College was my first experience with the Ocarina of Time, and I spent far too many nights sitting in my room sound on the garage sale quality TV with cranked as high as the tinny speakers could handle. Most of those nights were spent in frustration with that god forsaken water temple, but when it was finally bested – things were right with the world. Flash forward to now and I’m back at this damned water temple again – only this time sitting on a couch that I purchased holding a small handheld gaming console and playing in glorious 3D on my shiny Nintendo 3DS.
It’s about time a game of this caliber came out for the struggling system, and it’s very apparent that the owners were clamoring for as much based on sales figures. It’s a game that most older games know as the first (and in my opinion, 2nd best) 3D Zelda title. It was to adventure games what Super Mario 64 was to platform titles; and it still holds up even today.
Rather than rehash all the ups and downs of the game, the Gorons, the dungeons the awesome shootout with a man on a horse that jumps through picture frames – just know that this game is a perfect recreation of Ocarina of Time only better. What makes it better? First of all the graphics have been cleaned way up – Link, Gannondorf and the Zora’s have never looked better. Not just a simple smoothing of the originally block-like polygonal character designs, the characters have all been rendered to work better with the 3DS hardware. The most obvious improvement is the addition of the 3D effect, and quite honestly it works extremely well here. Thanks to the expansive outer world and deep dungeons, the sense of depth is very perceivable and adds to the immersion this game always had. There’s only one big complaint that I have with the 3D effect, and that’s when attempting to try and use it in conjunction with another feature of the 3DS version, that being the use of the motion controls for aiming. Yes, you can manipulate the game using the gyros and accelerometers within the 3DS itself, and aiming your slingshot or bow and arrow this way is extremely precise. However – I found I had to turn off the 3D effect anytime I wanted to use this method due to the double vision that occurs when 3D is on and you venture out of the best viewing angle.
Then the Water Temple rears its ugly head again – but this time I’m ready for it. Thanks to the changes made to the inventory, namely the fact that it’s displayed on the touch screen and not buried under a menu system, I’m able to swap items on the fly so the Iron Boots go on and off with ease – this small change alone makes the temple a little easier to stomach. The best feature though was the color coding of various levels within the dungeons, making it much easier to know which floor you’re on and where you’re supposed to be going to. Another change was the addition of the Sheikah Stones to help out players who are used to more hand holding that today’s games have. Find one of these stones when you’re stuck on a quest, and enter it – what happens then is a series of short cut scenes which will walk you through the steps needed for the immediate puzzle. For example, I walked into it very early in the game and was shown the chicken egg, then the hatched bird and so on. The locations aren’t directly given – but enough of a hint is made that users should be able to progress after using this built in walkthrough.
For those who finish the story and want more Zelda action, the Master Quest is also included on this disc. If you’ve completed the Master Quest previously on the Gamecube, this time around will be a little different as the game world has been mirrored and even more difficult. For Zelda fanatics, this re-release of one of the best Zelda titles out there seems like it could be a cash grab – but the additions, especially the great use of the 3DS graphical prowess and the 3D itself make it a must purchase for all gamers, new and old.
Platform reviewed: Nintendo 3DS
For what it’s worth – Wind Waker tops my list for three dimensional Zelda titles.