The Legend of Zelda…In your face, 3DS style.
The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time 3D review.
Its 1998, I am 13 years old. It is approaching christmas eve and I know for certain that I have something amazing waiting for me in my stocking. You see not a few months previously a certain game was released that is rocking the world. That game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time. The first 3D adventure game of the Zelda series to be released on the behemoth that is the N64. I know that never in my life will I be this excited to play a game- ever.
Its 2011, I am 26 years old. It is Friday the 17th June and I’m on the motorway heading back to London from a holiday. I know that today I need to find a certain game. A game that once rocked the world. You see today, a remastered gem is being released on the nintendo hand-held box of joy – the 3DS. Fully remastered in 3D, at an eighth of the size. That game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.
There are a lot of parallels in my life but none make me feel as old as this happening. My favorite game of all time has been lovingly re-mastered from its original N64 form into a full 3D adventure on what is essentially the Game boy’s Great great grandson…twice removed.
Last night I finished it- in normal mode (we’ll get to that).
And was it good?
Yes. Lets continue:
The Legend Reborn?
It’s an incredibly un-nerving word these days; “re-mastered”. I remember when they “re-mastered” Red Dwarf, which just essentially meant “Fucked about with” rather than “re-mastered”. The process of re-mastering is supposed to happen if there is room for improvement. If the original product didn’t quite match the original creative idea. Now “fucking about” with the LOZ Ocarina of Time is an extremely dangerous idea: as the fan base is roughly the size of China and could quite easily overthrow the worlds government if displeased. Telling those fans that they are going to “tweak” their favorite game is tout amount to suggesting they swap their penis for a third testicle. But tweak it they did and as one of the “third testicle” brigade, I have this to say: Not bad boys, not bad.
They have managed to re-do most of the game without actually sacrificing any of the feel of the original. The major change concerns the animation of the characters, the character models and textures. Everything has been re-done but with all the accuracy and charm of the original- they just look less like rod puppets now. That in my book is a good thing. Rather than make new artwork and change the game to look like Twilight Princess- they have lovingly re-drawn the originals. Apparently the game now closer matches the original concept artwork for the game. That is the true meaning of re-mastering: make it look like it was always meant to. Oh and they’ve also made it 3D…was that not clear? As mentioned in my 3DS review, I’ve never been a fan of 3D, I think the whole cinema thing is a gimmick that will hopefully soon fizzle itself out. But the 3DS convinced me there may be a place for it in gaming. Having played through LOZ in 3D I can confirm I’m a convert. It was breath taking. Seeing the epic moments like lifting the master sword and traveling through time coming out of the screen at me was more than a little impressive. If there is a game that shows people how 3D should be done, then this, at the moment, is it. The 3D does make me feel like I am playing with little miniature models though- you know the ones you used to get out of 20p machines back in the day: or little Subbuteo players. I kind of like that- makes me feel like I’m playing with action figures instead of a video game. an important thing to note is that it contains the original soundtrack from the N64. No orchestral re-mixes here (Except for the 3D end credits). I know Craig from Screwattack sited this as a negative in his review but I couldn’t disagree more. The soundtrack was perfect the way it was- in pure Midi old school fashion. Sure the orchestral ones are epic and all but they just wouldn’t sit right in the game in my opinion.
Whats New Pussycat?
Having played the original N64 version to death (Completed 15 times, not even an exaggeration- in fact it may have been more!) I have noticed a few key changes: all for the better i must say!
The N64 always had the “kick in the shins” debilitation of being limited to the four C buttons ,four action buttons and a D pad to assign actions and items. The original delt with mapping items to three of the C buttons which meant you had to jump back into the item menu when you wanted anything else. Taking advantage of the 3DS Duel screen- a vast improvement has been made to the equip and item menus. This time items are assigned to the X and Y buttons (Keeping A and B as action) as well as two additional touch screen buttons ( marked as I and II). At first I was dubious of this but it turned out to work really well as they are just in thumbs reach of all the other buttons. On the other side of the touch screen you know have instant access to the ocarina without having to assign it as an item (big improvement!). Also you can now reference all your learned ocarina songs whist playing it by pressing the sheet music button- gone are the days of flipping back to the menu to try and remember the notes to Nocturne of shadow! The boots have now been added to the items list instead of the equip (or Gear as it is in this version) so you can assign them to your buttons which is a god send for the Water temple and Shadow temple because it means you don’t have to keep going into the menu to change your bloody footwear.
Oh god the water temple. Any player of OOT on the N64 knows what I’m talking about here. But whats this? They’ve CHANGED IT? Well its only surface changes but god damn it made it a hell of a lot easier to understand! First off the afore mentioned hot swappable boots mades it a lot less time consuming as you need to change your footwear more often than Gordon Ramsey tried to re-launch his carer. Also the places where you can change the water level are now clearly marked by glowing water artwork on the doorways and a little water level symbol by it. I remember the first time I played it -back in 1998 and there was only one bit I has to seek help on: and it was in this temple. In the middle room where you change the water level to the mid point : it lifts a platform which you can then dive under and get a small key. In the N64 version you would have had NO IDEA about that happening unless you were incredibly lucky and happened to be looking there. In this version, the camera changes angle as the water raises to show you the opening. Big tick right there. And the BIGGEST improvement is that you now RUn with the iron books on when you are under water! This speeds up things no end and anyone who suffered playing through at the speed of a turtle tied to a post with elastic will rejoice with me.
Masters May Apply:
As an added bonus- when you complete the game for the first time it unlocks the “Master Quest”. This was originally seen on the gamecube bonus disk that came with “Wind Waker” and is essentially a mirrored, harder version of the game. Im about to play through this for the first time so more on that later…
So it seems that kids today require a bit more hand holding than the ones back in the 90’s. Luckily Nintendo has got you covered with the addition of sheikah stones – Big ass versions of the stones of truth that glow green when a new video clip is available. Once you step inside it gives you little flashes of locations or actions you may want to try to get your adventure going. Alternatively you may want to hand it to someone who played the game years ago to finnish it for you.
Also Navi has gotton a lot more pushy. If you haven’t done anything remotely right in a dungeon for a few seconds she will chirp up with advice to seek out once of these stones. Trouble is these stones are only available OUTSIDE the dungeon, and you can bet your ass it don’t have the one piece of advice you are struggling to find! Nice one Navi- now back in the jar.
How do you improve on perfection? Well you’d have to go a very long way to beat this. Although Ocarina of Time is very much a game of its time- lacking some of the recent innovations like clever cameras. and having some very dated 2D artwork in places- it’s what we signed up for! Im putting bets on the fact that 80% of people buying this game played the N64 original and are just dying to get back into Hyrule to re-live their youth. I know I was- and I couldn’t wait for Eponas nose to poke me in the face in 3D.