Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was the most anticipated game in the history of video games. Even in Japan, where the Nintendo 64 was a complete faliure, Zelda topped the Most Wanted list week after week and month after month. It was often the only Nintendo 64 game on the list ... surrounded by Playstation titles.
Few will deny that Zelda was a huge achievement. But with all the hype and development time, was it truly as good as it could have been? This review will give you my opinion on that.
The graphics were very good ... one of the best for the Nintendo 64, especially without the expansion pack. The character models were constructed very nicely, the textures were good, and there is no fog (unless it's intentional) and no polygon popping, even in the huge expanse of Hyrule Field. There are subtle graphical touches everywhere that make Link's adventure an even more interesting ride.
The play control is excellent. The horse feels a little clumsy and slightly out of sync or something. The control and button configurations for all the items is both precise and in many ways innovative. The Z Targeting system is an incredible and very innovative addition to the 3d adventure world. There's nothing to gripe about in this category.
The game is structured very well, and although fairly linear, it doesn't feel that way. The Ocarina sytem and the Z Targeting system are very innovative additions to the game, and the day and night system is great, too. Even beyond the temples, there are pieces of heart to collect, gold skulltulas to collect, and various little side quests that can be at almost any time in case you need a break from the main game. It was set up very well.
Sound and Music
This is the worst category ... Zelda didn't do very well here. The quality of some of the instruments is good, but many have a bit to be desired. Some of the themes are good, and some are well-executed, but it could have been a lot better. Most video games don't have good music though, so I can't blame Zelda too much.
The music isn't very good. Some of the coolest parts of the game were cut out. There wasn't too much character depth. There wasn't too much difference between day and night. That's all I have to complain about.
Great game design, good graphics, awesome temples, great items, tons of secrets, a bunch of side quests, decent story (for once), and some awesome bosses. This is the game the defined the N64 in Japan.