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The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time CD (US) :: Review by Jon Turner

The Legend of Zelda Soundtrack CD (US) Album Title: The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Soundtrack CD (US)
Record Label: Nintendo of America
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: November 1998
Purchase: Buy at eBay


After many mediocre domestic CDs from Nintendo, such as Yoshi's Story, Diddy Kong Racing, and Banjo-Kazooie, how about another domestic Nintendo CD? No? Well, I don't blame you. But even if The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina of Time Soundtrack CD isn't enough to change your mind, it's definitely more worth checking out than those other efforts. Now I'm sure you all know that The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, the game, is nothing short of spectacular. Well, the same thing is true for this soundtrack, which is no surprise, considering that it's by Nintendo's main music man, Koji Kondo. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of Kondo's Super Mario 64, as well as Legend (the film score by Jerry Goldsmith).

In Super Mario 64, Kondo took advantage of classic nostalgic Mario tunes and upgraded them to the next level, along with creating new themes. Well, with Ocarina of Time, he takes advantage of classic Zelda themes and upgrades them to the next level, and also creates new songs, which is just fine. For example, listen closely to "Title Theme". The whistle motif is masterfully incorporated into the music. And what about the famous "Overworld" theme... is it used in here? Well, yes and no. Once or twice, the first couple of notes from the "Overworld" theme appear in "Hyrule Field Main Theme", but that's just about all that you get from the "Overworld" theme. That's a tad disappointing, but don't let that discourage you, there's plenty of excellent stuff on here. In fact, some tracks like "Ocarina Of Time" and "Kakariko Village" will definitely bring back more memories of playing Zelda games of the past... particularly The Legend Of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Ocarina Of Time is like Legend in that it isn't just a musical score to go along in the background, but more like a true musical accompaniment. In "Hyrule Field Main Theme", the mood of the music changes from happy to suspenseful and so on. The way it literally shifts gears is absolutely stunning. The sound system sounds a bit like the one that was used for Star Fox 64. The instruments aren't exactly orchestra quality, but then, I didn't have much of a problem with it in that score and I don't have a problem with it here.

There are a total of 35 tracks on this album (only 29 are listed, the other six are bonus tracks), unlike Nintendo's other releases, which had about 15 tracks or so. Plus, the CD runs for a lengthy 72:10, whereas Yoshi's Story and Diddy Kong Racing both ran at only 30-39 minutes. However, not all the music from the game is featured here. The dungeon themes, "Goron City", and "Sheik's Theme" are among those not included. While there are some disappointed absences, the soundtrack improves upon the Japanese release in some ways by removing all the filler fanfares and actually looping the tracks. The dungeon themes weren't for all either. However, if you're a completist, the Japanese version is more recommended. After a bunch of disappointing CD releases, Nintendo has finally learned its lesson. It's not for everyone due to the absences but will appeal to a certain audience; those looking for the 'best' tracks.

Overall Score: 7/10