Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time


Developer: Nintendo

Genre: Action/Adventure

Release date:November 21st 1998

Console: Nintendo 64


Thanks to Nintendo’s latest hit game in 1992: legend of Zelda: a link to the past; The legend of Zelda franchise was up and running, and immensely popular with gamers and critics alike. A link to the past set the trend how legend of Zelda games were played, and portrayed: a brilliant adventurous land to explore, dark and dangerous dungeons to conquer, popular and colourful characters/enemies to relate to and despise, an incredible musical score; and most importantly, a princess to save. phew! What a game! So you can understand why fans couldn’t wait for the N64 Zelda. And boy, did they have a long time to wait. In 1996, Link’s Italian cousin Mario made the jump (pun intended), to 3D with his N64 title: Super Mario 64. While Mario fans were keeling over with joy (including myself); many Zelda fans waited anxiously for the next Zelda title to make the cut (get it? cut! Y'know - Link's sword...i'll just stop it now) to 3D as well. If they thought 3D suited Mario, they were in for a much bigger surprise when Link and co, finally reached the N64. On November 21st 1998, a game was released that changed and revolutionised the gaming industry: just like the first legend of Zelda title did back in 1986. Except this title was something else…


The story takes place in the great land of Hyrule. Hyrule, for the most part, has been a peaceful and beautiful place. However in a few days that will begin to change - as a great evil lurks in the air… The story begins in the Kokiri forest, home to the Kokiri children, or race (a race that never grows up.) Keeping the sacred forest from harm - is the wise and general smart cookie: the great Deku tree! The Deku tree, for many years, has watched over the forest keeping the Kokiri children from harm; however he has now been cursed by a great evil, and can slowly feel himself slipping away.

During all of this, the Kokiri are unknown to the dangers that lurk, and the curse that has been placed on the Deku tree. Every Kokiri has his, or her, guardian fairy; which helps the child throughout their life, and acts as a sort of guide for them. However, there is one boy who still doesn’t have his own fairy at the age of 10! (Way to single someone out there deku tree.) This boy is called link, and to the untrained eye is just like all the other Kokiri folk: He dresses in a green tunic just like all the other Kokiri children. but there is something different about this boy….

Going back to the Deku tree, (keep up!) The great tree knows it is time; he is in danger, and can sense the whole of Hyrule maybe too. Evil, it seems is everywhere. The Deku tree calls upon a wise little fairy named Navi to find the boy without a fairy; and instructs her to bring the boy to him. The adventure, ladies and gentleman, begins…


General Gameplay

Of course what makes a great game - is the game-play of course! Ocarina of time may look different, but the general game-play from past Zelda title hasn’t changed. The Zelda gameplay formula goes a little something like this: Link travels across the land of Hyrule until his quest leads him to a dungeon. Once in the dungeon, Link puts his skills to the test, defeating dangerous creatures and conquering puzzles which have been set. Once Link conquers the dungeon, this moves the storyline on; and the game-play steps repeat throughout. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, in fact this is what makes the Zelda franchise very popular and unique. Just like the other legend of Zelda titles; ocarina of time puts our hero: link ,in the wide open land of Hyrule. Hyrule is a great land for adventurers: with a vast great field that begs to be explored, huge mountains to scale, a grand lake to swim, a gaping maw of a open canyon to gawp at - and lots more. In the previous Legend of Zelda title: a link to the past, Hyrule was a huge environment of colourful; a grand land to explore - which many thought couldn't be seen or beaten in any other game. Ocarina of time beats it. The Hyrule in ocarina of time is brilliant, and has a lot more depth to it; thanks to the fact it’s in 3D instead of the classic top down 2D view of past Zelda titles.

Just like in previous Zelda titles: Link has to visit and conquer many dangerous and dark dungeons (or temples in ocarina of time’s case.) Just as much as Link explores Hyrule, he is also conquering dungeons. Hyrule’s dungeons are full of dangerous, hostile creatures; as well as many puzzles that link has to solve. When Link isn’t battling creatures in the dungeons, he is trying to find a key - to open a door to progress further! In every dungeon there is a boss waiting for Link. Link must defeat the monstrous beast in order to fully beat the dungeon, and to claim the treasure the beast has. As I mentioned in the beginning, this winning formula is what makes Zelda games stand out amongst other adventure titles. And in terms of the gameplay formula: nothing has changed in Ocarina of time. Nintendo clearly went for - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But don't go thinking Nintendo didn't add anything new to the Ocarina party; oh no, indeed ladies and gentlemen! One of the first major gameplay elements; was Link being able to travel back and forth through time; to his child and adult self. This not only moved the story foward, but offered new places to explore and items to use. Some places and weapons were only accessible to young link, and some only adult Link could utilise. Another all round fun aspect of the game was Epona; who is Epona exactly? Well she becomes (eventually) your own horse! Yup, in ocarina, Link has his own horse to ride! Not only does this make going from A to B alot quicker; but in some areas only the use of Epona's powerful jump can cross certain gaps, that were just impossible for Link to cross on his own. The inclusion of Epona in the game really does add that fantasy element, and fun factor which ocarina was striving.


Just like in most Nintendo games; the control is comfortable, and easy to grasp. To the untrained eye, it may seem that ocarina is a complex game with hard and complex controls; but Nintendo have kept everything as simple as possible - especially in combat situations. Thanks to "Z targeting" (as demonstated by our green hero below); link would be able to lock on to opponents for strategic and accurate combat. Ocarina's combat system was revolutionary at the time, and makes both close-quarter and ranged combat exciting and dynamic; but at the same time very easy to grasp. Most of the time link is wielding his trusty sword and shield, but of course like every other Zelda game; there are a lot more treasures and items to find and use. Items range from  the age old bow and arrow, to a mystical magnifying glass called the lens of truth; which allows Link to see things that are there, but which regular people cannot see…. And of course the most important item: the Ocarina of Time! 

Graphics & Presentation

The graphics and overall presentation in ocarina are brilliant to say the least! (Bearing in mind I’m going by the graphic standards back in 1998.) As soon as Link wakes up and steps outside his tree house for the first time - you just can’t help but take in all of your surroundings. All the greens and various fairies and insects flying about, it almost looks as if the forest exists! But it’s a whole different story once Link makes it out of the forest, and steps onto the legendary Hyrule field for the first time. Here, a lush palette of colour unfolds: filled with cool and pale blues for the skies, lakes, and rivers; deep greens for the grass and plains, sandy browns for footpaths dotted round: so you, and all the races of Hyrule know how to reach the various settlements in the magical land; and deeper gravel colours for the more deserty (what, that’s not a real word?) areas of Hyrule. Yes from the various sun kissed blue skies, to the deep dark dungeons - ocarina really did the N64 justice, and proved that the console could produce better graphics than its arch rival at the time: the Sony playstation.

Music & Sound

Legend of Zelda games were already known for its brilliant musical scores on past systems, especially a link to the past on the SNES. However, Ocarina of Time once again took the bar and raised it another 40 feet in the air! The music from start to finish is a masterpiece in every sense, in fact until the super Mario galaxy games came along, ocarina of time, I felt, had the best musical score in any video game I had ever heard. Whilst fans were a bit upset about the Zelda main theme not making an appearance in the game, Ocarina totally made up for this by producing endless other melodies and songs within the game. Almost every song, theme, and jingle in the game are very memorable, and are now very well known as the very best - in the already awesome library of Zelda music. The sound effects also add a big part in the game. From the cuckoo who crows at dawn, followed by the sound of the bridge lowering so the people of Hyrule can access the historic castle town, to the drips and drops of water which can be heard whilst exploring a dark, fowl dungeon. Ocarina’s sound effects really add to the game’s atmosphere and experience.

How it plays now

Just a testament to how well Ocarina of Time actually plays and stacks up against games nowadays; gamers only have to look at the 3DS library of games; and there you’ll see ocarina of time rated as one of the best sellers, and critic favourites. This maybe a remake compared to the actual original release on the N64, but having played and completed both, I can honestly say: yes, there maybe minor differences - such as better graphics and animation of characters, enemies, and uses of certain items. But in terms of gameplay structure and control - it’s basically the same. This shows just how well ocarina was handled and made back 1998. Go and play the original right now, and you’ll see just how well this masterpiece holds up.

Overall Score

When reviewing a game the reviewer has to try and remain neutral about the game he/she is currently reviewing. Meaning, whilst reviewing the game if you had past experiences with it -,good or bad; just try to let them go, and just play and review the game in a fair and neutral manner. This is exactly what I did just like any game I review. But every single time I play this game - it just takes me. It really is impossible to hate this game. I hadn’t played the game for over 3 years before I played it once again for the review: And once I reached the end and defeated Ganon - that same happiness I experienced over 10 years ago, came back and reminded me: No matter what game is released between the first time I played ocarina of time to the time I die; I believe no game will have a bigger impact on me - and the whole of the gaming community, as this game did back in 1998. Quite simply: Legend of Zelda ocarina of time isn’t just the best Zelda game, but for me, it is the best game in the world….