much you enjoy it is up to you. And I'll explain what I mean later in the review. Ocarina of Time is set before any of the Zelda games. The game centers on a boy named Link (the same hero as in the current games. He lives in a forest villages inhabited by eleven like people called the Kokiri. Link is plagued by nightmares of a dark evil figure on a large horse you tears after a fleeing young girl. We then find out an evil is coming to take over the land of Hyrule, and only Link can stop it. You will guide Link through many adventures, from trading items to exploring dangerous dungeons. You will even travel forward in time to try and fix what evils have been done to the world. Link will interact with the many people that inhabit this world, and quite a world it is. The time truly changes from day to night, and as you stand on a hill in the glow of the morning sun, you will see Hyrule stretch out around you. Anything you see in the horizon, you can travel to. Link can perform a variety of moves using his sword and shield. With the help of his fairy Navi, you can lock on to targets by hitting the Z button. Link will then focus on one target and he will be able to perform other moves: jumping side to side, backflips, and more. Hyrule is a living world all its own. There is so much to do besides saving the world. You can sell items, go fishing, explore, play games, etc. There are also mini-quests you perform throughout the game as well, like lifting a curse on a family (I won't give away what the curse is). And things do change when you transport yourself to the future. Again, I won't give it away.

Graphics 5 out of 5

I must say, this has some of the best graphics I have ever seen, on par with Banjo-Kazooie. The colors are vibrant, the characters well animated, every thing is fluid. The passage between day and night is almost seamless: from daylight to orange sunset to a dark blue night. This game contains NO FOG! You can literally see for miles in the game. Water flows realistically, fire gives off actual light (yes, we have light sourcing in this game!). The enemies from past games have been successfully updated to 3-D. Remember the Pe-hats from the first game (you know, the things that look like plants and fly around the sky)? They are now much nastier looking than before, and are deadlier (they stand about three stories high it seems and hover in the air using huge rotating helicopter like blades). All cut scenes are done using the actual game characters (as opposed to prerendered scenes or FMV), which adds class to the game entirely.

Music and Sound 5 out of 5

Lots of music and engrossing sound in this game! Some of the songs from past games are here (except for the main theme, bummer). The sound effects are fantastic: the sound of steel against stone, the sounds of explosions, the change in sound when you go underwater, etc. The songs are catchy and can stick in your head easily. Nintendo went the extra mile to make the game sound as if you really are in Hyrule. Surround sound owners: this game is in surround! And it works beautifully. For the music lovers, Link has a whistle like instrument called an Ocarina. You can play special songs to invoke magic during the game, or you can actually play the ocarina itself using the C buttons, the A button, the Right trigger, and the stick (which bends the pitch of the sound). It almost plays like a real ocarina! Sounds like one too.

Game Challenge 4 out of 5

While not the hardest game on the planet, this game can be challenging. As with the early Zelda games, the first few dungeons are easier to go through than others. In fact, the game teaches you how to play when you start a new file. For those who play the game again, its easy to breeze through and get what you need, the learning system doesn't hinder you. If you are out to beat the game itself and are a very observant person, this can be a somewhat easy game (though I admit, I have not beaten the game and have played many hours on it). If you are NOT observant, this game can be tough. I was stuck in a dungeon for many hours until I checked every stinking room until I saw a crack in a wall that could be bombed. The bosses (that I encountered) are fairly straightforward to beat, but takes patience to do it. Being a 3-D world, you must use strategy than pure brawn to beat these creatures. If you play the game to its fullest (completing sub tasks and mini-adventures) this game deserves its 4 rating. It is challenging to do everything, but thankfully not tedious or annoying to do them.

Game Play-Fun 5 out of 5

I said before the game is as entertaining as you want to make it. If you explore the world of Hyrule and play with everything it offers you, you will reap all of the fun. If you just run through to beat the game, erase your file after you beat the game and play it again. Check everything out, talk to everyone, take it easy the second time through. You will discover things you may not have seen before. Go fishing, go dive into a canyon carrying a chicken over your head, go heard chickens (or harass them with your sword, see what happens). I have played this game since I got it on November 24th, and I am not tired of it. Combat is fast and strategic: both you and your opponent try to jockey for a position in which to strike, then to jump back and block attacks. Fight a Stalfos and you'll see what I mean. The game is fun to watch as well. The people watching as I played would cheer when an enemy is killed, or would jump when something popped up out of nowhere. Again, take your time with this game. It won't be as fun if you try and beat it right away.


If you are not observant, this game can be frustrating. Look close and hard. If things float in water, look underneath it to see if there is an item or a passage way. Does a wall look questionable? Bomb it to see if there is a room beyond. With puzzles or enemies, try different items on them. When you think a certain enemy will die using only one weapon, try another, you'll be surprised. Same with puzzles: how can I get past it? Can it be burned? Melted? Smashed? How about a song used on it (certain songs evoke spells)? Keep your cool as well. Getting mad makes you play worse, most of the time.

Game Value 5 out of 5

This game is an experience. A must have for anyone's library. Don't listen to those who are biased, telling you the game stinks because they think its Mario with a sword is wrong. Make up your own mind! If you are really unsure about this game, as always, rent it. Start with a new file. Play it from the beginning. As with any Zelda game, if you beat it and think you know everything about it, put it on the side for a couple of months. Then go back and play it again. I'm sure, like every Zelda game I had played and replayed, it will be as much fun as the first time you played it.

Overall 5 out of 5

A milestone in Nintendo history. They have captured a world with possibilities for all to enjoy. I normally don't say this about every good game I play, but this is the best game I have played PERIOD! I can't think of any game I have played since my Atari days (I have played a lot of games over the years, mind you. Spent enough cash renting titles :) ) that has come close to Zelda. Do not deprive yourself of this experience. Rent it or buy it. Enjoy the world. Some have said it starts slow, ,mainly because you're not kicking butt right away. I disagree, since every good saga must have a beginning, a spectacular middle, and an awesome ending (which I have yet to accomplish).

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