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The 10 Most Memorable Moments in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

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Best Ocarina of Time Moments

In celebration of the 20th anniversary for The Ocarina of Time, we take a look at the 10 most memorable moments from one of the greatest games of all time

The Ocarina of Time is arguably the greatest entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, which is certainly saying something considering the sheer amount of brilliant Zelda games. Released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64, Ocarina of Time was the first ever 3D game in the series. But it was so much more than just a graphical leap. It was a gaming leap that was bigger than Epona’s jump over the broken bridge to Gerudo Valley.

Ocarina of Time included some highly memorable bosses (which we have ranked from best to worst), and creative dungeons that inspired many future games. It also reinvented the adventure genre in the gaming industry, while also setting a new bar for storytelling.

The Triforce may only include three key components, but we’ve taken a page from Ocarina of Time and re-written the rule book. We’ve identified the 10 most memorable parts of the Ocarina of Time, which combined formed one of, if not the greatest game of all time.

Entering the Great Deku Tree

The first dungeon in The Ocarina of Time lay just beyond Kokiri Forest’s most annoying inhabitant: Mido. Once Link is equipped with a sword and shield the player gets to truly begin the adventure The Ocarina of Time offers, and finally pass that annoying Mido. The first dungeon may be simple, but it’ll always be iconic as it’s the start of the journey.

Inside the Deku Tree is a brilliantly designed dungeon which is perhaps most fondly remembered for its huge leap required to break the webbing seen when first entering the Deku Tree. It also builds on traditional Zelda formulas such as setting things on fire and defeating enemies in a certain order. Inside the Deku Tree was the first glimpse at how the action would unfold within The Ocarina of Time.

King Zora moving… and moving a little more… and a little more

“Eeep. Eeep. Eeep. Eeep.” If you listen closely you can still hear King Zora moving. For a guy who’s worried about his princess daughter he really moves very slowly. It’s a moment that stands out in Ocarina of Time as it provides some comic relief: a moment that is light-hearted in a story that is becoming less cheerful.

“Eeep. Eeep. Eeep. Eeep.” Yup, there he goes again. No wonder Princess Ruto is in such a bad mood – she has an insanely slow father. But King Zora’s slow move also hid something important behind him: the third dungeon for child Link; the final one before returning to the Temple of Time. The minute (or five minute) cut scene of King Zora moving stands out as one of those moments that begins as humourous, gets annoying, then turns funny again. A cut scene that stands out amongst the many great ones in Ocarina of Time.

The Darunia Dance

“What a hot beat!” And what an unexpected moment from Darunia. Arguably the Gorons are never portrayed better than in The Ocarina of Time. Goron City is so full of engaging Gorons, hidden secrets, and highly addictive music. But Goron City will always be most remembered as the venue for the greatest dance in Zelda history – sorry Rosa Sisters.

Before that dance Darunia seemed highly unlikeable; not helping Link out at all, and being pretty blunt with him. That just made Darunia’s reaction to Saria’s Song ever more enjoyable. But honestly, who can blame him? It’s a fantastic tune – all of Ocarina of Time’s songs are brilliant, but Saria’s Song stands out above the rest. Darunia’s dance is a fitting memory to be combined with Saria’s catchy song.

Navi’s Introduction

How old were you when you realised that ‘Navi’ was short for ‘Navigation’? I was today years old. But when looking back at Navi’s introduction it’s perhaps no surprise that I overlooked that fact… the fairy really wasn’t that great at navigation when she flew through most of Kokiri Forest, and even slammed off a fence.

It was a magical introduction to Link’s most important companion. That music will always be iconic, and many will view Navi’s ‘welp’ when bouncing off that fence as one of the most memorable moments for Navi. It also showed off how much there was to explore in the highly charming Kokiri Village. It was the first glimpse at the 3D world of The Ocarina of Time, and one that’ll be fondly remembered.

First seeing Castle Town, 7 years later

What a difference seven years makes – 61,320 little hours. The joyous market town turned into a horror story: deprived and full of zombies (ReDeads). It was the first chance the player got to see how much Hyrule had changed since child Link lifted the Master Sword.

The change stands out so much as Castle Town was a fun place to be as young Link. Various shops, unique inhabitants, and uplifting music. The spine chilling howls of the wind, combined with the bleak colours, clearly indicated that Ganondorf’s presence had grown, and made the adventure even more important for Link.

Link’s first interaction with Ganondorf

I think everyone probably wanted Link to run (or roll) even faster to Castle Town after completing Inside Jabu-Jabu’s belly. But it was clear that something was different when the player got closer to the drawbridge: the sky got darker and the torches were ignited – all during the day. Then, one of the most memorable moments in The Ocarina of Time begun.

Impa, carrying a worried looking Princess Zelda, rushed past on her horse, as she threw something towards Link. Link then turned to see Ganondorf on his horse. It was a flashback to Link’s dream when Navi first woke him, and that iconic look of surprise from Link will never get old. It showed Link’s bravery, but also how Ganondorf didn’t see Link as a threat. The scene made it clear that the future challenges would be much tougher, and gave a personal incentive to defeat Ganondorf.

Fighting Dark Link

The Water Temple: perhaps the most hated words in gaming – maybe even more so than ‘disk read error’ (not to be confused with “I am Error”). But there’s one redeemable aspect to the Water Temple (well maybe two if you include the awesome hook-shot), the epic battle against Dark Link.

The mini boss appears in a misty, pond-like area within the Water Temple. Although, it can be argued that Dark Link is actually a much more challenging fight than the actual boss. Dark Link can use all the same attacks as Link can, and mirrors a lot of the player’s moves. It’s a moment that stands out in The Ocarina of Time, mainly due to how different the enemy was and how difficult the fight can be.

Jumping over the wall of Lon Lon Ranch with Epona

Riding Epona was one of the best parts of being an adult in The Ocarina of Time. It was no secret that this was possible; it was part of the beautiful opening to the game, but it still felt just as magical when first riding Epona in the open. Though it wasn’t easy. Epona had to be won from Ingo in two races – two very costly races if lost. And they were easily lost due to their difficulty.

But once Epona was won the player had to jump over the fence of Lon Lon Ranch to escape. That victory music after escaping was the cherry on the top of what was a huge moment. Galloping through Hyrule Field was an incredible feeling, and even though future Zelda games have built on this by including great horse to horse combat, escaping Lon Lon Ranch with Epona will always be one of the most iconic moments in The Ocarina of Time.

Lifting the Master Sword

It was the moment that the first three dungeons had been leading to: lifting the Master Sword, the powerful weapon needed to defeat Ganondorf. But it also became the most memorable cut scene in The Ocarina of Time. A new beginning to the game, more story told, and the breathtaking moment when the camera first turned to see Link, who had grown in the seven years since he lifted the Master Sword.

It was a big change for the protagonist. Players couldn’t wait to go out and explore Hyrule with adult Link – the possibilities seemed endless. It was a brilliant reveal of a huge moment in the game, and it was done perfectly. The surprise of Navi, and even Link himself, mirrored that of the player, and will go down in history as one of the most memorable moments in The Ocarina of Time.

Entering Hyrule Field for the first time

Ocarina of Time will be most remembered for its huge map to explore. And this was first shown to the player after leaving Kokiri Forest. Following the highly emotional moment between Link and Saria, Hyrule Field literally showed a whole new world of opportunities. Back in 1998 Hyrule felt huge, and even nowadays it still feels as spectacular.

It revealed that Kokiri Forest was only a small part of the map, and the story. Before the Great Deku Tree’s death (not our fault Mido) it stated that Link must travel to Hyrule Castle. Leaving Kokiri Forest felt like the true beginning to Link’s odyssey – his true adventure beginning. Hyrule Field was brimming with areas to explore, new places to discover, and great memories to be made.

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