Ocarina of Time Game Overview

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Possibly one of the best games for the Nintendo 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, allows players to explore the expansive game world while solving puzzles and fighting enemies with various weapons. One of the best features about Ocarina is its time travel feature which allows you to do things like return to your childhood or battle Ganon in his prime.

Bottom Line Up Front

Ocarina of Time is one of the most highly praised Legend of Zelda games of all time. For a genuine experience, Zelda-lovers will want to play this on the N64, but it’s also available on the 3DS.

The Story

Ocarina of Time begins when Link, a young boy living in the Kokiri Forest, is summoned by Navi, a fairy who tells him that his friend Saria has sent her to find him. She leads him to the Great Deku Tree, who tells him that he must discover Princess Zelda to stop Ganondorf, the Gerudo King of Thieves, from gaining the Triforce. When Link finds Zelda inside the Temple of Time, she explains that Ganondorf’s heart is evil and will abuse the Triforce if he earns it. She gives him an Ocarina that she possesses called the Ocarina of Time which can be used to open the door of time and locks Ganondorf away.

Link is too young to wield Master Sword, so Zelda uses her power to send him forward in time for seven years before Ganondorf breaks free of his imprisonment. During these seven years, Link is training to become a brave warrior under the guidance of her father, the king of Hyrule. After he turns 17, Zelda sends him back to make it just in time for Ganondorf’s attack on Hyrule Castle. Link manages to prevent the evil Gerudo King from stealing the Triforce and is given an Ocarina from Zelda. He uses it to travel back and forth between his childhood and adult years; child and adult Link can play Zelda songs which will open up new areas in the overworld.

Game Inspirations

Ocarina of Time Game Overview

The game’s developer, Eiji Aonuma, was inspired by two games creating Ocarina of Time. The first inspiration was the popular Playstation game Metal Gear Solid. This influence is most apparent in Ocarina’s storyline. Both stories revolve around rescuing a kidnapped character, including time travel.

Aonuma’s second inspiration for the Zelda series was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In creating a new game, Aonuma wanted to emulate the top-down perspective and world map from this title.

The music for Ocarina of Time was composed by Koji Kondo, one of the most famous music composers in video games. He is responsible for creating the memorable Super Mario Bros. theme song.

Gaming Consoles

Ocarina of Time is an action/adventure game developed and published by Nintendo for the N64 gaming console and released in November 1998.

It is available for download on the Wii virtual console and was bundled with Nintendo’s new handheld gaming device, the 3DS.

Gameplay Elements

Link, Zelda, and Ganon are the main characters in Ocarina of Time. The story revolves around Link as he travels through time to save Princess Zelda and defeat Ganondorf, who has usurped the throne from Zelda’s father. The seven sages also play a role in the story as they grant Link special powers and aid him on his quest by communicating telepathically from their respective temples.

Link is armed with a sword, shield, bombs, bow, and arrows, among other items. These can be upgraded throughout the game.

Zelda is armed with a bow and can wield magic spells when she meets certain conditions in the game. She is also the keeper of the sacred power, which allows her to send Link back to regain his strength.

Ganon possesses superhuman strength and can cast fire magic. He can revert Link to child form if he sustains enough damage.

In addition to the primary quests that advance the main story, there are also side quests and mini-games available for you to complete and secrets strewn about the land of Hyrule, which can be discovered by thorough exploration.



The game is divided into various levels or dungeons. Each dungeon has a particular theme and required items to complete the level. Each dungeon is usually home to one or more boss monsters or mini-bosses that must be defeated for Link to advance.

A key design element used throughout the game is time travel. At several points, Link can use his ocarina to open a portal that allows him to travel to the past or future. In doing so, he can access certain areas of the map previously closed off to him and complete specific quests that will aid him in defeating Ganon.

The game is played from a third-person perspective. The main character, Link, navigates through Hyrule on foot or by horseback and by boat and canoe.

Time Travel

The Ocarina of Time Game adds to this by making it possible for you to travel further into the future than ever before. This is not something that you can do at will, however. You must first find a portal called a “Gate of Time.” As soon as you step through one of these portals, both your health and magic will be refilled for free. As soon as you step away, they will deplete entirely again.

Once you make your way through the portal, it is time to play the Ocarina of Time to travel into the future. When you are controlling Link, play the double-time song you learned from Guru–Guru. After playing the music, Link will have travelled to the future.

The best part is that if it’s already nighttime in the time you are currently in, then when you step back through the portal, it will now be night in Hyrule as well! This means that you can play the Sun’s Song any time of day or night, anyplace in Hyrule. This may be useful if you are playing the Ocarina of Time Game at night and don’t want to wait until morning for respawning fairies to recharge your health!


octarin time

The game is in Hyrule, the same fantasy world setting found in previous Zelda games. The nine realms of Hyrule can be explored on foot or navigated via a map that appears on your screen while you play. Most of the puzzles revolve around manipulating the terrain to reveal new areas and secrets.

Hyrule is divided into various provinces and dungeons and has a vast system of caves and waterways/seas with islands throughout it. It is also surrounded by mountains which prevent you from going past the edge of the map.

The overworld begins at forest-covered hills that lead into a grassy plain with several villages dotting the landscape. A river runs through the center of Hyrule, and a suspension bridge allows you to cross it at many points.

The other areas include a desert, a swamp, a forest with a labyrinth that can only be navigated using magic powder to reveal its secrets, the Lost Woods, the Northern Mountains, which lead into an icy region called Zora’s Domain, and Death Mountain.

Key Moments

There are several key moments in the game worth mentioning, including the water temple and some key boss battles.

The Water Temple

water temple

This level is in Lake Hylia and requires you to warp in the future and return several times. Fighting Dark Link in the Water Temple is one of the more difficult boss battles in the game.

The Forest Temple

At this point, you are on the opposite side of Death Mountain from Kokiri Forest. You can climb to the top of Death Mountain through this temple to meet with Sheik who teaches you the Bolero of Fire. The boss for this level is Phantom Ganon.

The Fire Temple

This level is in the Death Mountain Crater. You need to warp into future at this point in order to get the Iron Boots that are required for traversing one of the fire temple rooms. A new metal, called “adult link” is unlocked when you enter his time period. When you interact with the torch in front of you, a warp point is created that transports Link back to the dungeon entrance. The boss of this level is Volvagia.

The Ice Cavern

The Ice Cavern

In order to get here from Zora’s Domain as Young Link, you need the Silver Gauntlets as adult link. If you haven’t managed to collect enough silver rupees yet, you can warp to the future and collect them there. A new metal, called “adult link” is unlocked when you enter his time period. When you get the Zora Tunic by playing Zelda’s Lullaby on the blue pedestal, you can dive deep underwater where this level is located. The boss of this level is Morpha.

The Shadow Temple

At one point in the game, Link will be required to travel back in time to enter a mysteriously dark temple. It’s an integral part of the storyline and boasts exceptionally high-quality graphics for its time. There are several keys needed to complete the temple, but it’s possible to bypass most of them if you’re clever enough.

The Spirit Temple

Near the endgame, Link will be required to travel back in time yet again to enter another mysterious-looking dungeon–this one housing half-possessed children. There is a sidequest requiring you to complete a small maze with a variety of tricks and puzzles.

The Gerudo’s Fortress

The Gerudo's Fortress

After fighting the Skull Kid in the Lost Forest, you’ll be able to gain entrance to this location near Hyrule Castle Town. In order to get here from Kokiri Forest as a young link, you need Epona and at least 50 rupees. As an adult link, you can warp there.

The Ganon’s Castle

Once you defeat all six bosses in the temples, an entrance will open up to this location at Hyrule Castle Town. The final battle with Ganon is what brings closure to the game.

Differences from Other Games in the Series

One main difference from other games in the Zelda series is that Ocarina of Time is the first game to feature a real-time action battle system. Previous Zelda games allowed players to attack enemies by swinging their swords, but Ocarina of Time added an extra dimension with the ability to dodge enemy attacks.

Other new features include Z-targeting, which allows players to focus their attacks on specific enemies at the touch of a button. Like the real-time battle system, this feature has become common in subsequent Zelda titles. While previous games forced players to explore dungeons in a specific order, Ocarina of Time opens the game by allowing players to complete quests for non-playable characters. With this new level of freedom, the player is allowed to solve puzzles and explore Hyrule as they see fit after receiving an item called the “Master Sword,” which acts as a key to opening the path to new areas and also enables Link to travel back and forth through time.

This new element allows Ocarina of Time Game players to complete dungeons in almost any order at their own pace. This may be beneficial for some, but it can also do solving puzzles and explore a bit more complex than if they were completed in a fixed sequence. This can make it more challenging to find new items that will enable the player to remove obstacles blocking their path. While objects from previous Zelda games such as bombs and boomerangs return, Ocarina of Time introduces many new ones who become staples of fun to follow, such as the Hookshot and Fire Arrow.

As the first game to implement these features, Ocarina of Time has served as a model for future Zelda titles. This would not be possible without the success of Ocarina of Time Game which laid out an action-based framework that other games can expand upon. The same framework has made each successive title feel familiar to fans, but at the same time, new and exciting for those seeing it for the first time.


Ocarina of Time has become known as one of the greatest games ever made. It won multiple awards such as Game of the Year from significant publications and sold over 7.6 million copies in its first week on sale. The high praise continued as the game received more awards over the next two years and was inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2012.


If you enjoyed Ocarina of Time, here are some other games you might want to try.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask


Majora’s Mask offers a similar story as Ocarina of Time, but with many new features. In addition to a different art style and the ability to transform into 3 different characters, it includes an inverted world where you travel from east to west rather than west to east.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess


Twilight Princess is one of the most narrative-heavy games in the Zelda series with a darker tone than other titles. Much of the gameplay is centered around combat with enemies, but it also includes an improved version of the sword-fighting system from Ocarina of Time.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild takes place in a vast open-world where players can roam freely and fight an assortment of enemies. It also features a helpful travel mechanic that allows players to quickly move from one location to another, but it can be time-consuming without the right equipment.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Link to the past

A Link to the Past is a re-release of the original The Legend of Zelda with added features such as new dungeons and an improved storyline. It also includes a magic meter that is used up every time players cast a spell, making it less convenient for some puzzles.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds


A Link Between Worlds is known to be one of the easiest games in the Zelda series. It introduces new mechanics to help players solve puzzles and includes an item rental system that allows them to use other items without having to purchase them first.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword features a new combat system that makes it easier to target enemies and switch between items during battle. It also introduces a stamina bar that limits the amount of strenuous activity Link can perform, such as sprinting and grappling, which in turn encourages players to plan their attacks in advance rather than going all-out from the start.

Super Smash Brothers


Super Smash Bros. is a series where characters from the entire Nintendo universe fight against each other. While Ocarina of Time characters do not appear in Super Smash Bros., there are some items that appeared first in Ocarina of Time. The Smash Bros. series even introduced a new Zelda character into the universe, none other than Sheik (now playable as part of Zelda’s alternate form in Super Smash Bros.).


If you’ve never played Ocarina of Time, you may have a few questions. These frequently asked questions should help.

Question: What is the Ocarina?

Answer: The Ocarina of Time is a magical instrument that allows Link to cast spells with different melodies. The device consists of a sound box with six holes. A separate “mouthpiece” serves as the seventh hole. Link’s journeys begin when his friend, a young princess named Zelda, gives him this instrument before being sent to protect Hyrule from an evil sorcerer who has cursed her.

Question: When is Ocarina of Time Set?

Answer: The game takes place in the fictional land of Hyrule. As with all Zelda games, the player only knows as much as Link does. He begins his journey in Kokiri Forest and sets out to find Princess Zelda after learning that she has been put under a sleeping curse by the evil sorcerer, Ganon.

Question: Where Can Ocarina of Time be Played?

Answer: The game can be played with the Nintendo 64 or Nintendo 3DS.

Question: Is Ocarina of Time Worth Playing?

Answer: While this is a matter of opinion, many gamers feel that this game is one of the best games ever made and only offers praise. Its graphics are good by today’s standards, and its gameplay remains fun to this day.

Question: What Happens at the End of Ocarina of Time?

Answer: At the end of his journey, Link is sent back in time to relive some memories and save Hyrule from Ganondorf’s evil plans. This sequel to the series was released on the Nintendo GameCube as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

Question: What is the Master Sword?

Answer: Master Sword is a magical weapon that can repel evil. The goddess Hylia created it to help her chosen hero defeat an army of demons. It is said that evil beings cannot touch it. Master Sword rests in its pedestal until Link needs it, at which point it rises into the air, allowing him to grab hold of the hilt. He can then use it against his enemies.

Final Thoughts

Ocarina of Time has been ported to other Nintendo systems over time. Still, players who want an authentic experience enjoy playing it on Nintendo 64 because they can play it as it was meant to be played. The water reflections and dynamic shadows help make the world feel more alive, and the reverb makes the sound effects more immersive without requiring a surround sound system.

The Nintendo 64 also has a unique controller that no other system can emulate. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it helps players familiarize themselves with the Ocarina of Time Game which can help ease the learning curve when they decide to play other games in the series.

This is why Ocarina of Time Game has become one of the most influential and acclaimed games in history and will still be played for years to come.

Continue reading:

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Game Overview

Phantom Hourglass Game Overview

A Link Between Worlds Game Overview

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