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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ocarina of Time Sucks














Before getting any further into this article, please note the date that this was published, and use that to inform yourself as you read through the following text.

Of all the popular games I'd never played, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was probably my most onerous omission. I tried playing it once when I was younger, but got stuck somewhere in the Deku Tree (I think in that room where you get the slingshot -- I couldn't figure out how the hell to get out of that room), quit out of frustration, and never went back. When I mentioned this to a friend recently, he immediately thrust a GameCube disc into my hands and told me to play it.

Now that I've finally played through it, I have to say I don't get what the big deal was all about. This game is so crude and primitive that it was a struggle for me to find any enjoyment in it, and many aspects of its design are just downright bad. How did this game leave such a big legacy behind? Is this really what people have wanted every subsequent Zelda game to be like? Because I gotta tell you, the newer Zeldas are a hell of a lot better than this one, and even the ones that came before it were better. More of my thoughts on this overrated game in the full article.

I know you all are accustomed to my articles being massive tomes of wisdom, but this game has left me so frustrated and disappointed that I don't think I can string my thoughts together into coherent, flowing paragraphs. Or maybe I'm just getting lazy, and this is a sure sign of the declining quality of content on this site. Either way, I'll just throw out a bulleted list of criticisms as they come to mind. Here we go.
The plot and gameplay progression is practically a copy-pasted ripoff of the plot from A Link to the Past. Meet Zelda, collect three special items, get Master Sword, rescue Sages from an "alternate world," fight Ganon, win game. Instead of coming up with something new and original, they just recycled the exact same plot from the last game. How is this considered so brilliant?
How come such a large majority of the map is completely useless? Seriously, like 50% of the map consists of Hyrule Field and Lake Hyrulia where there's practically not a single thing to see or do. Oh sure you can kill some skull kids in the field as Young Link, but then there's literally NOTHING out there as Adult Link. And basically all you can do at the lake is go fishing. Big whoop. 
Hyrule: Land of the Great Nothingness
For that matter, the story is filled to the brim with content padding. Expecting a riveting and compelling story here? Sorry, it's just a bunch of tedious and repetitive item-fetching. "Collect these items to get the Master Sword. Now collect these items to fight Ganon." They just threw out a bunch of obligatory items to collect for seemingly no other reason than to extend the game length, since they contribute next to nothing to the actual plot.
Or how about the fact that, whenever you rescue a Sage and receive their unique Medallion, the game says "So and so adds his power to yours," when in actuality, these items do jack diddly squat for you and don't make you any stronger. That heart container I got for killing the dungeon boss was a lot more useful than those stupid things.
 Also, was it supposed to be some big surprise when each sage discovered their powers and revealed this to me? Every single one of them says something in shock and disbelief like "Hard to imagine someone like me turning out to be a sage." And there I was thinking "You're like the only Kokiri / Goron / Zora / Sheikah / Gerudo in the entire game who actually has a name, and you were obviously involved with the conflict of this dungeon. Who else was it gonna be?" 
 Most of the characters in OOT are basically cardboard cutouts that only exist to stand around occupying space. They generally don't contribute much to the atmosphere or your interaction with the environment. They've got no personality and no reason to care about them, and most all of them seem completely indifferent towards the threat of Ganon conquering the world. Why is this place worth saving if nobody but Zelda and a handful of would-be sages seems to care?
 To top it off, so much of the map is restricted by arbitrary "lock-and-key" puzzles. Everywhere you go, you're running into obstacles that block your path, requiring some pathetically obvious item that the game hasn't graced itself to give you yet (like those rocks outside of Zora's River requiring a bomb to pass). It's just not satisfying to explore the world when you're constantly running into dead-ends and you're helpless to do anything about it, except to let yourself be dragged by the nose through the main questline.
OMG WHAT IS THAT THING!? Oh, sorry, it's just bad graphics.
 The graphics are a major eye-sore. Textures are so incredibly low-res, character models are ugly and blocky, animations are stiff and wonky. It just looks so ancient and decrepit, and only goes to show off the terrible limitations of graphics processing power at the time. Compare this to, say, the timelessly brilliant graphics of Wind Waker (which are a hands-down improvement over the bland "realistic" look of OOT -- I wish every game were like this) that will be pleasant to look at for decades to come, and you can easily see why there's nothing praiseworthy about OOT's graphics.  
 And, of course, Ganon is a really lame villain in this story, because they don't characterize him at all. What's his motivation and why should we care to stop him? There isn't a reason, we're just told that he's inexplicably evil and we have to be the valiant hero. Sorry, but I find it hard to give a damn about stopping a seemingly faceless villain who spends the entire game doing practically nothing off-screen. 
There are just so few side-quests in this game. I mean, what is there to really do besides just chain-gunning your way through dungeons? Go fishing? Play the Bombchu Bowling Alley? You can collect Golden Skultullas but that's not a real quest. You can do the Happy Mask trading sequence, but what good does it do you when literally all of those masks are totally useless? The only side-quest to really do is Biggoron's sword. 
The stupid fairy and owl characters are annoying as hell. Yes yes, Navi, I know that's a door and that I can press "A" to open it. Yes yes, Navi, I know that door has bars blocking it and that I can't go through it yet. Yes yes, Kaepora Gaebora, I heard you the first time, I don't want to read your entire rambling monologue all over ag--OH NO I CLICKED THE WRONG OPTION! FFFFFUUUUUU~~~~
The Lost Woods is a bunch of square rooms in a grid pattern. Do forests actually look like this? No, they do not. Does this forest make me feel lost and vulnerable? No, it just makes me feel like I'm stuck inside of a bad video game design. These woods just look stupid and the gameplay mechanic of exploring them ("which door should I take? Where they lead, no one knows!") is a stupid gimmick. The Lost Woods from ALTTP was so much better than this nonsense.
This is the most exciting "room" in The Lost Woods.
The world is plain and static. You wait seven years to become Adult Link, and guess what? The world is basically the same, except for Hyrule Castle Town. There are some new monsters here and there, and some characters have moved to new locations, but these are all superficial changes. Even the somewhat major, dynamic changes to the landscape turn out to be static and boring, like when you beat the Water Temple to save the Zora, and Zora's Domain never unfreezes for the entire rest of the game. Ultimately, the Dark World from ALTTP is a whole lot more interesting than the Adult Link world in OOT
Why are so many of the items completely useless? What's the point in filling our inventories up with useless junk, that seems to only exist as feature creep? Ice arrows? Tedious to get and completely useless. Bomchus? Useless. All of the masks? Useless. Magic beans? Who cares. Even more prominent stuff like the Megaton Hammer, the Longshot, the Bow, and the Hover Boots all prove to be pretty boring and redundant since they're either only ever used in isolated instances, or they just replace a similarly-functioning item you already had. 
 The sword combat is overly simplistic, and basically just amounts to spamming the "B" button for basic attacks over and over again. Or, if you're super-advanced, you stand completely still and press "A" to do a jump attack for double-damage. Fun. Why would you even use regular "B" attacks when jumping "A" attacks are so much more efficient? Occasionally they throw in some forced tactics for certain enemies, but these are mostly a matter of "stand around doing nothing, waiting for enemy to lower guard, then press A" kind of deal. 
The save system is so crude and primitive. When I save a game, I expect to be able to start playing exactly from where I left off. But in OOT, when I save and quit, it sends me all the way back to the starting area and forces me to replay serious chunks of the game or just waste my time running running all the way across empty, boring Hyrule Field again, just to get back to where I was. It's like they did that just to artificially increase playtime or something. 
At least this would've been halfway fun.
And how about that gimmicky use of the C-Buttons to solve puzzles? Bring up the ocarina and press some buttons to magically unlock some room or whatever it takes for the puzzle. That stuff takes zero skill to do and is like entering a cheat code or something. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, win game. How lame. Couldn't they have at least put some real puzzles into the game?
And what's up with the repetitive use of block-pushing "puzzles"? It seems like everywhere I go I'm pushing a block around and putting it on a switch or something. Moving blocks around may have been innovative back in the days of Tetris, but it's pretty uninspired in this game. 
The design of dungeons is pretty much abysmal, too. It's never clear where you have to go or what you have to do next, so I often just bumble around cluelessly doing random things until I accidentally stumble into the next area I'm supposed to be in. The challenge is artificially inflated with arbitrary trial-and-error, which makes them pretty much unsatisfying to beat. Would it have killed them to put a quest compass or something in the dungeons so that I could at least have some vague idea of where to go or what to do next?
Finally, perhaps most egregious is that the whole point of the game is for me to do all this work clearing out temples and liberating sages who are supposed to help me in my quest to stop Ganon. And what do they do for me? Do they give me a boost of super-strength, or help weaken Ganon somehow? No. They build me a fabulous rainbow bridge to Ganon's Castle. That's it. I could've gotten there myself if there'd just been a cucco nearby, or if those hover boots had been just slightly less useless. They can take that bridge and shove it up their sacred realms for all I care. Seriously, fuck those guys. 
So there you have it. I have no idea what the hype was all about, because this game really is quite bland, uninspired, and kind of sucks when you think about it. So much of its design was blatantly ripped-off from A Link to the Past, and the sad thing is that, even with OOT's vastly improved technology, they still managed to make the "new" renditions of stuff worse than in ALTTP. Meanwhile, the more recent Zelda games have improved every single aspect of the gameplay -- they're just so perfectly streamlined and super-polished, while OOT feels like a clunky, shambling redead.

I just don't get why this game was so popular. If you liked Ocarina of Time, then I think it's safe for me to say that you have poor judgment skills, or perhaps just bad taste in video games. Oh, I do have one bit of praise for OOT, though:
I really liked the Water Temple.

47 comments:

  1. I actually tried to play this a few years ago and just found the outdated controls to be too big of a pain. Seriously, this is not supposed to be a joke.

    I have never come even close to beating a Zelda game, though I have started the original one and the one about the Mask.

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  2. I wrote this as my attempt to troll in honor of April Fool's day. I've played the game countless times over the years (including a "3 heart challenge" run) and I consider it practically perfect for its time. And yet, every one of these criticisms is at least halfway valid, which I find amusing. I had so much fun writing this article in light of that.

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    1. Next time don't tell the truth when trolling. Every complaint you had was valid. At least try to troll.

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  3. It's a very overrated game, but i don't think it su... Oh, i see what u did there.

    Anyways, i agree about the newer Zelda games being better than Ocarina of Time (At least the majority of them).

    Skyward Sword was much better, but still Ocarina of Time fanboys insist on saying it's better because Z-TARGETING HURRR DURRR, i mean... Yeah, it was innovative for its time, but that was more than ten years ago, many other games (And Zelda games as well) that came after did this even better than Ocarina of Time, get over it already.

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    1. You're a fucking idiot. I would love to punch you in your ugly face for having such low common sense.

      "Ocarina of Time fanboys insist on saying it's better because Z-TARGETING HURRR DURRR"


      No, Z targeting was good, but that's not what I remember it for, I remember it for it's astonishingly haunting soundtrack, intense atmosphere and mood, characters that you really felt for, and an underlying theme of darkness.


      The game reflects real life, as a child, everything seems happy and carefree, then as you grow up you realise the world is full of evil and not a nice place.

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    2. Characters that you felt for? Really? No offense but all the characters except Link,Zelda and barely Ganondorf were on the screen for maybe two minutes or shorter. When something bad happened to one of them I literally though "I should care...why?".

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    3. ^My thoughts when playing TP not OoT^
      See, the game is brilliant because YOU DON'T HAVE TO CARE! You don't have to start crying when Saria is missing. You do, however have to save her to finish the game. I like OoT because, while TP tried to make Link's only motivation for saving the people because he cared about them, OoT makes it so that, for the most part, you don't care. You need to save Zelda and the few things you do care about so these other things that you don't still get taken care of.

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    4. Characters you care for and good atmosphere, are from Majora's Mask, the N64 Zelda game from 2000, which in my opinion is miles better than Ocarina of Time. Majora's Mask is very outdated, but improves upon some of Ocarina Of Time's mechanics, such as aiming. I recommend giving the 3DS version a go.

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  4. It's really popular among older people now because of the nostalgia it gives. The game is their childhood. The songs and adventures made for ward childhood memories for these people. Some people just don't like it because it receives so much attention and critical acclaim, because it's 'too mainstream'. Fucking hipsters, screw the fuck off. It may not have been a great game when it comes to things like graphics, but for it's time, it was a pretty kickass game. It came out in the goddamn 90's for christ's sake. It's a game. Quit flaming. No reason to be butthurt over a fucking 90's game.

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    1. No reason to be butthurt over an April Fool's Day gag =(

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  5. Really well done man; I'm a huge fan of the entire Zelda series but this title has always been my absolute fav, I'm one of these "older people" who still enjoys coming back to it every now and then i suppose. but as I was reading through this, angry and instant arguments to your criticisms pretty quickly gave way to chin-stroking considerations of what are actually some fairly legit critiques. always nice to look at an old favorite a new way.

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  6. This game sucks, I got stuck at the first temple...

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    1. So what your saying is that you are so stupid that couldn't finish the most easy Temple in the game, ok seems legit.

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  7. I bought OOT for 3DS , as I missed out on N64. I just completed the Jabu-Jabu Belly dungeon, and so far I find the controls/mechanics very bad, the music is mediocre, and as you say, it feels shallow. A Link To The Past seems alot better.

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    1. Hello moron, as for the music, it contains an amazing soundtrack. I'd like to punch you in the face. Fucking idiot. One of the most memorable, haunting soundtracks ever.

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    2. I also got this for 3DS. I was really excited to play it since I didn't have an N64 and missed it as a kid.

      I'm about 2 hours in and man this game is a slog. I really want to like it, but I just can't get into it.

      I'm really not a fan of games that force you through a tutorial and this game does that. The plot just doesn't want to pick up.

      In comparison, ALTTP grabs you from the start. It's the middle of a stormy night. You awaken from what you think may have been a dream where you hear a voice. You see your uncle mysteriously leave. You follow him to a secret passage, where you recover his sword and shield and take up the quest. So right out of the gate you have atmosphere, mystery and some skin in the game cause your uncle gets killed.

      I'm going to give OOT one more session, but if it doesn't pick up I guess I'll trade it for something else.

      I really wanted to like this game.

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    3. In reply to the anonymous person that called hal a moron.

      Get a life, Ocarina of Time sucks.

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  8. Played this game two years ago on PC. I tought it was pretty great for the year it was made. The boss fight were alright too which impressed me. But I have to say I was expecting something pretty ordinary.The ability to save and restart at the exact same spot you were on pc must have helped.

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  9. You forgot about the cutscenes, long and unskippable. Those annoy me.

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    1. Totally. There is way too much waiting in OOT. What really erks me is when you find bombs in a chest for the fiftieth time, and it tells you what they're used for AGAIN.

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  10. This straight up sucks...

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  11. Look, it's an overrated game, period. There are lots of them out there and the "Zelda" name is not immune to be labeled or even legitimately critiqued as being overrated. Every game was amazing "for its time" so just grow up and stop fanboying to the extreme. Anonymous needs to take a serious chill pill and learn to respect other people. It doesn't affect you one way or the other if some random person you'll never meet says they don't like your favorite game on the internet. Seriously.

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  12. LOLZORS graphic sucks Far Cry 3 is better for freedom and exploration also graphics.

    LOLZORS Stealth Mission you know everyone hate the hospital section in Hotline Miami?

    LOLZORS gameplay sucks it's not even ecksbawks

    LOLZORS Hello, Hey, Listen AND NO ECKBAWKS HAD THAT SHIT. NOT EVEN CORTANA!

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  13. I think you've got bad points in here. You complain about graphics, yet this game is old as shit now, and then compares its graphics with Wind Waker's. That's like comparing Super Mario 64's graphics with Super Mairio Sunshine's graphics, it's just cruel. Then you complain about the desing of dungeons. Imagine getting inside (in real life) of a castle/dungeon for the first time. You WOULD get confused. Navi may be irritating, but she gives you CLUES of what to do and where to go, hence elevating the experience of game, since you received a clue and was able to make good use of it in order to progress. And by the way, there was no battle system such as Ocarina of Time's before it. If you like Wind Waker's you should notice it's the exact same. In fact, the battle system of OoT is so good, it was kept in the series just as it was in OoT. I'm sorry, but most of your points are just invalid, dude.

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    1. Methinks you need to refresh the batteries in your irony detector. (Hint: check the date of the article)

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    2. Oh crap! Hahaha... ha... Well, I actually know of people who don't like OoT, so I kind of got used to defend this game. But I see where you come from. That feeling of "oh, man..." is really getting down on me right now hahaha

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  14. Game, that came out in 1998, you complain about graphics.Go back to Call of Duty, though you're still bad at that too

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    1. He wrote it on April fool's day as a joke. Check the date.

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  15. Oh, april fools i see,better have been a fucking joke,

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  16. The only thing I am going to say is about your first comment of being a ripoff. If you know the story of The Legend of Zelda games then you would know why it seems like a ripoff, but it is not. Link, Zelda, and Ganon are all reincarnations from there previous lives and recently in Skyward Sword this was explained at the end of the game after beating the final boss (No Spoilers). The reason it is explained in Skyward Sword is because it is the beginning of Link, Zelda, and Ganon according to Nintendo's new timeline. Please check these things before you call any game out there a ripoff of another, you might realize something you did not know that was important.

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    1. Could you please check the date it was posted?

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  17. I've noticed that a lot of people like the soundtrack to this hopelessly overrated game. Honestly, it's not that great, even for its time. Saria's song is probably the most annoying song I've ever heard in a video game. It's repetitive and not in a good way. Gerudo Valley was a nice fun song though and probably the only song I'd say is worth mentioning from this game. Many many MANY games before and after this game have had much more impressive soundtracks and I believe the only reason why this game's soundtrack is so popular is because of nostalgia alone.

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  18. Loling hard at all the butthurt retards spewing uneducated anger-induced insults at anyone who isn't praising the game from the rooftops.
    Someone didn't like a game you liked. It's not a big deal. Get over it. Grow up.
    Things like this are why I hate people.

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  19. This was all rather amusing to stumble upon. I feel like the complainers of this game were the ones who played it at age 16+ for lack of a girlfriend or anything better to do with their pathetic lives. I played this game when I was 11, when it first came out, and for its time, it was thee greatest game an 11 year old could have played. If you're looking for something a little more complex, try a game a little more suited for your age group :)

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    1. WHEN IT CAME OUT, IT WAS SHORTER< UGLIER, AND WORSE IN EVERY ASPECT COMPARED TO A LINK TO THE PAST< WHICH HAD ACTUAL CHALLENGE, NOSTALGIC BITCH

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  20. How terribly ironic I love the game but DON'T care very much for the water temple.

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    1. In the beginning you mentioned that you only played OOT once the gamecube was out. Try to think about it like this, if you had played them in order you likely would have enjoyed oot as much as most. In my childhood (Before school age) I played oot, F-zero (Snes) and Quest 64. Ever played Quest 64? That game sucked. I'm not going to add adjectives to that sentance. N64 for me had 2 RPGs one completly terrible the other was the best thing I'd ever seen. This was the first game to properly use 3rd person cameras it's pretty old but it was revolutionary. Nearly every game you see today even contains technical achivements (as in rendering concepts and gameplay) that were never use before oot. You are however completely right. The game does have pretty sucky graphics and game design but I think the backgrounds and textures were decent. This is especially apparent in the graveyard (Which was my favorite temple). Emptyness, hollowness, with a light touch of fear is the subtle nuance demonstrated there.

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    2. Thanks for ruining OOT for me asshole. And I can't believe this amateur thinks the new ones are better than it. The new ones are really bad (at least the DS ones). Sure twilight princess, skyward sword and wind waker were good (though in my opinion, majoras mask is the best), but is he seriously saying that the character design for SS is better? The only characters that look remotely human are Pippit, the leader dude of the academy, and Zelda herself.
      The stuff he said at the beginning had merit, but at the end it started getting a bit far-fetched. I agree with some of the things, but he kind of missed the good things.
      He goes out bashing on OOT fans, but who is he to talk? He seems like a major SS fanboy. SS!!! I didn't like that game, personally, because it's on the Wii which I'm not a huge fan of. Another reason is (and he complained about overuse in OOT) the overuse of direction and angle of sword swinging puzzles.
      He complains about the graphics of the game. Keep in mind it was made in 1998. The graphics are the same in MM. Don't like the graphics; play the 3D version!!
      Anyway I'm done ranting. The new games were about as good as OOT, but, just saying, MM FTW!!

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    3. THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOL'S DAY JOKE. The joke's apparently on you if you didn't bother to read any of my comments in the comments section or didn't pick up on any sort of sarcastic irony. I thought writing "I really liked the water temple" at the end was a dead giveaway.

      Most of what I said was not serious, though some of those complaints could in fact be considered legitimate complaints. Regardless, I consider OOT virtually flawless for its time and respect it dearly, but it's still only my third-favorite Zelda game (behind MM and ALTTP).

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    4. This is quite possibly the most successful April fools post of all time.

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    5. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

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    6. You complain about charter models, and you're praising this game? I HATE THIS GAMES SO MUCH, Nick's REASONS AND A FEW BILLION MORE. Nothing about it tops any game in the series. If its flow and exploration you want, then you must play wind waker, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword. Fuck you, Eric Boerboom, Nick Burgener, and all you other Nostalgic and Idiotic BITCHES. I HATE ALL OF YOU. TAKE OFF THE STUPID NOSTAlgIA GOGGLES. NOW YOU IDIOTS.

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  21. I do agree that these points are fairly true. If I hadn't checked the date, I would know it's a troll because of the last sentence.
    Ocarina of Time isn't my favorite Zelda game, but it's the first one I loved. I agree the owl and Navi are really annoying, and the tutorial is boring, but whatever. The thing about OoT is it pushed the N64 to it's limit, it went as far as it could go. My favorite Zelda game, though, is is Majora's Mask. I love the music and atmosphere, and especially the theories about it!
    Compared to recent games, it's graphics are pretty bad, and it's plot may not be as good. Everyone has games they like, or don't like, and that's fine.

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  22. Why is this an April Fools' joke? I hate Ocarina of Time, it's way too overrated.

    I've seen better games than Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress (the original) is an example.

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  23. I fully agree with this article.I recently bought the 3DS remake of the game.Even though you made this for April Fools,its an amazing article.It touches on every and any problems I had with the game.The puzzles are cryptic,the game itself isn't that good and the save system is atrocious.I feel like I wasted the money I bought this game with.

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  24. I hate this game with a passion. It did nothing new for the series. From a consumer's point of view, A link to the past topped it in every way. Because the N64 lacked memory, the game literally had no polish. Because they tried making more dungeons, every thing else was low-rez. No matter what way you put it, the game was inferior to A link to the past. I didn't even realize they're was music on anywhere besides Kakariko Villiage and Kokiri forest. And those tracks were very watered down and insults to the original tracks of ALTTP. Story, no. Gameplay,maybe, Charcters, no, ARt, no, music, no, fun? NOOOOOO. This game rates a 2.8/10. WInd Waker, Skyward Sword, and Spirit Tracks deserve its praise. They deserve its 9.9/10. I am 100% honest.

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