The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the 5th game to be released in the The Legend of Zelda series, the third in the canonical timeline, and also considered to be the most important Zelda and game release of all time. Ocarina of Time is also widely considered to be the greatest game of all time, coming first in multiple polls and website rankings, and being voted twice the highest ranked game of all time by Guinness World Records.
Released in 1998 worldwide, the game was critically acclaimed and has sold 7.6 million copies since release, making it the highest selling Zelda game in the series. Released for the Nintendo 64 system, Ocarina of Time was the first of two Zelda games released for the console and was highly anticipated when first revealed as a technical demo at Nintendo’s Spaceworld event in 1995.
Development and Release
Originally developed as a launch game for the 64DD, development shifted to the Nintendo 64 when development on the 64DD stalled. The original plan was to have Ocarina of Time as a launch game for the 64DD peripheral, while Super Mario 64 was to be the debut game for the main Nintendo 64 system. Nintendo chose to move the game to a standard cartridge for the system, needing the biggest cartridge size to date for the system at 32MB, despite being half the size of the 64DD disks. This accounted for a massive delay in the production of the game.
<img class=”alignright wp-image-925 size-wcsmall” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/64DD-250x196.jpg” alt=”Nintendo 64DD” width=”250” height=”196” />Following on from the development of Ocarina of Time, an expansion was planned for the 64DD system, to allow the player to expand the original game into two sections: one called Ura Zelda where the player could visit alternate and rearranged dungeons; and another called Zelda Gaiden, of which many elements were taken and put into Ocarina of Time’s sequel, Majora’s Mask. The intended system was that the Ocarina of Time cartridge would be plugged into the main Nintendo 64 system, and the Ura Zelda disk in the 64DD system, allowing a patch system similar to how Sonic 3 & Knuckles worked to allow the expanded game. This expansion set was cancelled due to the failure of the 64DD.
A bonus disc was given away with pre-orders of The Wind Waker (or bundled with The Wind Waker in Europe) which included the original game and a version of Ocarina of Time called Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. This version included the rearranged dungeons previously revealed in Ura Zelda, but no new content or enemies.
Development of Ocarina of Time was chaotic, with many directors coming aboard to direct individual parts, with Shigeru Miyamoto - the original creator of the Zelda series — acting as Producer and Supervisor. When progress on the game was slower than expected, Miyamoto became more hands-on with a directorial role. Miyamoto also intended the game to be played from a first-person perspective, to allow the player to experience the land of Hyrule more personally and to increase the focus on enemies and environments. However, when the element of Child Link was introduced the development team chose to have a third-person perspective, along with Miyamoto’s wishes to have the character on screen.
Originally, Ocarina of Time was built on the same engine as Super Mario 64, but with so many changes to the core engine, Miyamoto considers them to be entirely different, with the main difference being the camera. In Super Mario 64, the camera focus was Mario so there was more flexibility to the camera controls, as opposed to Ocarina of Time where the camera is largely AI controlled to allow more focus on the game world. In relation to the camera, Miyamoto also wanted to being a cinematic feel to the game but without the losing focus on the game itself. This was solved by using the same game engine for cut-scenes as the main game, as opposed to using FMV or pre-rendered scenes.
<img class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-935” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Hub-Mario1-150x150.jpg” alt=”Super Mario 64” />Originally designed similar to Super Mario 64 where a central hub was present, Ocarina of Time started development out centered on Ganon’s Castle, with dungeons and places feeding off from this main hub, using paintings as the portals like Super Mario 64. Despite moving to a freeform world, this idea was kept in some form with a boss battle with Phantom Ganon in the Forest Temple, where the boss moves from painting to painting while fighting Link.
As with the tradition set by previous games and carried on with future versions, a Collector’s Edition was released, for those that pre-ordered the game ahead of release. This was a limited edition box with a golden plastic card affixed reading “Collector’s Edition” and contained a gold-coloured cartridge, as opposed to the standard grey version. Demand was so high on pre-order that many chains stopped taking pre-orders, and Nintendo were afraid they would not be able meet demand.
Ocarina of Time has been re-released on many formats since its original release on the Nintendo 64. The game was ported twice to the Gamecube, with one edition coming with The Wind Waker pre-orders and then released again for the system as a Collector’s Edition, which also came with Majora’s Mask, The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda II: Adventure of Link. This second edition also came with videos and information about Zelda, including a retrospective and a 20 minute demo of The Wind Waker. Ocarina of Time has also been released for the Virtual Console service on the Wii, downloadable for a set amount of points.
A new version of the game was released for the Nintendo 3DS handheld system in 2011, which overhauled the games graphics and included new gameplay modes and features. The 3D overhaul was largely successful in replacing the older textures and models with new ones and improving the frame rate, and utilised many of the 3DS’s features including the gyroscope feature for aiming and looking around in first-person view. Due to the second screen offered by the 3DS, an all-new system was created for equipping items, and included a new feature of being able to rearrange the items to whatever order the player preferred, instead of locked slots.
Also included in the revamped version of the game was an overhauled version Master Quest, except this time, instead of just rearranging dungeons and introducing extra enemies, the entire game was flipped — similar to how the Wii and Gamecube versions of Twilight Princess were mirrored — including Link’s use of his right hand for swordplay. The difficulty was set higher too, with enemies damaging Link twice more than normal. The 3DS version also included a Boss Challenge mode, where you can face off against bosses already beaten in the game at any time, or face a gauntlet, facing boss after boss with no breaks.
<img class=”alignright wp-image-939 size-wcsmall” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/25th-anniversary-zelda-3ds-250x121.jpg” alt=”25th Anniversary Nintendo 3DS” width=”250” height=”121” />In conjunction with the release of Ocarina of Time 3D and to mark the 25th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo also released a Limited Edition version of the 3DS console an elegant Legend of Zelda design and motifs. The top and bottoms lids of the console are lined with a golden border, with the Hyrule Crest on the top lid, also in gold. All text across the device is also in gold, as is the 3D slider.
Using a brand-new 3D engine, gamers were treated to a whole new presentation of the world of Hyrule, with the camera behind Link as opposed top-down like previous incarnations. Introducing new control schemes to the series, including Z-Targeting and context-sensitive buttons, Link was able to fight enemies, explore the land and ride a horse in freeform 3D, setting the trend for many games to follow in its footsteps.
<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-933” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Z-targeting_Ocarina_of_Time1-250x194.png” alt=”Z-Targeting” />Z-Targeting, so called because the camera was controlled by the Z Trigger underneath the N64 controller, focused the camera behind Link to follow him and allow for the camera to concentrate on forward vision. During this mode projectile attacks are automatically directed at the target, however, only one enemy can be “locked on” at a time.
Ocarina of Time introduced the concept of context-sensitivity, allocating one button to a range of different actions in the game. By allocating only one button to these actions, the controls are simplified and never become distracting, unlike future games that used the same scheme but featured many, if not all, of the controller buttons. These actions ranged from Grab to push and pull blocks and statues, to Climb to allow Link to scale blocks, and Attack so Link could forward roll while running.
<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-931” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Link_and_Epona_Ocarina_of_Time1-250x185.png” alt=”Link and Epona” />One large feature touted in the game is Link’s main method of travel, a horse called Epona. The Epona side-quest is actually optional, and the main game can be completed in its entirety without gaining it. This is despite Epona featuring in quite heavily in official art and box art, and the title screen heavily featuring Link and his horse. Although completing the main game can be done without Epona, there are several side-quests that require having opened the Epona method of travel.
Another feature introduced in Ocarina of Time was the concept of playable music. Despite musical instruments featuring in previous games, like the flute in Link’s Awakening and A Link To The Past, Ocarina of Time introduced a playable instrument, which allowed the player to use the A and C buttons to play a range of notes on an ocarina. As the title suggests, the ocarina is crucial to game development, and plays a part in almost every aspect of the game’s story. Throughout the game, there are 12 melodies to be learned, from simple 3 notes songs repeated twice, to more complicated arrangements featuring anywhere from 5–8 notes. These songs range from simple chimes to call your horse, open doors and making it rain, to warping to and from various points around the world map. The ocarina can be played randomly too, with some players even being able to play tunes such as The Simpsons theme song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Star Wars theme.
Ocarina of Time features a range of weapons previously seen in other Zelda games, including bombs, bow and arrows and hookshot and also introduces new weapons and equipment, including Iron and Hover Boots, changeable tunics, Bombchus and a set of magic spells.
Trivia and Facts
There are again many appearances by other Nintendo characters in Ocarina of Time including portraits of Mario, Luigi, Peach and Bowser inside the Castle Courtyard. Bowser is also featured as a brooch on the character Malon.
Ocarina of Time noticeably lacks the ‘overworld’ music as featured in previous games, however, this was included in the 3DS re-release in the end credits.
Because of code and AI sharing between Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64, hidden in the game code is an Arwing, from the Starfox universe. This is down to Nintendo modelling the Fire Temple boss, Volvagia, on the Arwing attack patterns.
The Ocarina of Time, the fabled instrument which opens the Door of Time, is made out of the same material as the Timeshift Stones in Skyward Sword, confirming the magical time-based properties of the stone.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is officially the third game in the timeline according to the book Hyrule Historia. Ocarina of Time is also considered the single most important game in the timeline, with the game being the turning point in the series and causing a three-way split through the timeline. Prior to the release of Hyrule Historia, gamers had always known of two definite splits from the game, however, Nintendo sought to unify the timeline against many theories by introducing a third, surprising timeline.
Ocarina of Time Backstory
After the events of Skyward Sword, and the land of Hyrule was established, a civil war broke out, resulting in many hardships and deaths. The reasons for this war are unknown, although it would seem pertinent that the likely cause was the fight over the Triforce and the Sacred Realm, the reason behind many of the wars throughout Hyrule’s history.
During this war, one mother was forced to flee with her child to the burning land of Hyrule and sought refuge in the Forbidden Forest. She entrusted her child to the Kokiri Forest’s guardian, the Deku Tree, who sensed that this child was special. The Deku Tree sensed that this child would be critical to the future of Hyrule, and so adopted him into the Kokiri after his mother died. This child would later become the Hero of Time.
Eventually, after the war had raged for countless eras, the King of Hyrule brought peace upon the land, which kept the same topography as the land from the Era of the Sky, and unified Hyrule under his banner. As the scars of war faded from the land it seemed, for now, that the land of Hyrule was at peace.
Ocarina of Time Events
Once every 100 hundred years, there is a male child born into the Gerudo tribe, which consists solely of female warrior thieves and who reside in the desert area of Hyrule. Upon his birth, he automatically assumes the title of King of the Gerudo. In this era, this male child was given the name Ganondorf.
<img class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-928” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Ganondorf_Artwork_Ocarina_of_Time1-153x300.png” alt=”Ganondorf, Prince of Thieves” />After the Civil War that had ripped apart Hyrule had been quelled by the King of Hyrule, Ganondorf swore fealty to the king. However, his true ambition was to grab the legendary Triforce, rumoured to reside somewhere within the kingdom. Knowing that he would need the three Spiritual Stones to open the doorway to the Sacred Realm, located in the Temple of Time built by Rauru, he plotted to grab the stones and overthrow the king and lay claim to the ultimate power.
During Ganondorf’s planned raid of the Sacred Realm, Zelda, princess of Hyrule, had a prophetic dream that outlined Ganondorf’s plans. Her dream showed a powerful man coming from the desert, with Hyrule covered by dark clouds. Amidst the darkness, she saw a light coming from the forest, appearing in the shape of a boy followed by a fairy. Zelda confessed her dream to her father, however, the king chose to side with Ganondorf and take his fealty as sincere. In partnership with her companion and guardian, Impa, they chose to keep to close eye on Ganondorf and his plans.
Meanwhile, Princess Zelda wasn’t the only one who was having prophetic dreams about the man from the desert. A boy from the forest was also having dreams about Ganondorf and his ambitions. This boy was called Link, and it transpires that this boy is the one whose mother brought him to the forest for refuge and protection. As such, because Link is a Hylian by birth and not a Kokiri, he is without a fairy partner.
Sensing that the climate of Hyrule was changing and malevolent forces were gathering, the Great Deku Tree chose to reveal to Link that the dreams were a sign of a prophecy, and entrusted him with one of the spiritual stones to take to Princess Zelda. The Deku Tree also gave Link his own fairy partner by the name of Navi, to help and guide him on his travels.
When Link met with Princess Zelda inside Hyrule Castle, Zelda realised her dreams were in fact true and were indeed a prophecy, with Link being the boy with a fairy from the forest. Zelda and Link discussed their shared dreams, and agreed that Ganondorf was planning evil, and so Zelda tasked Link to find the other Spiritual Stones before Ganondorf and return them to her. Along his journey to claim the stones, Navi remained by his side and Link was advised and guided by a wise owl called Kaepora Gaebora, a disguise used by Rauru the Sage to help Link in his quest.
Upon collecting the three Spiritual Stones - one to symbolise each of the elements of forest, fire and water - Link returned the castle, only to find that Ganondorf had stormed the castle searching for another relic of the Royal Family, the Ocarina of Time. During his assault of the castle, Zelda managed to escape with her attendant Impa, and while escaping, threw the Ocarina of Time to Link, who was on his way to meet her in the castle.
<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-941” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tumblr_lourz0KcVd1ql48ry-250x188.png” alt=”Spiritual Stones” />Link took the Spiritual Stones and the Ocarina of Time to the Temple of Time, and opened the Door of Time to claim the Master Sword - the final key to the Sacred Realm. Instead, Link was sealed inside the Sacred Realm at the Temple of Light, the Master Sword deeming him too young and sealing him away until the time was right and was able to wield the sacred blade. Rauru looked after Link in the Chamber of the Sages, until the time was right for him to awake. Meanwhile, Ganondorf stormed the Sacred Realm once the Master Sword had been pulled by Link, and sought to capture the Triforce.
The legend said that if the heart of the one who claims the golden power is not pure, then the Triforce would split into three - Power, Courage and Wisdom - with the piece that symbolises the biggest desire staying with the person. When Ganondorf grabbed the Triforce, the Triforce of Power stayed with him, however, the other two pieces scattered far and wide to reside in two souls deemed worthy by the Gods to hold the power.
Also according to legend, the Sacred Realm is a mirror that reflects the heart of the people who set foot in it. If an evil heart enters it, the Sacred Realm will become a living hell, and conversely, if a pure mind enters, then it will become a paradise. When Ganondorf set foot in the Sacred Realm and claimed the Triforce of Power, the realm became the living hell described by legend with monsters running amok, and Ganondorf himself became evil more powerful.
Upon re-entering Hyrule, Ganondorf easily took over with the Triforce of Power and laid claim to Hyrule Castle, forcing the resident of Castle Town to flee to the nearby Kakariko Village, the village founded the Sheikah tribe and home to the Royal Family Tomb.
<img class=”alignright wp-image-932 size-medium” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Sheik_Artwork1-126x300.png” alt=”Sheik” width=”126” height=”300” />During this time, Princess Zelda, fearful for her life, went into hiding to await Link’s return and disguised herself as a boy and a member of the Sheikah tribe — the tribe originally formed to look after Hyrule’s princesses and the bloodline of the Goddess - and adopted the name Sheik.
Upon Link’s awakening seven years after being sealed and Ganondorf taking over Hyrule, Link learns that he is now a man, capable of finally wielding the Master Sword. Instructed by Rauru and Sheik to break the curses on the five temples, Link sets out on a quest to find the missing Sages and to add their power to his by the way of Sage Medallions, first hinted at in Skyward Sword and the Era of the Sky.
Along the way, Link utilised the Ocarina of Time further to aid his quest along with Sheik using a harp to teach him melodies unique to the temple he learns it at. Although similar in appearance there is no direct correlation to the Goddess Harp used by the Goddess Hylia and the chosen Hero in the Era of the Sky. With each Medallion gained, Link increased his power until all five Sages had been awakened, and the time was ready for Link to face the Evil King, Ganondorf himself.
<img class=”alignleft size-wcsmall wp-image-927” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Ganons_Castle_Ocarina_of_Time-250x141.png” alt=”Ganon’s Castle” />Before this final battle though, Link was met by Sheik in the Temple of Time who finally revealed that he in fact wasn’t a sheikah, but Princess Zelda in disguise, who now felt the time was right for her unveiling. However, upon her removal of her disguise, Ganondorf - who had been tracking Link, following his progress — kidnapped Zelda now knowing she held the Triforce of Wisdom and that Link held the Triforce of Courage, and taunted Link into a battle atop his tower, seeking to reunite the Triforce as a whole so he could claim it.