Pros: Gameplay, high replay value, graphics, music, everything
Cons: Umm...I wish the world was bigger? (I like to roam)
The Bottom Line: If you still have an N64 and feel nostalgic and never got to play this game, do yourself a favor and go play it.
I remember when the N64 was cutting technology. Not so much anymore, but I'm too poor to buy a Playstation or Wii. But I'm content to continue playing games like Banjo-Kazooie and Legend of Zelda on my N64. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is, in fact, one of my favorite games of all time.
The Story Link lives in the forest with other Kokiri children without any worries. Except for those nasty dreams he's had lately. One day he is summoned by the Great Deku Tree. Link, as it happens, is part of a prophecy, and must go on a quest to rescue the land of Hyrule. The Triforce, a mystical golden emblem said to be created by three goddesses, is being sought after by Ganondorf, an evil man who wants to use the Triforce for, what else? World domination. Link's quest will involve fighting monsters, rescuing friends, breaking curses on temples, solving puzzles, sneaking around on side quests, playing games, earning money, becoming the Hero of Time, and killing the evil Ganondorf.
It's a lot for a kid to handle, but Link's a tough dude.
Gameplay Roaming around freely to swing your sword at anything that moves always makes for a pretty good game. Ok, so you can't swing your sword at just anything (I mean, you can try to kill a random person, but it's just not going to work). The point is you're free to do just about anything when you want and how you want.
From the start, it's just nice to be in a 3D world with great graphics. You can go to places once you've experienced key moments in the game. For example, you can't leave the forest until you talk to the Deku Tree and help him with his little curse problem. Likewise, you can't even help the Deku Tree until you acquire important items. But you're always told what you need and what you have to do (and even if you're not explicitly told, you'll figure it out pretty quickly) so it's no problem. The only time I feel a little thwarted by this is late in the game. I'm a goof and like to kill the big bosses over and over, but due to certain restrictions (trying not to give too much away here), I have to kill my favorite one before I can move on to some of the others. Aww. Oh well.
The controls are simple enough. Every item you get can be assigned to a button. Every time you get a new weapon/item, little onscreen instructions explain how the item works button-wise and what you can do with it. You get to play with everything from a bow and arrow to a Batman-style grappling hook (hookshot). You get to carry around all kinds of goodies, from bottles filled with any number of things to an impressive blue chicken (no joke).
It's easy to move and use all your items. You can swim, dive, and go fishing. You can climb things and grab ledges, push and pull, and even roll when you hit the ground from a jump. It gets even better when you win yourself a horse - then you get to ride around and jump (reasonably sized) fences and even do some horseback archery. It's good times all around.
Sidequests and Games When you're not charging toward a flaming dragon, sword drawn (or giant hammer, rather), there are a nice little number of other ways to amuse yourself. You can do a few sidequests, such as trading items with several people/creatures in order to obtain special items for yourself. Catch runaway chickens. Kill golden spiders to lift a curse unrelated to Ganondorf. A lot of these sidequests will get you extra goodies that, while you don't necessarily need, can come in pretty handy. The same can be said for the games. Most of the time, winning games (archery, bomb throwing - whoo hoo!) will get you extra pieces of heart which extend your life. But they're still fun to play whether or not your goal is getting pieces of heart.
Graphics and Music Everyone who has played this game enjoys both. I've never heard anyone bash either. The graphics are fun and pretty dang good for the time they were developed in. While they're not as far along as later Final Fantasy games (does anything ever beat FF?), they're a lightyear or two from say, Final Fantasy 7. But it all comes down to when they were developed. The nice thing about this game is that the gameplay and cutscenes are both the same in terms of graphics. Neither is better than the other, which makes it nice since you're not wishing Link could look as good as he might during a cutscene. The colors are vivid and details are great. Even today, I occasionally spend time watching items revolve (particularly a set of jewels) before taking them. Certain bad guys still creep me out, and I can't even count the number of collective hours I've spent just riding my horse over the fields and jumping fences.
The music always fits the scene, whether you've entered a dangerous zone or just walk into town. Playing music on your ocarina is fun (provided you can play), and I like how all music fades both at night and when I call up a rainstorm with my music, or when you go underwater. The Hyrule Field theme is pretty much famous, as is the montage of music once you've won. You really couldn't find better music to fit with this game. The Shadow Temple music though, is decidedly creepy. But so is the entire temple.
Why is it Legend of Zelda when Link is the hero? Zelda is actually the princess, though I have no idea why her name is always in the title even when she's nowhere to be found in the game. I assume it has something to do with the original games (since there were many more before this one).
But who cares? The game is great. I love everything about it and am about to start playing it yet again. I bought this game in......actually, I have no idea when I bought this game. During the heyday of N64 and sometime during high school. That means I've had this game for at least 6 years. Probably more. And I still love it. It still provides a tiny challenge too since I tend to forget where all the heart pieces are and there are still sections that make me apprehensive (like the Bottom of the Well and the Shadow Temple). Yeah. Even after 6 or more years. This game is why I quickly get bored with Final Fantasy - I don't want to just stand there and pick "fight" or "cast magic" choices. I want to actually dive in and hit buttons to swipe my sword and cast magic in real time. I love real time sword fighting. I still tap my foot to the music; I occasionally hum pieces of it at work. I still drag out the game as long as possible when I play it by killing bosses multiple times before moving on. I play every game, finish every sidequest, obtain every item.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a legend itself. If you haven't played this game, find a way to. You're sure to enjoy it, even if it is now considered oldschool.
By now, even the most diehard Nintendo-heads have accepted the fact that the Nintendo 64 represented a giant leap backwards for the company. It wasn't enough to just have 64 bits. The cartridge format discouraged many potential third-party developers, including the mighty Squaresoft. As a result, the N64 suffered from a terrible lack of decent RPGs, sports games, and decent games in general. Nintendo's popularity waned, and they lost the top spot in the gaming industry to up-and-coming Sony and … more
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time transports you into the fantasy world of Hyrule with vibrant, real-time 3-D graphics. With full freedom of movement, your quest takes you through dense forests and across wind-whipped deserts. You swim raging rivers. Climb treacherous mountains. Dash on horseback across rolling hills. And when you reach your destination, you delve into dungeons full of creatures that fight to the finish to put an end to your adventures, and your life. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of Nintendo's most epic challenges ever. With 256 Megabits of action, this is one game that you won't finish overnight.