Ocarina of Time 3D: Hands-on with boss rush and... ugh, the Water Temple

Imagine my surprise when I walked into an Ocarina of Time appointment and immediately heard "today you'll be playing the Water Temple." After fainting, barfing, then barfing until I fainted again, I was able to shed off 13-year-old PTSD long enough to try the new 3D version of said temple, only to discover it's not as bad as our collective memories tell us. In fact, several changes to Ocarina 3D actually made the mind-shredding temple... dare I say, enjoyable?

Above: Namely those red and green lights, and the entire bottom screen

The layout and plan of attack are the same, but now there's some form of Hylian track lighting that traces a Tron-style bread crumb trail through the temple. I saw red and green lights snaking throughout the temple, each one leading to an area where the water level can be raised and lowered. So now, instead of slowly trudging through the murk in search of a place to alter the water, you can focus on each colored trail and head straight for the triggers that fill and drain the dungeon. It's possible some may see this as "babying" the game, but rest assured this temple is still a challenge - just not as tedious as it was before.

The real improvement is the bottom screen, which gives you instant access to Link's weapons and equipment. Notice in the screen above that the Iron Boots are mapped to the lower right corner of the touch screen - that means a simple tap will equip and un-equip those boots in a flash. No more pausing the game to manually put them on and take them off every 30 seconds, which was always my biggest gripe with this dungeon. Between the light trail and the new equip screen, I felt immensely more interested in playing through this accursed place, more than I have since suffering through it in 1998. When even the game's developer admits switching boots was a pain, you know it needs an update.

There's yet another helpful addition, and this one's totally optional. Much like New Super Mario Bros Wii (and Galaxy 2) had those "show me how to do this area" videos, Ocarina 3D offers Shiekah Stones that contain brief video hints about various areas of the game. You see some of those clips above, referring to the game's Shadow Temple. Again, you can opt out of these entirely and there's no penalty for watching them. Not my cup of tea, but hey, they're there if you need 'em.

After sampling a good 30 minutes of the new Water Temple, I then headed into the boss rush mode, which lets you replay any boss you've already beaten. Complete all of them and you can then engage in an all-boss gauntlet that stacks them back-to-back-to-back. I asked if there was a reward for completing such a task, and I think the answer was something along the lines of "satisfaction?"

Finally, I quickly tried my hand at the Master Quest version of the "Inside Jabu Jabu's Belly" dungeon. As you likely know, Master Quest is a remixed version of the main game, intentionally made more difficult with extra enemies and shuffled item locations. The 3D version, however, is mirrored, so that all the lefts are rights (including Link, har har). Other than that, it appears to be the same we played on two different GameCube discs. Meaning it's still tough as nails and different enough to warrant playing even if you've been through the main game 10 times already.

Ocarina 3D launches on June 19, just in time to save us from this drought of 3DS games. At least the 3DS online store should be up by then, possibly with a 3D conversion of the original NES The Legend of Zelda. If so... Zelda 1, Ocarina 3D and Skyward Sword all in one year? Yeesh!

May 11, 2011


Ocarina of Time 3DS/N64 screenshot comparison
Nintendo's upcoming re-release adds more than another dimension



Ocarina of Time: N64 vs 3DS, round two!
Even more head-to-head comparisons of Zelda's most famous entry



Game music of the day: Ocarina of Time
Gerudo Valley by Koji Kondo




  • cafink - May 17, 2011 8:39 p.m.

    A correction to the article: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest has not been released twice, but only once. The four-game "Collector's Edition" compilation disc contained only the regular version of the game. Only the Wind Waker pre-order bonus disc contains the Master Quest.
  • philipshaw - May 16, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    Can't wait for this and thank god they have fixed the water temple
  • Yeager1122 - May 14, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    Sounds awsome just need to get myself a 3ds now.
  • slimjim441 - May 12, 2011 10:17 p.m.

    'Tedious.' The perfect word. Not impossible, hard, challenging, or logtwobblingly superfluous. It was (slightly) irritating only because of the Iron Boots equip/unequip time, and when you realize the entire temple is about getting Small Keys to get the one Small Key that opens the door to the room with the Boss door. :/ But, if everyone's still crying about the Water Temple, let me remind you of Snowhead Temple in Majora's Mask. Remember that? Yeah, that's what I thought. Stop bitching. They fixed the boots, and that's all I wanted.
  • d0x - May 12, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    I dont LOVE the Water Temple in OOT. I dont know if i even like it lol. I do know I didnt hate it like everyone else seems to. The one I hate more than any other part of any other Zelda game is Jabu Jabu. Its not even that hard but the first time I played it it drove me insane. Falling through those things onto the wrong part of the lower level was madness and having to carry that stupid chick around....RAWR! I actually just played it the other day and I was full of dread. Thankfully it wasnt as bad as I remember but I still dont like it lol.
  • markshell - May 12, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    The only gripe I had with the Water Temple when I was a kid is that I always got lost at some point and spent hours and hours trying to find my way to the Boss. Other than that, I always thought it was the most immersing dungeon from the game (no pun intended), it always felt epic and real. And it was incredible to explore with such vivid detail a sunken temple, like you were all alone visiting some underwater city or something. To me the truly annoying water temple was the one in Majora's Mask, now that was a hellish nightmare all over.
  • metroid2099400 - May 12, 2011 4:09 a.m.

    I'd like to see bottom screen be reversible, depending on dominant hand. It's not something that's too big of a deal, but would be a nice little convenience for us lefties.
  • PretzelBoy - May 12, 2011 3:42 a.m.

    I had no problem with the water temple as well. I recently replayed OoT and was able to finish completely from memory. I agree the boot changing was annoying though.
  • shawksta - May 12, 2011 3:38 a.m.

    Awesome!its making itself even more anticipating @510BrotherPanda Its not that we hated it or thought it was hard, it was, In just one word, Tedious, the most tedious in fact going through the damn thing, However in my opinion the temple was worth going through for its awesome 2 bosses
  • 510BrotherPanda - May 12, 2011 3:11 a.m.

    THE WORLD IS A GIANT, GIANT PUSSY. The Water Temple wasn't hard at all; you just have to remember where the 3-4 water level-changing areas are, and that a tunnel opens up in the central pillar when the water is up. The old Ocarina of Time's only problem was the "go through the whole menu to equip the Iron Boots" thing, but Wind Waker alleviated that. The whole thing of it being the "worst level ever" is a bunch of over-hyped crap. Just like how Navi is the "worst NPC ever". There are far worst out there. Like Other M's Adam Malkovich.
  • MattOfSteel - May 12, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    Am I the only one that is excited for the possibility of having a screen on the controller for the Stream (Project Cafe) having the same functionality as the DS touchscreen does? The ability to easily access maps and other inventory items without going to a start menu. Always the best part of the DS experience. And I never hated the water temple. You do something and it unlocks a door ... so you go to that door. There was already a trail of breadcrumbs, just no lights. Plus the joy of getting the longshot and fighting one of gaming's greatest mini-bosses, ShadowLink.
  • Andyjoe - May 12, 2011 2:19 a.m.

    "Zelda 1, Ocarina 3D and Skyward Sword all in one year? Yeesh!" Dude, it's the year of Zelda! Besides, it's better than a $30 rom dump. Oh, and don't forget Links Awakening 3D on the eshop.
  • RebornKusabi - May 12, 2011 1:47 a.m.

    I'm an anomaly; I loved how difficult the Water Temple was. Sorry, but it really does sound like they baby you in that temple now (aside from much MUCH appreciated quick equip/unequip Iron Boots function) with the lights all of that. That temple honestly was no worse than any of the other temples in my opinion. That video shit will be turned off as well. Love the inclusion of Boss Rush and I REALLY love the addition of Master Quest (didn't like Wind Waker enough to pre-reserve it to get Master Quest and GameStop sold it for $80...) so all of this, aside from treating you like a child in the Water Temple, is totally justifying my payed off reserve copy. Thanks for the preview Brett! Love to come home to Ocarina news lol
  • Technomancer - May 12, 2011 1:30 a.m.

    Ocarina of Time 3D (June 19), Duke Nukem Forever, Child of Eden, and Alice: Madness Returns (June 14). The third week of June is going to be absolutely brutal on my wallet.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - May 12, 2011 1:15 a.m.

    @pa21ris Forgot to mention the Ocarina! You play it with the buttons (XABY etc) and can look at the list of known songs while the prompt is up on the screen. You don't have to pause, scroll to the list of songs, remember it, unpause etc - you can go to the list from the song prompt, play it from there and move on.
  • Katlu - May 12, 2011 1:11 a.m.

    UGHH! I need a 3DS!!!
  • Andyjoe - May 12, 2011 1:08 a.m.

    You forgot to mention that in this Master Quest, enemies do twice the damage as in the normal game (I ain't trolling, it's true). Imagine going up against an Iron Knuckle that does 8 hearts of damage instead of 4. This time, it will truly be, THE MASTER QUEST!!!!
  • FlashDancerElite - May 12, 2011 12:40 a.m.

    I never really felt like the Water Temple was all that bad. It probably was the worst temple overall but not nearly as difficult as people make it out to be. I don't understand where the notoriety comes from.
  • Biocommie - May 12, 2011 12:36 a.m.

    I liked the water temple. I thought it was wonderfully done and the boss was really cool.
  • HankVenture - May 12, 2011 12:22 a.m.

    I don't have hated memories of the water temple, maybe I'm weird, but o well can not wait.!

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