The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Revisited

the legend of zelda ocarina of time

It’s been nearly 13 years since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time made its debut, and today gamers are still singing its praise. But, as is often the case, when we go back to inspect a cherished game, it’s not quite what we remember.

With the launch of the Nintendo 3DS later this month, many people will undoubtedly be grabbing the revolutionary handheld in anticipation of the release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D in early June. This is a great opportunity for kids who missed the original game to experience the magic and wonderment the rest of us enjoyed many years ago. With screenshots and videos teasing fans, OOT3D looks to be a more visually polished game. The real test of time (see what I did there?) will be in seeing how well the game’s play mechanics hold up.

So before this remastered version becomes available, I decided it would be best to jog my memory, clarifying what exactly made this game so great in the first place.
From the moment I shoved the cartridge into the slot and flipped on the power switch, it was like being transported back to my childhood. I felt the same sense of giddy excitement at the age of 22 that I did at 10. I can still remember how it felt to stumble upon the Sacred Forest Meadow for the first time. It was as if I had found something that was meant to be hidden. This feeling is still there. The things that were great in 1999 are still great in 2011; the music, the characters, the story, and the grand sense of adventure. These are the things that stick with people, years after playing a game. Time has done nothing to diminish the shine on these parts of OOT.

ocarina of time morpha

What hasn’t aged well is the control scheme. The Nintendo 64 controller is no longer the perfect fit for my hands that it once was. One analog stick just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the game played clunkier than I remember. This makes for less-than-ideal maneuvering, which really becomes a hindrance during boss battles where precision is preferred. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the notorious Water Temple and its subsequent pain-in-the-ass boss fight. Z-Targeting has its usefulness, but it sometimes gets in its own way, making for a more frustrating experience. On more than one occasion, I was ready to slam my controller into the wall. This stemmed from the fact that the game wanted to target a different enemy than the one I was trying for, or would target something when I didn’t want it to target at all. It seems we must have been acclimated to poor controls during this era of gaming. (Editor’s note: Or perhaps this was the best developers could offer at the time, a comparative step up from everything else.)

From the video footage and the layout on the 3DS, it looks as if Nintendo has straightened out the controls in OOT3D. This will certainly make for a smoother gameplay experience, further immersing the player, which, along with the beautiful 3DS-rendered visuals, will bring an aging masterpiece into the modern age of gaming. The one plea that I would make to Nintendo is for the inclusion of an orchestrated soundtrack rather than the midi music from the original OOT. Koji Kondo’s landmark score deserves this nod of appreciation, as does the game itself.

If you have plans to buy OOT3D, or even if you don’t, you may want to take a trip down memory lane and remind yourself why you spent countless nights tracking down heart pieces, hunting Gold Skulltulas, and fishing for "the big one," without the benefits of the sinking lure. Be sure to check back for GamerNode’s review of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D when it releases for the Nintendo 3DS in June.

[Josh Robinson]


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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