The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is as legendary as its title suggests.
During a period of tumultuous transitions from 2D to 3D, Nintendo has lead the charge to great success while others faltered. Super Mario 64 revolutionized the entire concept of 3D gaming, brought analog sticks to the forefront, and birthed an entire genre.
The Legend of Zelda series was the next to make a truly successful transition to the third dimension, and Ocarina of Time did its predecessors proud by incorporating an expansive realm to explore, an enjoyable story, fantastic music and the mix of puzzles and combat that made the series famous in the first place.
For many (seemingly including Nintendo), Ocarina of Time was the benchmark for the series and is a favorite of countless fans across the globe. It’s tremendously beloved and has inspired a good chunk of the 3D Zeldas that would follow it.
But here’s the thing: Ocarina of Time is so feverishly worshipped that we often tend to overlook some of its worst aspects, and in our list of 25 Things Wrong With Ocarina Of Time We All Choose To Ignore, we’re going to tackle some of the worst offenses that this classic has to offer.
Some of these are mere annoyances, some are simply aspects that haven’t aged exceptionally well, but others are genuine flaws that were not only problems back in 1998, but can ruin the experience for those without rose-tinted glasses today.
We’ve got on our Goron Tunics in order to protect ourselves from the flames we’ll likely face as a result of this list, so let’s get started:
25 Navi Doesn't Shut Up
This particular issue was well known even way back when.
Look, we get it, Nintendo worried about players getting lost in this massive world and not being sure what to do next. It was honestly quite thoughtful of them to provide a living guide to players.
What’s unfortunate, though, is that Navi repeats herself often, typically about things we already know.
Sometimes we just want to use the first-person camera, Navi, not listen to you tell us what a door is.
24 The Song Of Time Is Underutilized And Misused
For a game that has a tremendous focus on time travel and the titular Ocarina of Time, the actual “Song of Time” has almost no real functionality or purpose, and what little it does have doesn’t make sense.
The piece really only exists to open the Door of Time, and after that, it exclusively moves specific blocks around.
What does moving blocks around have to do with “time?” We really don’t know.
On the plus side, the Song of Time is used to a much greater capacity in Majora’s Mask.
23 Why Can't Ruto Just Walk?
This has been a complaint for years, and it still lingers on the minds of players both new and old.
Jabu Jabu’s Belly isn’t a particularly difficult dungeon in terms of combat or puzzles, but it’s a greater chore than most in the entirety of the game due to the fact that Princess Ruto won’t get her butt off the ground, meaning you need to carry her everywhere.
She’s also a requirement for solving puzzles.
Look, we’re sure someone thought this was an ingenious gimmick for the dungeon, but they were wrong.
Can’t this brat just get up and walk?
22 Link Is Far Too Slow
For those who grew up with Ocarina in 1998, the sound of Link either rolling or side-stepping is burned into their minds for eternity.
In short, Link’s normal run speed is painfully slow, and it makes getting around the (at the time) giant world a pain in the butt.
One “solution” was to have him roll or side-step everywhere because it was incrementally faster... but it still wasn’t fast enough.
Epona sort of remedies this issue, but she can’t be used everywhere, meaning that rolling was the go-to form of transit.
21 Why Doesn't The Blue Flame Work On Zora's Domain?
One of the more impactful moments in Ocarina of Time is going to Zora’s Domain and seeing that it’s been frozen over.
Dutifully, you seek out the blue flame to free the Zora King who provides an explanation for his race’s horrible predicament. But, like… Why can’t the blue flame free the rest of his people?
This has bothered Ocarina players since 1998, and it bothers them to this day.
We understand why it is the way it is, but game logic isn’t always a satisfying answer.
20 The Scarecrow Song Is Woefully Underused
One curious element of Ocarina of Time that’s hardly fleshed out is the scarecrow that loves to dance, and the custom song you compose for him.
Playing this song at certain points can either make a scarecrow come out of the ground or have others drop items for you.
This is awesome, but it’s only used extremely rarely, wasting the potential of this innovative concept.
In the end, it’s a major bummer because the scarecrow is one cool and groovy dude.
Everything about bombchus contribute to wasted opportunity.
At first, these seem like the coolest items imaginable. Seriously, what could be greater than robot bombs that move on their own?
Alas, their actual utility is next to nothing, and they are only required for less than a handful of puzzles.
The most use you’ll probably get out of these rat-like things is the bombchu bowling, and that’s not saying much.
All things considered, bombchus are a cool idea that just wasn’t fleshed out enough to matter.
18 The Cows In The Holes
This isn’t necessarily a flaw with the game, or even something “wrong” in the traditional sense. No, it’s just something that’s weird, and “wrong” in the “what in God’s name is going on here?” kind of way.
All over Hyrule, there are hidden holes that you can fall into.
Most have treasures or some business-minded Deku Scrubs while others have… well, cows.
How and why are questions that cannot be answered, but at least you can get some of that sweet Lon Lon Milk.
17 It's Insanely Easy
Looking back on the games that preceded it, Ocarina is painfully easy.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a low difficulty game, but there are only a small collection of moments that provide a genuine challenge, such as Phantom Ganon, the Water Temple, and Dark Link.
The game’s base difficulty just isn’t that high, especially if you know what you're doing.
If you play the original Zelda, its sequel, or even A Link To The Past, you’re in for a challenge whether you’re familiar with the games or not, and it’s unfortunate that Ocarina isn’t like that.
16 Combat Requires No Real Skill
In all seriousness, combat has never been that deep or skill-based in any Zelda game, with some exceptions made for certain battles in Wind Waker, Skyward Sword, and Breath of the Wild.
Ocarina of Time’s combat, while impressive at the time, is only artificially engaging.
It might look cool to do battle with Stalfos or Wolfos, but all you really do is block with a shield that can’t be broken, and then get in a quick stab when the enemy guard is down.
It’s a waiting game, and that’s it.
15 The Awful Stealth Sequence
The idea of child Link sneaking through the gardens of Hyrule Castle and avoiding the guards in order to meet with Zelda sounds cool to people, but why was it executed so poorly in the game?
The guard patterns don’t make sense, it’s not particularly challenging, and it’s something of a slog.
To make matters worse, there’s an awesome stealth sequence later in the game when you infiltrate Gerudo Fortress. Why is that one executed so well while this one isn’t?
14 Magic Beans
We get that this era of 3D game design was incredibly experimental, which left developers with coming up with ideas that had no guidelines.
Mario 64 is awesome, but it does have some repetitious, arbitrary collecting-focused objectives.
Ocarina of Time also has objectives that are needlessly boring and arbitrarily lengthy, with the magic beans being the prime example.
You’ll need to purchase 10 beans in total, all with an ever-increasing price, plant them, and then turn into an adult to make them grow. It’s as mind-numbing as it sounds.
13 Most Of The Supporting Cast Aren't Great Characters
Breath of the Wild showed us how great the supporting characters in a Zelda game can be. We truly felt like we got to know the Champions and even the Princess, and it was beautiful.
Unfortunately for Ocarina of Time, just about every supporting cast member has a paper-thin characterization.
The majority of the Sages are one-dimensional, but Impa is the worst of the bunch: her backstory seems incredibly cool and she has epic potential, but she doesn’t really do a darn thing.
12 The Best Side Quest Is A Giant Fetch Quest
Many Zelda games are home to involved and occasionally emotional side quests, with Majora’s Mask being the master of side quests with impactful content and conclusions.
Ocarina of Time has a few side quests (if they can even be called that) and the only one that matters is a lengthy fetch quest.
While the Biggoron Sword is an awesome reward, it’s just a shame that getting it boils down to trading items.
Link’s Awakening’s only side quest is a lengthy item trade, but for whatever reason, it’s just so much more fun.
11 Why Can't Adult Link Use A Boomerang?
Now we’re getting to the real nitty-gritty issues with Ocarina.
For a game that has a great assortment of items and weapons, why does it arbitrarily forbid us from using them?
Yeah, it makes sense the young Link can’t use weapons or items made for an adult, but why can’t an adult use items that a child could?
While the slingshot is pointless when compared to the bow, there doesn’t seem to be a reason as to why you can’t use the boomerang.
Adult Link simply isn’t allowed to use it because the game said so, and that doesn’t make sense.
10 Fairies In Bottles Break The Game
We’ve already mentioned how easy Ocarina of Time is compared to its direct predecessors and even some of its sequels (though Twilight Princess is even worse in this regard.) The game has been made more terrible by how broken the fairies are.
If Link has a fairy in a bottle when he’s defeated, he’ll be immediately brought back to life, fully healed, no questions asked.
The issue is that it’s not like these things are rare, either. You can find them all over in pots and easily fill up your four bottles, essentially making you unstoppable.
9 There's A Time Paradox
One of the catchiest pieces of music in a series that’s filled with them is the “Song of Storms” waltz. It’s also pretty fantastic that it makes it storm whenever you play it.
But here’s the thing: the way you learn this song in Ocarina of Time is a time paradox due to a “causal loop.”
Adult Link learns it from the windmill guy, but the windmill guy apparently learned it from Link when he was a child.
For a game obsessed with time travel, it doesn’t seem to mind destroying the continuum.
8 Unskippable Cutscenes
Easily one of Ocarina of Time’s worst qualities is its drawn out, plodding and its unskippable cutscenes and conversation threads.
While many of these sequences are awesome the first time around (especially Hyrule’s creation story), they’re a chore and a pain to slog through if you’re a veteran player.
To make matters worse, some of these sequences are just awful the first time you go through them.
Yes, we’re referring to that dreaded owl whom you accidentally instructed to tell you his novel-length advice again.
7 "The Plot Twist"
Look, maybe it’s just us, but was anyone really surprised in any capacity when it was “revealed” that Sheik was Zelda?
It’s strange because there’s nothing inherently obvious about the disguise that screams “THIS IS ACTUALLY ZELDA,” but it’s obvious nonetheless.
Logically, there’s no one else it really could be other than Zelda.
The reason this event makes the list is that the game really tries to be like “HA! Tricked ya! This is a big twist!” when it really just isn’t.
6 Ganon Is A Pathetic Pushover
For having the extremely awesome title of the “Great King of Evil,” Ganondorf is a surprisingly minimal threat.
We’ve already mentioned that one of Ocarina’s flaws is its generally low level of difficulty, but it’s sort of unforgivable that even the main antagonist is one of the easiest bosses.
Don’t even get us started on “ow, my tail!” Ganon.
Perhaps the saddest part of this whole thing is that Phantom Ganon is a genuine threat and one of the trickiest boss battles in the entire game, while the real thing just can’t measure up.
5 Shops Are Absolutely Useless
Why would you walk into a shop to buy bombs, arrows, hearts or anything else they sell, when you can simply cut grass or smash pots?
Cutting grass and tossing pots are staples of the series, sure, but in Ocarina, it’s like someone deliberately filled every last pot and tuft of grass with an arsenal of just about any consumable item you’d ever find yourself in need of.
This is related to a larger problem that we’ll detail later on, but as it stands, essentially the only thing you actually need to buy is the Deku Shield, and that’s it.
4 You Can't Climb Ledges Just A Few Inches Taller Than You
We know we're spoiled after Breath of the Wild, but this is legitimately one of Ocarina's most frustrating issues.
We get it; it’s the series’ first foray into 3D, and it legitimately made the transition beautifully, retaining most of the elements that defined the series in the process.
But here’s the thing: Your world is rendered in three dimensions. When you realize that a ledge you need to get up on is only a few inches above your head, but the game won’t let Link reach it unless he goes the intended path, the suspension of disbelief is shattered.
3 The Biggoron Sword Is More Powerful Than The Master Sword
If the Master Sword is so great and powerful, how is the Biggoron Sword a much better and far stronger weapon to wield in every last confrontation?
It’s a worthwhile reward for the tedious quest needed to acquire it, but it just seems so strange that evil-sealing Master Sword plays second fiddle to the casual work of a gigantic Goron with irritated eyes.
The developers sort of dug themselves into a hole with this one: they wanted players to feel that the quest was worthwhile, but making the Master Sword obsolete probably wasn’t the best course.
2 The Hookshot's Usefulness Isn't Consistent
It’s such a liberating feeling to finally be able to reach those high-up ledges you could previously only stare at, and it’s a great weapon.
But why is it on this list? The answer is simple: its functionality is inconsistent.
It can latch on to wood, which is great, but apparently, only SOME wood is good enough for it.
It’s a nuisance to think you’re now free to be Spider-Man in Hyrule, only to find out that the game’s definition of “wood” is a lot different than your own.
1 Rupees Are Meaningless
We already mentioned that shops are useless since there is almost nothing that you actually need to buy, but that’s the symptom of a more serious problem: rupees are meaningless.
Aside from paying for a few side-activities, you’ll just hoard the currency.
Most offensively, many of the game’s hidden chests are filled with them… which is a useless reward because rupees themselves are pointless.
People complained about Spirit Orbs generally being the only reward for Shrines in BOTW, but at least those had an important purpose in making you stronger.
We guess money really can't buy everything.