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Review

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Review

  • Game release: November 23, 1998
  • Reviewed:
  • N64

Ocarina of Time definitely follows in the footsteps of the previous games, and the result is a game that can't be called anything other than flawless.

by

The Legend of Zelda is one of those magical series of games that always cause huge amounts of excitement. It sprung onto the NES scene in 1987, and it was a runaway success. Remember the chip shortages that delayed the 1988 release of the Adventure of Link? Or what about the first time you saw pictures of the Japanese version of 1991's A Link to the Past? With the possible exception of Mario, no Nintendo series has caused such a level of hysteria or left behind so many great memories. Ocarina of Time definitely follows in the footsteps of the previous games, and the result is a game that can't be called anything other than flawless.

You begin the game as a child of the forest. But by the time you're done, you'll be a fisherman, an errand boy, the hero of time, and, yes, even a traveling mask salesman. The game is chock-full of minitasks and subgames that run alongside the main quest, saving Hyrule from Ganondorf's evil. This leads to an extreme feeling of freedom, even though a good portion of the game must be executed in a linear fashion. Stuck at the water temple? Then why not go scout around for some extra heart containers while you think about your dilemma?

The control really holds the game together. Most 3D game designers still haven't mastered the art of controlling characters in a 3D environment, but that's not the case here. Link moves beautifully, and controlling his various actions is a breeze. Essentially, your B button will always attack with the sword. The A button, however, acts as an action button, performing every non-item-related task in the game. At various times, A lets you climb, grab, dive, talk, and lots more. Three of the C buttons are used for items, any of which can be assigned to any of the three buttons. The top C button zooms in to a first-person perspective, which allows you to look around. The R shoulder button is used for blocking with the shield. The Z trigger is perhaps the most important button when it comes to dealing with enemies in the 3D realm. Hitting Z while looking at an enemy will cause you to lock on to that opponent. From there you can circle-strafe around them, hop from side to side, and always block in their direction. This is key to fighting all but the most basic of enemies and is extremely well conceived.

While there are some tough monsters, the main enemy in Zelda is the puzzle aspect of the game. Ocarina of Time forces you to think before you act, with numerous puzzles spread throughout the entire game. Some puzzles must be solved simply to exit a room, while other, larger puzzles sometimes cover an entire area. Some of the game's puzzles are totally optional, usually rewarding you with a piece of a heart container - which you'll need, but you won't have to collect every single one as long as you're quick with the Master Sword.The game's items are the usual assortment you've come to expect from a Zelda game. The boomerang is an invaluable tool for young Link, as is the slingshot. These weapons are mere toys for Link's adult body, however, so you'll be using the bow and the hookshot (or grappling hook) for most of the game's latter portions. Bombs, of course, come in handy no matter how old you are. The ocarina is probably the most-used item in the game. Throughout the entire game, you'll learn various tunes for the ocarina. Playing these tunes does a lot of different things, such as turning night to day, opening certain doors, calling your horse, and warping from place to place. In a world as large as Hyrule, warping is an extremely useful time-saver.

Time plays an important role throughout the game. As you proceed, time passes, and day quickly becomes night. At night, the fields of Hyrule can be a dangerous place. Time travel also comes into play, allowing you to jump seven years into the future and back again. The two times act similarly to the light and dark worlds in the SNES Zelda game, A Link to the Past. Things you do as a child will affect locations, and a few puzzles require the use of both time periods.

Graphically, Ocarina of Time is simply unmatched. Everything about the game just looks fantastic. You can see Death Mountain in the background of some portions of the game, complete with various smoke effects depending on what stage of the game you're in. The cinematics, which, of course, use the game engine, look absolutely spectacular, and the effects used (the time travel sequence is especially sweet looking) really give the game a spectacularly majestic look. The game's sound is also really quite amazing. Every tune in the game perfectly relates to the onscreen action. Even the songs you play on the ocarina are hummable. The sound effects are also perfect. The speech consists of mostly laughter, gasps, and battle yelps (heavy on the "hi-yah!") and works very, very well. The game also takes your location into consideration. Dungeons and large canyons sound appropriately echoey, while underwater, noises are nice and warbled.

In a way, Ocarina of Time is a textbook example of retro done right. It manages to combine small aspects from all the previous Zelda games, giving you the same Zelda feel but in an entirely new way. Even in its huge, fiercely 3D world, the game retains a truly classic feel. This is a sequel at its finest, expanding on previous themes and bringing plenty of new stuff to the table.

Even if you're specifically looking for it, it's hard to find fault in Ocarina of Time. OK, to be fair, there's a slight bit of slowdown in a couple locations, such as the water temple, but it isn't frequent or harmful enough to even matter. The game offers a nice challenge, a stunningly well-told story, and the gameplay to back it all up. This game is the real thing. This is the masterpiece that people will still be talking about ten years down the road. This is the game that perfectly exhibits the "quality not quantity" mantra that Nintendo has been touting since the N64 was released. In a word, perfect. To call it anything else would be a bald-faced lie.

The Good
N/A
The Bad
N/A
10
Masterpiece
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

About the Author

/ Editor-in-chief, Giant Bomb

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

Discussion

48 comments
COCPORN
COCPORN

I cannot get the video review to work. Anyone else?


I have this game on N64, and it is beckoning.

widdowson91
widdowson91

Even 16 years after it was originally released Ocarina of Time remains the greatest video game of all time. I can't praise it enough.

Paragoob
Paragoob

This is the best game ever made.

BlackGenjii
BlackGenjii

If there was one game that I could say was perfect, it would be Ocarina Of Time. The graphics, gameplay, score, story, environments and that triumphant rising from beginning to end all collide in the best N64 game ever made. Amen.

ill_dumpz
ill_dumpz

What a game. A game you can pick up years later and enjoy all over again. Engaging, entertaining, challenging and crafty. Puzzles to simulate the mind, epic battles that still stand today, and a wide world to explore if you're seeking adventure. This game really does have something four everybody. Although I wouldn't give it a 10 out of 10. More often than not you can find your self wandering around looking for what to do next with little to no indication on what to do next. Plus although hyrule is a large world with lots to do, it's filled with much empty space and makes exploring a chore until you become adult link, after which you get the horse. That being said, faults like these are few and far apart, and the game stands On its own two get in ALMOST every aspect. 8.5 out of 10 in my opinion. Suttle imperfections they could have been prevented stop it from a perfect score. But this game (in my opinion) is as close to perfect as it gets. Still the best game I've Ever played.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

"This game is the real thing. This is the masterpiece that people will still be talking about ten years down the road.  In a word, perfect. To call it anything else would be a bald-faced lie."

Only games that make you feel like this should get a 10 imo. Good review.

I'm glad I didnt read it in 1998 though :P it contains some spoilers. I myself was totally unaware of the time travelling aspect back then.

drekula2
drekula2

ocarina is one of the best games ever created and it still holds up today.  before you say it's nostaglia, keep in mind i first played this game only a few years ago - and not in 1998.

Mugzippit
Mugzippit

Gamespot's IGN review blurb "This is the masterpiece that people will still be talking about ten years down the road." posted in 1998. Meanwhile fifteen years later...

DonutSupreme
DonutSupreme

There's a reason this game scores perfectly from countless sites... that's because it IS perfect. In my opinion it's the greatest game of all time.

Shad0wg00n
Shad0wg00n

The Comment right below me  --->  retarded fanboy 

grum88
grum88

5/10 cat best this is sh!t how this piece of turd got 10 is beyond the realms of intelligence

Shad0wg00n
Shad0wg00n

Influential but far from flawless and extremely overrated...


6/10

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

People who say this is overrated, dont understand how this game influenced videogames, and the industry as a whole. This was a perfect example how videogames should look, sound, feel and play.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

I wish I could go back to 1998 and play Ocarina of Time for the first time. I will never, EVER forget that sh*t....

Flawless!

unohanakenpachi
unohanakenpachi

i did not played ocarina of time when it came out i played it like 3 years ago when i was 15
But still its my favorite videogame so far its just perfect.
im not of those players who cares about the graphics by the way

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

These days, a lot of people like to call OoT overrated, and these "people" follow these rules:

- They never played Ocarina of Time when it came out.  They were watching Elmo when it came out.

-They never played a Nintendo game before 2003.

- They don't like Zelda games (or they only play Call of Duty and Halo)

- They don't go with the "Nintendo flow"

- Ocarina of Time is not overrated. It may get too much undeserved attention, but at least it's as good as the critics say it is.

- Attention haters: If you are playing Zelda games today, it's all because of this game. Welcome to the 90s.

Best Zelda game of all time.

Ezioprez9709
Ezioprez9709

The best game I have ever played. NUFF SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paoksis
Paoksis

back when games had no score

LionHeart897
LionHeart897

This game is so good God plays it and every game in the world wishes it could be as good as it!

 

Luminious0
Luminious0

HAIL TO THE KING OF ALL GAMES!  # 1 !

backgreen4life
backgreen4life

This game was a disgrace tbh. Its really overhyped and that. When i come hame to Tallcrass, ill buy a chippy right? Then ill slap on Halflife 2 and feel sick to shit. Thats a better experience than playing this game.

 

Btw...when i was a wee guy chilling in Gorgie,i was eating a Pot noodle and i caught the fucking 20 pounder.

epic542
epic542

Quite possibly one of the greatest games i've ever played and Every person who is into gaming needs to try this game out.

Connor982450
Connor982450

Yes, the legend of Zelda. Everyone in my class (except for a few people with good taste in games) tell me that Nintendo sucks and gaming companies like sony rock. Trust me when I say this, they obviously have not played this game. This game feels like it was made level by level by angels from heaven. The gaming experience changed gaming forever. Any game that you see today with lock-on combat or auto jumping, they owe it ALL to this game. And don't even get me started on how perfectly brilliant the gameplay, story and controlls are. Score:11/10. This was, and still is the best game of all time

eliebaz
eliebaz

nintendo you used to be great

angelbless
angelbless

After all these years, I have never experienced anything like Oot its still the best Zelda game and one of the best games ever created. A perfect score for a perfect games indeed :)

Demonjoe93
Demonjoe93

Second. :cool: Also, best Zelda still after 14 years.

ill_dumpz
ill_dumpz

I'm so glad you decided to talk about the "realms" of intelligence. for starters, there is no such thing as a realm of intelligence (you idiot) and for the next, this game shaped The way games are made today. between this game and final fantasy 7, rpg/adventure games Wouldn't be anywhere near what they are today. Show a little respect.

chimekolover
chimekolover

@Shad0wg00n A game that influences and even changes the game industry is over-rated? O.o your logic stumps me.

godmachine0603
godmachine0603

@GSJones1994 Ive played every zelda there is. I bought this the day it came out. I thought it was overrated then, and still do. Id put Majoras Mask and Wind Waker way above OOT.

guily6669
guily6669

@GSJones1994 And yeah, this is a lot overrated...


Not a single game deserve 10\10. a game that has the full pontuation, must be the most perfect game ever made, and can't fail anything.


10\10 game would probably mean a game that will stay the best for a million years or so, since every god damn game fails on something.


Those Zelda games, don't even look as funny as the good Sonic for Dreamcast, and lot's of SEGA mega drive good old games...

guily6669
guily6669

@GSJones1994 Well everyone has their tastes... I hate 99% of all those nintendo games, including those zeldas.


Anything that looks too animated, full of magic... ~not my type.


I preferred a billion, trillion times SEGA\Megadrive\PS1\Dreamcast on the 90's to the nintendo stuff. But hey, that's just me.

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@Ezioprez9709 2nd best for me. The best game that I have ever played is Super Metroid, which I think is Nintendo's greatest achievement. This is still fine as well.

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@LionHeart897 Yeah, but I have a different opinion. I know i'm gonna take a lot of heat for this but I think the best game of all time is Super Metroid.

GSJones1994
GSJones1994

@Demonjoe93 Agreed. Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, and Skyward Sword ain't got s#!t on OOT.

Ezioprez9709
Ezioprez9709

@GSJones1994 @Ezioprez9709 I enjoyed Metroid and also most of the series but in Super Metroid the backtracking is insane. There are also some annoying secret passage ways you may not know about and your running around for 20 minutes figuring out what to do but overall it's a pure legend just like Ocarina.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

@godmachine0603 @ThatOneGamerGuy  AlttP = The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  ;)


Its the Zelda game that came out before Ocarina of Time. (On the console generation before it. The SNES.)

Its the second best Zelda ever. Ocarina of Time being no. 1.

godmachine0603
godmachine0603

@Ezioprez9709 @eliebaz Are you INSANE! Nintendo is GARBAGE now. Look back at the NES and SNES days. The amount of fantastic games that came out then as compared to now! Thats such a huge difference i dont even know how to compare the 2!!

unohanakenpachi
unohanakenpachi

@Ezioprez9709 @eliebaz yeah i agree nintendo is still great but these day kids think they are so rude just because they play M rated games and think nintendo is for kids

godmachine0603
godmachine0603

@brainiac1988 Right on, thanks for the reply, I figured it out shortly after I posted. I LOVE OOT, but my personal fave is Majoras Mask. Regardless, most Zeldas are awesome!

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time More Info

  • Released
    • 3DS
    • GameCube
    • + 2 more
    • Nintendo 64
    • Nintendo 64DD
    Ocarina of Time definitely follows in the footsteps of the previous games, and the result is a game that can't be called anything other than flawless.
    9.7
    Average User RatingOut of 37873 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    Developed by:
    GREZZO, Nintendo
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    3D, Open-World, Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    N64 GC
    Violence
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    3DS
    Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes