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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS) Review

/ Aug 3rd, 2012 No Comments

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is an enhanced port of the seminal action-adventure title for the Nintendo 3DS. Co-developed by Grezzo and Nintendo EAD, the port features added 3D effects and improved visuals for the 3DS. Grezzo’s prior work includes Line Attack Heroes for WiiWare and the Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition for DSiWare. Nintendo released the original Nintendo64 version Ocarina of Time back in 1998 and it was notable for being the first Legend of Zelda done in 3D models eschewing the 2D graphics of the NES/SNES generation of consoles. The original received insanely high praise and many gamers/reviewers praise it as the greatest game ever. At the time of its release, it surely was (especially to an eleven-year-old introvert with a bitter disposition). However, age has not been kind to the original game and the graphics have aged poorly. Thus, when Nintendo announced a while after showing off a tech demo of Ocarina of Time for the 3DS that they would be porting the game to their new handheld to coincide with the system’s launch, there was much to be excited about. How does this port shape up and do the original game elements still hold up?


The simple story of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, to be honest most Zelda games, is that Ganondorf sets out to destroy Hyrule while Link and Princess Zelda must stop him from achieving his goal. Now it is not always Ganondorf that is the pressing evil of the series, the direct sequel to Ocarina of Time barely features Zelda at all and Ganon is not present whatsoever, but they do involve a Big Bad hoping to destroy wherever the game takes place. Seemingly pedestrian fare, but what makes Ocarina of Time so compelling is how it adds complexity and wrinkles to this standard story primarily through its clever use of time.

For anyone who has not played the game, the story begins with a dream. It is night, the hero, Link stands outside of a bared castle when the gate crashes down and a white horse with two riders aboard gallop past. For a moment he glimpses a small girl in a headdress, he does not know her name or who she is, but they connect for that moment. Then when the riders are gone, a man on a black horse stops in front of Link. The horse rears and the man prepares to attack Link scaring the child. After that, a fairy drifts into Link’s house. The fairy is Navi, an emissary of the Great Deku Tree and Link’s guardian fairy. She must fetch Link. Waking the boy up, he starts his journey. After helping rid the evil at the belly of the Great Deku Tree, Link learns that he must save Hyrule from Great Evil. Setting out on a journey that spans the expansive land of Hyrule, Link must travel through many locations and even time in order to stop Ganon’s plans to destroy Hyrule.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time introduced many gameplay elements that have become staples of the series in later games, but also of games in general. Its legacy in influencing gameplay on titles to this day cannot be understated. Ocarina of Time features a huge hub in the form of Hyrule Field that allows the player to traverse to many varied locations in the Land of Hyrule. To search the wild expanse of the field, one can travel by foot or horseback (once the player gets Epona, Link’s trusty horse). When in the field, time changes from day to night as the player travels to different areas. While the follow-up Majora’s Mask makes more use of this feature, certain quests or tasks are only available during night or day and certain items require waiting in-game days for completion. It is a smaller temporal aspect of Ocarina of Time that is a nice touch.

The meat of the game is through shield and sword combat while taking advantage of the impressive array of auxiliary weapons and items Link acquires. Figuring out the best combination of these weapons helps the player decimate foes with ease or defeat them at all because certain enemies require specific weapons to kill them. To help make combat manageable, the game features a targeting system that allows the player to focus on certain enemies or getting rid of enemies in a specific order (the original “Z-Targeting” system is an enduring legacy). Boss fights often necessitate the use of weapons found while exploring the dungeon in order to destroy them.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D screenshot

Teach me your ways.

Dungeons make up the majority of Ocarina of Time’s gameplay, where players must explore dungeons and fight enemies in order to earn treasure to further game progression. Puzzles impede the player’s progression through the dungeons and solving them is necessary in order to complete the dungeons. The puzzles in the game range from simple, defeat all the enemies in the room to the more complicated, play around with water levels. The simple ones become secondary and obvious as the game goes on while the more complex puzzles make the player feel a sense of accomplishment and relief when they solve them. While the Water Temple in the N64 version was at time frustrating (even if it just took patience), the 3DS version is slightly easier by the markings of various colors that note where to go to raise or lower water levels and telling how much each one will be lowered or raised. It is not to say that it cannot still be frustrating, it just less so because of that helpful addition.

There are mini-games and sidequests that the player can participate in while playing through the main story that range from fishing or digging in graveyards to getting masks or a big ass sword. Another important aspect is the role music plays in the game. As often to solve puzzles, the player must use Link’s ocarina to riddle out certain puzzles or find secrets. The ocarina is important because it makes travel easier and can change time or weather if need be. In the game, the player will become familiar with Link’s instrument. A benefit of the 3DS second screen is that it is quick to pull up a song list in case the player forgot how one goes. This task was annoying in the N64 version where the player had to pause, move to the song list, remember it then unpause the game and play it. It was hell if you messed up a note and forgot how the song went. Another benefit that the second screen allows is an always onscreen map, either for the overworld or current dungeon floor, it gives the player easy access to where they need to go next.

What about the major temporal gameplay element that has been mentioned ad nauseum? Fair enough, after child Link collects the three spiritual stones and receives the Ocarina of Time from a fleeing Princess Zelda, he can now enter the Temple of Time to remove the Master Sword. When he does this, time skips seven years into the future. Now Link is an adult (or teenager), a man in any case, and this marks the second part of his journey. In the seven years, Ganon has entered the Sacred Realm and transformed Hyrule into a dystopic version of itself. Evil runs rampant and Ganon has seemingly won. Now adult Link must embark on a journey to awaken six Sages to defeat Ganon and put everything right. The rub is that most of the weapons and items that Link could use as a child are no longer available, so now he has to start over (the same is true for child Link, he cannot use weapons found in the future). Certain actions done in the past allow adult Link to access areas in the future; sometimes progress in the game can only be made by switching between child and adult because items that adult Link needs can only be obtained as a child in the past. It adds an interesting wrinkle to the gameplay and to the story because Link misses how things got so seemingly hopeless and desolate.

A Portrait of the Boy as a Young Man

“‘Sorry,” I say, “but there’s no cure for adolescence.’”

— David Sedaris, “The Late Show”, Me Talk Pretty One Day

When Ocarina of Time came out in 1998, it captured the imaginations and preoccupations of a generation of gamers of the same age as Link when he starts his journey. The question though is how old is Link when the story begins? There is no definitive answer, but considering the designation of Links in the game are of child and adult, it is not hard to puzzle out what his ages might be. Seven years pass between the time Link takes the Master Sword from the pedestal to when he wields it. When he can use the sword, he is an adult. Traditionally, the age of adulthood is a fairly wide one, but considering Link begins as a child, adulthood can be narrowed to sixteen to eighteen. Since seven years pass between childhood and adulthood then adult Link can be either sixteen to eighteen making child Link nine to eleven.  Plenty of gamers likely were of child Link’s age when they first played the N64 version. Thus, Link’s adventure represents something more. Ocarina of Time is not only Link’s bildungsroman, but the gamers’ as well. It represents the childhood yearn for adventure, the troublesome adventures of young love, the complicated years of adolescence, puberty and growing up, the advent of sex and sexuality and the meaning of becoming an adult.

The game begins by learning that Link is the only boy in the Kokiri forest without a guardian fairy. The player sees Link sleeping fitfully on his bed then it moves into the dream that is causing him so much discomfort. A gate opens up and a white horse speeds through it. On the horse are two people, the unidentified rider and a small girl in a headdress. Link simply watches the horse gallop away while the girl looks back at him. When Link turns around he has a fairy, but he also sees a big man on a black horse. The horse rears and the man looks down at Link and holds out his hand ready to attack Link while Link screams. The dream ends there. All the player knows of this boy is that he does not have a fairy, one of the things that denote the people of the forest. The dream is full of questions. Who is the girl? Why would the man be chasing her and want to hurt the boy? Is this simply the nightmare of a young boy? It cannot be wholly a nightmare because Link has a fairy, something that he lacks yet needs as one of the Kokiri. If it was simply the fanciful nightmare of a boy then why include the face of the girl? Would not the main point of the nightmare be the monstrous man on the black horse out to hurt the boy? This is not simply a nightmare, but a portent, perhaps a prophecy of things to come. For Link, even though he cannot know what all of the pieces of the nightmare means it does represent a few things. There is the face of the girl that sticks out and the look of distress she has. She becomes someone to save, someone for Link to help and maybe in some way, someone for him to love. Then there is the man who intends to hurt not only Link, but also the girl. He represents someone to fight, an evil to defeat. More than that the man is the embodiment of adventure because the man is outside a place that Link has never been as a Kokiri nor would likely ever go except in a dream. The crux of Ocarina of Time becomes evident in this dream/nightmare: there is the allure of love and the opposite sex and the need to grow up in order to fight stronger foes.

In Ocarina of Time, Link has a number of “love interests”, but they range from the openly explicit to the subtler and vaguer type. It also presents two different types of “love” possible. There is the childish, puppy love that seems innocuous at the beginning of Link’s adventure and there is the more mature love that has to be taken seriously once Link becomes an adult. There are three obvious “love interests”: Saria, Princess Zelda and Princess Ruto then there is the less obvious one: Malon. Tied into all of this is the idea of sex and sexuality that becomes present in the appearance of the Great Fairy(ies), the Gerudos and Nabooru.

Saria is the childhood friend and the first love. When Link leaves the Kokiri forest, she is waiting for him on the bridge between the forest and Hyrule. She says to him, “Oh…you’re leaving now. I knew…that you would leave the forest…someday, Link. … but we’ll be friends forever, right?” After telling him that, she gives him his first ocarina then lets him begin his journey. There is an accepted resignation in Saria’s tone when she asks Link if he is leaving because she knew he had to leave the Kokiri and her. She knew this, but she did not think it would be so soon. There is something about Link that she knows is different from her and the other Kokiri, she may not know exactly what it is, but she knows that difference means that he would have to leave them. She wishes she had more time to be with Link before everything had to change, but she does not. When she adds that they will be friends forever, it has subtext and weight. It is not simply just the childish hope that they remain friends. It is that, but also it is a statement that they will only be friends ever. There is melancholy in that fact. This is not the last Link sees of Saria, not as a child and certainly not as an adult.

On the second half of his adventure when Link travels seven years into the future, he must awaken six Sages across Hyrule in order to defeat Ganon. When Link returns to the Temple of Time from the future, he meets Sheik, a mysterious character who helps him on his journey. Sheik tells Link of the five Sages locations and the first one he must awaken, “One Sage is waiting for the time of awakening in the Forest Temple. The Sage is a girl I am sure you know…” While Link knows many girls, even among the forest people, there is only one girl that Sheik could mean is the forest Sage. Saria is not simply the friend he had to leave behind years ago in order to go out and save Hyrule. She is an integral part of defeating Ganon and it is his task to enter the Forest Temple to defeat the evil there in order to rescue his old friend.

Once Link contains the evil at the Forest Temple, Saria can take her place as the Forest Sage. In the Chamber of Sage, a place where the Sages live in order to open the Sacred Realm, Saria says to Link, “I always believed that you would come. Because I know you… No… You don’t have to explain it to me… Because it is destiny that you and I can’t live in the same world.” When Link returns to Hyrule, Saria adds, “I will always be…your friend…” While no one in the forest recognizes Link, Saria does not need him to explain who he is. She knows him and she knew in some way this was why he would always have to leave her and the forest. Link is not a Kokiri and she had an idea of that, he would grow up. All she wanted was a year or two more when he could still pass as Kokiri and stay with her. Except that was not their destiny. He was destined to be the Hero of Time and her to be the Forest Sage. Because of that, they cannot live in the same world. She will have to stay back in the Chamber of Sages to protect the Sacred Realm and he will have to head back to the world. These are added reasons to why she will only be Link’s friend because he will grow up and she will remain the same. They cannot be anything more than that. Moreover, they cannot live in the same world, so they doubly cannot be together. Saria is first love: lost, hopeless, and destined to be dashed away.

While Saria is the first childhood love, Princess Ruto of the Zora is the puppy love, full of optimism and unrealistic expectations. Link finds a message in a bottle out in the middle of Hyrule Lake. The message is from the Zora Princess asking someone to save her from inside Jabu Jabu. Link playing the hero enters the mouth of Jabu Jabu ready to save the distressed princess. Except it is a lie. When he meets Princess Ruto she tells him to leave that she did not want to be saved. She runs away and falls down a hole. Link ignoring her requests saves her and while she may not want Link’s help, she gets it. Link now has the honor of carrying the Princess on his shoulders through the belly of Jabu Jabu. Throughout the ordeal to retrieve the jewel she lost, Ruto has a defiant relationship with Link. She chastises him and calls him careless and useless. It is typical childish reversal of feelings, acting angry and annoyed when she is really happy and glad to have Link there. Then there is the weirdly close act of carrying her on his shoulders. This act represents the moment when children become curious of the opposite sex and want to explore the differences in bodies.

By the end of the dungeon when the two get split up, she complains that he took too long to save her, but qualifies her anger with being lonely. After exiting Jabu Jabu, she closes in on Link then says, “You! You looked cool… Cooler than I thought you would, anyway… Just a little.” The truth of her protests and anger were a way to cover up the feelings she had toward Link. It is not uncommon and both boys and girls of that age do this because it is hard to comprehend a weird feeling of attraction to the other. She still acts coy by only saying he is a little bit cool. However, the truth is that she likes Link. There is a formation of puppy love, as least, for Princess Ruto to Link.

When Link asks for the spiritual stone, she said she knew. She tells him, “My mother gave it to me and said I should give it only to the man who will be my husband. You might call it the Zora Engagement Ring!” Even though it is seen as that, she gives him the Zora’s Sapphire. When Link leaves, she tells him, “Don’t tell my father…” This is clearly puppy love because it is such an escalation of anger to childish proposal of marriage. It has no boundaries or concept of reality. It is infatuation in the extreme. This type of love moves so quickly from one extreme: disinterest to another: marriage that can only be the concept of children. Ruto tries to pass of the idea that the Engagement Ring thing is a joke, but she betrays it by telling Link not to tell her father about it. There is something serious underneath the surface of her feelings for Link even if they may not reciprocated or may turn into nothing like most deep childhood infatuations.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D screenshot

Sheik and Link form a jamband.

In order to reach the Water Temple, Sheik needs to teach Link the Serenade of Water. When she teaches it to him, she says, “A childish mind will turn to noble ambition… Young love will become deep affection… The clear water’s surface reflects growth…” This is an apt description of what has happen to Link at this point in the game. He has grown some and instead of a simple adventure now, he has a singular purpose to defeat evil and save Hyrule. What young love Sheik is referring to is unclear, it is clearly not Saria since things have closed with her, and Zelda is still a mystery, so it only leaves Ruto. Could his apprehension in the seven years really have turned into deep affection? Or has Ruto’s puppy love become something more? Link will learn once he enters the Water Temple and he will be able to see just how far he has come when he looks at his reflection in the water.

When entering the Water Temple, Link runs into Princess Ruto again after seven years. She refers to herself as his fiancée and tells him, “I never forgot the vows we made to each other seven years ago! You’re a terrible man to have kept me waiting for these seven long years… But now is not the time to talk about love…” Sheik’s words of love turning to deep affection were true, Ruto still holds onto the words she said to him years ago. In her eyes, Link’s disappearance was cruel because she could not see him for the seven years in between then and now. It was a longing she had for him, her “fiancée”. Rather than simply being the words of a love sick child, her complicated feelings for him turned into devotion and borderline obsession. However, she is not the same Ruto from their youth as she realizes there are more important things to do than talk about love. She has grown and matured, so her feelings for Link now are not the trifles or follies of youth. Thus, she and Link part ways in order to cleanse the Water Temple and save her people.

Once Link defeats Morpha, Link meets up again with Princess Ruto in the Chamber of Sages. There Ruto tells him, “Link…I would have expected no less from the man I chose to be my husband.” A benefit of his heroics is that the zora will return, as they were, unfrozen. For helping her people, she tells him, “As a reward…I grant my eternal love to you. Well, that’s what I want to say, but I don’t think I can offer that now.” She has to guard the Water Temple and he has to search for Princess Zelda to that she says, “Hah! You can’t hid anything from me! Princess Zelda… She’s alive. I can sense it… So don’t be discouraged.” She gives him the Water Medallion adds, “Take it respectfully.” Princess Ruto tells Link that she chose him to be her husband and that she chose the right man. There is an important act in her choosing Link for a husband as a princess, a role that typically lacks agency, because instead of marrying some man her father sets up, she took it upon herself to find her husband. Still there is a bit of sarcasm in it to keep in line with the dynamic she has with Link. Her reward of eternal love is a joke. Well, it is what she wants to give him, but much like Saria, she knows their love cannot be. As the Water Sage she cannot leave her position as a guardian of the Sacred Realm. There is an added layer of sorrow to this goodbye between Link and Ruto as she knows that his heart yearns for Princess Zelda. Obviously as she calls him out on it, so she knows they cannot be anything more, not only because of her being a Sage but also due to Link’s heart belonging to Zelda. When she finally sends Link away, her words are cold. She tells him to take the Water Medallion respectfully. It is very businesslike it carries no note of the affection she bore him before. It is the slow dissolution of love, and the realization that Link does not care about her the way she cares for him.

Then there is the burning love, Princess Zelda. The girl meant for Link, the perfect match or the sweetheart. When Link meets Princess Zelda for the first time, he startles her, but she sees his fairy and tells him, “Yes, I thought you might be the one…” Zelda is the girl from Link’s dream at the beginning of the game; she and he are unsettled by the appearance of each other because they had the same dream. She saw him and he saw her, there is already a connection, albeit an unorthodox one. Her words are that he is the one, the boy from her dreams and his fairy denotes that his destiny is tied to her’s. For better or worse, the two are connected. Zelda represent the first crush for Link.

Despite running into Saria and Ruto, Link has to return to Zelda, she is the purpose and direction of his journey. When he sees her again after their first meeting, it is her fleeing Hyrule Castle on horseback with her guardian. She throws the Ocarina of Time into the river and then she is gone. Once Link picks up the ocarina, Zelda contacts him via dream and she tells him when he holds this ocarina she will be gone. “I wanted to wait for you, but I couldn’t delay any longer… At least I could leave you the ocarina and this melody…” Zelda is the one he is meant for, the one he needs to protect because to do so it to save Hyrule. Yet circumstances and fate will not let that happen because as Zelda tells him in the dream that his holding the Ocarina of Time, a vital item in his quest, it means she will be gone. Ganon chased her away, but she wanted to wait for him. There is a desire on both ends for them to see each other, but it cannot be. As a consolation for not being able to see him, she gives him the keys to fight Ganon and to grow up.

When Link heads back to the Temple of Time to prepare for the final showdown, he meets up with Sheik again. It is during this talk that Sheik reveals his identity. After a scene where the Triforce of Wisdom flashes over his hand, he tells Link, “It is I, the Princess of Hyrule, Zelda.” Out of her shadow garb, she apologizes for the disguise, “…but it was necessary to hide from the King of Evil. Please forgive me…” Next, she recalls the night when she fled from Ganondorf seven years ago and tells Link why she gave him the Ocarina of Time, “I thought you were our best chance…” She could not see the result of what would happen when Link took up his destiny with the Master Sword. That it would seal him away for seven years and allow Ganon to enter the Sacred Realm. In those seven years she hid, “I passed myself off as a Sheikah and hoped that you would return. I waited for seven years… And… now you are back. The dark age ruled by Ganondorf the Evil King will end!” Yet Ganondorf interrupts their reunion by stealing Princess Zelda away. Zelda’s masquerade as Sheik brings a question of sexuality, whenever Sheik shows up there is a soft and somewhat romantic theme that plays, but the player assumes Sheik is a man. There is obviously some affection and connection between Link and Sheik. The appearance of Sheik represents that awkward period of puberty and growing up when a person has to come to grips with their sexuality and their attraction. Sheik turning out to be Zelda troubles those feelings because was the attraction for Sheik as a man or were they merely transference of feelings for Zelda. Does Link suspect that Sheik is in fact the Princess of Hyrule? (See also, Omocat’s comic, Zelda apologizes and states the necessity of the disguise, and even though it could have blown her cover, she decides to risk her safety by aiding Link in his task to save the Sages. It shows that she cares about him because he is Hyrule’s best chance, but moreover, her best chance to be saved and restored. Much like all children, Zelda was reckless in giving Link the Ocarina of Time because she did not think of the consequences. There is a common theme with Zelda and Link, she wants to or is willing to wait for him. Link to her represents salvation, but more than that, there is a longing and a desire to be together. Yet there is always something that will keep them apart be it the necessity of disguise, fleeing from evil or Ganon stealing her away in their reunion after seven long years. Something will always stand in the way of Link and Zelda being together.

Once the Sages seal Ganon in the Sacred Realm, Zelda and Link are together once again. She tells him, “I was so young…I could not comprehend the consequences of trying to control the Sacred Realm. I dragged you into it too. Now it is time for me to make up for my mistakes… You must lay the Master Sword to rest and close the Door of Time… However, by doing this, the road between times will be closed… Link, give your ocarina to me. As a Sage, I can return you to your original time with it. … It is time for us to say good-bye… Now go home, Link. Regain your lost time! Home…where you are supposed to be…The way you are supposed to be…” Taking the Ocarina of Time, she plays Zelda’s Lullaby to send Link back. Once she returns Link to his original time, she concludes, “Thank you… Link… Goodbye…”  Zelda apologizes for the recklessness of her youth, of her desire to play at heroes by bringing Link into this quest. Yet she has grown up and matured, she must make amends for the mistakes of the past. To do this she will send Link back to his original time as a child. However, how can he go home and be the boy he was, he has already lived. Link is a man now because he defeated Ganon; he has loved and lost, and experienced so much. Sure, he can live the seven years he lost, but nothing will be the same: Saria is gone, Ruto is gone and Zelda is gone. He does not have a home anymore because he knows he will have to leave the Kokiri eventually, and he cannot be the way he was suppose to be because he has already gone through the hardships of puberty and adulthood. The worst of it is he has to say goodbye to Zelda they cannot be together. She has a responsibility as a Sage and a princess. While he is too heroic not to do his duty in restoring balance, they both have become true adults willing to sacrifice. Thus, this moment is bittersweet, they defeated Ganon, but they lost the ability to be together.

Lastly, there is the case of Malon, the young girl from Lon Lon Ranch. Link runs into her on his way to see Princess Zelda. He helps her out by waking up her father and getting her home. For her part in his journey, she teaches him the song that allows him to ride Epona in the future. Yet there is nothing more between them than platonic feelings. However when Link first visits Lon Lon Ranch as a child, he plays Talon’s Super Cucco game. When he wins the game, Talon jokingly offers him Malon’s hand in marriage. When Link accepts, Talon says he is a crazy kid and too young to get married. However, Malon would be the best match, the most reasonable girl to fall in love with. Unlike the other three, she is not a Sage, so they could reasonably be together. Link knows she will actually grow up unlike Saria, she is not a princess so he does not need to worry about being approved of, and she will give him a peaceful life on a ranch raising horses, cows and cuccos. While all of that is excellent, there is no passion, no spark, Malon seems as uninterested in Link as he is in her. It would be a marriage of convince with him constantly longing for another woman, it would be as much a joke as Talon’s offer, and still it would stave off loneliness.

Tied up in Link’s romantic life in the game is the idea of sexuality and how it asserts itself in the game. The first instance of sexuality in the game comes in the form of the Great Fairy. Link first runs into the Great Fairy as a boy. She is scantily clad, larger than life and curvaceous. Wearing thigh high boots and heavy eyeliner and makeup, she represents fantasy and sexual desire. Whenever Link runs into her or her sisters, she offers him new magic, the first is an improved sword techniques. With her exaggerated proportions and makeup, the Great Fairy represents the unrealistic expectations of the opposite sex in sexual fantasies of children. She explodes from the fountain and leers at Link suggestively. As a child, he does not know what to do with her appearance, yet when he gets older, he is less disturbed by her. The magic she gives him as a child being a more powerful sword move is not an accident, it represents sexual excitement that first pops up in youth, but children do not know exactly what to do about it. Later when Link next finds her as an adult, she increases his magic meter, so he can do more sword techniques and last longer in a fight.

The next time Link runs into sexuality is as an adult when he enters the Gerudo Fortress. Here, a score of Gerudo females garrison the fortress. These deadly and “exotic” women throw all intruders into prison. The Gerudo as a people are seen as exotic as they reside in the dessert to the west of Hyrule. They are against outsider and only one of their population is male, Ganondorf. The dessert home of the Gerduos is an exotic locale to most of the Hyrulian population because they are secretive and not welcoming to outsiders. The Gerudos are attractive women who live in a society with only one man, a young man’s fantasy. They dress in an alluring manner to trick men into lowering their guard because the Gerudos are deadly warriors. Link can only enter the fortress as an adult because as a boy he does not have the means to gain entry. As a boy the fortress holds no interest for him, he has stones to collect.

While in the fortress, Link has to free the Kakariko village carpenter’s lazy and frivolous crew that ran away to join the female pirates, but are captured and as one of them puts it, “We were really interested in joining their all-female group, but they locked us up like this just because we’re men.” Another carpenter upon rescue says, “These women are so scary! I’d rather work as a carpenter than join them!” After freeing the last carpenter, a Gerudo that Nabooru put in charge of the fortress approaches Link. She tells him, “I used to think that all men, except for the great Ganondorf, were useless…but now that I’ve seen you, I don’t think so anymore!” The Gerudos judged the imprisoned carpenters as lacking, and they flounce away when freed in a weak manner. They foolishly thought that because they were men they would be accepted as pirates, but they were wrong. These men were not worthy enough to join part of the Gerudos because the Gerudos are strong and self-sufficent. It is as the Gerudo leader who allows Link access to the fortress says, the only men who can be worthy of joining them are Ganon and him. Those two are the only men strong enough to be part of this strong group of women.

The last instance of sex and sexuality in the game comes after defeating Twinrova, Link goes the Chamber of Sages to meet the Dessert Sage, Nabooru. She says, “Kid, let me thank you. Heheheh… Look what the little kid has become in the past seven years—a competent swordsman!” She talks about how funny it is that she is the Dessert Sage. Finally, she refers to him as, “Kid… No… Link, the Hero of Time!” Lastly, “If only I’d known you would become such a handsome man… I should have kept the promise I’d have made back then…” Link meets the beautiful Nabooru as a child in the Dessert Colossus where she offers him a “prize” if he retrieves an item for her. Before he can give her the treasure, two witches kidnap her. The next time he sees her he is a man who saved her from those same witches that captured her. She still calls him a kid, but says that in the seven years since she has seen him that he has become a competent swordsman. Again, the sword pops up; sometimes a cigar is not a cigar. Gone is the fumbling awkwardness of childhood, now Link has become a confident and strong swordsman. More importantly, he is an adult (man) and she refers to him no longer as a kid but by his name and title, the Hero of Time. To end it all she regrets not keeping the promise she made to him as child, presumably to kiss him, because she finds him attractive and sexually desirable as a man. Link leaves her and has to return to finish his journey and to reunite with Zelda, but he has a fantasy of what could have been.

You think it is going to get easier because you jumped forward seven years. Now you are stronger, smarter and braver. But it doesn’t. The world gets more complex and complicated. The stakes raise and everything is more real and present. The world you knew burned away in that time. You thought you were safe because you bypassed the torture and agony of puberty. However, you were wrong.

Graphics and Sound

The original N64 version’s graphics, as stated prior, aged poorly. Thankfully, Greezo and Nintendo smartly improved them for the 3DS version. The textures for the environments and dungeons look great while the models for characters, retaining the essences of their N64 counterparts, look a million times better. Link’s adult/teenage form looks less like some weird dude with a botched plastic surgery accident. An endearing and enduring part of the original Ocarina of Time is the music. It is still as infectious and catchy in the 3DS version, but much like the graphics, the score has been refitted to the 3DS’ sound quality. The ocarina songs are beautiful and the music throughout the game brings back fond feelings of playing the game as a kid.


If someone has not played the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time then the 3D port is a perfect way to enjoy the game for the first time. For those who have played it already then the improved visuals give another reason to pick it up. Yet the most important reason to pick up the game (3D or not) is that the gameplay in Ocarina of Time ages well and holds up even today because many of the elements it introduces are still in use today. Featuring an impressive number of dungeons with excellent level design make them still a delight to play through (even on the Nth time). Combat is not as deep as other action games or even later Zelda games, but it is still fun and varied enough to keep from getting boring. Puzzles are clever and often give a sense of fulfillment to the player when they solve them. There is a great amount of replay value to the game because of the number of mini games and side quests that will entice completists. In addition, a huge bonus is that the game includes a 3D port of the Master Quest version of Ocarina of Time, which is a revamped and much more difficult version of Ocarina of Time released originally in Japan as part of a failed N64 add-on. It was not released in the States until 2003 as a promotional item for those who pre-ordered the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on the GameCube. While not available until after completing the game, it will give gamers a reason to come back to the game. What it comes down to is that it is one of the games to have for 3DS owners.


Gaming Illustrated RATING



Its legacy in influencing gameplay on titles to this day cannot be understated.


The textures for the environments and dungeons look great while the models for characters look a million times better.


The ocarina songs are beautiful and the music throughout the game brings back fond feelings of playing the game as a kid.


There is a great amount of replay value to the game because of the number of mini games and side quests.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
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Top Articles


Gaming Illustrated RATING



Its legacy in influencing gameplay on titles to this day cannot be understated.


The textures for the environments and dungeons look great while the models for characters look a million times better.


The ocarina songs are beautiful and the music throughout the game brings back fond feelings of playing the game as a kid.


There is a great amount of replay value to the game because of the number of mini games and side quests.

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