CLASSIC GAME REVIEWS: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Nov. 21, 1998, a day that will go down in history one of the most legendary video game franchises transitioned into the realm of 3D video games with a release on the N64. That game changed the history of 3D gaming as we know it.

That video game — “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” — is the fifth installment in the iconic “The Legend of Zelda” franchise.

OoT changed the gaming world forever, and I can see why. The game is stunning, even now, almost 20 years later.

It’s hard to start at where this game leaves its mark on history. The graphics, even now, are great, and the attention to detail Nintendo put into the game is amazing. From the dynamic weather to the day/night cycle, this game brings detail to a whole new level. The thought “I wish I could go there, but it’s only a backdrop” is no longer there. Take, for example, Death Mountain, the looming volcano in the distance. It looks like just a backdrop, but, soon, it’s revealed that the ominous, towering structure of rock and molten lava is a story location, and home to two dangerous dungeons. The elaborate Hyrule Castle, in all of its wondrous glory, is also not just a backdrop, and is home to the eponymous Princess Zelda.

The combat system is revolutionary as well. One of the new concepts that was introduced, and has been used in plenty of games since, was “Z-targeting.” Whilst holding down the Z button on the N64 controller, the camera angle would switch to a behind the shoulder view, and, while moving about, would let you track the enemy. This way, you could block and attack while moving, and made aiming the bow far more accurate. Also, while holding down that button, Navi, Link’s fairy companion, would give you information on the enemy you were watching, letting you get the weakness of every enemy, which was especially helpful against OoT’s massive bosses.

Which leads me to another point: the boss fights in OoT were amazing, and the bosses were humongous. From the first boss, the Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma, to the final boss, Great Demon King: Ganon, boss fights were entertaining, challenging and required a certain amount of strategy, such as, in the latter of the fights, you lose your sword for the first half, having to improvise with one of the items at his disposal.

Lastly, the storyline of OoT is absolutely engrossing. Though it may be cliché, OoT takes that stereotypical story and rolls it up, tossing it to the side and making it it’s own. It has moments ranging from heartfelt to soul-wrenching, and everything in between. The ending of the game is the saddest part, having to watch as the Princess stays in the Sacred Realm to watching your companion, Navi, fly away, never to be seen again.

All in all, OoT is one of the single greatest games in gaming history, and it’ easy to see why. With all of the elements this game brought to the table in ‘98, the way it revolutionized the gaming industry as it’s known, it deserves this honor, without a doubt. Everyone who owns an N64 or an emulator on their computer should play this game, or they’ll be missing out on a piece of gaming history.