The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a video game released in 1998, and the first Zelda game for the Nintendo 64. Produced by Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto, it was also the first 3D version of the highly successful Legend of Zelda series of video games. Within five months of its release, Ocarina of Time broke records by selling over six million copies, and a total of 7.6 million copies have been sold worldwide. With its innovative gameplay, it is widely considered one of the greatest video games of all time.
In 2003 it was re-released for Nintendo GameCube as a bonus for pre-ordering The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and came bundled with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest, a reworked version of the original. Later that year it was reissued (without the Master Quest add-on) on a four-game GameCube disc, only available as a limited-offer promotion, that also included The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask as well as the original two games in the series (The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link) originally made for the 8-bit NES.
Ocarina of Time title screen (GameCube re-release).
The story takes place in the land of Hyrule where a young boy, Link, is called upon by the Great Deku Tree, who watches over the Kokiri to save the land from the King of Thieves, Ganondorf. Although Ganondorf had sworn allegiance to the king of Hyrule, he planned to take over using the Triforce left behind by the goddesses of power, courage, and wisdom many years before.
The very cautiously guarded Temple of Time near Hyrule Castle was the entrance to the Sacred Realm. An inscription inside told of the keys to the realm: those who wished to enter needed to have three spiritual stones. The spiritual stone of fire was given to the Goron leader Darunia, the stone of water was given to the Zora Queen of Zora's Domain, who passed it on to Princess Ruto and the stone of the forest was given to the Great Deku Tree in Kokiri Forest. While attempting to gain possession of these spiritual stones, Ganondorf cut off the Gorons' food supply, cursed the Zora guardian deity Lord Jabu-Jabu into swallowing the Zora Princess Ruto, and put a fatal malediction on the Deku Tree.
As the Deku Tree is dying, he appoints the fairy Navi to help Link. The fairy finds the boy in bed while he is having nightmares. In the dream, Link saw himself at a castle while a woman and a little girl escaped on horseback. The horse was followed by an evil looking man (Ganondorf) riding on a black horse. Once Navi takes the boy back to the Tree. He enters it to defeat the monsters residing within. When the curse on the Deku Tree is broken, it gives Link the spiritual stone of the forest. Navi is to remain by his side until his duties are done.
As he leaves his home in Kokiri Forest, Link is given an ocarina by his friend Saria. He then travels to Hyrule Castle in search of Zelda, the princess. He finds the princess eavesdropping on the King's conversation with Ganondorf. She tells Link about her fears of Ganondorf trying to find the Triforce and using it for evil. They plan to get the Triforce before Ganondorf and save Hyrule. Before he leaves, Zelda's caretaker, Impa, teaches Link to play "Zelda's Lullaby" on his ocarina, which will enable him to enter many places during the game. Link returns to visit Saria, and learns a new song from her.
Link goes on to the realms of the Zora and Goron in search of the remaining stones, hidden in dungeons. For each dungeon conquered, Link receives a spiritual stone. Once he has them all, he goes back to the castle to find that it had surrendered to Ganondorf. Just as he had seen in his dream, Impa and Zelda suddenly flee on horseback, and as they did, the princess throws the Ocarina of Time into the moat. They are followed by Ganondorf, who consequently attacks Link for refusing to tell which way Impa had ridden. Ganondorf goes after the two and Link retrieves the ocarina from the moat. Through a psychic message, Zelda teaches link the "Song of Time". He now has the keys to the Sacred Realm: the three spiritual stones as well as the Ocarina of Time. Link enters the Temple to Time and plays the song. The Door of Time opens and reveas a room with a sword stuck in stone.
When Link tries to draw the sword out of the stone, he is too young, but he is transported to the Chamber of the Sages and kept unconscious inside for years as he grows older. While he is trapped within the chamber, the door to the sacred realm remains left open. Ganondorf finds it and obtains the Triforce after battling many others who desired it. Because Ganondorf wished so much for power, the Triforce gave him only that. Zelda and Link are granted the wisdom and courage portions of the triforce, respectively. Ganondorf seeks the two destined to hold the remaining powers of the Triforce. He curses Zora's domain, freezing it, imprisons the Gorons and returns an evil dragon named Volvagia to Death Mountain.
Link awakes, finding himself older, and face to face with the light sage Rauru. He tells Link to awaken the rest of the sages, that by doing so, each sage would add his or her power to Link's. He also meets a man called Sheik on his way out, who tells him of a girl waiting for him in the Forest Temple. Link then journeys to different temples awakening sages along the way.
First Link travels to the Forest Temple in the Sacred Forest Meadow within the Lost Woods, where he defeats the Phantom Ganon, a replica of Ganondorf, and awakens the Forest Sage, Saria. Having beaten the first temple, he travels to Death Mountain. There, joins the Fire Sage, Darunia, and destroys the dragon Volvagia. He then goes to Lake Hylia, where he explores the Water Temple with the help of the Water Sage, Princess Ruto. There he defeats Morpha, a gigantic amoeba. He finds the Shadow Temple in Kakariko Graveyard. He finds and fights Bongo Bongo, an evil shadow guardian, and awakens the shadow sage, Impa. Link sneaks through the stronghold of the Gerudo into the Haunted Wasteland and the Desert Colossus where the Desert Temple lies. With the help of the Desert Sage, Nabooru, a Gerudo, he kills the twin witches, Twinrova.
Once Link awakens the sages, he returns to the Temple of Time to discover Sheik, who tells him about Ganondorf's attempts to find the other two holders of the Triforce pieces. Link learns that he is the holder of courage. Sheik reveals himself to be Princess Zelda in disguise, the holder of wisdom. The princess then gives him the light arrows, before being trapped inside a pink crystal and is magically taken away to Hyrule Castle by Ganondorf.
The entrance to the castle is now surrounded by a moat of lava. The sage Rauru contacts Link and tells him that all the sages would combine their powers to create a bridge. A multitudinously colored glassy bridge helps Link gain entrance to castle. Inside is a barrier that draws its power from the Sages. Once he breaks each of the barriers and frees the sages, he is able to enter Ganondorf's Tower to confront him. Ganondorf is found playing his organ while the princess was still trapped in the crystal. When Link enters the room, all three parts of the Triforce reveal themselves and are seized by Ganondorf. Navi tells Link that she can no longer help him fight, as the king's darkness is too much for her to bear.
Ganondorf began hovers over Link, shooting magic blasts at him, and laughing maniacally. Link uses the light arrows and his sword to finally defeat the evil king and set Zelda free. With the last of his strength, Ganondorf makes the tower crumble. The princess flees with Link following close behind. The two escape just in time and the remaining castle tumbles down, disappearing into a cloud of dust.
The ground begins to shake, and Ganondorf emerges out of the rubble, with the Triforce still on his hand. It has made him more powerful. He transforms into Ganon, a hideous giant beast. When Link draw his sword, Ganon knocks it out of his hands. He is left with the light arrows, which he uses to blind the monster. Ganon appears to have a weak spot on his tail, which Link strikes repeatedly. Each strike makes the creature weaker, until he finally falls to the ground. Link runs to get his sword while Zelda hold Ganon back with her powers. With the sword Link delivers a few final blows, and Ganon was no more.
The sages come together and send Ganondorf to the Evil Realm. Hyrule is returned to a happy and peaceful state. Zelda and Link float up into the clouds, where she thanks him. She has to return him to his time. After returning the Ocarina of Time to her, he is transported back to Hyrule in a blue crystal. Link finds himself seven years in the past, once again a child. He makes his way to the castle, and finds Zelda at the same window as when they first met. The story is continued in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
See The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time weapons and items
- Queen Gohma - "Parasitic Armoured Arachnid" (Inside the Deku Tree)
- King Dodongo - "Infernal Dinosaur" (Dodongo's Cavern)
- Barinade - "Bioelectric Anemone" (Inside Jabu-Jabu's Belly)
- Phantom Ganon - "Evil Spirit from Beyond" (Forest Temple)
- Volvagia - "Subterranean Lava Dragon" (Fire Temple)
- Morpha - "Giant Aquatic Amoeba" (Water Temple)
- Bongo Bongo - "Shadow Beast of Yore" (Shadow Temple)
- Twinrova - "Twin hags" (Spirit Temple)
- Ganondorf - "King of Evil" (Ganondorf Tower)
- Ganon (Ganondorf Plaza)
Ocarina of Time's music was composed by Koji Kondo, Nintendo's famed in-house composer. The tunes range from the epic and vibrant overworld theme—a new theme unlike the famous Hyrule theme from previous games—to the many melodies Link plays in his Ocarina and the hypnotic, atmospheric chanting and echoes heard in the many mazes.
These are the songs Link learn to play throughout the game:
- Zelda's Lullaby (C-left, C-up, C-right, C-left, C-up, C-right) - This is learned from Impa after Link first meets Princess Zelda. It is used to identify Link as traveling with the blessing of the Royal Family. It also awakens the Great Fairies. Variants of this song has been used throughout the Legend of Zelda series when Link talks to Zelda.
- Epona's Song (C-up, C-left, C-right, C-up, C-left, C-right) - This is learned from Malon at Lon Lon Ranch. It is used to tame Epona and later to call her.
- Saria's Song (C-down, C-right, C-left, C-down, C-right, C-left) - This is learned from Saria after Link finds her in the Sacred Forest Meadow. It is used to communicate with Saria and cheer up Darunia.
- Sun's Song (C-right, C-down, C-up, C-right, C-down, C-up) - This is learned in the Royal Tomb in Kakariko Graveyard. It is used to turn night into day or day into night. It also freezes the Undead.
- Song of Time (C-right, A, C-down, C-right, A, C-down) - This is learned from Princess Zelda after Link recovers the Ocarina of Time. It is used to open the Door of Time and make Time Blocks disappear.
- Song of Storms (A, C-down, C-up, A, C-down, C-up) - This is learned from the man in the Windmill Hut. It triggers the storm that drains the well in Kakariko Village.
- Minuet of Forest (A, C-up, C-left, C-right, C-left, C-right) - This is learned from Sheik in the Sacred Forest Meadow. It transports Link to outside the Forest Temple.
- Bolero of Fire (C-down, A, C-down, A, C-right, C-down, C-Right, C-down) - This is learned from Sheik in Death Mountain Crater. It transports Link to outside the Fire Temple.
- Serenade of Water (A, C-down, C-right, C-right, C-left) - This is learned from Sheik in Lake Hylia. It transports Link to above the Water Temple.
- Requiem of Spirit (A, C-down, A, C-right, C-down, A) - This is learned from Sheik at the Desert Colossus. It transports Link to outside the Spirit Temple.
- Nocturne of Shadow (C-left, C-right, C-right, A, C-left, C-right, C-down) - This is learned from Sheik in Kakariko Village. It transports Link to outside the Shadow Temple.
- Prelude of Light (C-up, C-right, C-up, C-right, C-left, C-up) - This is learned from Sheik in the Temple of Time. It transports Link back to the Temple of Time.
- Scarecrow's Song - This song is composed by Link and varies from game to game.
The music from the temples and mazes found throughout the game are mostly nameless, but are considered memorable by gamers. The Hyrule overworld tune from past Zelda games, which is considered by most fans as the "official" Zelda tune, was not in Ocarina of Time. The music tracks of the game are highly diverse and are a very good fit to the theme of the location. The ethereal, connected hum inside the Deku Tree; the sitar-laden cadence with an Eastern flair from the Water Temple; the mysterious, desert-inspired melody line from the Desert Colossus; and the eerie, throbbing orchestra from the Forest Temple.
However, one of the songs—the original theme for the Fire Temple—angered the Muslim community, who felt that it was based on an Islamic prayer chant. In response, Nintendo redid the Fire Temple theme in later cartridges. Many fans prefer the original theme to the new one—the premium placed on the NTSC gold cartridges is in part because those cartridges have the original Fire Temple theme.
A very early work-in-progress screenshot of Ocarina of Time shows Link receiving the Triforce itself from a treasure chest. Despite the fact that no such scene actually takes place in the final game, that single shot has led to speculation as to whether or not the Triforce exists in the game as an obtainable item (instead of simply being referred to in the storyline). However, it is said that this scene is a test of how Zelda would appear in 3D, and is in fact a remake of the first dungeon in The Legend of Zelda.
Further fueling the speculation is the existence of this riddle-like poem, purportedly written by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto himself (but since discredited as having come from him), which claims to contain the secret of the Triforce in Ocarina of Time:
If you seek to open the Gate
The Key you seek is shadowed fate.
In the secrets that lie beneath the ground.
Is where the wisdom required is found.
To find the third force of power,
First you must seek the sacred flower.
When the three gather all in one place.
Then you shall see the sacred one's face.
On to the realm through the gates you pass.
Before you will stand a magnificent mass.
Three stone structures with names familiar to you.
The names of the gods, Din... Farore... and Nayru...
Proponents of the Triforce theory point to several pieces of evidence that suggest, perhaps, there either was at one time or still may be a way to obtain the mystical artifact. Among the "proof" offered:
- A Triforce symbol appears on the game's subscreen, in a style that suggests it could be "filled in" if obtained. (The Spiritual Stones and Medallions appear in a similar fashion on the subscreen.)
- Rauru, the Sage of Light, simply gives Link the first Medallion of his adult quest. This indicates that at least one dungeon, the Temple of Light, was deleted from the game; perhaps the Triforce lay in there?
- There are several subquests and sidequests that seem to go nowhere, or have no clear way to win them, such as the Running Man's race (no matter how fast you go, he'll always beat you by one second).
- The existence of several red herring clues, such as coin-arrows that seem to point at nothing in particular and Gossip Stones in suspicious-looking places that cannot be reached. (Actually, these "coin-arrows" mark various secrets, which are often activated by playing songs—usually the song of storms, the sun song, or the scarecrow song.)
- The unreleased Ura Zelda add-on for the game was supposed to allow you to gain the Triforce. (This was disproved in 2003 when this game was finally released as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest.)
There have been several methods suggested over the years as to how the Triforce could theoretically be obtained. Nintendo themselves even claimed to have a way to do it, as part of a Nintendo Power April Fool's joke in 1999 (an issue that also offered a similarly bogus method of unlocking Luigi in Super Mario 64).
All of these methods, clues, and hints, however, are completely false, and there is no way to obtain the Triforce in Ocarina of Time. Perhaps at one point in the game's development it was possible to do so, but the current storyline simply doesn't allow for it. It has been correctly pointed out that if Link were able to get the complete Triforce at this point in Hyrulian history, it would invalidate most of the earlier games in the series that actually occur later in the backstory, including and especially The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Despite all this, doctored screenshots and theories continue to appear every so often in the Zelda fan community, often displaying no small amount of creativity, but phony regardless. It is perhaps a testament to the staying power of Ocarina of Time that it can continue to capture the imaginations of gamers so long after its release, to the point where some even refuse to accept that every nook and cranny of the game's world has been thoroughly explored and mapped.
The first two Zelda-games released for the NES had golden cartridges, rather than the standard grey-colored cartridges used for practically every other licensed game for the console. Keeping up with this tradition the Ocarina of Time cartridge was also golden.
However this was not the case in Europe where the game had a standard grey-cartridge owing to Nintendo of Europe. A possible incentive is an economic one, standard grey cartridges are low-priced in comparison with custom made golden dittos.
It shall be noted Australia (which also uses the PAL-system) had golden cartridges. Also, the sequel to Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, had a golden cartridge in Europe.
- GameFAQs entry for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (http://gamefaqs.com/console/n64/data/22536.html)
- Zelda 64 Pro - Site dedicated to the many glitches and gameshark related issues with the game (http://www.geocities.com/sean_v4/zelda/)