Everything about Ocarina of Time is, suitably, quite legendary. From its character and enemy designs to its ingenious dungeon layout to its soul-crushingly awful water temple, nothing here is middle of the road. It's a game that was dubbed an instant classic when it premiered in 1998, and has since thoroughly earned that title; the fact its upcoming 3DS remake is one of the year's most anticipated games should speak volumes alone. But perhaps the most enduring thing about OoT, something that will never age with new 3D technology or HDTVs, is the stunning soundtrack that's become part of our collective conciousness.
Gerudo Valley is, I admit, kind of a gimme. Everyone loves this song. But there's a reason I'd highlight it even now - it's so completely NOT Zelda, a sign Nintendo was embracing new ideas and not relying entirely on recycled themes from its earlier Zelda games. The acoustic guitar, the inspiring brass, everything about this song is above and beyond what I expected from the series.
Above: Zora's Domain, probably the SECOND best water-themed music in videogames
Above: The Forest Temple creeped me right the hell out. Strangely, this song isn't on the US soundtrack
Above: The various Ocarina songs you'd learn throughout the game. Bolero of Fire FTW
Many (aka hundreds of thousands) of you noticed we didn't include Ocarina in our 100 best games of all time article. I made my argument there why Twilight Princess has replaced Ocarina when it comes to "recommendable 3D Zelda game" in this day and age, which several people either didn't read or don't agree with, which is fine. Opinions and all that. Since then several people have acted like I "forgot" Ocarina or "don't understand" why it's so great. Without resorting to "do you know who you're talking to?" levels of jerkishness, let me say the importance is not lost on me - Ocarina is a landmark game through and through, and its 7.6 million copies sold make it personally significant to just about everyone reading this site - myself included. But it's aged in ways that can't be nostalgia'd away, and I took that into account and suggested the GameCube TP instead.
That said, the 3DS remake appears to address just about all of the age-related issues, like clumsy menus, blurry textures and overly angular structures, so its status as a must-play game of the 21st century is likely to be reinstated soon.
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