Now that Zelda 64 is out, we all have one lingering question in the back of our minds... "Was Zelda 64 actually worth the wait?".
While the general concensus says a resounding "Yes", there are many who say "No". Why is this? Let's look at Zelda 64, chunk by chunk.
Graphics: The graphics are simply... outstanding. Remember going to a Great Fairy Fountain for the first time? I'm not talking about the graphics of the fairy herself (you pervert), but about the walls and the floor. Remember what went through your mind as you saw the sparkling water sprinkle down all around you? It absolutely took your breath away. Remember Volvagia as he swam through the air, hurtling fire down at you? Remember seeing Hyrule Castle? Or how about Ganon's castle? The Ice Cave? The Water Temple? Zora's Domain? Or the entire ending of Zelda 64? So...was it worth the wait graphically? You bet it was.
Music and Sound: This catagory is very controversial. If you own the Zelda Soundtrack CD, you probably don't like it much. I know that I don't. The problem was that they didn't include all the music on it. I know that they couldn't fit it all on there, but why not make a two-Cd pack for it, if it meant getting all of the music on there? The sound effects were pretty good, though. They were all on target, and most of the voices were well-sampled. Link was done exceptionally well, but Zelda was done exceptionally poor (those little gasps made me want to mute the game. Either that or puke). There were a few memorable songs in the game, such as the Gerudo Valley theme, the Spirit Temple theme, and the horseback racing theme, but Zelda generally did NOT live up to my expectations in this catagory. Perhaps Koji Kondo, the composer, after so many years of pouring his music into video games, is becoming "washed up", so to speak. Don't get me wrong here, I'm probably his #1 fan, but Nintendo should give him less projects, or at least hire someone else to do music with him. One of the biggest mistakes Nintendo made was not including the orignal Overworld theme. I think that perhaps Nintendo should take music suggestions from fans, as well. I've got several compositions that could have made it, and I know several other people with abilities as great or better than mine. I'm not saying that the music in Zelda was bad. No, not in the least. But after three years, they should have delievered more. What they really needed was a few techno or pop pieces in there, which Koji Kondo simply does not like/do. We needed a few drum solo type things. Something to move the blood better. Zelda certainly did not fail in this catagory, but it could have done better.
Play Control: Zelda was just about as good as you can get in this catagory. No other system could have been more creative, inituative, or responsive. Over a year and a half went in to making the game's engine and tuning the play control, and it's more than obvious. Zelda 64's play control beats anything ever seen before. Period.
Satisfaction: There's basically only one complaint that I hear, and that's that the game was too short. Gamers just couldn't get enough. Several people just played it 14-18 hours a day for two solid weeks, and then were completely done with it. I stretched it out pretty well, and JMK stretched it out well, too. There's no point in getting everything done in a week that took three years of waiting to finally get. Just remember, next time a Zelda rolls around, just go through slower. But no matter how fast or leisurely gamers finished it, almost everyone walked away completely satisfied. Zelda comes out on top in this catagory.
Fun Factor and Variety: Zelda is about as fun as games can get. There's also a TON of variety. For those of you who like to fish, there's a fishing mini-game that equals or surpasses most dedicated fishing games out there on the market. There's also the horse, which, as Miyamato said once, is just fun to ride around. There's the Bombchu thing, the Archery thing, several horseback races and tests, the entire trading sequence, and tons more. Plus, there's the Marathon runner thrown in there just for fun, to make you suicidal!
Overall: I myself believe that Zelda was worth the wait. Everyone is always complaining to me how the wait was so long and hard, but when you think back, was it really as long and hard as everyone is saying? Half of the fun for me WAS the wait! The wait itself! The anticipation for another Zelda, after a gap of five years in the series, was better than the actual game, in my opinion. Scouring around for more news, writing up previews, and discussing it with various people made for a wild ride. So, was Zelda worth the wait? For many, yes. The wait rocked. But the question I present you with now is: Was the wait worth Zelda?