The structure of Ocarina of Time’s story lets players see what is at stake by showing them Hyrule both before and after Ganondorf’s reign.
As a game about withstanding the test of time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time itself has survived since its release on the Nintendo 64 to remain one of the best adventure titles of all time. The Legend of Zelda series chronicles the immortal struggle between the hero Link and the so-called King of Evil, Ganondorf, who wields the Triforce of Power and consistently attempts to destroy Hyrule or insert himself as its ruler. Ocarina of Time‘s structure, and Link’s role as the Hero of Time, allow the game to truly show the player what is at stake by putting on display the destructive influence of Ganon.
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When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time begins Link is but a child, unaware of his Hylian descent and living with the Kokiri in their forest. He is told by the Deku Tree of a man from the desert known as Ganondorf who will rise to power and threaten the peace of Hyrule. After securing the Spiritual Stone of the Forest, and being told by Zelda to collect two more (the Goron’s Ruby and the Zora’s Sapphire) in order to retrieve the Master Sword, the player embarks on a journey through a mostly peaceful Hyrule – a Hyrule which is, unfortunately, on the precipice of falling victim to the wrath of Ganondorf.
In the gardens of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule Castle, Zelda shows Link exactly who Ganondorf is – at this time, just an emissary from the Gerudo Desert. Link is already aware of the power Ganondorf possesses, having fought the product of his curse within the Deku Tree, Queen Gohma. While Link travels to find the remaining Spiritual Stones, he interacts with many thriving communities: Market Town with bustling shops dancing villagers in the shadow of Hyrule Castle; Kakariko Village and its denizens busy at all times of day; Zora’s Domain overflowing with glistening water; and Goron City, an oasis from danger atop Death Mountain.
Ocarina of Time Shows Hyrule After Seven Years of Ganondorf
When Link awakens from a seven year slumber after removing the Master Sword from its pedestal, he finds The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Hyrule transformed. Immediately upon leaving the Temple of Time it’s clear the sky is shrouded in darkness, and a ring of fire encircles the summit of Death Mountain. Link will later find Goron City entirely empty, save for one Goron child bearing Link’s name, a prophetic symbol of his destiny as a savior both past and present.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Market Town now appears to be something out of a nightmare. The joyous villagers dancing around the the town square are gone, replaced by ReDead zombies whose blood-curdling shrieks act as Hyrule’s death rattle. Link’s first stop in his quest to awaken the sages is the Forest Temple, deep within the Lost Woods that border his childhood home in Kokiri Forest. Even here, secluded from the rest of Hyrule, the Kokiri now live in fear. Monsters overrun the forest, and the decaying Deku Tree stands as a monument to Ganondorf’s power.
Zora’s Domain has frozen over and the aquatic people are nowhere to be found. Kakariko Village burns when the evil spirit Bongo Bongo escapes from its imprisonment. All throughout Hyrule the oppression of Ganondorf’s rule can be seen. The passage of time in Ocarina of Time brings transformation; Link transforms after seven years in the Sacred Realm, Hyrule transforms in Link’s absence under the influence of Ganondorf, and Ganondorf himself transforms into the bestial Ganon, twisted by the power of the Triforce. The tragic story of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is long and incredibly dire. The importance of the Hero of Time is highlighted because the game depicts what the corrupting influence of Ganon can reap, and shows the player what Hyrule looked like before evil truly took over.
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