Review: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

-Keith Michael

Oh look, it’s a remake of Ocarina of Time; no, nevermind it’s just a port. Hey look, they are re-releasing Ocarina of Time; no, it’s still just another port. Hey, guess what? Nintendo is remaking Ocarina of Time, no it’s probably just another port like the last three times; no this time it’s actually real. That’s how I felt when Nintendo said there was going to be a remake of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You know the feeling; the one where every bone in your body says, “it’s just going to be the same game”. Well, that’s what I thought when Nintendo said that they were going to remake Ocarina of Time. To my surprise, Ocarina of Time 3D was, wait for it, exactly the same game; exactly the same game with 3D effects and some nifty gyroscope controls thrown in. Although, there is an added bonus if you beat Ocarina of Time 3D; the new Master Quest will open up and that’s where the truly new game comes into play. With dungeons that are re-mastered, enemies that are like three times more difficult and a completely mirrored-over world. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a known fact that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the greatest games ever made and coming back is full of nostalgia, but it will be the same game. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a game the revolutionized the way a third person adventure is played and the way we look at targeting systems in games. Ocarina of Time is a memorable experience that had plenty of great dungeons, music, and adventures. This is a game that will have you coming back to it time and time again. But, if you have already came back to it time and again, then maybe you will pass this up. I am a die hard Ocarina of Time fan and I have played it so many times that I can literally draw up the schematics of each level. I still to this day hum the songs and I name my characters and Pokemon according to characters from Ocarina of Time. One of the things that will keep you coming back is the amazing story of power, love, and destiny.

Navi, the fairy, sets off on a trip around the world, or was it just the Kokiri Forest? Navi goes out to find the boy without a fairy. The boy lives in the Kokiri Forest and is dreaming a prophetic dream about a great evil and a wonderful princess. When Navi finds Link (after a short cut scene) she tells him that the Great Deku Tree is waiting for him. After a short story about the beginning of Hyrule and the creation of the heavens, it’s time to go into the Great Deku Tree and fight some evil. After Link defeats the Queen Gohma he comes out of the Deku Tree to hear his final words. Link finds out that he is pretty much the only hope for the world and if he doesn’t defeat the evil from the west then no one else will, not even that no-good-dirty-pig-stealing King of Hyrule. Link makes his way through the market place, sneaks past the guards and meets the princess Zelda. Zelda informs Link that she has been having dreams about the fall of Hyrule and her father won’t listen when she tells him that his right hand man, Ganondorf, is going to be the downfall of everything. So, obviously, the young teen Link is the only hope for Hyrule and now has to go get the spiritual stones from the Zoras and the Gorons so he can get the Master Sword. Apparently this “Master Sword” is the only thing that can smite evil and Link must get it, even if that means taking the Zoras’ engagement ring and the Gorons’ sacred stone. Link obviously gets the Master Sword, but when he pulls the sword he finds himself in this weird realm talking to an old man that lets him know that even though he is the “Hero of Time”, his body was too young to be the hero. So Link was frozen in time and Ganondorf was able to reign supreme for seven long years. Link comes out of the realm to find a distorted Hyrule where monsters are everywhere and the people are afraid for their lives. Not even the fabled Sheikas are around to fight the evil. Link learns that in order to set things right he must go to the six temples around Hyrule and save the sages in order to lock Ganondorf in the sacred realm. Ocarina of Time is pulled along with a story that will get you to almost love the land and it’s people.

The graphics in Zelda games are always artistic and memorable with bright vibrant colors in the forests and water levels and the ability to make creepy shadow levels. Well, Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64 was a very pretty game at the time; it had some nice water affects and the sun rays that would hit the eye when you look into the sun kind of hurt. Ocarina of Time 3D was the same exact game, just with much better graphics. Everything has been smoothed out and all of the textures have been re-imaged; I almost swore that it was the same game until I put the two side by side. The trees no longer look like cardboard cut-outs, the ground is littered with little flowers and the particles effects in the game were much better. Ocarina of Time 3D is one of the best looking games on the 3DS (until Resident Evil Revelations), but there was still plenty of room for improvement. I personally think that Nintendo could have done a little better but they wanted to stick with the N64 look so they could make you feel like you were playing the same game. The 3D in the game was done nicely, the little fireflies that come floating toward the screen make you feel like you will take one to the eye. The rays of sun and little puffs of smoke seem to float right past your head and when you shoot an arrow, it really seems like it is moving away from you. After playing this version of Ocarina of Time, I never want to see the original again; let’s face it, the graphics in this version are the reason that many players will be going back.

Great story and nice graphics aside, Zelda games are played because of the fun sword-swinging, nifty gadgets and challenging puzzles. Ocarina was one the most memorable Zelda games because of the varying dungeons and unique puzzles. Each level in Ocarina was based on a certain theme and normally revolved around a certain weapon that was acquired in that dungeon. In the Deku Tree, Link had a slingshot that he used to shoot switches and far-off levers, while the later temples had things like mirror shields bouncing light beams and raising and lowering water levels to allow Link to reach certain areas. Most of the puzzles are well thought out and will take at least a few seconds to get past, allowing Link to continue, but some of the puzzles in Ocarina were down right frustrating and are, for the most part, still just as frustrating. The Water Temple was one of the levels that had people going online to ask their friends about because of the way Link had to raise and lower the water level. In Ocarina 3D you still have to raise and lower water levels, but this time around it is all made a lot easier. First thing is, that there are colored lines all over the temple that shows you where the spots are located to raise and lower the water making the level much easier. Another thing worth noting is the way you no longer have to pause the game just to use the iron boots, instead they are now treated like an item, so all you have to do is push a button to take them off or put them on. The items in the game are all unique; ranging from bows, slingshots and hammers to magical items like Din’s fire and the magic arrows. In Ocarina of Time I was always playing with the items to see the many different ways I could kill things like riding horseback and shooting the bow to slamming bugs with a giant hammer. In Ocarina 3D things get even more fun because of the built-in gyroscope, the player can move the 3DS around to actually aim things like the bow and hook-shot. You can imagine how much more fun and easy it is to aim with your arms rather than a joystick, and shooting from horse back has never been more satisfying. Remember the Z-targeting system? Well, that’s gone now; It’s been replaced with L-targeting. Link can lock onto an enemy and do circles around them, allowing for attacks from every direction. This doesn’t seem like a new concept, but when Ocarina first came out, it was one of the very first games to use this type of targeting and it did it better than most games for years to come. The sword fighting is all pretty basic. It consists of tapping the attack button over and over again, but mix that with the L-targeting and Link can do some rolls and flips to mix things up. Ocarina of Time, like most Zelda games, focuses on music, but Ocarina of Time one-ups the others by having Link actually use the ocarina to play music to solve puzzles and transport himself around the world. Trust me when I say the music coming from the ocarina never gets old and you can actually play around with the notes to make your own songs. I am proud to say I can actually play the Kakariko Village song.

The music in all Zelda games is top-notch and that’s not just my opinion. The music is so good in fact that there was just a concert with a full orchestra and the tickets were sold out almost immediately. Well, Ocarina of Time is no different; the opening cut scene has you all giddy with the happy-go-lucky tune and when the Deku Tree is telling you of your mother, you will be sitting on the edge of your seat. The lack of voice-overs, is like, a must in all Zelda games; Nintendo themselves said that they want to leave the player some room for imagination (Not a word for word quote). So, if you have never played Zelda, just be prepared to read a lot. I personally don’t mind all of the reading, but I still think that Nintendo needs to stop with all the text and come into the light. I think the power of the voice can make all the difference. Imagine being able to hear exactly how the writers wanted the scene to come together. Diabolical is always better when it is backed by a strong burly voice rather than some bold or colored letters. There isn’t much else to complain about in Ocarina of Time 3D when it comes to sound. The over world has a nice triumphant song playing in the background that makes you feel like you can actually take on anything. While the night gets all spooky with a wolf howling in the background and crows all around. Each town is accompanied by its own soundtrack and classics like the Kakariko Village song are back. Every noise in the game is unique and pretty much what is to be expected from a Zelda game. I enjoy Zelda music more than any other type of game and Ocarina of Time has some of the most memorable songs out of the collection of games.

Some people would say that I’m biased towards Zelda games, and that may be true, but The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is truly the best version of this game. Not only do you have one of the more original stories in the Zelda series, with great game play, music, and varied levels, but you get two versions of it. Ocarina of Time 3D also has a remade Master Quest stuffed with new content. First off, the world is mirrored, so everything on the left will be on the right. This doesn’t seem like much, but to us veterans it makes a world of difference. I actually got lost on the way to Hyrule castle. The enemies are all much stronger, making it almost a meticulous task to wipe out every enemy on the way through the temples. The enemies will test your knowledge of their movements and strike you down if you are not careful. I will admit, I died at least three times before I finished the Deku Tree in the Master Quest. On top of the enemies being more difficult, the puzzles are all different and are often more challenging.The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest earns its’ long title; it is truly for the masters of Ocarina of Time.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is one of the best games out for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s just new enough to keep your interest and if you have never played the original version, this game is a must-have. The music is great, story is compelling, and levels are all different and have challenging puzzles. The only real complaints I have are the lack of voice acting and the way Nintendo wanted to stay close to the original graphics. Ocarina of Time 3D could have looked like Twilight Princess but chose to look like Ocarina of Time, not a bad thing, just a strange thing. I loved this game and recommend it to everyone looking for a fun adventure game to play. For 40 dollars it’s well-worth the price.

Verdict: 90%