Cult review: Ocarina of Time

Originally posted here for The University of Sheffield (ForgePress) on 23/04/2013

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was first released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and has been renowned as one of the greatest video games ever made. In 1998, it sold 2.5 million copies despite being released 39 days before 1999. It still deserves high praise and should be remembered as a pinnacle in gaming history.

The game is based around Link, an orphan misfit who must fight, solve and time travel his way through a variety of dungeons in order to awaken six sages that will help save the kingdom of Hyrule, defeat evil overlord Ganondorf and rescue princess Zelda. The fact that it is such a huge game yet is still incredibly addictive is down to the way the game develops; you discover a new gadget and area often enough to keep the game-play exciting and fresh.

Not only is the main game captivating, there are a number of side quests and mini-games to keep your attention, such as collecting Gold Skulltulas for a cursed family or simply fishing for fun. The characters Link meets are also memorable and imaginative, such as the boulder-like Goron who dances with such vigour to one of Link’s melodies you see Link back away in the cut scene.

Not only does it encompass a brilliant storyline, it introduced us to z-targeting, or locking on to a target, something that has been adopted by many games since then. Therefore is not just the game itself that is groundbreaking, but its innovative ideas that have affected a generation of games that followed

The best thing about Ocarina of Time is the sound. The background music is able to reflect a place and mood so perfectly, yet unlike most games they are not repetitive to the extent that it gets annoying; there are enough layers to the music that stops this from happening. The Hyrule field music actually changes depending on what time you are there, if you are standing still and whether or not you are in a battle.

The sound effects for small things make a big difference to the overall feel of the game. Whether you’re opening treasure chests or just listening to the strange crunching noise that signifies a Skullutula is near, the musical cues show attention to detail and add another element to this beautifully crafted game.

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