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Not Bad For A Bonus Disc
Battles remain the same as they were in the original. Link's fairy companion Navi can assist him by allowing him to lock-on to enemies and even occasionally reveal their weakness. Link naturally has a large variety of sword techniques such as swinging his sword from a variety of different angles, jabbing, and charging to release a powerful spinning attack. To defend himself he has a shield and evasive abilities such as the roll, sidestep, and backflip. As with other Zelda games, he has a variety of tools which can be used in battle as well. Battles are fought in real-time and are often quite exciting especially in Master Quest as Link is often outnumbered. Bosses remain the same as in the original, each with their own weakness he must discover.
Despite the increase in difficulty, Master Quest isn't nearly as difficult as its name suggests. While it is true that it is more difficult, the original wasn't very challenging to begin with. Aside from the much harder first level, there is only a mild increase in battle and puzzle difficulty. Bosses remain the same as they were before and even seem rather easy after completing some of the harder levels.
Ocarina certainly wasn't designed for the Gamecube controller and it shows. The C-stick makes it very difficult to reliably play songs and use the tools Link has equipped. There are other buttons the player can push to easily use tools equipped C-left and right, but the Z-button is very small and can make it difficult to use the C-down tool. Aside from that problem, Master Quest plays much like the original. The camera has problems at times which can throw off Link's movement, especially jumps, but otherwise the interface is well done. The localization is also very well done, but neither of these can fully make up for the poor controller port resulting in an only slightly above average interaction score.
Master Quest is very similar to Ocarina of Time. The only differences are found within the dungeons which often retain a similar layout and feature only a few new enemies. Despite some interesting new twists such as the disturbing amount of cows inside Jabu-Jabu, Master Quest is rather unoriginal as a whole.
Master Quest's plot also remains the same. While the plot isn't bad for an action RPG, it can't compete very well with the stories of most of the other RPGs that came out at the same time and measures up even less by today's standards. Most of the game involves simply collecting special items and completing dungeons with small pieces of plot here and there. It should come as no surprise that the story is below average overall.
The soundtrack is, of course, also the same as it was in the original. The music, while not the best to appear in a Zelda game, is above average and helps keep the mood, though dungeon music tends to fade into the background after a few minutes. There is a mix of good and annoying sound effects from the realistic clashing of steel as you duel with other warriors to the endless yelling of the annoying fairy that follows you everywhere. The good generally cancels out the bad and the music/sound is slightly above average as a whole.
While not as impressive by today's standards, the beautiful N64 graphics make their return with slight improvements thanks to the Gamecube's clarity. Many enemies and effects are detailed and manage to bring life to the world. As the graphics were relatively amazing for the time that Ocarina of Time came out, Master Quest get an excellent graphics rating.
While Master Quest doesn't have as good of an interface as the original, the rest of its features remain the same in quality. All things considered, it's worth checking out unless you hated or are otherwise tired of the original. It's one of the better bonus discs that have been released.
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