This Is The End(ing) 6.11.12: The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
Posted by Gavin Napier on 06.11.2012
411′s Gavin Napier returns with a look into The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64. Many call it the greatest game of all time, but how’s the ending hold up after nearly 15 years? That answer and another Hall of Shame inductee in this week’s This Is The End(ing)!
It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to use a couple thousand words to spoil some video games for you! I hope you’re having as much fun reading this as I do putting it together, because it gives me an excuse to go down memory lane and play some old games that I haven’t dusted off in a long, long time. In some cases, it lets me play some games that I’ve never played before…like this week. When I was a kid, mom and dad weren’t going to plunk down the money to buy multiple video game systems. That meant when the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo were released concurrently, I had to make a choice. I chose the Sega Genesis. I don’t regret my decision, as the time I got to spend with Sonic the Hedgehog, Toe Jam and Earl, Mortal Kombat with blood, Golden Axe, and Phantasy Star games were all very enjoyable. Plus, I was a beast on Joe Montana’s Sports Talk Football. Halfback pass, fools!
Oh, you won’t disturb me. I’ll be in my room masturbating.
Joe Montana said that line on national television once. It was a skit for SNL. Amazingly, it didn’t make the cut for commentary on any of the Sports Talk Football games. Here’s that brilliant sketch, for your viewing pleasure and as proof that I’m not informing you of my personal habits.
RIP Phil Hartman.
Player 1, Meet the NPC’s!
Guest#7928 starts the divisiveness immediately.
This game was too hard because it didn’t have different save locations and as you mentioned death made you lose exp. But also you barely got any lives and when you lost them all you got kicked back to the starting area.
Enemies also were continuous and did major damage. This is one of the first games I ever got as a kid and it helped make me a generally strong gamer because it forced my reaction times and coordination to be good. You still need to learn the ins and outs of other genres but it helps prepare you for high level fighting games, RTS and FPS because you’re used to processing information quickly. It’s similar to how a lot of pro athletes played organized sports as little kids or received training/coaching.
I don’t know if I ever beat this game. I might have, but that run to the final dungeon is hard enough, and then there is a string of bosses even to get to your shadow. I remember the thunderbird, you couldn’t even hit it unless you used thunder which ate up most of your MP. And since it was so far away from anything it was hard to practice it too.
I wish they’d remake this game with some modern conventions and some updated graphics. Maybe they sort of have with the more recent Zelda games that I haven’t generally gotten a chance to play. Zelda does re-use concepts a bunch.
I’ll be the first to admit that games from that era were much less forgiving. There were some games that were, truly, too hard. We’ll probably do a special section on the most difficult games I’ve ever played at some point. However, I don’t think Zelda II was necessarily too hard, as much as there was a steep learning curve involved. For the target audience, which was young American children, it was a huge diversion from the original Zelda and everything else that was going on at the time. I think, especially after going back and playing it myself, that the game is certainly difficult but still playable.
mr halliday responded with great vengeance and furious anger.
This game was to hard because you are weak minded. Games today are a joke, my 10 year old daughter beats these games in less than a week. A WEEK! The worst part is video games STILL cost 50-60 bucks and they last a WEEK! Try Faxanadoo, id bet most “gamers” wouldn’t last an hour because u had to, wait for it……………. THINK!
Well, the cost of games today isn’t so much about the content but about paying scores of people to develop and program them, then recouping the cost on them. Generally speaking, games haven’t gone up as much as other items that the general public uses. Going back to the mid 80′s, I remember NES cartridges costing between 40 and 45 dollars most places. Now, they’re generally 60 for PS3 and the 360. That’s a about a 33% increase. Cassettes were roughly $10 in my neck of the woods, CD’s today go for about $14 when they sell. That’s a 40% increase. And don’t get me started on gasoline or milk or bread. I’m old and I don’t want to get into a rant like a typical old codger. However, if you’re looking for games that make you think and present a challenge for a reasonable price, then I’ll suggest investigating downloadable games on the Playstation and Microsoft networks. Games like Braid and Limbo require a great deal of thought and are worth every penny you throw at them.
I’m about half convinced that Team J-Rod is a liar.
I’m aware I’m in the minority here, but Zelda II is badass. I still play it occasionally and can run through it, no problem. And let’s be real, it is FAR less cryptic than Zelda I, which people tend to look at through nostalgic eyes.
No problem? That game is tough, yo. Although, maybe you’ve mastered it like I’ve mastered Hudson’s Adventure Island or Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!. I’m a veritable beater of ass on those games. I don’t think Zelda was cryptic, though. It seemed pretty straightforward to me, especially with the information that you got in the instruction manual for a back story. Granted, things weren’t quite as fleshed out then as they are these days, but I understood what was going on when I played it way back when .
SuperLiger is in the same boat as I am.
Got this game as a kid, loved it cuz its Zelda hatedit because it was impossible for a little kid to play unlke the original. I mean hell it took me 20 yrs to find the hammer!!!!! I admittedly suck at video games but this was to much. I found more success wth the first one and Dragon Warrior than ths game. And to the commenter who brought up Faxanado, Zelda made me want to play this and agreed it is a very tough game as well. helo theres two series for your list, DW and the Faxanado series.
That’s pretty much how I feel about it. The game didn’t appeal to me when it was originally released, but in going back and playing it, I enjoy the challenge and am a little more capable of figuring out what to do next than I was back then. The original Zelda and Dragon Warrior were both excellent games, so no shame in gravitating more towards those.
And finally, stromi has a request.
Please do Rygar or Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins!!!
Just kidding. If and when (I’ll say when) I get around to the most difficult games I’ve ever played, I’ll definitely include Ghosts n’ Goblins. Rygar is a candidate as well, but may get muscled out by some other stuff. We’ll see, though.
Enough previews, it’s time for our feature presentation.
This Is The End(ing) 5-3: The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time marked a successful return to console gaming for the franchise after skipping a generation with the title “Link’s Awakening” being used to support the Gameboy Color. Ocarina of time landed on the Nintendo 64, and continued – if not elevated – the series’ standard for innovative games that are absurdly high quality. How good was Ocarina of Time? In 2006, Nintendo’s in-house publication, Nintendo Power declared that The Ocarina of Time was the greatest game ever to make its way to a Nintendo console or platform.
Considering the love they have for Mario and the huge library of classic titles that Nintendo has housed over the years, that’s quite the honor. Honors? Ocarina of Time has honors. Lots of them. There’s a good chance that Ocarina of Time is the most critically acclaimed game of all time. It took the Grand Prize in the Interactive Art division at the Japanese Meda Arts Festival. It took home a half dozen awards at the Interactive Achievement Awards. It’s the highest rated game ever on both GameRankings and MetaCritic, scoring a 97.48% and a 99/100 respectively on those sites. IGN declared a “benchmark for interactive entertainment”. In 2009, GameFAQs readers declared it simply the Best Game of All Time. It took home 21 separate “Game of the Year” awards, and has been included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Highest Rated Video Game ever. In addition to all of this, in addition to selling 7.6 million copies worldwide (good for 4th on N64 behind Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, and Goldeneye), in addition to universal praise from critics and fans alike, the game has one other great accomplishment.
It sold ocarinas. Ocarinas are a legitimate woodwind instrument, and thanks to this game, all sorts of gamer nerds and their friends started learning to play them. Until this game released, I had never heard of an ocarina. After it released, I assumed it was something that had been made up just for the game. I was wrong, though, as Ocarinas have been around for a long damn time, and are a big part of musical history in China and ancient Mesopotamia. I feel like this article is quickly becoming too intelligent for its own good, so here’s something to bring the level back down just a little. The Whistles go WOOOOO.
Ocarina of Time was developed right along side Super Mario 64, and both were intended to carry the Nintendo 64 console as familiar faces. The game checks in at 32 MB, which at the time was the largest game Nintendo had ever attempted. Because of memory concerns, there was a “worst case scenario” plan in place where Ocarina would follow Super Mario 64′s format of a central hub that led to warping to other areas of the game. As time went on, though, Miyamoto took a more hands on role with the game and made his vision a reality. Despite being developed side by side and being based off of the same engine, Miyamoto is on record as saying that Ocarina of Time evolved so much that he considers it to be a completely different thing.
Just as an aside here, Miyamoto is one of the greatest innovators in history. The fact that he’s a part of the video game industry is a huge blessing for gamers, and is the rest of the planet’s misfortune. I don’t think it’s exaggerating to put his innovative abilities and creative thinking prowess in line with guys like Leonardo Da Vinci. It just so happens that he focuses his energies on allowing people to have fun and enjoy themselves as opposed to super serious things like ancient helicopters and science. Miyamoto has pushed the video game industry forward on a number of occasions now, and it’s hard to imagine how much further back we would be without his development and imagination forcing the hand of other creators and companies. Ocarina of Time is just another example of that.
The game was originally intended to be a first person type game, but Miyamoto insisted that Link be visible on screen. In only 3 games, Link had become one of the faces of Nintendo. His combat style was intended to be graceful and fluid, engaging to the player both visually and in a contact sense with the buttons. Not having him on the screen would have been a terrible decision.
The game has been re-released, with much success, on the Gamecube as a playable ROM, on the Wii’s Virtual Console, and on the 3DS. It’s simply a game that people can’t get enough of, and rightfully so. While the game is outstanding on its own, another appealing part of the title is the fact that it has a “sister” game in Majora’s Mask. I’ll be looking at that one later, but the two games together tell have sparked some of the lengthiest and greatest debates in video game history regarding the story they combine to tell. This week, Ocarina. Next week, Majora. We’ll try to hack through the debate.
Now we’re at the part where I tell you this column, by nature, involves spoilers. I’m talking about the ending of games. This week’s game is 14 years old, and is from a system that’s a few generations old. If you’re not familiar with The Legend of Zelda, I’m not sure why you’re even reading this column. It’s pretty well established what this column is about by this point, and you’ve been given plenty of opportunities to turn back. If you continue reading and then complain that something has been spoiled for you, I hope you go swimming and only get sunscreen on one shoulder, resulting in a ridiculous and annoying sunburn.
This game, like most Zelda games, is set in the Kingdom of Hyrule.
I have no idea what any of that says.
The game opens with Navi, a fairy, waking Link from a nightmare. In the dream, Link sees a black knight chasing a girl on a white horse. Link is brought before the Great Deku Tree, the guardian of his village, who is cursed and dying. Link breaks the curse, but the tree continues dying. Link is told of a “wicked man of the desert” who is seeking to conquer Hyrule, who he must stop. Before finally dying, the Great Deku Tree bestows the Kokiri Emerald on Link and sends him to the Hyrule Castle. Before he leaves, his friend Saria gives him the Fairy Ocarina.
At the castle, Link meets Zelda, who has been having visions of the future. She feels that Ganondorf, the King of Thieves, is seeking the Triforce. As Zelda describes Ganondorf, Link realizes that it matches the description of the man who cursed the Great Deku Tree. Zelda gives Link the task of finding three Spiritual Stones, one of which he already has. Once he has all three stones, he can enter the Sacred Realm and claim the Triforce before Ganondorf does. Link begins his quest in Goron City, where he meets Darunia and fights King Dodongo, earning Goron’s Ruby. From there, it’s off to Zora’s Domain, where he obtains the Zora Sapphire after rescuing Ruto, the Zora Princess from the belly of a sort of whale.
Link returns to Hyrule, where Ganondorf is chasing Zelda and Impa, just as in his nightmare. Zelda sees Link, and tosses the Ocarina of Time into the moat, and sends brain waves to Link, teaching him the Song of Time telepathically. Link’s attempts to stop Ganondorf are futile, as he finds himself dismissed with a bolt of lightning and warned to stay out of his plans. Ganondorf leaves, and Link finds the Ocarina of Time. Using the Ocarina and the Spiritual Stones, he opens the door to the Sacred Realm in the Temple of Time. Through the door, he locates the Master Sword. After claiming the sword, Ganondorf appears and steals the Triforce.
Link awakens seven years later, in a distant corner of the Sacred Realm known as the Chamber of Sages. The Sage of Light, Rauru, tells Link that he was sealed way for seven years, or long enough for him to wield the Master Sword and defeat Ganondorf. The seven sages are capable of imprisoning Ganondorf, but five of them have amnesia after Hyrule was turned into a land of darkness by Ganondorf. Link is returned to the Temple of Time, where he meets the Sheik. Sheik guides Link on his quest to rid the temples of Hyrule of Ganondof’s monsters, which will allow the temples to awaken the sages.
After awakening the sages, Sheik reveals herself as Zelda, and as the seventh sage. She explains that the darkness in Ganondorf’s heart caused the Triforce to split into three pieces, as was prophecied. Ganondorf kept the Triforce of Power, but only two others chosen by destiny can carry the other two thirds. Zelda gained the Triforce of Wisdom, and Link the Triforce of Courage. Zelda gives Link the Light Arrows, which are necessary to defeat Ganondorf.
Ganondorf kidnaps Zelda by trapping her in a crystal and takes her to his tower. The six other sages assist Link in his journey, where he defeats Ganondorf.
This is the ending.
Once Ganondorf changes into Ganon and is defeated, he’s trapped in the Dark Realm of his own creation, still holding the Triforce of Power. You’d think they would have taken than from him. Ganondorf vows revenge on the descendants of everyone responsible for his imprisonment, and Link is sent back to his own time to be a child. Navi departs, and we see Link and Zelda meet up again.
The story here, and the ending, does wonders for expanding the timeline and chronology of the Zelda franchise. Before we wrap up the series next week, I’ll be posting a timeline of exactly what happened and when in the Zelda world to clear up any confusion there may be.
One Last Thing…
This week’s inductee to the Another Castle Hall of Shame is LA Noire.
After playing through a game that’s more old school fun than any Dick Tracy game could ever hope to be, this beautiful crime offering from Rock Star just punches you in the face. And stomach. And then kicks you in the balls (or ovaries, if you’re a chick). Then spits on you. And buys you an ice cream as an apology, but then just smears it on your head. Jerks.
We’ve got one more week of Zelda, but keep an eye out for another poll that will let you choose which franchise gets tackled next. Next week we’ll look at Majora’s Mask. Until then, you can contact me with the buttons below, on Twitter @GavinNapier411, or leave a comment underneath the column.
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“I’m about half convinced that Team J-Rod is a liar.”
No joke, man, I could boot up Zelda II right now and run through it…it’s one of those games that’s become deeply ingrained in my memory banks to where I can recall where all the key items are. About a year ago, I made a run through Death Mountain without the CANDLE, because I wanted to do the castles out of order. Same thing with Friday the 13th for some odd reason…give me 40 minutes and I can beat that game without losing a single counselor or kid on the lake.
I will persist that Zelda I was cryptic. Burning random bushes, bombing non-descript walls, knowing to blow the flute “in a place where fairies don’t live,” walking through walls in the second quest? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the game and have made many a playthrough, but did anyone growing up actually figure out all these secrets without the aid of the Nintendo Fun Club magazine or a friend who had done so??
Posted By: Team J-Rod (Guest) on June 11, 2012 at 12:47 AM