Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS

Fourteen years ago I stared at the load screen for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D with a look of disbelief. Where my saved game state was originally stored was a new file, a smaller file: my game was gone.  After already logging hours of play and reaching the Water Temple, I returned to my brother’s copy (I didn’t get my own Nintendo 64 until the Donkey Kong 64 Jungle Green console was released but that’s another story) of Ocarina of Time to find that a certain someone (not my brother, but my brother from another mother) had saved over my game. With a heavy head and an even heavier heart I tried to restart my quest, but at the time the task just wasn’t enjoyable. I was too bitter at my loss of time and loss of in game items; I was adult Link working my way towards my confrontation with Ganondorf, then I was just a small Kokiri child (ok, I know I was really still a Hylian but Link doesn’t know this at the start of the game, just go with it) trying to learn my destiny from The Great Deku Tree. It was just all too much; I didn’t want to re-accomplish the quests that I had already completed. I just wanted to restart the game and find it was all some kind of sick joke and I was really still ready for the water temple, but alas this was not the case, so I did the only thing I could do at the time. I walked away from Ocarina of Time, and for a time The Legend of Zelda completely. It wasn’t until late 2000 when I played a Legend of Zelda game again and that was to finally fell Ganon in a Link to the Past (I know I owe a blog on that one, but I still have a lot of Zelda to play) something that I was never able to do when the game was first released.
Fast forward thirteen years later and I find myself at PAX East (Penny Arcade Expo East) for the first time, walking the exhibition hall floor. It’s a strange world filled with excited people, some in various game-based costumes (I & <3 Cosplay), and I’m intrigued by a slice of pop culture I had yet to devour. But even more exciting, Nintendo was there debuting their newest hand held system, the 3DS. I stood in line with a very patient wife (thanks again Jaclyn) to try out the newest Nintendo system with hundreds of my closest friends. I can honestly say the line moved fairly quickly and the guys in line with us were also Nintendo fan boys and we had some great conversations about past game conquests and what excited us most about the newest addition to the console family. Before I knew it, I had my grubby mitts wrapped around my first 3DS launch title, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D EditionI couldn’t get over the eye popping 3D (and speaking of eye popping you should’ve seen the girl dressed as Cammy, but I digress) and seconds into my demo really wished I had chosen Ryu and not Blanka but my gaming skills were rusty and I had a Nintendo rep standing right behind me and didn’t want to look like a complete outsider (I’m sure my character selection only aided my n00b status). After what seemed like a quick blink of an eye I moved on to my next 3DS station and played Kid Icarus: Uprisingwhich was one of the most hyped games. The controls took me a minute to master but the style was nice and it was a quick exciting demo (I’m still looking forward to its future release). I moved to the next station and found myself staring at the demo for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Before I could even find a minute to let the old bitter feelings wash over me, I was exploring a newly rendered Kokiri village in eye popping 3D. 

It… Was… AWESOME!!!! 

I had enjoyed the first two games, but Nintendo had done it again, they gave me a reason to want to upgrade to their newest system and that reason was to finally beat the Ocarina of TimeI believe I added a 3DS to my Amazon wish list that night, but it wasn’t until Thanksgiving of 2011 that my wish of getting a 3DS became a little more realized. While hunting for a Black Friday Nintendo Wii deal for my parents, I stumbled upon something that I definitely wanted for myself: a Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Edition 3DS that included Ocarina of Time. My jaw hit the floor and my Christmas priorities changed drastically. I wanted, nay needed, this special edition 3DS and was going to acquire it at any cost (okay a little overdramatic but yeah, I really, really wanted one).  Jaclyn then shared with me the great news that we had some Christmas money to split and I had a means of getting my 3DS (as well as the Harry Potter Hardcover Boxed Set: yay me!). I ordered my 3DS from GameStop online not wanting to venture back out into the craziness that is Christmas season shopping (Walmart Black Friday eve was enough for 10 life times) and decided while I waited for my 3DS to arrive I’d start my quest to beat all of The Legend of Zelda’s with the original on the Wii. With the first two games vanquished, the next two previously beaten and my newly acquired 3DS in my hands, it was time to set out down the path I had started so many years ago and finally put Ocarina of Time to bed.
I feel like a giddy teenage girl who just stole her first kiss trying to describe just how fun this game was to play. Graphically, the cleanup looks amazing and the controls on the 3DS worked nicely making for a smooth gaming experience - such a relief after having to force myself kicking and screaming through Zelda II: Link’s Adventure. Skill level? With Ocarina of Time, I would hesitate to say intermediate only because that would take away from the difficulty of the already reviewed games. No, I’d have to say The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D would be a good game for a beginner (maybe that’s why I loved it) because with the ability to carry fairies in bottles it’s a lot harder to actually die. This makes your ability to live through even the toughest of battles pretty easy. There are plenty of side quests to play through during your main quest as well like trading, collecting Big Poes, collecting Gold Skulltulas (I found 55 if you’re wondering), and collecting Pieces of Heart (got them all). The only quest I kind of gave up on was the Big Poes; I’m not the best horseback archer so this was a little beyond my current skill level and, well… I just wanted to get to Ganon’s Castle. My side questing did eat up some time - according to my 3DS, I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for a total of Thirty-one hours and fifty-two minutes (for those playing at home, that was more than both The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link combined). But honestly, the time just sort of flew by and I enjoyed every minute of it, and yes when I finally beat the Water Temple after all these years I just had to tweet my victory before exploring the part of the game I had never laid eyes on. My brother started the game around the same time as me and it was nice to see that someone who had previously played and beat the game was enjoying it just as much as I was and that’s a testament of just how great The Legend of Zelda franchise is - that whether you are new to the series or someone who has played along since the beginning, it can still feel new and exciting. I had one minor complaint and I’m not quite sure what caused it, but I did have a game freeze when I was in the Forest Barrier of Ganon’s Castle.
I had just used Din’s Fire to light the four torches that circle you, had pulled out my bow and was ready to shoot a Fire Arrow at the final torch above the doorway when my game froze. I had the sick feeling in my stomach like when you finish, say, a blog and you go to publish it and the whole thing goes up in smoke. I realized that I never saved after finally beating the Horseback Archery Range, a task that at just 20 rupees a try emptied almost half of my Giant Wallet (told you I wasn’t very good at it). And yes, I only played for the Piece of Heart, not for the Biggest Quiver, my final score being 1150 pts (on the replay). Luckily the second time around I managed to beat the Horseback Archery Range within two tries and quickly re-accomplished everything else that I had lost from not saving, hopefully this time lesson learned. I made my way through the rest of the barriers pretty fast, only really getting hung up for a second in the Fire Barrier. I guess I should’ve read the fine print in my Prima Official Game Guide and at first failed to use the Hoover Boots that make this level a lot simpler.  With the Fire Barrier finally behind me, it was time for the good part, the part I had been waiting for: my battle with Ganondorf. I quickly descended the tower using my Biggoron’s Sword to smite anything in my way (see, it pays to complete the side quests, like the trading sequence). I fought and felled Ganondorf pretty easily, only falling from the tower maybe twice but never losing a life and using a fairy. The battle was pretty straightforward but still fun and satisfying. If you had no problem with Phantom Ganondorf, you should be able to make short work of the real Ganondorf. I used his own orbs to stun him before shooting a stunned Ganondorf with a Light Arrow and then using the Hoover Boots to run at him, slashing him with my Biggoron’s Sword until he was done.
With Ganondorf down you’d think the game would be over, but you would be wrong and thankfully so. You and Zelda must escape Ganondorf’s crumbling tower and as soon as you do you’re confronted with the game’s real final boss, the transformed King of Evil Ganon, and he is huge! His first move besides separating you from Zelda is to knock the Master Sword away from you, so it’s time to pull out your Megaton Hammer and take on the beast.
Here’s where my fairies came in handy and I was down to my last life before I was able to take Ganon down. He’s pretty tough and with a loss of four hearts for every sword blow you can quickly find yourself in a bind. I think my real problem was the method I was using for fighting him though. I was using my Light Arrows to stun him and then running around him to attack his tail. For some reason this method didn’t work for me and I got hit several times just trying to get my shot. Luckily I ran out of magic and in an act of desperation I started just rolling between his legs and attacking his tail. This actually worked a lot better for me and I was able to make short work of him once I started. I will admit that it was kind of hairy though because my life was so low that I couldn’t get hit again without risking dying. This I think added a little more excitement to the game and ultimately made the victory that much sweeter. When I finally brought him down and was treated to the credit sequence, I almost felt a little teary. The quest was over and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was now complete.

I was excited that not only had I finally completed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but by beating it I had also finished my first Nintendo 3DS title. I know there were still some items I didn’t collect and maybe after the smoke clears and I’ve beaten even more of The Legend of Zelda titles I’ll revisit The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time but for now it’s time to return to the Wii Virtual Console, download Majora’s Mask and continue my quest.