This review originally went live in 2007, and we're republishing it to mark the arrival of N64 games on Nintendo Switch Online.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time did for the Zelda series what Super Mario 64 did for the Super Mario Bros. series. It successfully brought one of the most beloved game series in video game history into the magical new world of 3D gaming. And not only that, but it added tons of amazing new game play ideas to a game that was already chock full of them. As with most Zelda titles, Ocarina of Time sold out across the world upon its initial release and stayed sold out at many retail outlets for weeks after its debut. So how has one of the greatest video games in history held up over the years and does it still have that special magic that made it one of the most successful video game titles ever made?
Of course Link got an updated play control system to go along with his 3D visual makeover and the result remains just as playable as it ever was, even if subsequent adventures refined things following the introduction here of the traditional 3D Zelda template. Link can still slash with his sword, but this time there's a bit more variety, not to mention the ability to Z-target specific enemies. And it wouldn't be a Zelda game without the boomerang, a bow & arrow and an assortment of doohickeys and tools to help you on your way — plus the eponymous ocarina, of course.
Although the look of the game does take a bit of getting used to these days, once you get a grip on it you'll soon find that Ocarina of Time remains a real joy to play. You can map certain items and weapons to specific buttons which make them quite easy to get to in a pinch. You'll also find yourself roaming around the vast areas in the game on foot, not to mention horseback, which can make traveling longer distances much faster. The dungeons are also a nice surprise and add a much better feeling of exploration when compared to the previous 2D Zelda titles. While many gamers wondered whether or not Nintendo would be able to successfully bring their much-loved Zelda series into the third dimension with the visuals that their Nintendo 64 console offered up, Nintendo once again succeeded with flying colors and changed the way Zelda would be played from that moment on.
The visuals in Ocarina of Time might look dated by today's standards, but there's no denying how impressive they were when the game was first released. Depending on where you play, the polygons can be a bit jagged, the textures might look a bit ropy at high resolutions, and the lighting effects aren't quite what we've become used to, but you'll still find moments when you'll catch yourself just marveling at what Nintendo was able to accomplish on its 64-bit console and how great the Zelda universe looks in full 3D. As with just about any game, there are some places that look better or worse than others — and you may want to investigate the remarkable 3DS remake if you find the early polygons of the era distractingly primitive — but overall Ocarina of Time stands as an impressive achievement and still holds up quite well visually all these years later.
An amazing musical score has long been a staple of the Zelda series and Ocarina of Time is certainly no exception. Koji Kondo and his team managed to not only compose some absolutely magnificent original tracks for Ocarina of Time, but also put together newer versions of the songs heard in many of the classic Zelda titles — famously minus the main Zelda theme, of course. You'd be hard-pressed to find a track in the entire game that isn't catchy or incredibly atmospheric, and every track seems to carry the mood of the game at that moment perfectly. The sound effects are executed just as impressively and make this one of the best Zelda audio experiences ever crafted.
There's a reason that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as one of the greatest video games ever created and it won't take you long to (re)discover why that is. The game takes everything that was great about the Zelda series and somehow manages to bring it all into a 3D world without a single hitch on the first try. Not only that, but the developers also managed to add enough new elements to make the game truly stand out from the previous releases in the series beyond the extra dimension. Ocarina of Time is honestly as close to video game perfection as you can get and an absolute must-play for any video game fan.
This game deserves a 10/10
One of the best games of all time.
Still one of the best games ever created.
I think I figured out why Nintendo won't release Donkey Kong 64 or Majora's Mask. 2 words: Expansion Pack. If the Virtual Console can't use Controller Packs or Rumble Packs, Why would it be able to use Expansion Packs? Unless Nintendo figures out a way to solve that problem Majora's Mask will never come to the VC. (Good thing I have Majora's Mask for my N64)
They'll come out sometime.
I'm guessing cheeseman's post was before the news that Japan was getting/got Majora's Mask and so did Europe. tee hee
I've never played Ocarina of Time, rented it when I first had my 64, but didn't get much time with it as I was a outgoing kid. I'm buying this when I get home today. YAY!
My favorite game of all time.
I would say this is the overall best Zelda. Twilight Princess had higher highs, but this is more consistent and it never drags.
i dont see whats the big deal the games okay not the best
Not the least bit shocked by the score, anything less would frankly be an insult...
Great review, Corbie...
This and Majora's Mask are brilliant games even today and actually best alot of games that come out now. One of my favourite games of all time alog with the brilliant Majora's Mask.
Still one of my all time favorites
A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess, I don't really know which is far better than the other. Sigh.
There all great, to me that is. I never really played the portable versions of the Zelda games, which I never did before when I was born in 1995 (no, not 1985). The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap or Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks on DS, haven't played those either. I might be getting a GBA for my birthday this year. My birth date is - October 02.
The Mario and Zelda games are still brilliant, one of the best franchises I've ever played in the history of gaming. Later on, I'm gonna finish up A Link to the Past 100% completely and start this game all over, but THIS time, get the Deku Nut upgrade in the Lost Woods as a child FIRST before becoming an adult.
@TankHowland Beware; someday someone will come out of the shadows and stab you with an N64 controller. THE FANDOM IS HARDCOAR.
But yes, this game is awesome.
A Link to The Past and Majora's Mask were both awesome but Ocarina Of Time Definitely Comes out on Top. A few of my friends think that the graphics were crummy though, but them
Am I the only one who thinks this game isn't this great?
I mean, it is an amazing game! But everyone says it's the best Zelda game but it's not.
This game does deserve a 10/10 but Wind Waker is better so it deserves a 11/10
I am going to buy this on VC on saturday. This will be the first 3-D zelda game I will play. Hope I enjoy it as much as you guy seem to
why such a low score? It deserves at least a 25/10! Great review as always corbie,even if the score is way to low!
i'm not going to tell you im such a fan that i own all this stuff, or ive beaten every game, But i will tell you that I love zelda for it's overall brilliance and inspiration on my messed up life.... And that no matter what, Zelda will be the greatest series of ANYTHING on this earth. I would die for zelda, because for me it is not just a video game it is a way of life. And I know deep in my heart that ocarina of time is the greatest pop culture piece of the history of ever.
I got this N64 version on the VC , havent played it like i should , but its there when i want it , next is to get Majora's Mask
More 8/10 if you ask me. Maybe even an 7/10.
@SkywardLink98 sorry it isnt your precious skyward sword!
This is the ultimate N64 title. From awesome sword and shield combat to good exploration, this makes this one of the best Zelda games of all time. Though I have some minor problems. There is no cursor to show where you are going to shoot with a slingshot or a bow. The camera gets a little frustrating at some points. Other than those two micro problems this is certainly a rewarding game. 9.5/10.
Agreed with the comment on top.
9.5 sounds fine.
@undead_terror So am I, lol. Never really got into this one.
@cheeseman Yo do realize what the memory pack was for, right? It increased the RAM from 4 to 8MB. Compare that with the Wii's 88MB Main memory. It has more than enough power to run an N64 game.
@Cookieman336 I stopped playing the game around the fire temple. By then it felt like a chore to play. It's a good game, just not all that great.
@cheeseman But both of those titles are available ^_^ Donkey Kong 64 came out a few months ago on the Wii U VC and Majora's Mask came out years ago on the Wii VC - I'm sure the latter will eventually arrive on the Wii U VC.
@SuperMarioFan1995 I think although that the others are all perfect classics, I actually prefer Twilight Princess - I think I like the dark, melancholy atmosphere and the fact I spent 60+ hours messing about before I even tackled the 3rd Dungeon by going after Poes, bugs and heart containers / pieces =0p
Best game ever!
@Cookieman336 To put it simply, yes =0p
Just playing through this Stone Cold Classic for Christmas '21. (Mrs has never played till now, Can't believe anyone should go through life without playing this 1)
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