Look familiar?

Will someone tell me what the hell that thing is?

When you see this symbol, you know the game's gonna be good.

See that horse? You get to ride it!

Even when converted to polygons, Link retains his boyish good looks.

I'm guessing this is Zelda.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

When one thinks of Nintendo's greatest triumphs, not any person's list would dare exclude the remarkable Zelda series. With a strong opening on NES, a dismal sequel, but then two incredible follow-ups (on SNES and Game Boy), Zelda has captivated the hearts of many. Combining impeccable gameplay and sweet role playing elements, Zelda has indeed branded itself on the forefront of gaming. Everyone has been waiting for the 64-bit update, and after almost a two year delay it looks like the return of Zelda is finally at hand. Will it live up to its unprecedented hype?

Although it is a common misconception by the casual gamer that Zelda is the little elf dude in the green skirt, Zelda is actually the princess in the world that Link (the little elf dude in the green short skirt) always ends up saving. He has saved her kidnapped ass several times from the mysterious pig-like creature that is called Ganon. In the 64-bit incarnation I am not even sure if Ganon is your nemesis (just got a report in that he is indeed the main bad guy), but just as no true Mario game would be without Bowser (Mario 2 is not a true Mario game), I do not think that any true Zelda game would be without Ganon (Zelda on Game Boy did not have Ganon, but that is hardly accepted as a "sequel" to previous games in the series). The plot details are very sketchy and that surprises me considering the amount of excitement that this game has generated. But I do know that you get to ride a horse! ^_~

The graphics in Zelda 64 are as pretty and cute as the average N64 title. Naturally, the graphics are gorgeous, but not really anything that has not been seen before. I have seen some choppy little videos, so I cannot really elaborate on the smoothness of animation. I am sure that it was just the tape quality though. I saw Link riding around the beautiful terrain on a groovy looking horse. Its about time that someone included a horse in their video game (a cool looking horse anyway). The worlds seem deep and viewable, but lets just hope that the camera angles are user-friendly. Another nice graphical touch is the cool transparencies that form when Link steps in the water. Truly beautiful.

I have no clue in the world how the music will be, and sadly, I am not merrily optimistic. I envision a game that has sweet graphics, blatantly wonderful gameplay, and.... D'oh! ... putridly cute music. In fact, I am almost certain of it. Of course we can always hope otherwise, but do not expect Zelda 64 to have much of a moving musical score. And if the characters talk like the characters in Banjo Kazooie (like the Charlie Brown teacher), this will be one PO'ed Game Master. Trying to be optimistic, maybe the horse will make cool noises!

The gameplay should end up being very puzzle based, and that is okay with me. Nintendo has always been wise in choosing their level designs for previous Zelda games, and I highly doubt that this will be an exception. The only thing I am worried about is the new 3D engine which may obstruct the RPG elements a little, making the game rather "Mario-ish". Mario is great, don't get me wrong, but Mario has never had much of an RPG engine (even in the Mario RPG). And sure, Zelda has always been a little more savvy on action than role playing, but I will always consider Zelda to be an old school action/RPG.

Also take into consideration that "If Ye Snooze, Ye Lose", meaning that if you get your copy of Zelda 64 from the first batch of shipments, you will get an exclusive gold cartridge (ooooh). So, the question again: will Zelda: Ocarina of Time live up to its expectation? Hell yes, you get to ride a horse! ~Andrew the Game Master

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