Ocarina of Time: A timeless classic

 (Courtesy of IGN.com)

(Courtesy of IGN.com)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is, in my opinion, the best game ever made. It revolutionized not just the Zelda series when it was released, but also the concept of what a video game could be. On top of that, the level, character and story designs are nothing short of brilliant.

Now, I know that this game came out a while ago (November 23, 1998), but it just recently reached its ten year anniversary, so I thought it appropriate to do a review of this game.

For the uninitiated, the formula for the Zelda games is to collect three different objects from three different dungeons in order to open the Door of Time, which is where the Master Sword lies hidden. Once you have the Master Sword, you will be told to collect five more objects (different from the first three) so that you can gain access to Ganon’s Castle, where you eventually have a showdown with Ganon, the main villain. That is the very basic plot.

In addition, in every Zelda game there is one central object or game mechanic that the story and game play revolves around. Well, for Ocarina of Time, you probably guessed it…it’s the Ocarina of Time. As Link (the main character) progresses through the game several characters will meet up with him and teach him a song that has a special meaning to them. You can then play the songs whenever you want to get what they give. One, for example, calls the horse, Epona, that you receive during your adventure. Another will change the time of day. You will also use several of these melodies to access hidden doors or paths within the dungeons.

While the Ocarina of Time is the key item, there is also a major game mechanic that every aspect of the game revolves around, and that is time travel. In the beginning, when you are young link and you take the Master Sword, time fast forwards seven years into the future, and so you become adult link. You aren’t the only thing that has changed, however. All of Hyrule (the setting where the game takes place) is completely changed as well, and not for the better (I don’t want to reveal too much here).

Now, it wouldn’t be a Zelda game without any side quests, and, fortunately, Ocarina of Time has plenty of optional quests for you to fulfill. Whether it be finding all of the pieces of heart (4 pieces=1 heart container, 1 container=1 more life), getting all of the equipment upgrades (bombs, arrows, etc.), or destroying all 100 gold skulltulas, I can guarantee you that this game will keep you busy for a long time. The heart containers are dispersed all throughout the large Hyrule Field and the myriad villages and towns branching off of it, and even in both eras of time. I like the variety of tools and weapons you need get the different pieces of heart. And because you need some items obtained from side quests, the pieces of heart provide more incentive to complete the optional quests. These diversions don’t just help you become stronger, but they are also a blast to do, such as the Gerudo Shooting Range or the bombchu bowling alley. One of the few criticisms I have with the game is two of the side quests can be near impossible to figure out without the aid of a guide, such as getting the powerful BigGoron Sword and collecting masks for various characters. Once you know what to do, however, these quests are extremely fun, fluid and memorable; some of the best the game has to offer.

The nine dungeons that you visit while exploring the vast world of Hyrule are hands down the best out of any other Zelda game. The puzzles are top notch, the items you obtain from each one are very inventive, the atmosphere is engaging, and the boss fights are unforgettable and epic. This is where many aspects of the story come in, and I love how each of the dungeons provide a close to one of the many different stories going on at the time. The writing for the game is mostly serious, but it has the right amount of comedy mixed in to make the story feel like light and happy one.

Now, don’t even get me started on the music. Quite simply, the music in the Ocarina of Time is some of the best music ever created, and I’m not just talking about for video games. The Ocarina melodies are especially magical. Each one feels as though it is tugging at one of your emotions inside of you, and it is a feeling that will always leave you with a smile. If you ever play the game and then listen to the music, images of what was exactly happening during the moments that those songs were played in the game will instantly flood your mind. I love the music so much that I have almost every song in the game on my iPod.

There are just so many things that add up to make the wonder that is Ocarina of Time, and each one of those tiny aspects is perfectly done. I have played Ocarina at least ten times, and I never, ever grow tired of any part of it. In fact, just writing about it makes me want to play it again right now. I would recommend this game for anybody who lives on this planet, regardless if you are a gamer or not. There isn’t really anything bad that I can think of about the game. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is an incredible tale that everyone, no matter who you are, needs to hear and experience.