In the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time the player controls a character (Link) in third person. Ultimately, the player is attempting to stop an evil villain from destroying the game world Hyrule, and saving the princess of this world, Zelda of course, by accomplishing an impressive amount of tasks based largely around your sword swinging abilities as well as your ability to solve puzzles. This game is packed full of dungeons and boss’s and spans a “game-world-time” of many, many years.
Zelda is a fantastic game in my opinion. For this review I started a new game and just started playing the game through. Zelda first opens with a few cut scenes, which really begin to set the scene of the game. The cut scenes do a lot to develop the main character Link, as well as the world in which he lives. After the cut scenes we are soon introduced to a relatively original way of providing information to the player, and that is with Links fairy. The fairy aspect of Zelda is perfect for maintaining both an effective storyline, and also giving necessary information when appropriate. The fairy can be asked questions about certain game aspects that may not be obvious like a boss weakness or how a new weapon works.
The graphics in Zelda are also worth mentioning. For their time, the graphics of Zelda were amazing. Being the first real consol to cater to 3D gaming, Zelda really showed people what the possibilities were. The graphics of the game are appropriately realistic in the game, though everything is very brightly colored and the music of the game is very positive, which created a happy fun feeling for me. The game world is expansive in Zelda, and the controls of the game are similar to that of Mario 64 with the exception of the jump button. Link is able to jump but only at times when it is appropriate like when approaching a gap or when trying to run over a small wall or something. In these circumstances the jump option becomes “automatically available” if you will, another relatively unique aspect of the game for its time. It really sets itself apart though in its sheer magnitude of complexity though. In Mario or any other previous generation game at the time, most games simply gave you one, or at best a few, like Mario 64, paths to travel. Zelda however is completely free roam. You can meander around in you starting city for days pulling weeds if you’d like, and in order to progress from this point you must really start exploring. The game does give the player some sort of story line though, and seemingly innocent missions like collecting rupees eventually lead the player to a very nicely set up saga for you to take part in. The environmental graphics of Zelda are fairly well done as well, buildings appear 3D and can be climbed and interacted to an extent. The field of view in the game however uses the fog technique to shield distant scenery which adds a sort of mysterious feel to the game. Social interaction while playing Zelda at this stage of the game is minimal. The fact that Zelda is strictly a one player game degrades its social possibilities, however in the more challenging parts of the game it is actually very fun to brainstorm on possible techniques to achieve required tasks with other living people.
After finally scoring my sword, I made it to the Great Deku Tree, which for non players is the first dungeon of the game. In the dungeons the puzzle solving really starts to form. In most games previous to this one, players would usually have a path to follow or some sort of guide or something to tell you what’s going on, but in the Zelda dungeons that is not the case. Players must explore on their own, with some help from our trust worthy fairy of course, and find everything from maps to compasses just to know what the dungeon looks like. In This first dungeon the scenery obviously became much darker and more ominous feeling. The graphics begin to include spider webs and spider like monsters instead of friendly plant monsters and green fields. The music as well becomes slightly more dramatic and dark giving the game a more intense, less unfocused feel. In the Deku tree we really get to start using all of links cool attacks and moves. While sword slashing is the main technique used to defeat your enemies, this game also includes an items pouch, which can hold several different kinds of nuts and sticks that help you to defeat your enemies. This is such a complication for video games of the time, because it made the game go from being simply slash and run to true puzzle. For instance, at some point in the dungeon the player must equip a stick, light it on fire (after realizing he can do so) on one of the background torches and run to a spider web to burn it down. This complexity was relatively unseen in video games before this, and I believe this is one of the aspects that made Zelda so famous.
While in the dungeon you definitely start to experience flow. The combination of intense sword battles combined with the complexities of the puzzle aspects of the game really start making the player feel accomplished after completing a task. This feeling of accomplishment then leads you to keep playing and keep accomplishing. Some accomplishments include the classic rupee collection system, which can be used as money to buy things, as well as a fair number of larger rewards like slingshots and bow and arrows ect. throughout the game.
I believe Zelda has many very innovative elements. Just to name off a list of a few I can include the auto jump feature, the traveling story teller/assistant/fairy, the extensive item bag, the night and day system, and the GIANT gameworld. All of these elements added so much to the video game experience, that it almost seems to me like a turning point in gaming history. Just to talk about the level design in Zelda for a minute, would be difficult. The world of Hyrule is enormous. It includes so many different areas of play along with so many dungeons, it would really just be a feat to explore the whole world in one earth day. The game successfully creates conflict by slowly exposing the player to the real storyline. By starting with the small picture and slowly zooming out through different accomplishments, players really feel like they are a part of the game. Conflicts then seem more personal and make the game even more entertaining to play. The tone of the Zelda world is mostly happy in the beginning pre tri force construction, and mostly dark and scary in the end post tri force construction. The game does this by making people zombies instead of people as well as darkening the whole game world and all of its characters. This game definitely showed emergent complexity, and makes me want to make a better game for my project than I ever could. The control system for Zelda also made playing the game very fun, the included Z targeting system was new at the time, and the use of the c buttons was more impressive than any previous games.
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