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There aren’t that many games out there that make you want to play again and again, that consume your very being from the moment you buy it, till the moment you finish it. Ocarina of Time is one of those games. An epic story of Hyrule’s very own hero, Link, once again having to save the world from peril. But the story has so many twists, games, puzzles, and much more, which give it amazing replay value.
Basic Story Link is a young boy living in the Kokiri Forest, where the children never age and each have their own special fairy to guard over them. Link, however, does not have his own fairy, and is haunted by nightmares of an evil, frightening man he does not know. One day Link wakes up and finds he has a new fairy friend named Navi, who tells him that the Great Deku Tree, guardian over the forest, needs to see him. After some trouble from Mido, the “leader” of the Kokiri children, Link manages to meet with the Great Deku Tree, who informs Link that he is dying. Link ventures inside the tree to save him from the monster inside him, and succeeds in killing the beast, but the Deku Tree is too far gone, and before dying, he gives Link the Kokiri Emerald and tells him he must go to Hyrule Castle and meet Princess Zelda to help stop the world from being taken over by the evil man from Link’s dreams, Ganondorf.
Young Link & Adult Link One of the most unique things about this game is that when you start out playing as Link he is a young boy at about 10 years old. Being young and small, Link can only use certain equipment, such as his light Kokiri Sword, Deku Shield, and Fairy Slingshot. When Link becomes an adult after passing through seven years of time, he is able to use larger and stronger equipment, such as the Master Sword, Biggoron Sword, Hylian Shield, Mirror Shield, and Fairy Bow. After defeating Phantom Ganon when Link is an adult, he is then able to transport through time and become a young boy again if he ever needs to.
Health & Magic Your health is determined by a heart meter bar located at the top of the screen, and you can gain more heart pieces as you travel throughout the game. Depending on what you get damaged by, a small enemy or a huge boss, you can sustain a lot or minimal damage. Also, if you jump off of a high location and land on the ground, you can lose a lot of hearts that way or even die, so be careful!
Your magic meter allows you to perform magical attacks. You can make it bigger by finding the Great Fairies around Hyrule on your journey. There are three basic spells you can learn, Din’s Fire (sends out a ring of fire), Farore’s Wind (creates a teleportation portal), and Nayru’s Love (protects you from damage for a short time). You can also use a charged up version of your sword if you wish, by slashing with the A button, but keep holding down and your sword begins to flash and the sky around you darkens (ooh you have power!). It doesn’t use up too much magic energy, and it’s pretty cool looking.
Making Music The central item that you have in this game is your ocarina, whether it be the Fairy Ocarina you receive from your friend Saria at the beginning of your quest or the Ocarina of Time Zelda gives you later on. You learn special songs throughout the game, which allow you to transport yourself to different places, communicate with Saria, create rain, make the day change into night or vice versa, and much more. You can even compose your own song with the Scarecrows you find as a child, and they will remember the song you played for them when you’re an adult, so hopefully you’ll remember it too. The songs that you play on your ocarina are beautiful, and are a real treat to listen to. You use the C buttons and the A button to play your music on the ocarina, and you can also use the control stick, the Z button, and the L & R buttons to change the pitch of the notes you are playing. Really cool. In the Official Nintendo Player’s Guide, there is a guide that shows you how to play the theme of Kakariko Village, an area you come across many times during your adventure. Your ocarina is also essential to progress in the game, with some characters refusing to speak to you, such as King Darunia, until you play a song, and it can also help you gain entrance to areas only royal people are allowed to go to when you play Zelda’s Lullaby to prove your royal connections.
The overworld music is also fantastic. No matter where you are, the music that plays suits the location and may even make you want to hang around longer to listen to it. Some music that I particularly enjoy are the themes of Gerudo Valley, Lost Woods and the Windmill (located in Kakariko Village).
The Controls The controls of this game are pretty easy to get a hold of. You use the control stick to move Link around, and depending on how hard or light you press the faster or slower Link will go. You can use the A button to talk to people or check signs, and it also plays a note when you play the ocarina. You can assign certain items to the left, right, and down C buttons, and by clicking that C button you can use the item. You can use the up C button to look around from Link’s eye view, which is helpful when you want to get a closer look at something.
You can also use Z-Targeting during battle with enemies. Basically, you click the Z button when you’re close enough to an enemy and a target surrounds them, letting you hit them efficiently with your sword. You can also click the R button to put up your shield while fighting an enemy, and as long as you don’t stray too far from them the target will remain around them. This makes the battle much easier, but using Z-targeting for some enemies can make the battle seem worse. For many of the tougher enemies, such as Stalfos, whom you have to battle sword-to-sword with, Z-targeting is a necessity.
Link’s New Looks For Link’s childhood and part of his adulthood, he can wear only his regular green tunic and running boots. But he can also obtain a special Fire Tunic, which is red in color and protects you from the extreme heat of the Volcano. You can also get a Water Tunic, which is dark blue and allows you to swim underwater longer than usual. Two special boots can be found too: Iron Boots and Hover Boots. Iron Boots let you sink to the bottom of an ocean area because of your weight, and if you wear them on land you just walk extremely slow. Hover Boots do just what you’d expect: they let you hover over areas that you couldn’t walk over, such as quicksand.
How does Hyrule look? Hyrule looks incredible. The graphics are done beautifully, and the way that the day slowly changes into night is lovely to watch, as is the sun rising. The characters of the game look amazing, and although this game is pretty old, I think it still looks pretty damn good! The cinematic scenes are also superbly done, and sometimes you have a little control over them, like if you hit the A button then the person will continue speaking. The water in the game also looks great and pretty cool, with rippling effects, and sometimes you can see fish swimming around, depending on where you are.
Means of Travel Available The most basic means of travel is on foot. Of course, this takes the longest, but you can quicken the time it takes a little bit by rolling along. This is particularly a problem when you are a child and are trying to get into Hyrule Town before the large gate outside closes for the night, leaving you outside stranded with monsters before the sun rises. Running and walking are Link’s only means of transport when he is a child, but when he is an adult, some new ways of getting around are introduced.
Horseback riding! Yay! After helping out your childhood friend Malon, who lives on Lon Lon Ranch, she allows you to use her horse Epona whenever you need her. All you have to do is play Epona’s Song on your ocarina and Epona will come running, though there are certain limitations as to where Epona can go, for example, she can’t go into dungeons or tight areas. She is much quicker than running on foot, and can be quite helpful if you’re trying to complete a timed quest. You can also shoot arrows while riding on Epona, to kill those annoying little Poes that fly around Hyrule Field. Enemies can’t hurt you while you’re riding Epona, which makes riding her even more enjoyable. Epona’s Song can also serve a second purpose besides travel: the cows you find on Lon Lon Ranch seem to take a liking to the song and produce milk that you can carry around in a bottle and replenishes health.
You can also transport between places by using some of the songs that you learn on your ocarina. Most of them transport you to the beginning of a dungeon or something, but that can be incredibly helpful, because reaching a dungeon can take quite a while and it’s nice to have a shortcut you can use. You can also use the magic spell Farore’s Wind to create a temporary portal between two locations that you can use, but I don’t really like to do this, because it drains your magic energy and is kind of useless to me actually.
Navi – Annoying or Helpful? Ah, what can be said about Navi, Link’s guardian fairy? It’s a nice concept, a small fairy that helps you by telling you the weaknesses of enemies, gives you clues about what to do next and is an all around good friend. So then what’s the problem? Well, Navi can also be horrifically annoying. If there is a certain thing that you are supposed to do next, and you have not done it and are perhaps working on a mini-quest or something else, Navi won’t leave you alone. She says “Hey!” and the up C button (you can see a small version of the C button bad on the top of your screen) flashes until you click the up C button. Then she tells you what you should do next. And if you don’t do it, she just keeps doing it…again, and again, and again, until you just want to smash her into the ground while wearing your Iron Boots. I think I could definitely live without Navi, or at least the part of her that compels her to harass you until you do what she tells you.
Play it again and again... Would you want to play this game again? Definitely! There are so many little things that you can do in the game that it would be nearly impossible to do everything your first time playing through, and that would make you want to play again. Also, it’s just so fun! Talking to all the characters to see what they say at different points in the game is something you’d want to do, and trying to obtain all the heart pieces available could keep you busy for a long time, as would completing all the mini games and quests. Some of the characters are very entertaining and interesting, such as the Running Man (he runs through Hyrule Field and even challenges you to a race when you’re an adult...that’s impossible to win...), the man in the windmill (who can be quite angry), Nabooru (seemingly aligned with Ganondorf and leads the all-female gang of Gerudo thieves), King Darunia (leader of the Gorons who loves music), and Talon (Malon’s sleepy and forgetful father). This is a fairly long game, with puzzles and dungeons that become more and more difficult as you progress through the game, so it will probably take you a long time to get through the game, and you might become frustrated at times, but I haven’t met anyone who’s regretted buying the game, or anyone who’s played it once and never again.
All in all, this is a classic game, and was widely coveted when it first came out. The story is very original and quite entertaining, the graphics are wonderful, and the soundtrack is fantastic. This is a game that everyone should have, and I can guarantee you will find something to like about it...you may even become obsessed with it.