By Sam Coles:
You often hear the term “The best game ever” from a select number of gamers within the community and that is a bold statement. The game I’m referring to is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, now hear me out I like this game and I played it when it first came in 1998, however it’s not the best game ever or is it the best Zelda game that goes to Majora’s Mask. Let’s get into it shall we.
Ocarina of Time begins with Link a sleep as he has a dream of the world being destroyed by an evil figure known as Ganondorf. The Great Deku Tree sends Navi the fairy to wake Link up and sends him on a quest to obtain the Master Sword and how he obtains the Master Sword is by collecting three pendants. I thought I was playing a new Zelda game and not A Link to the Past, this is something that you’ll realise as you progress through the game is that it is an exact re-tread of A Link to the Past. To be fair they had to get the standard Zelda story out of the way for the 3D series before they could do something original but it does feel a bit been there done that.
As this was the first 3D Zelda game it no longer has an overhead view or sidescroller perspective, instead it takes a third person camera view similar to Super Mario 64, but like that game it has huge issues in certain areas. The camera is terrible in the original 64 release of Ocarina of Time it doesn’t know what to do with itself when you’re in tight spaces and this becomes problematic during the Ganon fight as he takes up the entire screen and you can’t see Link.
The combat was new and interesting as you can no longer explore and fight at the same time like the games prior to it, not to say the combat is bad but it has a disconnect as you have the exploration part and the combat part. It is satisfying to kill enemies in this game with good sound design as Link swings his sword with his signature yells as he slashes, but there are moments where you’re waiting for the enemy to attack you and you just end up sitting there twiddling your thumbs. Controlling Link when you’re exploring was fine, however his walking speed was far too slow and if you watch playthroughs online you’ll see players utilise Link’s side dodge and roll to traverse Hyrule Field.
It still has the classic dungeon crawling you would expect where you go through a temple, grab a new item and perhaps use said item in temples to beat the boss. Now I always hear people complaining about the Water Temple and honestly I don’t know why, it’s not hard and yes I did beat easily when I first played the game back in day and I was five years old. The bosses at the end of each temple are unique with their design and how you defeat them from the first boss Gohma to the terrifying Dead Hand in the Shadow temple which gave me nightmares for years.
The main item you use in this game is the titular Ocarina of Time and what this does is that it can open certain doors, move blocks or it can make the mundane journey across Hyrule easier as it can teleport you across the map. All the songs are catchy memorable from Zelda’s song to The Song of Time.
Visually it doesn’t look great and I know most N64 games have not aged well as they tend to look like inflated blow up dolls when it comes to character models. Textures are blurry and bland with vomit inducing frame rate as it tends to drop below 20 frames per second when it gets busy.
Overall Ocarina of Time is not the best game ever made nor is it the best Zelda title and this is coming from a Zelda fan. It is marred with camera issues, a rehashed story and combat that gets a tad boring. If you want to play this game I would highly recommend getting the 3DS version as it completely fixes the problems I have with the camera and the visuals are huge step up from the original game.