Review: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

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(This version of the review is edited from the initial version posted on July 5.)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D recaptures everything that was so great about the game’s original 1998 release, making its 3D version a healthy dose of nostalgia for those who first enjoyed the game 13 years ago.

Nintendo first released Ocarina of Time in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. Its new Nintendo 3DS version features not only 3D visuals, but improved character models, more detailed environments and refined controls that add freshness to a nearly 13-year-old title.

The new release also includes the more difficult “Master Quest” and a new feature allowing players to replay boss battles.

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Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is out

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Nintendo released “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D” on Sunday for the Nintendo 3DS portable.

The re-release include the original and “Master Quest” editions of the popular title in 3D, plus motion controls and a “Boss Challenge” mode allowing players to relive fights against dungeon bosses like King Dodongo and Phantom Gannon. (Nostalgia levels rising …)

Fans on the Internet are divided as to whether re-releasing a popular game that first appeared in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and was also re-released for the Nintendo Gamecube is that much to get excited about.

Full disclosure: Ocarina of Time, in its original version, is my favorite game of all time. I plan on reviewing the game and posting my own opinions in due time as to whether the 3D version warrants a purchase. In the meantime, I think it’s safe to say this is the most popular game of all time to have “Ocarina” in its title.

New screenshots for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Nintendo has released some remarkable screenshots from “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D,” which obviously is a remake of one of the best video games ever made.

OOT came out waaay back in 1998 for the Nintendo 64, when this writer was still in high school. Although it’s not hard to find players badmouth N64-era graphics on current-day gaming sites, it’s hard to overestimate how amazing the game appeared during the Clinton Years.

After years of 2D gaming, OOT gave players a chance to control Link, the Zelda series’ famed protagonist, in 3D environments that featured water that looked like water, ice that looked like ice, and fire that looked like fire. OOT’s polygons may look blocky by today’s standards, but there were few – if any – games in 1998 that had so many visually dramatic moments as the first time players could see the vast sweep of Hyrule Field, journey inside a volcano or travel into a sandstorm while Spanish guitar music played in the background.

Playing

Playing OOT was the first time I ever thought a video game could be art, as opposed to an amusement. The game was beautiful, had an arresting story, and different sound effects depending on whether Link walked on a hard or soft surface. That last part may seem silly, but I was struck by an attention to detail I had previously only expected to see in movies.

But that’s old stuff. The new is that OOT is being re-released for the Nintendo 3DS, a portable capable of 3D images. The 3D re-release is not scheduled to be in stores when the 3DS comes out on March 27, but is possibly getting more press coverage than any title set to be available on launch date.

I’ve rambled enough. Here’s the first screenshot, I’ll let more images speak for themselves after the jump:

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