By now you’re probably familiar with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. It’s a wholly revamped Ocarina of Time, with better graphics, 3D effects, and a few extra features to make the game worth playing once more. I was fortunate enough to preview the game one last time before it launches on June 19, and here are some fresh impressions.
How the Bottom Screen Fixed the Water Temple and Other Subtle Changes—It’s been well-documented that the bottom screen will speed things up for OoT, but it’s remarkable how much faster a challenge like the water temple is. For those of you whose memories are a little rusty, this section of the game required Link to put on and take off heavy leaded boots to ascend and descend in a water-flooded temple. Instead of pressing start and then fiddling through a menu, players can now hot-key the iron boots to a button on the screen. Easy as pie. Even the ocarina is much easier to use thanks to the addition.
That’s not all. Nintendo has added electric blue, green and orange outlines to specific doors. I don’t know if the color code applies to all dungeon, but it was very helpful in the Water Temple. As someone who would easily get lost in these areas, I had no trouble knowing where to go or what to do thanks to the new color scheme.
Boss Rush is Harder than You’d Think—At any time in your save file, you can return to Link’s tree house in Kokiri Forest to either nap in his bed for full health or have him return to previous boss battles for a second round with his greatest foes. Once Link has beaten them in a rematch, he can take on the Boss Gauntlet, a timed boss-rush mode requiring players to beat each boss in order, all while racing against time with limited health. Hardcore Zelda fans should be pleased.
Link Begins Vision Tripping—Also new are the variations of Sheikah Stones. Substantially larger than the gossip stones original to OoT, these new stones wobble back and forth and undulate in the bright orange and green color scheme. This is obviously Nintendo’s Zelda version of the Smart Guide seen in Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Instead of a TV set playing the game for players, Link literally crawls inside like he’s on a peyote high and experiences insightful visions on how he might approach a problem. There are plenty of these visions, covering everything from the overworld challenges to specific puzzles in a dungeon. While it won’t hand players a solution, it will offer a clue to those who are stuck. Unfortunately, there are only a few of these stones in the game, so you’ll usually have to do a little searching to find one.
Link Goes Right-Handed in the Inverted Master Quest—Returning to OoT is the Master Quest. A version of the game initially announced for the N64 disk drive and released as a freebie for pre-ordering Wind Waker, Master quest revamps each of the dungeons (I played Jabu-Jabu’s Belly, which contains puzzles about cows stuck inside him). That’s pretty exciting. Nintendo even went a step further to amp up the challenge, with enemies dishing out twice the damage.
Need more? Master Quest pulls a Twilight Princess, meaning the whole world has been mirrored. Link is now right-handed, everything is opposite from where you’d think, so for the few who have completed Master Quest, this perspective might be enough to throw you off. And don’t think the Sheikah Stones will be there to help you, as they’ve been removed from the mode.