The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was first released in Japan and North America in November 1998, and in Europe and Australia the following month. Originally developed for the 64DD peripheral, the game was instead released on a 256-megabit cartridge, the largest-capacity cartridge Nintendo produced at that time. Ocarina of Time is the fifth game in the The Legend of Zelda series, and the first with 3D graphics. It was followed by a direct sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, in 2000.
In Ocarina of Time, the player controls the playable character Link in the land of Hyrule. Link sets out on a quest to stop Ganondorf, king of the Gerudo tribe, from obtaining the Triforce, a sacred relic that grants the wishes of its holder. He travels through time and navigates various dungeons to awaken the sages, who have the power to seal Ganondorf away forever. Music plays an important role: To progress, the player must learn to play several songs on an ocarina. The game was responsible for increased interest in and sales of the instrument.
Ocarina of Time's gameplay introduced features such as a target-lock system and context-sensitive buttons that have since become common in 3D adventure games. In Japan, more than 820,000 copies were sold in 1998, making it the tenth best-selling game of that year. During its lifetime, 1.14 million copies of Ocarina of Time were sold in Japan, and over 7.6 million copies were sold worldwide. The game won the Grand Prize in the Interactive Art division at the Japan Media Arts Festival, and won six honors at the 2nd Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. As of 2017, it is the highest-rated game on review-aggregating site Metacritic, with a score of 99/100; in 2008 and 2010, Guinness World Records listed Ocarina of Time as the highest-rated game ever reviewed. It is considered by many critics and gamers to be among the greatest video games of all time.
Ocarina of Time is set in the fictional kingdom of Hyrule, the setting of most The Legend of Zelda games. Hyrule Field serves as the central hub connected to several outlying areas with diverse topography and the races of Hyrule.
The fairy Navi awakens Link from a nightmare in which he witnesses a man in black armor pursuing a young girl on horseback. Navi brings Link to the Great Deku Tree, who is cursed and near death. The Deku Tree tells Link a 'wicked man of the desert' cursed him and seeks to conquer the world, and that Link must stop him. Before dying, the Great Deku Tree gives Link the Spiritual Stone of the Forest and sends him to Hyrule Castle to speak with Hyrule's princess.
At the Hyrule Castle garden, Link meets Princess Zelda, who believes Ganondorf, king of the Gerudo, is seeking the Triforce, a holy relic that gives its holder godlike power. Zelda asks Link to obtain the three Spiritual Stones so he can enter the Sacred Realm and claim the Triforce before Ganondorf reaches it. Link collects the other two stones: the first from Darunia, leader of the Gorons, and the second from Ruto, princess of the Zoras. Link returns to Hyrule Castle, where he sees Ganondorf chase Zelda and her caretaker Impa on horseback, and unsuccessfully attempts to stop him. Inside the Temple of Time, he uses the Ocarina of Time, a gift from Zelda, and the Spiritual Stones to open the door to the Sacred Realm. There he finds the Master Sword, but as he pulls it from its pedestal, Ganondorf appears and claims the Triforce.
Seven years later, an older Link awakens in an area of the Sacred Realm known as the Chamber of Sages and is met by Rauru, one of the seven sages who protect the entrance to the Sacred Realm. Rauru explains that Link's spirit was sealed for seven years until he was old enough to wield the Master Sword and defeat Ganondorf, who has now taken over Hyrule. The seven sages can imprison Ganondorf in the Sacred Realm, but five are unaware of their identities as sages. Link is returned to the Temple of Time; there he meets the mysterious Sheik, who guides him to free five temples from Ganondorf's control, allowing each temple's sage to awaken. Link befriended all five sages as a child: Saria, the Sage of the Forest Temple; Darunia, the Sage of the Fire Temple; Ruto, the Sage of the Water Temple; Impa, the Sage of the Shadow Temple; and Nabooru, the Sage of the Spirit Temple. After the five sages awaken, Sheik reveals herself to be Zelda in disguise, and the seventh sage. She tells Link that Ganondorf's heart was unbalanced, causing the Triforce to split into three pieces. Ganondorf acquired only the Triforce of Power, while Zelda received the Triforce of Wisdom and Link the Triforce of Courage.
Ganondorf appears and kidnaps Zelda, imprisoning her in his castle. The other six sages help Link infiltrate the stronghold; Link frees Zelda after defeating Ganondorf, who destroys the castle in an attempt to kill Link and Zelda. After they escape the collapsing castle, Ganondorf emerges from the rubble and transforms into a boar-like monster named Ganon using the Triforce of Power. Ganon knocks the Master Sword from Link's hand; with Zelda's aid, Link retrieves the Master Sword and defeats Ganon. The seven sages seal Ganondorf in the Dark Realm; still holding the Triforce of Power, he vows to take revenge on their descendants. Zelda uses the Ocarina of Time to send Link back to his childhood. Navi departs and young Link meets Zelda in the castle garden once more.
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