Streamlining Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 3DS

Guest Article by Joshua Lindquist

These last few weeks have been busy for Zelda fans, but with the news slowing down we have an opportunity to examine what we’ve learned a little more carefully. Going into the E3, we all knew that Skyward Sword would be revealed, but we were all surprised by the announcement that Ocarina of Time would (finally) be remade for a handheld platform.

In the discussions that took place after the announcement of the remake, it became clear that changes would need to be made to the game before it could be released on the Nintendo 3DS. Something more obvious is that the Nintendo 64 controller has more buttons than the Nintendo 3DS.

At least one specific change has already been mentioned, but there are likely many more on the way. Miyamoto has made it clear that he wants to streamline the Zelda experience, and I think there are several ways that this can be achieved with Ocarina of Time.

Make the Iron and Hover Boots act like regular inventory items.

This is a change that has been specifically mentioned. Aonuma and Miyamoto both regret the tedious boot switching from the Water Temple and plan to fix it. I think the easiest way to do this would be to make both the Iron Boots and Hover Boots an item that you equip. This would be similar (or exactly the same) as how the iron boots work in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.

Silence Navi.

Players should have complete control over how often Navi yells at you to tell you something you already know.

Listen, I understand that even though Navi is a little annoying sometimes, she is part of what defined Ocarina of Time. I’m not recommending that we remove Navi or even allow her audio to be turned off, but the random “Hey! Look! Listen!” that you constantly hear while running around Hyrule Field isn’t helping anyone.

It was never helpful for Navi to inform me that I need to go see Saria while I’m already on my way. Instead, Navi should be a guide for you to turn to when you really don’t know what to do. In other words, make Navi like Midna. I can ask Midna for help, but she doesn’t bother me constantly wanting to know if I need it. I think this feature would work well as a small “Navi”button on the touch screen.

With the exception of that one feature, I think Navi should remain untouched. When you target an enemy, she should still yell “Watch out!”, and when you are learning how to play the game (especially with new controls on a new platform like the Nintendo 3DS, the early game hints should be kept intact as well.

Rethink the Stone of Agony.

Who remembers the Stone of Agony? It would let you know if there was a secret nearby, and was a useful item… if you played the game under certain circumstances and  Unfortunately, it required a rumble pak (and the shape of the stone made sure you never forgot it). This was fine during the Nintendo 64 era, but then we moved on to the Gamecube era.

If you played one of the Ocarina of Time remakes on the Gamecube using a corded Gamecube controller then the feature was still useful, but if you played on a wireless Wavebird controller the item did nothing. This is an even bigger problem on the Wii. There is no way to use the Stone of Agony on the Wii, so the item is rendered completely useless.

The Nintendo 3DS does not have force feedback (as far as we know), but I don’t think removing the item is the best solution. Instead, when you are close to a secret there should be a visual cue on the screen.

The visual cue could be a flashing icon, but I think that would be a little too obvious and wouldn’t have the same effect as the rumble pack. There are a lot of alternatives, but I think that having the entire menu on the touch screen vibrate (or just shake) briefly would be an effective way to use the item.

Modernize the way items work.

Almost twelve years have passed since Ocarina of Time was first released, and in that time a lot of important changes were made to the various items in the Zelda series. The most important change is that Twilight Princess introduced a cursor for all items that we aim. In this case, it applies to the slingshot, bow and arrow, hookshot, and possibly the boomerang as well.

In Ocarina of Time, the slingshot and bow and arrow require that you learn the “sweet spot” that will always be hit. I’d rather not have this translated to the handheld. Instead, add a cursor to make aiming easier on the Nintendo 3DS.

In addition, The Wind Waker introduced additional changes to the hookshot and bow and arrow as well. When using the hookshot, the cursor changes if the item can be latched onto. The bow and arrow was changed so that the fire, ice, and light arrows were no longer separate items. Both of these changes should be incorporated into the remake of Ocarina of Time.

Our Next Stop

This article series will continue with a third part in which I’ll explore the possibilities for new content in the Nintendo 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This is something that I’ve already seen some readers comment on, and some other websites have already tackled it as well, but I’ll be taking a unique look at some of the possibilities, so stick around!