I never had a Nintendo 64 of my own (mostly played Goldeneye when visiting my cousins), so this exceptional game was a new, stylish and increasingly endearing experience for me. Anyone who previously played this game will have obvious advantages. Developers create an engaging one player experience including three save slots and day-to-night progression help immerse players even further into the game.
Game themes range from acquiring practical needs to wielding supernatural powers while quick shifts in tone quickly create laughter, fear, and amazement. This single player Nintendo 3DS exclusive game was already a classic game on the Nintendo 64 improved by the musical score, updated graphics/3D effects, and masterful touchscreen controls plus an enhanced Master quest and new “Boss Challenge” mode. The two biggest reasons this 3DS game enhances the original is the analog stick and portability factor.
Players only control Link so the character development stays focused as new discoveries await in the land of Hyrule. Princess Zelda instructs Link to defeat the evil Ganondorf and his lackeys that include crabs, skeletons, and wolf hybrids. This basic good versus evil premise quickly expands as the increasing gameplay depth and constant flow of side missions offset any monotonous experiences.
The ocarina musical instrument helps Link unlock items, progress through levels, and bolster the considerable music soundtrack. I fortunately received this special, commemorative soundtrack free by registering this game as a Club Nintendo member. The soundtrack features all songs in the U.S. version plus more medleys and songs from other versions.
The increased graphic frame rate (now at 30 frames per second from 20) adds more depth to the cartoon like characters and memorable events. These sharply detailed visuals eases navigation and movement among the various unlockable/collectible items, challenging puzzles, and immense upgrades. Upgrades and item management are also easy with the touchscreen controls.
The controls let players switch to first-person view and mirror real space movements. Combat involves boomerangs, explosives, magic, slingshots, and, of course, swords with bits of blood. Players can easily customize buttons for these items and more. The entertaining catapult option utilizes the motion controls and left trigger button. This game has an amazing inventory system using customizable slots easily accessed through the touchscreen controls.
The modified Master Quest and new “Boss Challenge” mode unlock after completing the game once. The increased difficulty in both adds challenge while the ending payoff is mainly the satisfaction. The boss mode lets players take on multiple bosses at once or one at a time in sequential order. Boss fight completion statistics add some replay value while the first person camera views helps aiming mechanics.
Difficulty levels do not factor into gameplay instead developers offer an optional hint system or “visions” when entering a Sheikah stone or watching the “game over” screen after dying. Specific sounds prompt nearby secrets in video cutscenes while the companion Navi fairy shouts and shows hints as well. Overall layouts are still very intuitive, but this hint option, a first-time feature in the Zelda game series, helps inexperienced players for free. Players do not lose any in-game currency, which can be spent at in-game stores.
Even though originally released on the Nintendo 64, a console which has been universally deemed “outdated”; The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D stands as one of the best handheld games available. An essential portable gaming experience that might even require a revisit to the original N64 game or Zelda: Link’s Awakening on Game Boy available via download on Nintendo eShop.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler