by Ben Jogan
In my previous article I introduced the first chapter of “The Legend of Zelda” series, one of the greatest video-game RPG (Role Playing Game).
This time, as promised, I’m going to talk about the most important episode of the series:
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”
It’s a masterpiece and probably Nintendo will never be able to create anything like that in the future, despite the technology of the modern consoles and computers. First of all let’s have a look at the plot.
The story is set in the beautiful land of Hyrule. The young Link is awaken by the voice of a fairy, called “Navi”, that tells him he has been summoned by the “Great Deku Tree”, protector of the woods. The ancient tree says to Link that the land of Hyrule is in great danger and that he is the only one who can save it. But Deku Tree doesn’t give any further information so Link leaves his village (in the middle of a forest) and makes his way to the Hyrule Castle. Here he meets Princess Zelda, who has prophetic powers (the two are the same age). She warns Link about a strange visitor, named Ganondorf, who wants to join the king of Hyrule, but the princess feels that he’s an evil person. According to her dreams, Ganondorf will try to steal the Triforce (the sacred triangle we were talking about in the previous post), which is in the Time Temple near the castle. In order to open the secret door in the Temple that leads to the Triforce, Link will need a special instrument: the Ocarina of Time, a treasure passed down in the royal family. Zelda gives it to Link and she also teaches him a special song. When he plays it in the Temple, he manages to open the door and he gets in front of a sword stuck into a stone (doesn’t it sound familiar? 😉 ). He takes it and…
Well, that’s the most fascinating and exciting part of the game. Link wakes up and discovers that he has grown up! In fact when he extracted the sword, time was frozen for seven years. During those years, Ganondorf had managed to submit Hyrule under his power. Link cannot find Zelda anymore, but a mysterious figure, named Sheik, appears in front of him from time to time and explains the situation in Hyrule. So Link discovers that the only way to face Ganon’s evil powers is to awaken the seven sages. The interesting fact is that those sages are people Link has already met in his youth – sever years before – like his best friend, the fairy girl of the forest Saria. When Link manages to awaken the sixth sage, finally Sheik reveals himself and he turns out to be no other than… well I won’t tell, you’ll have to play the game instead! 🙂
If the storyline deserves the spot for a first-class epic movie, the game-play is not least. The player controls Link in the vast land of Hyrule, through plains and forests, mountains and lost valleys. The scenario changes considerably in the two stages of the game, that is, BEFORE and AFTER the extraction of the Master Sword: for instance the young Link can only use light weapons like the slingshot, and Hyrule is also in peace in the first period (that means less and weaker enemies or obstacles); the “adult” Link has to travel through a devastated land, full of Ganon’s minions and traps and Hyrule itself is no longer the same. A very entertaining feature of the game are also the minor quests. So when you get bored and you don’t want to follow the main quest (awakening the sages and so on) you can give a hand to the Hylians (inhabitants of Hyrule) by solving some puzzles or requests. The best minor quest to me is the rescue of Malon. Malon is the daughter of the ranch owner in Hyrule (“Lon Lon” ranch) and she’s also a friend of Link’s – he only has female friends 😉 . After Ganondorf’s takeover, Lon Lon ranch has fallen under the control of one of Ganon’s followers, so the target is to rescue Malon, who’s been forced to work hardly in the ranch. When Links rescues her, they run away on horseback. This horse is named Epona (even the horse is a female!) and she’s destined to became Link’s favorite means of transport for all the future episodes of the series.
This game was AGES ahead of others in the ’90s. That’s not only a matter of graphics or special effects. It was emotion, adventure, an addictive story, mystery and curiosity, fun and tears… and music, too! In fact Link learns a lot of melodies to play with the ocarina, whose magical notes open the way to new adventures.