The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is an action-adventure video game developed by Nintendo’s Entertainment Analysis and Development division for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It was released in Japan on 21 November 1998, in North America on 23 November 1998, and in Europe on 11 December 1998. It was later re-released on the Nintendo GameCube (including a special release called The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest), the iQue Player, and the Virtual Console.
In the game, the player controls the series’ trademark protagonist, Link, in the land of Hyrule. Ocarina of Time’s chronological setting forms the start of The Legend of Zelda series’ timeline, when Link is about ten or eleven years old as a child. Link sets out on a quest to stop Ganondorf, King of the Gerudo, from obtaining the Triforce, a sacred relic that makes the holder omnipotent. Link travels back and forth in time to prevent Ganondorf from obtaining the Triforce and gaining control of Hyrule.
Ocarina of Time is a 3-D action-adventure game with role-playing and puzzle elements. The player controls Link from a third-person perspective using a control scheme that was considered revolutionary at the time but is now common among contemporary games. Link primarily fights with a sword and shield; he can also use projectile weapons, bombs, and magic spells. In combat, the player can direct Link to focus on an enemy through a new feature called “Z Targeting” (L Targeting in the GameCube version). When using this technique, the camera follows the target and Link constantly faces it. Projectile attacks are automatically directed at the target and do not require manual aiming. Although much of the game is spent in battle, some parts require the use of stealth.
Link returns to the castle, where he sees Ganondorf pursuing Zelda on horseback. Spotting Link, Zelda throws the Ocarina of Time into the castle moat. Ganondorf appears soon after and blasts Link with Dark Magic, knocking him down. After Ganondorf rides off, Link retrieves the Ocarina from the castle moat. Zelda telepathically teaches Link the “Song of Time”, which, combined with the Spiritual Stones, allows him to open the door that leads to the Sacred Realm. Through the door, Link finds the Master Sword, a magical sword forged to fight evil. As he pulls the Master Sword from its pedestal, Ganondorf appears, having followed Link into the Sacred Realm, and claims the Triforce.
Seven years later, an older Link awakens in a distant room and is met by the elderly Rauru, the ancient Sage of Light, one of seven sages who protect the location of the Triforce. Rauru informs Link that his spirit was sealed for seven years until he was old enough to wield the Master Sword and defeat Ganondorf. Together, the seven sages can imprison Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm; unfortunately, the other six sages are unaware of their identities after Ganondorf transformed Hyrule into a land of darkness. Under Ganondorf’s reign, Hyrule has rapidly fallen into decline and numerous disasters occur. Link returns to Hyrule and is met by the mysterious Sheik, who guides Link to rid five temples of Ganondorf’s monsters and henchmen so the power of the temples can awaken the sages who will in turn help Link liberate Hyrule from Ganondorf’s tyrannical rule.
After awakening all five sages, Sheik is revealed to be Princess Zelda, and also reveals that she is the Sage of Time. She tells Link that Ganondorf’s heart is unbalanced, so the Triforce split into three pieces, as predicted in an ancient prophecy. Ganondorf kept the Triforce of Power, while the other two chosen by destiny carry the remaining pieces: Zelda gained the Triforce of Wisdom and Link obtained the Triforce of Courage. After Zelda bestows Link with the magical Light Arrows, Ganondorf traps Zelda in a magical crystal-like case and transports her to his tower. After the remaining six sages help Link enter the tower, Link battles Ganondorf, and the seven sages use their combined power to trap Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm, who takes the Triforce of Power with him. Zelda then takes the Ocarina of Time from Link and uses it to send him back to his original time so that he can live out his childhood naturally.