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Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Review

Now In 3D
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 4
   Interaction 4
   Originality 3
   Story 2
   Music & Sound 3
   Visuals 5
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 10-30 hours  
Overall
4

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"You sure I'm supposed to go in there?" "Yes, come inside...heh heh heh"
Title
This review is based on the original N64 version. Switching from the old overhead view to full 3D comes the fifth Zelda game: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Though it feels much different from its predecessors, Ocarina is still a very good game. The camera can get a little annoying at times and the fairly that follows Link everywhere can get VERY annoying at times, but when all is said and done, Ocarina is a great game.

Link's variety of sword techniques from previous installments return along with some new ones. Link now has a great deal of control over the direction of his slashes and can even make diagonal strikes, jabs, and powerful overhead strikes. Though he has lost the ability to dash, Link has gained a number of evasive techniques and shield upgrades to aid him in his quest. Naturally, there are plenty of tools for Link to take into battle with him such as bombs, spells, and sticks. Link's fairy companion Navi helps by allowing Link to lock-on to enemies and even reveals hints occasionally. Mighty bosses and sub-bosses return as well. Though each may seem intimidating, they can be easily defeated once their weakness is discovered and exploited.

Ocarina is the easiest Zelda game yet. Thanks to the wide array of defensive abilities at Link's disposal, he can easily block or evade most of the attacks thrown his way. Ordinary enemies are usually defeated in only a hit or two. Bosses are harder, but are easily defeated once their weakness has been found. It is even possible to beat the game with as little as three hearts without too much difficulty.

Once again, Ocarina is another Zelda game with a great interface. The only real problems arise from jumping and the camera, though it is often the two combined that's the problem. The camera has a tendency to shift at annoying times and cause Link's movement to be a little off. The rest is great though. As far as localization is concerned, Ocarina does a very good job, though there isn't much dialog to translate in the first place.

Though similar in concept to the original Zeldas, Ocarina takes the series in an entirely new direction with dozens of modifications. There are new tools, puzzles, and a focus on a ocarina. Still, many of the bosses and enemies are from the earlier games and simply moved into 3D. Overall, it's fairly original though.

Ocarina features a storyline upgrade over the other Zelda games. Even with this upgrade and the fact that the storyline isn't bad for an action RPG, it can barely compete with the stories of most of the other full RPGs that came out when it did. A good deal of the game involves simply collecting this or that and completing dungeons with the occasional tiny piece of story. Ocarina has very little character development either.


Ahhh, stupid zombies!
Ahhh, stupid zombies!
Ocarina can be rushed through in about ten hours if the player is relatively familiar with the game's puzzles. If the player chooses to collect all of the scattered upgrades the game has to offer, they will likely spend three times as long collecting them. Aside from powerups and bonus items, there aren't any real sidequests.

The music isn't the best to appear in a Zelda game, but it's not bad and helps keep the mood. Most of the dungeon music tends to become repetitive and fade into the background over time. 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 and the bad cancel each other out pretty well though.

Visuals are simply amazing in Ocarina. Taking full advantage of everything the N64 has to offer, Ocarina features beautiful backgrounds complete with fog and other effects. Link, NPCs, and enemies are all beautifully rendered as well and most are beautifully animated too. Words cannot describe the massive jump in visuals from the fourth to fifth game. It's incredibly impressive.

Despite the jump to 3D changing the feel of the Zelda series, it is still a good transition. Though the story is lacking, dungeons are not and this is an excellent choice for Zelda and action RPG fans alike. I recommend it to any who enjoyed similar games.

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