Back before games cost $60 and video rental stores were still common, gaming was different. Normally you would get out of school on Friday and after a week long deliberation head to the video store with your parents. Getting there, and making mom and dad agree to get you a game, was only half the battle though. Usually you could only leave with one game, and this is what you were stuck with for the whole weekend. Sometimes you could end up with a real bomb like Superman for N64, but every so often you would pick up a game that would totally wow you. For me that moment came one fateful Friday when I rented Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
I was always a fan of the Zelda series as far back as the original Nintendo console. So when I saw a brand new Zelda game that was made for my still new N64 I was beyond excited. Even though I had hyped the game up to myself the whole way home I was still blown away when I actually turned it on. The presentation of just the opening screen was fantastic. The music, sound effects, graphics, and simplistic nature of Link simply galloping across Hyrule were all fantastic. After pressing start and making my save file,(which in the process overwrote some other poor kid who rented the game before me)I was ready to embark on my adventure.
From the very beginning the story just feels epic. An old evil has descended upon Hyrule and it is up to Link to stop it. As Hyrule’s only hope you run around collecting various gems until you undergo a “transformation.” After your “transformation” you find that Hyrule has been vastly changed, and as a player it will test all of your skills to fix it.
In the process of saving Hyrule you run into some of the best developed characters and dungeons in video game history. From the melancholy rancher’s daughter Malon to Gandondorf, the game’s big villain, every character is deep and their personalities are totally flushed out while playing. The dungeons also have their own different “personalities,” and the fact that they are so fun and unique makes the typically tedious process of dungeon crawling a real highlight. The only real let down gameplay wise is the sometimes irritating Water Temple, but that is only one small wrinkle in an otherwise flawless game.
For the younger generation who may have missed out on this game, and do not have an N64 handy, do not despair! Nintendo has breathed new life into this ocarina with ports on the Gamecube, 3DS, and the Wii’s Virtual Console. Next time you have a few bucks and some spare time I highly recommend checking this game out. Even in today’s more technologically advanced gaming age Ocarina of Time still can hang with the big boys in terms of sheer fun.