Monday, 4 August 2008

Ocarina Of Time Week!

This week, during my glorious absence from the Internet as I travel the world in search of a country that makes really, really nice cakes, we are going to be celebrating ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time’. Over the next five days – unless I mess up the tech and it all arrive at once – we’re going to explore the good sides of Zelda, and the bad sides of Zelda. It is almost unquestionably one of the best games ever made, and I’d suggest it is in fact THE best. But whilst it’s very easy to say that; it’s even easier to offer top five lists that back up the claim without any evidence given. So that’s why today we’re going to look at the five games that most live up to the majesty of Ocarina of Time.

If you don’t know what Ocarina Of Time is, then this week probably won’t be for you.

Five: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

This game appeared on the Gameboy, and is one of only three games to feature the ‘original’ Link in them, if we’ve get our timeline correct. Link’s Awakening comes just after Ocarina chronologically, as Link goes off on a boat journey and gets blowed up by a storm and wakes up on a beach. Happily though, the beach just so happens to be part of an island which is plagued by monsters what need killing and people what need saving, and so Link goes off on a quest to kill off the nightmare that rules the place. It’s a great, epic, and poignant story – like Ocarina of Time! Both games feature several of the same characters (and, happily, keep Tingle out of the equation) whilst putting in new features to the Zelda mythos. The ending is bittersweet too, and you can see the influences that blend the two games together stylistically. Link’s Awakening was perhaps one of the best games to come out on the Gameboy, ever, and lasts bloody ages.

Why Ocarina Of Time is better:

Four: Resident Evil 4

Leon S Kennedy, after surviving a load of zombies/mutated people in the second Resident Evil game, returned to the series for part 4, set in a creepy European village (is there any other kind?) As Leon explores the village he finds out that there be monsters afoot, and is promptly attacked by mutated whales and trolls and – worst of all – a creepy albino kid who thinks he’s Napoleon. The game serves both as an exciting adventure, and as a warning to all Americans not to go to Europe. RE4 borrows a lot from Zelda, despite being set in a more modern time and featuring guns instead of swords as the main weapons. Both games wind down the player so that events get more and more tense as they go on – in Zelda because the baddie is consolidating his power even as you try to stop him, and in RE because you’re starting to show traits of being infected by that darned zombie virus everyone is talking so much about. Atmosphere are very important for both games, to provide shocks and create new challenges with old areas. Resident Evil 4 turned out to not only be the best of the series, but one of the better games to come from the past few years.

Why Ocarina Of Time is better:
There is only one level where you have to protect a useless girl.

Three: Sim City

Sim City is a game where you create your own city and then try to destroy it in the most hilarious way possible. Well… you’re not ‘supposed’ to destroy it, as such, but that’s what everybody does anyway, by setting fires and then “forgetting” to build a fire station, or by unleashing a monster on the city. Devastation is fun! Zelda is similar in that it gives you an entire world to play with, which then gets destroyed over time – just like with Sim City! Okay, we admit it; we couldn’t think of five games and so we threw this one in as an afterthought. So sue us. (Note: do not sue us)

Why Ocarina Of Time is better:
It is a good game.

Two: Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto is the closest any game has got to the vast scope that Zelda gives the casual player. Here; you are given a town to muck around in, and you can fly helicopters of drive boats, cars, motorcycles, all whilst trying to kill innocent bystanders and jerk the police around. So, uh, a little less moral than Zelda, then. But much of the gameplay is the same, so long as you swap the police with giant spiders (in your mind, dude) and the pedestrians with little fairy children. It sounds very different, but really both games give you a world to play in at your leisure, and you can do whatever you want, when you want to do it. In Zelda you can rescue the nice farmyard from the dictatorship than gets forced upon it right at the start, or you can leave it possessed. In GTA games you can pick your missions whenever you want. Both games feature simple, clever gameplay which conceal a storyline that stretches out into more cinematic territory. Really, they have quite a lot in common, in their own decidedly different ways.

Why Ocarina Of Time is better:
You care about if your character lives or dies.

One: Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 is also the greatest game of all time. Both Mario and Link appeared on the N64 once in their own series, and both of them gave us a contender for the best gaming experience of all time. Whilst Mario was the first game to go properly 3-D in a way which was awesome, quirky, and completely fun, Ocarina of Time did the same thing but added a storyline to proceedings. Again you have the individual world that the character lives in, dominated by references to the past and innovative gameplay. Both characters go on their quest to save the Princess (when will the princess get to do the saving, Nintendo? When?) and ultimately save the day, if the player is good enough. These are computer game masterpieces, right here, and neither have been bettered yet – not even by their sequels.

Why Ocarina Of Time is better:
Toad isn’t in it.

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