It’s been almost exactly 13 years since Ocarina of Time wowed us on the N64. The Legend of Zelda was strictly a 2D title until the moment of Ocarina’s release. A 3D Zelda seems like a natural fit now, but at the time, I wondered how they would translate the game into the third dimension without losing its spirit. Zelda was tied to 2D as tight as Mario was. One thing that gave me hope and got me excited, was the success of Super Mario 64. Our favorite Italian Plumber went through the same dimension change a couple years earlier and still holds a place in my heart as one of the best Mario games in history. Could Nintendo bring us that same magic to translate Zelda into the polygon world? Of course they could! (slaps you) How dare you doubt them!
The game’s story is magical and worthy of a place among the best fairy tales out there. Our adventure takes place in Hyrule Kingdom. Ganondorf, an evil king of thieves with the ability to turn into a Man-Bear-Pig, is desperate to find an ancient relic called the Triforce. It is said that anyone who holds the Triforce will be granted one wish. It's assumed Ganondorf wont be wishing for world peace. You play as Link, a little fairy boy with an appetite for adventure. Things go south when Ganondorf captures the kingdom and chases down Zelda for a piece of the Triforce. Link tries to interject, but Ganondorf pushes Link aside like some twirp. Oh no you di’int! Now begins the adventure of stopping Ganondorf and getting some sweet revenge.
The meat of the game is in its dungeons. Each dungeon has a theme (water, fire, shadow, etc.) and is full of puzzles that will get you further toward your ultimate goal. Some of the temples can stump you at times, but that’s part of the fun. There’s no greater feeling than discovering the solution to a puzzle you’ve been working on for hours. Many puzzle games now have gotten easier and easier. This allows for a wider audience to play, but doesn’t give the same satisfaction you would get with harder adventures. Ocarina of time is the perfect game to experience the nostalgia of when the challenge was great and the reward was satisfying. Thank god for virtual console (and the newly released 3DS version)!
You will travel to many towns and upgrade your equipment every now and then, but this is not an RPG. No XP is given, and there are very little side missions. This truly is just an adventure (and a damn good one). The story isn’t laid on too thick once you start tackling dungeons. All the dialogue is strictly text based with no voice acting. However, the narrative is still extremely compelling and has a twist that will shock you!... as long as you’ve been living under a rock.
This game is a treasure and a masterpiece. There is no way you can own a Nintendo console without this gem in your library. The experience of playing this beautiful piece of art is an irreplaceable part of any gamer’s life. Playing it in 1998 blew me away and still gives me chills over 10 years later. This title will make you feel like you finally got to live that adventure you always dreamed about having in the backyard as a kid. If you haven’t played this game… (slaps you again) Play. It. Now. If you have, give it another go. Skyward Sword is coming out and there’s no better way to get you in the mood for another 3D adventure than playing the game that started it all.