Saturday, August 4, 2012

Third Rate Game Play: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 2D/3D [Part 4: Forest Temple]

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 2D/3D
System: Nintendo 64 / Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Nintendo EAD / GREZZO
Publisher: Nintendo
Player: Tony / Alex
Experience: Tony has beaten it multiple times. Alex has not.

Check after the break for the full article!

The Legend of Zelda is seen as one of the absolute best franchises in gaming, and it just so happens that last year, 2011, was the game’s 25th anniversary. Unlike the less-than-stellar anniversary Nintendo threw Mario, Zelda received a collection of goodies throughout the year, and one of them was a remake of one of the best Zelda games in the series: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The Legend of Zelda was originally inspired by director Shigeru Miyamoto’s childhood, in which he would wander alone around hidden lakes and caverns. It is from this that he would develop the main exploration elements to the original game, which debuted in Japan on February 21, 1986. The United States would receive its cartridge version in mid-1987. Since then, Zelda has become a major Nintendo franchise, behind only Mario and Pokemon in pedigree. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987) was developed with Miyamoto as the Producer; in this venture, the game was more akin to a classical action RPG, with leveling and random battles via side-scrolling arenas and dungeons. Later, when the Super Nintendo released, Nintendo EAD was already far into development with a new Zelda adventure. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past debuted in 1993 and was a return to the form of the original. The new game introduced a myriad of new items, upgradable tunics, bright graphics, and the aspect of dual worlds - a light world and the menacing dark world. While other Super Nintendo games were developed with the Zelda franchise, they were made in conjunction with the Japanese-only add-on, the Satellaview. Those games included BS Zelda no Densetsu: Map 1 and Map 2 (which is more akin to a time-focused remake of the original), BS Zelda no Densetsu: Kodai no Sekiban (Ancient Stone Tablets, which acts as a new adventure in the Link to the Past world), and BS Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce (Triforce of the Gods, which is just A Link to the Past). Finally, before Nintendo debuted a new Zelda for the Nintendo 64, its third major console, Nintendo’s Zelda team worked on a GameBoy adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. In this 1993 release, the game introduced a number of new items and focused on a world different from Hyrule, full of monsters well outside the franchise’s norm (and some from other Nintendo worlds!).

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was originally debuted to the public at Nintendo’s Space World trade event in late 1995, developed using a heavily-modified Super Mario 64 engine. When the game began its development, it was being made with the usage of the special Nintendo 64DD (or Disk Drive) add-on peripheral. This special add-on would allow a larger number of saved objects and situations to be developed over the course of the game. However, Ocarina of Time was eventually put onto a cartridge with the expectation to make expansions with the 64DD in the future. Those expansions would never come to light, although the Master Quest available in the special Wind Waker pre-order disk was said to comprise of the 64DD expansion. The other game would later release as another full-retail Zelda game.

When it released, Ocarina of Time would emerge with three versions known to this day: The Collector’s Edition, which was a gold cartridge, the “Red Blood” version, which contains the same contents as the Collector’s Edition without the gold cartridge, and the final (1.2) version of Ocarina of Time for all future shipments and re-releases.

But this is not only an episode dedicated to the original The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. No, this is also an episode dedicated to the 2011 3DS remake, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. This iteration was developed with some Nintendo EAD help, but it was Independent Studio GREZZO which did most of the work. GREZZO was established in December 2006; its name comes from the Italian term “Diamante Grezzo,” which means “Diamond in the rough.” According to its company message, it refers to the required work behind polishing ideas into diamonds and building great content from novice game designers. Its CEO is Koichi Ishii, whose previous works at Square-Enix included planning and game design for Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II, directoral roles in Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 2), Legend of Mana, Sword of Mana, and Dawn of Mana. He also produced the rest of the Mana series, which includes Children of Mana and Heroes of Mana. GREZZO’s first game was Line Attack Heroes for WiiWare, a game in which players use lines of warriors to attack their enemies; the game was announced in late 2008 as a retail game but would be released as a WiiWare game in Japan only, late July 2010. Ocarina of Time 3D would become the company’s first retail release.

The Legend of Zelda™: Ocarina of Time™ 3D takes the Nintendo 64™ classic – one of the most critically acclaimed games ever made – and returns it to the Nintendo 3DS system with the added depth and realism of stunning, glasses free 3D visuals. In this game, Link™ sets off on a legendary journey through time to stop Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves who is seeking the Triforce, a holy relic that gives its holder ultimate power. The graphical upgrades and three-dimensional depth breathe new life into the expansive world of Hyrule. An improved and intuitive interface, coupled with the easier navigation offered by playing in a world with 3D visuals, give players better control as they solve puzzles, travel through time and explore this immersive world. Whether you're a first-time player or a regular visitor to Hyrule, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a new adventure for everyone.
-Official PR
“Simply put, I'm really glad we remade it for the Nintendo 3DS system. Earlier, I said that we were able to give Hyrule a kind of warmth or scent in the Nintendo 64 version. Now that it is in stereoscopic 3D, I think we were able to convey the atmosphere even better—thanks to all the hard work that Grezzo put in! We also redid a lot of the textures….And it isn't a port. It is a remake, but in the truest sense of the word.”
-General Producer, Shigeru Miyamoto
“I often compare making video games to cooking. If game developers are like cooks, then the games they make are like food. Just as the techniques of the cooks influence the way their food tastes, the techniques and experience of game developers appear in the games.

So I thought it would be a failure as a product if people who made the original game weren't involved, causing it to turn out as something that was merely somewhat like the original game, something that looked the same but tasted different. I felt like an important theme this time was how we could make The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D today.”
-Koichi Ishii, Producer, GREZZO

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time follows the adventure of Link, a young boy raised in Kokiri Village who suffers from nightmares involving a young girl and a tall, red-haired menace. It is discovered by the Village’s sage, the Great Deku Tree, that Link is destined to save Hyrule from destruction and must obtain the three Spiritual Stones necessary to enter the Temple of Time and obtain the Master Sword, the sword which destroyed evil. With the help of Navi, a fairy entrusted by the Deku Tree to follow Link, the young boy must now face off against monsters the world over and find himself pulled through time into a dark future in order to save it.

The game is the first 3D offering of the Zelda franchise, although it still follows a similar game design to that of A Link to the Past. The biggest addition to the series in addition to the 3D perspective is the special Z-targeting system, through which Link can lock-on onto monsters and other important items for easier fighting and actions. The game also has a day-night cycle which can change the activities in towns and other locations throughout Hyrule. The game has a vast number of other additions which build upon the Zelda formula, although one of the most memorable happens to be the introduction to Epona, a horse which Link can ride around the world in order to travel faster across Hyrule Field and other locales.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a mixture between a remake and a port of the original game. Most of the game’s textures have been remade, and Link’s model has been entirely remade. However, some other models have not been given as large an update as the hero’s, and the music has been left almost untouched in order to retain a nostalgic flair to the music. Outside of the 3D display, OoT3D allows players to use the 3DS gyros to aim and look around in first-person. Once the main game is completed, players can take part in the Master Quest, which mirrors the main world and redesigns harder dungeons, and after a while, players are capable of re-fighting bosses within the game for the fastest time. Those having difficult in-game can look into Shekiah Stones, which provide visual hints on what to do at particular parts in and out of dungeons.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is seen by many as the pinnacle of the Zelda series, and today it sits among the highest-selling games for Nintendo during that generation. It helped shape Zelda into what it is today, and many of the games which released following it were in some way related to the game’s storyline.

As said in the background, Ocarina of Time was developed with 64DD add-ons in mind: the codenames were specifically Ura Zelda and Zelda Gaiden. Ura Zelda was to be an expansion or “Second Quest” for the original, but when the 64DD failed to meet expectations, it was scrapped. This version, entitled The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest, was eventually released exclusively on a special pre-order disk for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Zelda Gaiden was much more different, and it would later be released as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which takes place immediately after the events of Ocarina of Time.

The next Zelda game, the aforementioned Wind Waker, also took place following the end of Ocarina of Time, albeit from the other timeline (a complicated endeavor to explain, so just agree with me here). Wind Waker changed from the more traditional style established in OoT and shifted into a cell-shaded artstyle, which initially drew criticism from the Zelda fandom. Following a seafaring Link with the ability to control winds, this adventure was a great departure from the horse-riding Link we had come to know and love from the Nintendo 64. Over time, however, the game and its style grew on the fans, and its style has been used in a number of the series’ handheld games (Four Swords, Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks). In perhaps a bit of overcompensation, the next major game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, took Zelda to a more realistic, LOTR-based design. While it was anticipated for a 2005 release, the GameCube title was delayed a year to release alongside a mirrored Wii version, complete with motion and pointer-based control additions. In no surprise, it, too, existed in the timeline of Ocarina of Time, albeit much further out than Majora’s Mask.

Near the end of this generation, the Wii received its first (and presumably only) from-the-ground-up Zelda title: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The game acts as the prequel to all previous Zelda games, filling in the lore leading up to the future games in the series. The game used a new artstyle which added a colorful, impressionist feel to the more “mature” Zelda designs of Twilight Princess. Its biggest addition was the use of the Wii Motion+ for combat, as well as flight, upgradable weapons and revisited locations. The game was met with a mixed response, some calling it the best Zelda game yet, while others lamented over the controls and extreme hand-holding from the hero’s helper, Fi. Development for a new Zelda game is no doubt underway with the Wii U in Nintendo's sights, although the game’s failure in Japan will most likely force another radical change to the Zelda formula going forward.

GREZZO would not end its development of Zelda titles. The company was also the development team behind the DSiWare release The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition. This game was mostly a port of the GameBoy Advance title Four Swords, which Capcom developed alongside the GBA version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. On top of 3DS-to-DSi connectivity, Anniversary Edition included a single-player option and two extra worlds, one of which contains skins from the NES, GB, and SNES Zelda titles. The game was only made available for free until February 20th, 2012, after which it became unavailable. Seeing their previous products, GREZZO will most likely continue its work with Nintendo. Who knows? We might see another 3D Zelda remake!

They were crazy, but we did it. We decided that showing off Ocarina of Time 3D alone was not enough! We decided to start an adventure together, Alex playing the 3DS version and Tony playing the N64 original. Dubbed “2D” and “3D,” the two Links work together to save the world.

In the fourth installment, we finally get the spiritual stones together and go grab the Master Sword.  However, we find that doing so hands the world over to Ganondorf!  Deciding that it would be best to right that wrong, we begin our adventure in the future at Lon Lon Ranch, and once that escapade is completed, we head to the Graveyard for some ghost-racing and over to Kokiri Forest to save our friend Saria from a fate most dark in the Forest Temple.

Well, this certainly could have gone better at particular points.  Specifically, Tony, the Zelda veteran, ended up without a horse after trying to get Epona for a good ten minutes.  Also, there were a few moments where Alex's novice abilities in Zelda shone through, particularly in the Sacred Forest Meadow and parts of the Forest Temple.  As a result, the end time for the dungeon is not as prime as it could have been, for sure!

Meanwhile, for those of you interested in seeing comparisons of the two games together, this will get your attention quite a bit.  There are many instances where you'll see both games playing similar scenes (mirrored often for some reason), both in gameplay and in cutscenes.  We are proud that worked out.  We are not proud of the occasional loud squeaks heard by the chair being used.  This was the same day recording as Part 3, so the chair issue had not been noticed until the next recording time...hopefully.  We need to destroy that chair.

Anyways, the overall experience was good, and we know you are all waiting for more Ocarina of Time soon, so we will do what we can to get more parts out soon!  Until then, keep watching our Third Rate Game Play.  And if you want us to continue another game or play a certain game, give us a comment or message!

3RM Says: That is by far the most unkempt temple I've ever visited!
Spiders and vines everywhere!  Get me a cleaning service!

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