Hey there kids, it's The Hutch once again. Sadly, I willingly admit my absence has been unnoticed, and mostly not grieved among you loyal Socks Make People Sexy cultists, however I return with all the fire and intensity of the day after you eat Mexican.
Interesting how there seems to be a direct correlation between the number of articles submitted, and the nonsensical and almost unreadable nature of my work.
Well, here I am, back with a vengeance, ready to tear the internet a new one. That one, today, happens to be concerning what I consider to be the greatest game ever made. A number of you faithful freaks and perverts may remember that my number one top favourite game was Goldeneye007
. And while this is true, I will accept my bias and transfer it to a more transparent bias. Therefore, you can figure out the game that I am referring to, because it is an opinion that you share with me.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came at a time in our lives when we had been introduced to a console that had not been fully exploited yet. We were, at that time, unimpressed. Oh sure, there was that new Mario game, and it was pretty all right. And yes Star Fox and Goldeneye had been released the year before, to hungered (rather, starving) fans. But the question still lingered in the air, like a fart in an elevator. All were reluctant to acknowledge it, because we were all certain it was Shigeru Miyamoto's. But, like a shining light, in The Year of our Lord Nineteen Thousand Ninety Eight, came the highly anticipated 64-bit rendering of everyone's favourite pointy eared mute. And for a moment, one moment of unfathomable serenity, when war and malevolence stood still, all across this great Earth shared one, pure, unified thought:
"I can't wait to bomb some Dodongos!"
What I present to you is a compilation of editorials, each with different purposes. First, the formal review, second a personal retrospective, and finally a history and future of the series itself. I cannot guarantee these will be presented in a manner that is always understandable, in fact I can almost promise the opposite, what I can promise is that for an indeterminable number of thousands of words I will have stalled your getting a life.
Here we are at the first part of my article compilation. I will do my best to curb my overenthusiastic creativity, and try not to derail the review too much, so I can save as many words as I can for future use. Because words are expensive on the internet.
People often ask me to summarize things into single a word, and I usually respond with "Fuck", because they had not allocated enough space for me to add "you". However, if I were forced to by a very large, hairy man, then I would have to say "Epic". The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is nothing short of epic.
Let's have fun with a traditional breakdown, shall we?
This is an interesting topic to cover. On one hand, the models and environments are incredible. There is just an impressive amount of detail for the little machine, and yet it's not too realistic. There's a certain charm to it. Enemies, especially Ganon, were appropriately sinister, and at times genuinely horrific. The environment is large and expansive when appropriate, and at other times painfully claustrophobic.
For example, Hyrule field. The first time you leave the Kokiri Forest, which was pretty damn huge to begin with, and enter the Hylian plains, you will shit your pants. The camera pans over the landscape and a vast field of lush colours, flora, and enemies overload your weakened gamer's senses. And this is just the beginning. Every locale can be described as both visually distinct and beautiful, which is impressive considering the variety of habitats. The use of colour is very effective throughout the game, and the art crew has to be given sufficient props for their work. Temples, on the other hand, give this sense of confinement. Some more than others, but again are effectively conveyed.
On the other hand, because of the graphical limitations, the game does suffer a bit from some "2.5D" aspects, namely unimportant background images or things like leaves. But, if you want a game that shows the true power of its console, then Ocarina of Time is nothing short of that. It's a visual treat, and I give it 4 pixels out of 5.
Sound and Music
I shouldn't have to spend too much time on this, because there is not much to say other than pure brilliance. The soundtrack is among the most famous and celebrated in any game ever. The sound is chillingly realistic. Few games utilize sound effectively the way that Ocarina of Time does.
The ambient music really sets the mood for the area you're in. Whether it's the haunting vocal arrangement of the Song of Time in the giant Temple of Time, or the country western ballad of Kakariko Village, you will instantly identify each area of the game by the first few notes of their song. My personal favourite is the Gerudo Valley theme, a fast paced, Gypsy rhythm that sounds as if it's played on authentic acoustic guitars.
The ocarina songs, on the other hand, are indescribable in their level of beauty. My impressive vocabulary fails to accurately explain my feelings. Each tune is unique, heart wrenching, and you will find yourself humming each tune everywhere to the annoyed cries of your fellow workmates.
Beautiful soundtrack, let's move on. 5 16th notes out of 5.
It's good. 5 James Clavells out of 5.
All right, now we're into the real meat of the game. The main problem with the game is obvious, the N64 controller. Now, let me be the first to say that I am, or atleast was, totally comfortable with the N64 controller. Now, this is not to say that it was as easy to use as say, the Playstation 2 controller, but it was by far unusable. So initially, the developers had a rather large hurdle to overcome.
The controls however, are smooth and intuitive. The analog stick is highly responsive, and the control layout feels natural.
There's a lot to discuss here, so I'll try and just breeze over everything. The different items are clever and useful, and the idea of making some of them only accessible to Link in either of the two stages of his life is actually pretty neat. The different types of tunics and boots are also a neat idea, it's a shame though that they aren't used more through-out the game, rather just one specific part. Other than that, they're just there for dress-up.
The now famous "Z-Targeting" system was incredible at the time, and has influenced many games from many different genres since. That type of target system hadn't been created, or atleast not utilized effectively, in any game previous, and was quite innovative. The whole feel of the game, the RPG aspect, has also spawned a number of clones, including one of my favourite titles: Okami.
The main problems with the gameplay are the camera and the glitches. Now, I'm willing to forgive the game for having a bad camera simply because of the restrictions of both the console and the controller, but the glitches were a bit frustrating at times. Nothing like clipping through a wall, falling through a black abyss for eternity and having to restart the game to go back to the BEGINNING OF THE FUCKING WATER TEMPLE! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!
There are also a number of entertaining glitches though, so I'll let those go as well. And to say that it's the only game to be released with bugs, or even that it is on par with the bugs rampant in other games, would be insane. Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 N64 controllers.
Well, that's about all I can say there for this. As I said, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time redefines epic. It is not even comparable to other previous games as it completely dwarfs even the scale. It was an experience to be shared with your beloved Nintendo64, and one to re-experience over and over again. If I could liken it to tantric sex with Anna Kournikova, that would imply that I have some knowledge of what the touch of a woman is like.
I realize I was being a little quick, but I doubt there is a single person reading this who has not already played over 500 hours of this game. I am both proud and ashamed to admit that I have close to 2,000 hours of play time. But, what can I say; the game pulls you in and holds you from beginning to end. Or if you just want to pick it up to fuck around, it's there for you.
A shining star for the N64, and a high point in its life. If I could take one game with me to my grave, I would first question the circumstances of my untimely death, before crying and wetting myself. What I would eventually choose would probably be Trespasser or You Are Empty, because the thought of the cruel soil molesting the sweet curves of that beloved cartridge tears me up inside.
5 Nintendo64s out of 5.