The only reason why Nintendo hasn’t been totally eradicated by Sony & Sega is because of their seemingly invincible mascots – Mario, Metroid & Zelda (Link). Considering what a cerebral-shock Mario 64 was, the entire world was looking forward to Zelda’s release on to the Nintendo 64.
Nintendo reigned supreme. Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda were smash hits. Nintendo had a stranglehold on the video game console market. And let me tell you… as a gamer… life was good. I used to spend hours playing Super Mario Bros. As for Zelda… the conversation at the schoolyard was usually about hard to find Zelda items.
Where is the Silver Arrow anyway?
A decade later, in 1996, Nintendo released Mario 64. It was simply astonishing. Next Generation Magazine called it the greatest game of all time, and they were right. Mario 64 combined superb play control with cutting-edge 3D graphics. Even by today’s standards, seldom do game combine smooth play-control with vivid graphics. It was an absolute treat to play – from beginning to end.
…but what about Zelda?
Knowing how flawless Mario 64 was, everyone had eyes on Zelda. Mario 64 was a first generation N64 game, so the nicked-named Zelda 64 had to be just as good… right?
What a disappointment!
When the first videos of “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” were leaked, I was under-whelmed. The graphics were not an improvement over Mario. In fact, I felt they were inferior. Banjo & Kazooie, released by Rare one year before Zelda, also illustrated Zelda’s lack in the graphics department. Zelda’s colors were just not as vibrant or crisp. To add insult to injury, by this time Sega was sporting videos of what the Dreamcast could do. Sonic Adventure crushed Zelda in terms of eye candy.
…and what horrible play-control!
OK… graphics aren’t everything, otherwise I wouldn’t have enjoyed the original Zelda, but this game was just awful. Combine slow moving text, horrible level design, then take away a jump button, now you’ve got the combination for poor play control.
A stupid owl would read me a story, regardless if I wanted to listen to it or not, regardless if I had heard it already or not, regardless if I press the “B” button a million times or not. I also felt I was shackled to the ground because Link does not jump on command, only in certain instances. And the levels are either mind-numbingly easy or painfully difficult… there is no middle ground, The thought of completing the water temple again gives me nightmares. Put boots on, take boots off, water goes up, water goes down, find stupid key, repeat.
Yet people still claimed to love it…
The magazines already called Mario 64 the greatest game of all time. Now they were calling Zelda 64 the “Game of the Century”. How lame! This was with total disregard to what Sega was cooking up the following year.
So what’s your point?
By now you’ve either played Zelda 64, or you’re never going to be bothered by it. I doubt I’m swaying any future purchases of this game. I own it… and probably I wouldn’t sell it either… that’s not my point. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not calling it the greatest game of all time. It was a decent game… but no way was it the best of the 20th century. For some reason, I’m still reading articles that claim how great Zelda 64 was supposed to be. Frankly, I’m sick of it.