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WiiU

Beating The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the First Time

by Bryan Rose - July 14, 2015, 3:21 pm EDT
Total comments: 11

Bryan talks about what made him give Ocarina of Time another try.

I had never beaten a Zelda game before until recently when I struck Ganon’s tail one last time and beat the 1998 Nintendo 64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

There are certain game series that I’ve just never gotten into, for whatever reason. Zelda is one of them. I’ve played Link to the Past, but never got past the first time you enter the Dark World. The furthest I got to Ocarina of Time previously was the Forest Temple. I bought Majora’s Mask on the Wii Virtual Console, but never really played it. I bought Link’s Awakening recently, but it’s sitting in a drawer, ready to be played seriously one of these days. Same goes for Wind Waker.

So it’s weird for me now that I took my time over the last week to play Ocarina of Time from start to finish. After watching the ending, all I could think about is how excited I was to try other games in the series. But I also questioned why, out of all the other chances to play it, this Virtual Console iteration was the one that grabbed me? I’ve tried so many times before to play this one, considered one of the greatest of all time, but I’ve failed. I had the Ocarina of Time/Master Quest disc for the GameCube, I had the Wii Virtual Console edition, and I even rented the N64 version a few times. What made this time work?

I would have to go back to all the times that I stopped playing, or why I had decided in my head not to continue. One of the things in particular that turned me off the first couple of times was how daunting the dungeons could be. I made my way fine past the first few dungeons the game throws at you before you travel forward in time, but once I got to the Forest Temple things started to become serious. I had also failed to collect many heart pieces by the time I got that far in the game, or get the items necessary to make the dungeons much easier. To say that I was constantly dying and getting frustrated would be an understatement. I hadn’t learned how to play a Zelda game successfully, and that turned me off from the series for a good while.

What compelled me to go back and try one more time? Probably the prestige. Ocarina of Time is still considered one of the greatest games of all time. If you look at Metacritic, the game stands as the highest ever at 99%, a record that will remain for some time. Even our 2011 Ocarina of Time 3D review gave it a 9.5. How could I keep continuing to just ignore and never play a game that’s been so well reviewed? It’s not that I didn’t like the game - I just never felt a compelling reason to continue. So I set it upon myself to beat the game, whether I liked it or not. If I didn’t, at least I’d have an interesting story to write here. If I did, even better, as then I could judge the game by the sum of its parts.

The end result? Well, I didn’t want to do a full review, as I thought that I would rather write an article on why I got into the game rather than how I felt about it as a whole. But if I were to give Ocarina of Time a score now that I’ve beaten it, I would give the game a 9.5. It’s recognition as one of the best video games of all time is fully warranted now that I’ve completed it, and it will stand the test of time as a revolutionary video game that so many other games have emulated from since its release in 1998.

People will rag on me about this, but I’ll say this: the Wii U Virtual Console release, complete with save states was also a big reason why I gave the game another try. That, along with a walkthrough, helped me tremendously. Obviously, those who played the game when it first came out in didn’t have that luxury. But things like walkthroughs and save states helped me learn how to play a Zelda game the right way. It taught me how to get heart pieces, use weapons properly, solve seemingly impossible puzzles, and so much more. Yes, I had a helping hand in beating the game, but now that I’ve beaten it, I want to play more Zelda games. I may be late to the party when it comes to the series, but hey, better late than never!

Ocarina of Time is an incredible video game that every person needs to play. Whether you play it like I did, or you go about it with zero help, it’s a game that you’ll play now and instantly get why other games are designed the way they are. The graphics are a bit dated, sure, but other than that this feels like a modern video game but released in 1998. It’s truly amazing just how revolutionary Ocarina of Time is. And now that I’ve played it, I understand why it’s considered one of the best video games of all time. Zelda is a series that I’ve been trying to get into for ages, and through the Wii U Virtual Console release of Ocarina of Time, it finally helped me gain an appreciation for the series.

Talkback

ThePermJuly 14, 2015

wait how many games have you beaten?

Quote from: ThePerm

wait how many games have you beaten?

a million

Ian SaneJuly 14, 2015

I have never beaten Twilight Princess.  I'm at Ganon's castle, or whatever the last area is, but never ended up beating the game.  I did the same with Ocarina of Time, though I only left it unbeaten for a few months.  I tend to do that enough with all games to see it as a trend, getting to the end of the game but never bothering to finish.  The reason I do that is simple, the journey is what I like about the game and when I get to the end there isn't anything left to see so I have no motivation.  Now if the story is great then I do but Zelda?  Zelda storylines are a big bag of nothing.  There is no narrative that I'm on the edge of my seat to see the conclusion of.  For Zelda I like to explore the world.  I get further in the game because it opens up more of the world to explore.  At the end I've explored the whole thing so I tend to lose interest.

OedoJuly 14, 2015

I find it kinda interesting how on one side, I see this "Ocarina of Time is so overrated" narrative pop up frequently nowadays, with some people going as far as to call it the most overrated game of all time. One of the main arguments from these people is how poorly the game has aged. Yet I also constantly see people who have just recently played it for the first heap as much praise onto it as people who played it in when it first came out, or list it among their most favourite games of all time. I fall into the latter camp as well. It wasn't my first Zelda, but I didn't play through Ocarina of Time (or play it at all as far as I can remember) until Ocarina of Time 3D and I came away feeling the same way Bryan did. Granted, a lot of the "outdated" talk is based on the visuals and the 3DS version obviously helps in that regard, but the game's magic certainly wasn't lost on me even a decade and a half later, and it's legitimately one of my favourite games of all time. That's a pretty impressive feat considering how much hype surrounds this game and how built up our expectations are. Living up to that kind of legacy for some many people, all those years later, is a pretty damn strong counter to "overrated" and "outdated." Needless to say everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however.

azekeJuly 14, 2015

I am one of the people whose first Zelda experience was Ocarina on 3DS.

I didn't particularly cared for it. Illogical puzzles made me stop playing for months several times.

Majora's Mask and Wind Waker both have parts that haven't been surpassed since in other games, but to me as PC gamer nothing in Ocarina particularly impressed. Compare that to Mario 64 that blew my mind earlier the same year when i also played it for the first time. Or to Majora on Wii VC that i couldn't put down and played through in the span of several weeks later.

StrawHousePigJuly 14, 2015

I've beaten OoT and Wind Waker a few times, Twilight Princess and Majora's Mask a couple times, and LttP... several. I've never "completed" one, though.

Never finished Skyward Sword even once, though.

ThePermJuly 15, 2015

idk, what during the pc era at the time really was as impressive as oot?

I mean the only games I can think of out at all that were comparable would have been Half-Life, Star Craft, Tribes, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil. Which, are all great games, but totally different than Ocarina.

I had never played a Zelda game before Ocarina of Time. This poster always stared at me though.

http://www.x-entertainment.com/updates/pics/nesposterlarge.jpg

Earlier in the year I had played Quest 64, which was vastly impressive at the time. The game had featured day night cycles, very appealing music. People compared it to FF7 which had an amazing story, was longer and more adult oriented. I however was never impressed by ff7. Quest 64 was totally enjoyable. My only real experience at this point (8th grade to freshman year) with rpgs was the tactical rpg Shining Force. Anyhow, you may not be impressed with quest, but it did a whole lot of things as a game that we should have been impressed with if you weren't looking at pre-rendered "fake" backgrounds. This was all real time.

Anyhow to Zelda. I had been an avid reader of gaming magazines throughout the n64 era. I saw an add for "Osareena of time" (I didn't realize it was the instrument, i thought it had something to do with the ocean). It talked about how it was a new Zelda game, my only exposure to Zelda was the cartoon and the poster. Well that sounded cool. I read this magazine in the book section of a super market. A few months later I see another EGM with some print add saying I had better get the Gold version. I was convinced. I needed the Gold version. The magazine articles explained all the things you could do in the game. I was pretty new to gaming, in that I had never played a game my older brother hadn't bought. I never asked for games until n64. When Mario 64 came out I became a true gamer.

I convinced my mom that we should go to toys r us and reserve Ocarina of Time. Well we went and did that.
When the time came to get the game, my mom told me they were all out. I threw a sobbing hissey fit and called her on her bullshit. She had planned on having me wait until Christmas to get it. She relented and eventually gave me the copy.

Anyway, my brother gets home. I haven't opened the game yet. He comes in and we start playing it. This game had some atmosphere I hadn't seen in other games. There were cut scenes. Which there had been some in MArio 64 and a few other games I had played, but nothing as memorable or of the same level of quality as this. They just failed to compare to it(i hadn't played MGS yet, I didn't play that till 2000). This was in game stuff. I was super impressed if it was in game stuff.

The first level was interesting. I had a bed time at this time. I had to go to bed around 10 pm to 12 pm. I played about an hour past my bed time. I didn't beat the dungeon on the first sitting. I went to bed. My brother and I got up in the morning and we started playing. I let him take over a bit. I watched him get to Gohma and than we had to go to school.

I got home from school, and at this point i was more on my own. My brother would be hanging out with his friends. I started to slowly go through temples. I took extra time because I liked to look around at everything. Everything impressed me. The little bugs that came out when I picked up rocks impressed me. The frogs were cute. I was amused by the sounds of the forest. I'm pretty sure if you weren't familiar with any other Zelda game than because everything was new than this would be your most impressive trips.

Eventually I got all the spiritual stones, and I knew from the magazine I would eventually be playing as older link. Also, that there was some sort of time travel element.

Ah crap, I led him into the sacred realm!

I kept playing through the game at a snails pace. It took me about 2-3 weeks to beat it. I think 72 full hours. I beat it remarkably faster than mario 64. mario 64 I spent a long time. I think I was more terrified of Bowser, than actually having difficulty with the game. I liked to goof around in Mario 64.

anyhow. The water temple. I get to the water temple, and I call up my brand new friend Eddie. He is in the same place, he got the game at the same time(did not get the gold copy), and he thought he broke the game. We talked it through and we finally solved the water temple.

Evewntually we would move on to beat the game. There is no way Ocarina of Time could be overrated. To me, when it came out it was the pinnacle of games. The only time I felt more impressed with the ending of a game was Super Mario 3.

At the time, if you were playing with fresh non zelda stained eyes, you were going on a technology high, or just a satisfying gameplay high, there was nothing that compared. The closest thing that would have compared at the time would have been half-life, but I still like ocarina of time better. There wasn't a point where I was like "Meh" (i kinda lost interest when I got to Xen) Actually, during the time period I only played to the point where the shit goes down. I didn't pick up Half-Life again till later. Half-Life is very linear though.

Quote from: Oedo

I find it kinda interesting how on one side, I see this "Ocarina of Time is so overrated" narrative pop up frequently nowadays, with some people going as far as to call it the most overrated game of all time. One of the main arguments from these people is how poorly the game has aged. Yet I also constantly see people who have just recently played it for the first heap as much praise onto it as people who played it in when it first came out, or list it among their most favourite games of all time. I fall into the latter camp as well. It wasn't my first Zelda, but I didn't play through Ocarina of Time (or play it at all as far as I can remember) until Ocarina of Time 3D and I came away feeling the same way Bryan did. Granted, a lot of the "outdated" talk is based on the visuals and the 3DS version obviously helps in that regard, but the game's magic certainly wasn't lost on me even a decade and a half later, and it's legitimately one of my favourite games of all time. That's a pretty impressive feat considering how much hype surrounds this game and how built up our expectations are. Living up to that kind of legacy for some many people, all those years later, is a pretty damn strong counter to "overrated" and "outdated." Needless to say everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however.

It doesn't feel outdated in the least bit. Graphics obviously have aged but the gameplay is as good as anything out there. The presentation was tremendous as well given the N64's power.

Obviously these were more impressive in 1998 as opposed to 2015, but this didn't like a title that showed its age. It looks old, but plays extremely well.

LucarioJuly 15, 2015

If I did a top ten it would be on here a patercialy didn't like mask because of the stupid 3 day thing (which most people love but I don't') it would be on a close tie with ME2 on number 2 spot.

Ian SaneJuly 16, 2015

The last time I played OoT was back when the Master Quest came out of the Cube.  I played through the Deku Tree and then lost interest.  I didn't have an N64 back in 1998 so I had played OoT for the first time around 2000/2001 so the Master Quest came out a little too soon after I had last played it and the content was different enough to really catch my interest (hey it was free with a pre-order for a game I was 100% going to buy anyway).  So I don't really know what the game is like from a modern perspective, though the N64 game doesn't look all that nice anymore.

I think a younger gamer may miss out on exactly how ambitious OoT was at the time.  Today what is the most ambitious game around?  GTA V maybe?  This was like that.  It's pretty much the first truly great adventure type of game in full 3D with a world you can fully explore.  Just that alone made it astonishing.  Back then we were impressed that Link rode a horse!  That was a bulletpoint because games just didn't let you do that.  No one would give a shit about that now.  I think of lot of the impressive stuff at the time has seen become the expectation.  If you didn't have day and night in a game like this now people would wonder what the hell was going on.  The z-targeting, the context sensitive action button, having different control schemes depending on what item you're using - those are expected features now but back then they made the game stand out.

rlse9July 16, 2015

I never beat Ocarina of Time.  I started the game many times but always lost interest or got stuck and stopped playing it.  I still have the Gamecube disc with it and Master Quest, one of these days I'm going to play the game through to completion.  The only Zelda game I've actually beaten was Wind Waker, I came close on Spirit Tracks and got quite a ways into Skyward Sword, but in general Zelda games just haven't held my interest long enough to complete them.

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