The first entry of my analysis project. Going back to ’98 for this one, luckily I still have a 64 and the game laying around.
+ The HUD/UI in the game does a good job of letting you keep track of your health, money, location, and equipped items without getting in the way. The intuitive way that the Action button flips over to tell you when you can interact with something is also nice. The C buttons are also displayed in such a way that it is very easy for the player to know which button an item is set to.
+ Z Targeting. Link’s fairy can fly towards people, enemies, and items that are near or far. After doing this Link can then target whatever object it is and “target” it by pressing the Z button. This works nicely because it allows Link to focus on things at a distance so he can aim, or talk to the object. It also works pretty well during combat, allowing Link to focus on a single target so attacks and blocks and be timed and aimed properly. However, the system is not without faults.
+ The in-game menu is an all in one resource that is accessed by pressing the start button. It contains four panels (Equipment, Select Item, Map, and Quest Status) in a square that can be rotated with the L and R buttons. The information on the panels is displayed and categorized in such a way that easily allows the player to keep track their items, equipment, songs, etc. This lets the player focus on the specific tasks at hand, and referencing it easily when it is needed.
+ The songs are learned from various people throughout the game and are played on the ocarinas that Link receives. This intuitive mechanic adds a nice flavor to the puzzles throughout the game. Having more than just environmental puzzles keeps it fresh. An interesting side-note about the ocarina is that in the strategy guide you can find all the button combinations to make real notes. So you can play actual songs in the game, and translate the in-game buttons to play the game’s songs on real world instruments.
+ The button mapping on the controller lets the player stay active and moving during the combat. The way the buttons are setup let the player target, attack, dodge, and use the various C button items without having to take their hand of thumb off of the controller stick.
– Despite the successes of the Z targeting system, the camera can get moved in such a way that blocks or obstructs the view. Seeing as there is a lot of combat and platforming in tight spaces throughout the game, being able to see what is going on is important (in any game for that matter).
– While Navi the fairy gives a nice story element to explain the Z targeting, her high pitched shrills of “Hey!” and “Listen!” tend to get annoying as you get further into the game.
– During different dialog sequences, the player is sometimes asked a yes or no question that they can chose the answer to. It is a nice touch but is eventually doesn’t matter which one you pick, and some of them don’t really make any sense. An example of this is when you first meet Princess Zelda and she asks you if you have the Forest Emerald. You can say no, but she gets a frown on her face and doesn’t seem to believe you and asks the same question again. This process will loop until you tell her yes. This attempt to give the player some free choice is nice but it is rather hollow.
– When Link is low on health an alarm will ring out. This alarm will keep ringing and ringing until more hearts are restored. This, just like Navi, can get very annoying if there is no method to quickly restore Links health.
– If Link is killed inside of a temple or dungeon (level), when the game restarts he is placed at the beginning of the level. This causes the player to have to backtrack through areas that have been completed already, and in an extensive temple (like the water temple for example), this can be a tedious process.
~ Throughout the game you kill gold skulltula’s that are hidden and collect the tokens that they drop. After certain amounts are collected they unlock additional items that can help (but are not necessary) in the journey. One of these is allowing the rumble pack to detect secret grottos by pulsating when Link is near them. This is a nice addition but since the rumble pack is a separate item that people have to buy it makes getting it useless for some players.
~ Usually when you are first informed about certain items, the text can be skipped through quickly so you don’t have to wait around for it to stop scrolling. However some text scrolls cannot be skipped like this for some reason.
~ The button combinations for performing a vertical slash is forward + B, and for a horizontal slash is just B. In targeting mode these are switch. Why have them switched?
~ It gets somewhat tedious when in certain temples switching back and forth between items like boots. Why can’t these items be mapped to the C buttons or one of the D-pad buttons?
~ Being able to change the name of Link is kind of cool and adds a bit of personalization, but isn’t really needed.
- Without being able to move the camera around sometimes it is obstructed or blocked during combat and platforming. The D-pad is completely unmapped and could be used to make the camera swing in set directions around Link.
- Some of the yes or no questions only have one response that will work and generally makes it seem like a hollow attempt at adding in more player choice. With the limited space available on the 64 cartridge an attempt to put in fully fleshed out player choices with different outcomes probably would have taken up too much space. Since it is a linear type story these options could have just been removed without hurting the story or gameplay.
- There is a slight delay from when Navi reaches a target to when you can actually lock onto it when Z. This is especially felt during some later battle with enemies that fly around. This could be made a bit snappier.
- More mounted combat with the ability to use the Master Sword and shield, as well as the bow with the assistance of Z targeting.