3-Heart Challenge - Ocarina of Time

I had a hard time thinking of how best to celebrate the impending release of Ocarina of Time 3D. I’ve already done the cheesy retrospective – oddly enough, its title, “Back through the Door of Time,” may have unintentionally predicted the Ocarina of Time 3DS remake – and my last timeline-related article on the game debuted just a couple months ago. Of course, I also just completed the Ocarina of Time 3D walkthrough and after completing the game I’m going to do a full review of the game as a companion to Nate’s review of the new features.

So rather than simply spew out more same-old article content, I decided to do something new – at least for me. That’s right, I’m giving the old three-heart minimalist challenge a try. I’m doing it on the original – I wouldn’t spoil my first playthrough of the new version by doing it the quick and dirty way. Can I complete the game before the 3D edition comes out in the U.S. tomorrow? I’ll be busy chugging away, but check back here this evening and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Follow my updates! I’ll be adding a new one every couple hours or so detailing my progress as well as what parts I found most challenging.

UPDATE 1: Two hours in and I’ve got the Light Medallion! I remember that it took me weeks to get this far back when I first played the game. It’s crazy just how much stuff is totally optional in this game – I still haven’t touched a Deku Nut and I’ve only picked up a single Deku Stick so far, and playing through the game without pursuing sidequests is a totally different experience! It’s feeling a lot more like the first game, where getting through dungeons was sometimes a matter of finding shortcuts and exploits so you didn’t have to tackle the more difficult rooms.

So far the only parts that have given me any kind of trouble were the Lizalfos, who I just learned today can swipe around your Deku Shield if you’re too close (I always had the Hylian Shield on previous plays), and the Big Octo, who didn’t really deal damage but has always been a bit of a slow fight for me. Getting up Death Mountain was a simple matter of using the backwards run exploit to avoid the falling rocks altogether. Looking forward to seeing what kinds of tricks I learn as I progress further! (I get the feeling Dark Link is going to kick my ass…)

UPDATE 2: About two and a half more hours of play and I cleared the Fire, Forest, and Water Temples (in that order). Fire seemed to make the most sense on a speed play since it’s right next to Kakariko Village and you don’t need the Fairy Bow to finish it. From there it’s easy to access both Kokiri Forest and Zora’s Domain via the Goron City Lost Woods warp area.

I suffered my first death against Volvagia – I had no idea his fire breath dealt three hearts of damage! The next time I of course had no problems since I knew exactly which move it was imperative to dodge. The Forest Temple was really easy, including Phantom Ganon, against whom I usually have at least a little trouble due to the erratic nature of his magic beam attack (the one you have to repel).

My second death was against Dark Link – he kept backflipping when I tried to use the hammer. I discovered a neat trick the second time I fought him, though: you can use Deku Nuts to bait him towards you and then go in for an easy hit with the Megaton Hammer.

I get the feeling the only real trouble I’m going to have from here on out is going to be the Iron Knuckles… I guess we’ll have to see.

UPDATE 3: Yep, those Iron Knuckles were a pain, especially in Ganon’s Tower. I had to resort to using the Bombchus I picked up midway through the Light Barrier chambers to take them out once I eliminated their torso armor segment. Bongo Bongo also killed me a couple of times since I was really jumpy on the L-targeting and missed him a few times when he charged at me after I stunned his hands.

All in all, it was a really satisfying challenge that really highlights the necessity of higher damage ratios in Zelda. Thankfully they’re correcting this with Skyward Sword‘s increased enemy damage and the improved Master Quest in Ocarina of Time 3D. Maybe they’ll keep damage ratios at the sweet spot that Ocarina of Time established and add on a harder second quest in future installments from now on? Nah, that’s hoping for too much.

Anyway, I chose to do this as a celebration of all the new experiences the 3DS edition promises to offer both new and old players – the stereoscopic 3D presentation, the improved graphics, the mirrored Master Quest. I thought I’d try to give myself my own sort of “new experience” with something I hadn’t ever tried before, and I’ve got to say that it was totally worth blowing my day on.

I’ve learned something through all of this – there are so many different ways to play Zelda games. You can do a bare bones play through just to experience the story and core levels, or you can try for 100% completion on your first run. You can fight all the bosses at your full power, or you can save the powerups for later in your adventure and give yourself more of a challenge. And that leads me to a most intriguing question: how will you play Ocarina of Time 3D?

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