The late 90s was considered a golden age for Nintendo and the Playstation. ‘97, ‘98, and ‘99 were some of the best years that Nintendo and Playstation were having. These systems made so many great games it even demoted Sega into a third party developer in 2001. Today were going to look into the success of one title in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This game was so well made that it not only increased the Zelda fan base, it also had a pretty good story as well as some great dungeons to conquer, as well as fun boss fights.
The story of Ocarina of Time followed a child by the name of Link. Link lived in a forest known as Kokiri Forest, a place that adults could not enter and all of its residents never grew up, they stayed as children. One day the Deku tree, the Great Spirit and somewhat of a leader for the Kokiri’s sent a fairy by the name of Navi to search for Link to begin his journey to save the land of Hyrule. To help save Hyrule, Link had to find three spiritual stones and give them to the princess Zelda of Hyrule to keep the Triforce out of the hands of the evil Ganondorf. As Link traveled the land of Hyrule he made many friends such as the Gorons and the Zoras. Once Link gathered the Spiritual stones Ganondorf went after the Ocarina of Time, causing Zelda to escape Hyrule giving Link the Ocarina. Link then takes the Ocarina in the three spiritual stones to the Temple of Time where he would gain the Master Sword to defeat the evil Ganondorf.
However, to Link’s surprise when he pulled out the Master Sword, he was launched seven years into the future and he was an adult. Link began a new journey at that point, to save the sages so he can gain the power to defeat Ganondorf, as well as save Hyrule from darkness. Link would gain aid from old friends as well as new ones to overcome many challenges along his journey. As well as having to go back and forth in time from kid to adult to allow certain events to happen in the future for him to complete tasks.
Players traveled the land of Hyrule entering dungeons commonly known as temples to gain items that would further help them on their quest to save Hyrule. To conquer these temples players have to solve puzzles as well fight monsters to get to the dungeon boss. Each of these temples and dungeons were cleverly designed with challenging puzzles as well the bosses having their own unique fight.
Dungeon crawling, puzzle solving, and monster fighting aren’t the only tasks players would encounter. Players would also do small tasks such as helping freeing a ranch from a corrupted owner, helping a city get their food supply back, and even learning songs on your Ocarina to aid you in your quest. The Ocarina will be one of your best friends in this title, this musical instrument can do quite a lot from opening doors, changing night into day, even teleport you to the entrance of the temples.
One of the newest innovations Ocarina of Time added was the Z-targeting system. This targeting system allowed combat easier allowing players to focus on one enemy and allowed players to dodge attacks easily.
Another new innovation was horseback riding. This was the first Zelda title to allow horseback riding and it was also the first Zelda title to allow combat on horseback. However, the combat on horseback was very limited and all you could do was shoot your bow and arrow. For a N64 title and being able to shoot your bow and arrow from horseback was a pretty awesome way to shoot at monsters while on your horse back in the day. You could even run over monsters with your horse causing a lot of damage.
The 3D world environment in this game was so rich and jaw-dropping back in the late 90s. Each area of Hyrule had its own detailed environment and was just truly eye-popping. However the only issue with the environment was the Hyrule market place. The environment in the market place was extremely blurry trying to add somewhat of a realistic background with in-game characters which really didn’t mix very well. However, aside from the market place, the world Hyrule was really colorful and amazing.
Now with all of these good things that Ocarina of Time had going, what could possibly go wrong? Well that’s actually the case there was one thing wrong with this title and that was Link’s fairy, Navi. Navi would provide players with tips and direction of where to go next. Well that’s the thing Navi would be very persistent that you go to the next place you needed to go to save Hyrule. Made just riding around Hyrule a non-enjoyable experience with a fairy going HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! Navi was so annoying and so hated she was listed as one of the most annoying sidekicks by media and gamers alike.
Overall, this Zelda title still took the cake in 1998 and it even won Game of the Year. With the ability to go from kid to adult at will, to riding around Hyrule on horseback, to the new Z-targeting system, from the many unique boss battles, this game deserved that award and it’s still considered one of the greatest games of all time among the gaming community. In fact a lot of people still play this game even today whether it is on their N64s that they held just to play Zelda, the GameCube remake, or even the Virtual Console on the Wii. This game is still a classic and is definitely a most own even to this day.