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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Genre: Action/Adventure
Players: 1
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release date: November 23, 1998
Written by: Tyler Norton

The year was 1998; a year that brought great changes to pop culture all around the world. That year we saw El Nińo pound New England, Apple unveil the iMac, Seinfeld air its last episode and Pokémon air its first. Yet, something else great happened in this year. Something that literally transitioned traditional gaming to the way we see it today: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time launched. This game is considered one of the greatest games of all time by critics and fans alike. Yet, how did this game hold out? Join me as we take a look inside the dark and mysterious world of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time…

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time opens up with a very interesting introduction. A boy is asleep and dreams of a castle being invaded andtwo horses storming out of the castle, one protecting someone and one pursuing them. Soon after, we learn of a place named Kokiri and a young boy. That boy is link, and he is the only Kokiri without a fairy.

This soon changes when a fairy named Navi, sent by the great Deku Tree, storms in and awakes Link. Navi tells him that the great Deku Tree wants him to go to him because he has been cursed by an evil spirit. By the time Links get out and heads to the Deku Tree, we learn it’s getting worse than it appears.

Link must go in and search for the culprit, a large enemy known as the parasitic armored arachnid, Gohma. Once beaten, Link learns his mission: save Hyrule from the evil that will be coming very soon. The exact same evil that haunted and cursed the Deku Tree. From here, your mission becomes clear, gather the sacred gems and unlock the key to destroying the ultimate evil and restore peace to Hyrule.

Gameplay wise, Ocarina of Time is unlike any before it. Stepping away from previous ways of moving around in a Zelda game, you could now roam freely and choose which way you want to go. For example, you could wonder through Hyrule, Lon Lon Ranch, Death Mountain, and more. This granted excellent freedom to anyone playing and in a sense put them in control of the way you move. A new battle system also came out of Ocarina of Time with new targeting. Players could use the Z button to lock on enemies and engage in fire with them using their various weapons. Once locked in, you can even ask Navi to see info on that enemy. In a way that was very similar to the Tattle Log in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

Weapons played a major role in Ocarina of Time. Weapons included the classic sword, sticks, deku nuts, bombs, boomerangs and even the legendary Master Sword. You could equip these weapons in the menu by using the C-stick and then by using them against enemies. Aside from standard weapons, you can also use magic to attack your enemies. Magic is obtained by the fairies and is measured by a green bar in the upper left corner. The more it’s filled the more magic you have. Examples of magic is the Din’s Fire and Farore’s Wind.

Elaborate dungeons also make the gameplay very unique. Set up in a maze form, you must go through various obstacles, enemies, and puzzles to make your way to the boss room where you will fight the boss of the area. Once defeated, you are either rewarded the Spiritual Stone, or later in the game an awakening of a sage. Like any other game, the dungeons get harder and harder as each dungeon passes.

Like the title suggests, an ocarina plays a very large role in the game. As a child, you have a basic ocarina, but right before you turn into an adult, you receive the Ocarina of Time. Every song you learn is stored in the menu and each has special abilities. For an example, playing Saria’s song, you can contact Saria and enter the Forest Temple. Other songs include Zelda’s Lullaby and Minute of the Forest.

Epona’s song however has a very special ability. It allows you to ride Epona, a horse from Lon Lon Ranch. You can ride Epona only as an adult and only in designated areas. You can make Epona go faster by pressing the “A” button. As you go faster, carrots displayed on the screen go down. When you run down to one carrot, Epona slows down and more carrots go up.

Aside from the main mission, you can go on various side quests to kill some time and earn various rewards. For example, a common enemy named the Skulltulla also comes in Gold Skulltullas. If you slay a Gold Skulltulla you receive a token type thing that can be traded in for various items.

Graphic wise, the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time went above and beyond the call of duty. Not only was it the first 3D Zelda game, but it really set the stage for other 3D Nintendo games. The first thing you notice is the character design. Clean models made the characters stand out a lot and look very realistic to a high degree. Also, amazing expressions gave each character there own style and persona. You could truly see the emotion in the face of each and every character in the game.

Bosses and monsters also had a great design. You could see a very evil expression in their faces compared to one of a “good” character. For example, in Gannondorf you can see the evil in his sharp white-ish eyes. The graphics clearly depict more expression in characters like Link and Gannondorf, but still…every one has some awesome expressions that makes them look life-like in a way that couldn’t have been done before.

The landscapes were absolutely amazing. The vast lands portray great detail and look very realistic. You can see the great detail in the areas like Hyrule, Kokiri Village, and Zora’s Domain. This made the area you were in look very life like in its own mythical way. Even the items were designed in great detail. Whether it was the ocarina or the container of Lon Lon milk, the items looked excellent. This really capped off the graphics because it blended so well with the characters. It really just finished it off and made the graphics so realistic and well done.

Music and sound really played a big role in the game as well. Naturally, you’d be able to use the ocarina and man, it sure sounded great. It sounded just like an actual one to the farthest degree. The catchy tunes played by the c-stick made the game a lot more enjoyable. Background music also is big and offers a very mythical setting to the game. You can really get into the music and quite enjoy and appreciate it more than any other game. The beats are so easy to follow and they are very relaxing. The background music really sets the tone of the level as well. For example, in the beginning the music is quite calm and relaxed, but as things pick up…the music develops a harder edge.

Although there are no voice-overs, you can hear some of the characters make noises. For example, if Link falls you can hear him scream and yell. Same applies for other such as animals. You can actually here a rooster in the morning and even hear the cows moo. It’s a neat add that keeps the pace of the game going.

Let’s say you use your sword to hit an enemy or something that can’t be penetrated, you will hear a loud clang that sounds like metal hitting metal. This means you can’t hurt or break that object or enemy with a sword or whatever weapon you are using. You must use another method to break or kill it.

Replay value on this game is pretty good. Once you beat the game, there isn’t much left to do story wise. However, various side quests make the game seem a little big longer. For example, trying to collect the Gold Skulltullas will be quite time consuming. Also, saving up rupees to earn more wallets and such takes up time as well.

Other fun quests includes collecting masks at the mask shop and shooting around in the gallery. This makes for extended gameplay and a break from the main storyline. Also, you can even sharpen some of your skills by doing various side tasks. So that is always a plus. Even playing through the story again is quite fun! Once you finish, you get the sense of “It’s over?!” and then get the idea to re-create the excellent experience you just played. So overall, the replay value is quite good and makes for another play through.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best games out there. Excellent gameplay, amazing graphics, great sound and music, and a good replay value calls for one of the best games Nintendo has ever published and this game highlighted the life of the Nintendo 64. Games don’t really get any better than this game and this could quite be the best game ever.

Personal Thoughts:
I’m going to be flat out, this is one of the best games I have ever played and it is one of the most fun games ever. I spent a lot of quality time with this game and I wouldn’t trade the experience for any other games out there now. I loved the gameplay and I have to say the most fun area had to be the forest temple. The dark feel added to the experience and slaying the ghastly enemies had to be one of the best moments in the game. The graphics of the area and the game as a whole played a major role as well. I haven’t seen graphics like that in a while, and they could easily pass as new.

So if you haven’t played this game before, go out and pick it up now. This is one of the best games out there and the experience couldn’t get any better. The game is worth the price you pay for it without a doubt!


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