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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Review

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Even in today's generation of hi-def graphics, fully orchestrated soundtracks, and DLC, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time proves that it is not only a timeless classic, but a near-perfect game as well.

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    A True Classic - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review

    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Original N64 Box Art  

    In 1998, one of the greatest games of all time was released for the Nintendo 64. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time not only broke new ground in gaming, but it pushed an already-great franchise to unimaginable heights. Countless gamers still continue to praise the game to this very day, and that’s due to the care and artistry that Nintendo put into it. If you never got the chance to play the game before, read on and discover just why you need to download The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Virtual Console.

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    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Storyline

    Link must travel through time to save Hyrule.  

    The plot in Ocarina of Time is the blueprint for more recent entries in the series such as Twilight Princess. You play as a boy named Link who just lives life day by day. A forest dweller since youth, Link is soon called upon as the boy of destiny who would travel through time and set out to save the land. Before long, Link gets involved in a plan by Princess Zelda to save the land of Hyrule from the clutches of the evil Ganondorf. And from here, the story becomes far deeper and more engaging the further you progress.

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    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Gameplay

    Ocarina of Time will forever be known for its amazing dungeon design.  

    A great story can only go so far, and the gameplay in Ocarina of Time is the main driving force behind this epic N64 title. In 1998, no one had ever played a game like Ocarina of Time. Every single aspect of the gameplay design was so perfectly executed that both gamers and critics used the word “flawless" to describe Ocarina of Time’s excellent mechanics. To this very day, this gameplay design manages to hold up exceptionally well, and it still goes unrivaled for the most part.

    You must guide Link through various dungeons, upgrading your inventory as you go along and discovering stronger weapons with a myriad of uses. Each dungeon is designed differently from the last, with numerous puzzles to solve. There is some combat in the game as well as great boss fights, but getting through each of the rooms in a dungeon is the main draw in Ocarina of Time. The further you get in the game, the more complex and elaborate the puzzles become, and the more you need to truly rely on your wits to progress.

    There are also a number of sidequests and minigames to take part in. You can play shooting games with your crossbow to earn quiver upgrades; you can go on ghost hunts; you can even go fishing. The number of things to do in Ocarina of Time is vast, and you’ll want to explore the huge countryside of Hyrule and see what secrets you uncover. This is a massive game, and if you take the time to explore, you can uncover dozens of health upgrades, weapons, and other items.

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    Many characters in the game are shrouded in mystery, such as the Poe collector.  

    In 1998, Ocarina of Time was considered one of the best-looking games on the N64. Because it was released over a decade ago, it would be foolish to expect the visuals to hold up very well these days. The game looks decent, but there are a lot of lo-res textures and polygonal objects everywhere. Even despite these graphical flaws, though, Ocarina of Time still exudes an artful style, both in the game’s architecture and in the designs and patterns seen on characters’ clothing and dungeon walls.

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    The Water Temple is considered by many to be the toughest dungeon in the game.  

    Ocarina of Time features one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. The music in the game is memorable, catchy, and just plain beautiful. Every song—from the calm, melodic theme that plays in Zora’s Domain to the eerie music of the Forest Temple—manages to exude a certain emotion and encompass a specific feeling. It’s amazing how impressive this game’s soundtrack is, even after all these years.

    But one cannot talk about the soundtrack in Ocarina of Time without mentioning the actual importance of music in the game. The game’s title does name a music instrument, after all, and you’ll find yourself utilizing the titular Ocarina of Time throughout the game’s entirety. Music plays a pivotal role in Link’s quest, and his trusty Ocarina helps to solve puzzles, change night to day, and warp to different locations, making music as much a part of gameplay as exploration and combat.

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    Lasting Value

    Hyrule is a massive land with countless secrets to discover.  

    If you’re just looking to complete the game’s dungeons and get to the end, you’ll be busy for about 20 hours or more. If you want to seek out all of the game’s secrets, however, expect to spend upwards of 30 to 40 hours playing this game. The vast land of Hyrule is host to countless secrets, and if you’ve played earlier entries in the series such as the original Legend of Zelda on the NES, memories of finding hidden items where you least expect them will come flooding back.

    You can literally look everywhere and uncover some secret, and there’s nothing a well-placed bomb won’t discover. Whether you’re seeking out the game’s elusive Gold Skulltulas, running back and forth as you try to claim Biggoron’s Sword, or just getting to know some of the NPCs in the game, you’ll spend hours upon hours playing Ocarina of Time.

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    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review - Overall Score

    Words can only go so far in describing just how amazing Ocarina of Time still is to this day. If you’ve never played this game, download The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time right now and experience what can only be called a masterpiece in gaming. If you have played the game before and don’t currently own some iteration of it, be that on the N64 or on the GameCube, it’s hard not to encourage you to play it all over again. Sure, it's missing the Rumble feature from its early releases due to the Virtual Console's lack of such feature, but that's a gripe so minuscule that it doesn't even deter from the classic experience.

    Ultimately, incredibly engaging gameplay, amazing music, and the element of mass exploration all combine to create a memorable experience that's hard to top. Add to that some fun sidequests and a slew of memorable, often mysterious characters, and you've got a package that's worth recommending. Even today, Ocarina of Time stands its ground as one of the greatest games ever created, if not the greatest. Just play the game and you'll see why.