The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Preview -- Hello Water Temple, We Meet AgainBy David Rudden - Posted May 11, 2011
In the dozen-plus years that have passed since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time released on the Nintendo 64, one facet of the game has developed a massive negative reputation that stands in a stark contrast to the rest of the critically-acclaimed blockbuster—the Water Temple. To those of you who have yet to play the game, the normally hyperbolic Urban Dictionary ably summarizes the tedious and torturous stage, comparing it to the most personally invasive medical examination possible.
To those who have played the level, I'm glad you've returned your gaze to this article after your post-traumatic stress disorder was triggered upon its first mention. To both groups, I assure you that the level is far more enjoyable and intuitive when played on the 3DS. I must also warn you, however, to keep your ego in check, since the standard quest is probably harder than you remembered, while the Master Quest will truly test your mettle.
The lion's share of the hour-long demo I had with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D was spent exploring the depths of the aforementioned infamous stage. The most tedious part of the stage—the need to equip and remove Link's dense Iron Boots on dozens of occasions—has changed drastically. Before, it was a laborious process that required pausing the game, making the change, regaining your bearings in the game world, and performing the action needed with or without the boots on. This time around, I was able to take off and put on the boots with just a tap of the touch screen.
That being said, the Water Temple was a multifaceted tool of frustration, and some of the level's other troublesome parts have been improved with Ocarina of Time 3D's changes. The addition of Gyro Sensor controls may help the less-experienced dungeon crawlers engage in first-person activities like aiming and exploring the surroundings. Even for folks who prefer the precision of an analog stick (present company included), using the Gyro Sensor is a nice change of pace that can be enjoyable during lower-stakes situations like finding hookshot panels and looking for hidden elements within an empty room.
The level's brain-busting puzzles have also been addressed with the game's new “Vision” system. At select locations within Hyrule are stylized versions of the game's standard Gossip Stones. Larger and more colorful than the more common variety, the Vision Stones will present solutions to some of the game's tougher puzzles by flashing a series of quick hints. Coming up with the solution will still require some brainpower, which makes the Vision Stones a nice compromise between having to decipher the obtuse hints often presented in Zelda games and having all of the challenge sucked out of the game by referring to an online video walkthrough.
I worry that the system may be too sparse for its own good, however, as the Nintendo representatives on hand could only recall two locations for the stones. Since finding these hints will often require puzzled players to leave the dungeon and trek far across Hyrule to find the rare locales, I can see many players forgoing Visions in favor of less satisfying solutions.
Outside of the standard Ocarina of Time experience, two more modes have been added to extend the experience, though one comes with a major caveat. The addition that won't create objection is the boss battle mode that serves as a time trial of sorts. Once a dungeon's keeper is felled in the story, Link will be able to take on any of them in a rematch by returning to his bed in Kokiri Villiage. Defeating all of the bosses will allow access to the Boss Gauntlet, which pits Link against all of the game's biggest baddies without the ability to rest or revive. Not only is it a fun way to relive the game's most memorable moments—I was able to re-experience the epic showdown with Gannondorf in a hair under five minutes—but it should help players prepare for the second quest, should they choose to accept it.
While most of the changes made to create more casual appeal for the Ocarina of Time 3D will be welcome by series veterans too, one change that might cause a stir amongst fans is the fact that the included Master Quest will only be unlockable upon completion of the standard storyline; the game was included in the GameCube's Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest edition. However, after trying out the first combat stage in the Master Quest, my quick demise in Jabu Jabu's Belly reminded me that the dozens of hours I spent with the game over a decade ago haven't served to make me anything resembling an expert.
Given the fact that the game looks gorgeous in 3D with remastered visuals, and the amazing score and script remain just as endearing as they did at launch, I don't think I'll mind taking on this classic quest once again when it releases for the 3DS on June 19.