8.8: Surprisingly, Nintendo Power was one of the only publications that didn't give Ocarina of Time a perfect 10/10 score. Instead, it got a 9.5 out of 10 (which, granted, was higher than virtually every other game while Nintendo Power was using the ten point scale) and the only complaint was that the controls felt somewhat awkward because the developers tried to make every button on the Nintendo 64 controller essential for gameplay.
Nabooru: Will you go through this tiny hole and get a treasure that's inside?
The carpenter boss in Kakariko Village says this when you're wearing the Spooky Mask:
Carpenter Boss: Hey, you have some good, quality wood there, kid!note This line was actually altered in the 3DS remaster to "Hey, that mask is some good, quality wood there, kid!"
Alternative Character Interpretation: If you go back to Mido after clearing the Forest Temple, Mido, upon hearing that Saria, the one person he liked, has accepted her destiny as a Sage and they'll never see each other again, asks you to apologize to Link on your behalf if you see him again. Does he really not recognize Link, or is he just pretending for the sake of his pride? note You have to prove that you know Saria by playing your song, and he's aware that she only teaches the song to friends.
Famously, Navi, who is a common in-joke amongst gamers for fairly frequently exclaiming "Hey!" or "Listen!" when she wants the player to listen to her tips or hints. You hear her even when you're out adventuring and doing side-quests. And in the 3DS remake, she's reminding you every ten minutes to check the Sheikah Stone for tips or asking if you need to take a break from playing.
Kaepora Gaebora, due to his long speeches, his "Do you want to hear everything again?" question being set to 'Yes' by default while you're mashing the A button to get through it and the fun that he occasionally asks "Did you understand?", meaning you need to answer Yes to continue instead. Shame that the cursor defaults to 'No' in this scenario.
No one in Kakariko Village or the Shadow Temple seems to be capable of shutting up about the Lens of Truth once it's mentioned, even if you already have it.
Anti-Climax Boss: Ganondorf, who you fight the same way you did Phantom Ganon earlier, except even easier at this point. His next form of Ganon, who is very challenging for beginners, also qualifies for experienced players who know what they're doing.
For many players, the Forest Temple is when the action, tension and atmosphere in the game start to crank up, with its vast size compared to the Child Link dungeons and its creepy music and vibe, culminating in one of the best-remembered boss fights in the game.
Gerudo Valley and the Spirit Temple. Music aside, the quest is one of the most vast and involved in the game, with several stages as both Child and Adult Link, and also exposes the player to the rather interesting Gerudo culture that raised Ganondorf.
Whether the game has aged well or not, a debate that got more prominence when series overseer Eiji Aonuma took sides. Although in terms of graphics the general consensus is that it hasn't (particularly because of the sluggish framerate by today's standards, and the fact that SD games in general don't look good on HD screens doesn't help), when it comes to gameplay the debate is much less cut and clear. On one side you have those who think Ocarina of Time is a clear case of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny and that, despite being a key game in the evolution of the medium, nowadays it only has nostalgia value. On the other, you have those who insist it still holds up, and many elements are still much better than detractors give them credit for. Particularly dungeon and puzzle design, level of challenge and narrative (particularly in how it's mostly done through gameplay, without relying on cut-scenes as much as most later instalments). Ocarina of Time 3D gives the game a notable graphical upgrade and a smoother framerate, which leaves only the gameplay to debate on.
The Water Temple. For a lot of fans it's the ultimate example of That One Level in the game as well as the series. However, there is another big part of the fan base that consider it the Best Level Ever of the game, stating that it's an awesome mental challenge, and its difficulty just makes it all the more satisfying when you beat it.
The altered Fire Temple music has divided fans, with some fans respecting Nintendo's decision to avoid offending anyone and/or simply preferring the new music, and others accusing Nintendo of submitting to Political Correctness Gone Mad and deriding the altered track as a low-quality, hastily assembled substitute.
Whether the N64 version or 3DS remake is superior. Many of the arguments for the former are indeed due to nostalgia, something its fans aren't afraid to admit. While the 3DS version is a heavily Polished Port with a few nice bonus features, some argue that the game's age still shows through and that it's best appreciated by playing it in its original version.
Contested Sequel: While widely considered the greatest video game of all time (to the point of it topping more "best game" lists than any other game), let alone the best Zelda game, there are a few fans who prefer The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past over Ocarina of Time and find that Ocarina merely refines/rehashes elements from ALttP rather than coming up with innovations on its own.
Critical Backlash: Not the game itself, but Navi has gained some of this from a portion of fans that feel she's neither as annoying nor as persistent with her "heys" as the meme about her would imply.
Floor Masters, especially the invisible variety. Killing one will cause it to split into three miniature copies of itself and scatter about the room; failing to kill these miniatures quickly enough can result in one latching onto your throat, draining your health and then growing back to normal size and starting the fight over again. It doesn't help that, being giant, grisly-looking severed hands, they're also creepy as all get-out.
Stalfos. They use a lot of the same fighting moves that Link does, including shield-blocking and jump attacks (and yes, those jump attacks do double damage, just like Link's). It gets worse when you have to fight two at a time, since if you defeat one, it doesn't really die until the second one is destroyed also. Too slow? The first one revives at full health, basically starting the fight all over again, less whatever health you've lost. And on Master Quest, in some rooms you have to fight three at once...
Any enemies that deal over half a heart of damage become this on a 3 Heart run, since every heart container is precious and taking 1 entire heart of damage can put the player at a serious disadvantage. And yes, the above enemies do one entire heart of damage.
Shippers vilify Zelda as a selfish, spoiled snob, and often characterize Link as resenting Zelda for manipulating him into saving the world and having him travel through time... the end goal of this characterization is usually to hook him up with the Girl Next Door, Malon or Saria.
Draco in Leather Pants: There is no indication that Dark Link is anything but a malevolent force bent on killing Link, yet a lot of the fandom likes to portray him as sympathetic, even woobie-like, helped (or not) by the theories that he's always been trapped inside his room in the Water Temple and his desire is to see the outside world.
Ear Worm: "The Song of Storms", "Saria's Song" (in-universe even) and "Gerudo Valley". You just need to listen to them once and they will NEVER leave your head.
Dark Link, consistent with most of his appearances where he only appears for maybe ten minutes as a whole yet is disproportionately represented in fan works.
The cute, innocent farmgirl Malon is a darkhorse among shippers who insist that the Hero of Time married her instead of any of the other ladies. The fact the Link from Twilight Princess is the direct descendant of the Hero of Time and a farmer boy lends credence to this theory. For a character who is almost completely irrelevant to the main story, this is quite impressive.
Kotake and Koume. They are just so funny you want to beat them over and over. If Betty White and Julia Roberts were in Hyrule, they would be Twinrova.
Saria is fondly remembered by fans, especially thanks to being Link's first friend, being cute as a button herself and having a very catchy song. The fact that it's impossible for them to become an item following the adventure, despite the subtle-but-definitely-there romantic elements, only fuels her popularity.
Epileptic Trees: This was the game that kick started the speculations about the timeline of the franchise throughout the fan base. Nintendo put references to previous titles that, albeit extremely subtle, weren't unnoticed by fans, especially in the long run, like naming the sages after the towns from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. That, coupled with the similarities between the story of the game and the back story from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, started the whole trend. And the rest is history.
Even Better Sequel: While A Link to the Past was highly acclaimed, Ocarina of Time was widely considered even more of a breakthrough and catapulted the Zelda franchise into the upper stratosphere of gaming, becoming a contender for the most widely-praised video game of all time while establishing much of the tone, mythos and elements of the series more firmly than ALttP did.
Evil Is Cool: Ganondorf is regarded as one of Nintendo's coolest and most powerful villains, and Ocarina of Time is the game that put him in this position. He's a very threatening Rated M for ManlyWicked CulturedGenius BruiserEvil Sorcerer with fun boss fights in both of his forms; on top of that, he's one of the very few video game villains to truly defeat the hero depending on the timeline.note since Link winning and losing to Ganondorf are both canon and result in separate branched timelines
In the past, it was with Final Fantasy VII. Both came out around the same time and had similar elements, which also derived in the "Cloud vs Link" debates. One big reason was that both titles became probably the most iconic games of their respectiveconsoles, so it was also an extension of the 5th GenerationConsole War. When Cloud was announced for the fourth Super Smash Bros. game, many fans got excited that the fight would finally be possible, much like Mario vs. Sonic in Brawl.
Faux Symbolism: Gerudo culture drew comparisons to Islamic cultures—rather than this being an example of the Gerudo being an alternate version of Islamic nations, Nintendo stated that they simply drew inspiration from Arabic cultures, without realizing the religious implications.
Fetish Retardant: As mentioned below in squick, the Great Fairy's leotard outfit looks more like she has rotting flesh, which tarnishes any source of fanservice from it (that, and her so-called "laugh").
Franchise Original Sin: Some of the perceived problems of the pre-Breath of the Wild modern Zelda games have origins in this game, but Ocarina of Time's general acclaim usually dismisses them as minor annoyances in this game compared to later ones.
One major complaint about post-Ocarina of Time games is being forced to run around previous areas to unlock the next. In hindsight, the trip back to the Lost Woods to learn Saria's Song foreshadows this issue, as there is no real reason as to why Saria couldn't teach Link her song right when they said their supposed "goodbye." This issue is mitigated by putting a shortcut to the Lost Woods in Death Mountain, which is the area which triggers the quest.
Another complaint about post-Ocarina games is poor item planning; in other words, the relative lack of use for items outside their dungeons and/or their pre-made, purposed targets. A few of this game's items see similar limited use, most blatantly the Golden Gauntlets and Ice Arrows (the latter being totally optional and more or less useless) with the Iron Boots and Lens of Truth only faring a little better.
Navi is something of a retroactive example. She was originally the butt of many jokes regarding insistent assistance in video games and was seen as The Scrappy for many. In the years following Ocarina of Time's release, the games that came out after and until Breath of the Wild had what were considered far worse examples of assistant characters when it comes to handholding. Navi is typically seen in a much better light nowadays, especially when compared to the worst example, Fi. While she is still thought of as mildly annoying, her advice is never truly overbearing and her interruptions are generally limited to rooms containing Wallmasters, which even then is considered a very helpful interruption.
Fridge Horror: There are certain things you can do as Young Link that slightly alter the future, making certain things easier for Adult Link (such as collecting Heart Containers). However, if you believe in the Alternate Timeline theory, this means every time Young Link does one of these things, the future Adult Link returns to is not exactly the same one, but a slightly different timeline. This means any time you go back in time to plant a bean, you've just doomed an entire branching timeline to destruction at the hands of Ganondorf. This may, in fact, be the origin of the Hero's Defeat timeline.
Game-Breaker: The Biggoron's Sword is one of the most broken weapons in the entire series. Huge reach, equally high attack power, can damage the otherwise immune-to-blade Armos Knights, and every bit as fast as your other swords. This sword turns boss fights into a joke. In skilled hands, even Ganondorf goes down in one combo. The real kicker is that you can get this weapon as early as the Forest Temple WITHOUT Sequence Breaking. Hell, you can get it before you even go INTO the Forest Temple. The only thing you might want the Bow for is the Skullwalltulas on the cliff before Biggoron, and they can be killed with the Hookshot if you allot yourself a little extra time to climb up to each of them. It does, however, require a two-handed hold, so Link can't use his shield. For the most part, this isn't a big deal, but it does lend preference to the Master Sword in certain situations.
Fairies, if one is doing a 3 Heart run. Health-restoring potions are basically useless in 3 Heart runs since they aren't worth the cost (30-40 Rupees for an item that will restore at most 2.75 hearts) while fairies automatically refill your health upon falling in battle, are easy to get if one knows where to look, and go from being a safety net to what is essentially 3 disposable heart containers. And in a Self-Imposed Challenge where Stalfos and Re Deads can kill you very quickly, they're a godsend.
In Master Quest, there's a glitch that allows you to get through the locked boss door of the Water Temple using a jump attack. And, since the Longshot was moved to a room you can get into almost immediately after entering the level and you'll be done in less than 10 minutes (you'll probably spend more time on the boss than on the level itself).
In the sink hole alongside the Castle gate there is a Gold Skulltula which you can kill, catch its token with the boomerang, and then go to the exit before the game can register that the Gold Skulltula has been killed while you still get to keep the token you received. As frustrating as it can be to find all the Gold Skulltula in the game this can be quite a relief for gamers who just want to get the 100 Skulltula requirement out of the way as fast as possible.
Catch something in a bottle. Just as the bottle comes in contact with the bug, fairy, fish or whatever, pause the game and switch the bottle with a different item. This will replace that item with a bottle, permanently. While it can make certain quests or the game itself Unwinnable by Mistake if you lose an important item, there are many items you can safely trade in that way.
The Redeads in Hyrule Castle Town can't paralyze you with their scream because the pre-rendered background won't allow the camera to zoom in when they do it.
It's hard to imagine looking back on it today, but many of the game's dungeons and levels were quite mind-blowing to first-time players. The Shadow Temple's ghost ships come to mind: the temple itself is creepy enough without this boat appearing. You board it, and it moves. Suddenly, Stalfos! You begin to fight them, exchange a few blows, when the entire boat starts to tremble and shake! What is going on? Games don't do this! Holy shit, it's sinking! I'm going to die! How the hell do I get off?!
The boss battles were also made to wow players, what with each having spectacular set-pieces and creature designs as well as clever strategies. The Final Bossstill regularly pops up on Top Ten Lists for "Greatest Boss Battles of All Time".
As usual in the Zelda series, the whole climax, from Sheik's reveal to the "The End" screen. Make sure you have time to spare, because your hands will be glued to the controller (or to the 3DS) the whole way through.
Using the Gold Gauntlets. Link picks a pillar that's several stories tall and tosses it away like it's made of cardboard.
Hype Backlash: Due to the countless praises heaped upon this game, it's rather to be expected, especially because video games age more noticeably than any other medium. Several factions in particular view Ocarina in this light.
Younger fans (especially those who never grew up with a Zelda game) tend to label the game as "overrated" due to "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, with many games (Zelda or otherwise) taking the innovations that Ocarina brought to the game world and building on them. Within the franchise, some fans of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (i.e. the fans who don't appreciate both games) believe that Breath has unequivocally dethroned Ocarina as the best in the series, and that there is no reason for it to be held in such a prestigious light anymore apart from nostalgia.
Some fans who grew up with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past prefer it over Ocarina, and treat it as the Zelda franchise's biggest turning point rather than Ocarina itself, finding that much of the praise towards Ocarina can also easily apply to ALttP.
There's also a third camp who contend that it's not even the best N64 Zelda game, and that The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is better due to being a significant departure from series conventions in a franchise believed to have grown stale and predictable over the years.
Zelda herself. Her mother is never mentioned and is presumably dead, then she has a prophetic dream that entails evil overtaking the land. When she tries to warn her father about Ganondorf, he doesn't heed her advice. Then her father is murdered in front of her and she has to flee from her own castle with Impa, and gets separated from Link and everyone she ever knew for seven years, while a murderous evil sorcerer is constantly on the hunt for her.
Magnificent Bastard: Ganondorf. He sees through Zelda's plan to get to the Triforce with just a quick glance, and takes advantage of them to gain access to the Sacred Realm. And when he searches for Zelda, he simply waits for her to reveal herself while he silently monitors Link throughout the game. In short, he's a villain who's always one step ahead of the heroes.
Memetic Badass: The Marathon Man, who will always beat you by 1 second, even if he has to violate time and spacenote use a cheat device to get a time of 0:00 to do so.
"Hey! Listen!" Explanation Navi's cry when she has a hint or tip is often used in relation to anything or anyone that is being annoying, particularly in video games.
Did you get all that? >No YesExplanation Kaepora Gaebora is infamous for his copiously long dialogue whenever he appears (which often comes rather suddenly). Combine that with the fact that the default option after his dialogue finishes is making him repeat everything he just said, and Kaepora Gaebora becomes an Annoying Video Game Helper that could easily rival Navi.
Moral Event Horizon: It's hard to tell where Ganondorf crosses this line, but it's probably at trying to have several Gorons fed to a dragon as a "warning" to those who would oppose him. Sure, killing the Great Deku Tree to steal what it was keeping from him, or deceiving the established authorities as a means of power, are evil, but attempting to massacre several members of a peaceful tribe when he GETS his power is far worse.
Ganondorf:: CURSE YOU SAGES! CURSE YOU ZELDA! CURSE YOU Link!
Changing your name to something ridiculous like "Dirtbag" can quickly turn a lot of lines hilarious.
Navi: Wake up, Dirtbag! Zelda: "Dirtbag"... it has such a nice ring to it.
The collapse of Ganon's Castle. It looks less like a massive evil structure crumbling into pieces and more like a model building simply folding and retracting into the ground.
In some versions of the game, Ganondorf's Blood from the Mouth after you defeat him is censored to be bright green. This has the unfortunate effect of making him look like he's coughing up a massive loogie.
"Jabu-Jabu" is the Japanese onomatopoeia for splashing. In other words, the Zoras' patron deity is effectively named "Lord Splish-Splash".
Some of the enthusiastic item descriptions are fairly endearing:
"You found the Megaton Hammer! Use C to smash and break junk!"
"You found Bombs! You can equip it to C, C or C! If something looks suspicious, bomb it!"
Okay yeah, so Phantom Ganon being a Tennis Boss for the second half of the fight can bring to mind him and Link enjoying a harmless tennis match. But damn if kicking his ass in this manner doesn't feel awesome.
The various re-releases. So far there have been five. Two for the Nintendo GameCube that were actually free promotional disksnote One was given out as a bonus to those who pre-ordered The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and also included Master Quest, and the other was part of a ZeldaCompilation Re-release bundled with new Gamecubes. that weren't available outside of said promotions. One for the Virtual Console on the Wii, which was its first generally available release since the N64 original. The remake for Nintendo 3DS, which came 5 years after the Virtual Console version and 13 years after the original game. And the Wii UVirtual Console rerelease 4 years laternote Which, like all Wii U virtual console games, was available for a nominal fee if you bought it before on the Wii Virtual Console. However, some people make it look like Nintendo rereleases the game almost every year for an easy cash grab.
While Navi interrupts you often in the early game portions, and her "Hey, listen!" can be annoying as well, you don't have to listen to her pieces of advice unless she actually does interrupt you, which she does far less often as the game goes on. However, some fans make her sound worse than she really is, by making it sound like she interrupts you nearly every two minutes, and goes out of her way to annoy you every two seconds with her "Hey, listen!". Also she technically never even SAYS "Hey, Listen!" She'll call out to you with a "Hey!" to get your attention, which you are free to ignore. It's only if you ask her to speak that she'll say "Listen". Also if you're targeting something she has advice on, she'll even say "Watch out!" or "Look!" depending on if it's a monster or a thing.
Even though Ruto grew out of her bratty behavior and knew that being a Sage was more important than being with Link, fans act like marrying Link is all she thinks about.
The sequence where King Zora moves away from his usual sitting spot so you get access to Lord Jabu-Jabu. It takes 30 full seconds, which feels like dragging, specially if you don't find it funny as it clearly intents to be. A lot of detractors of the game tend to bring this up as a "proof" of the game's shortcomings... despite the fact that it plays only once.
The Shadow Temple is the most disturbing dungeon in the game, filled with Wallmasters and Dead Hands, and complete with a ride on the River Styx. The boss's name is Bongo Bongo. Although the atmosphere is so creepy you might not care anyway.
The Dead Hands' animation as it waddles towards you makes it look like it's doing a little jig.
The first half of the Phantom Ganon battle consists of trying to find Phanton Ganon as he comes out to attack you from portraits. The second half? Link takes on Phantom Ganon in the Hyrule Open. It's even funnier if you use an empty bottle instead of the sword.
Falling into lava would be a terrifying experience if Link didn't inexplicably teleport back to safe ground every time he falls towards it, with only a little bit of health lost.
Many newer fans believe both Zelda's Lullaby and Ganon's theme debuted in this game. The two themes actually first appeared two games prior. "Zelda's Lullaby" was originally called "Princess Zelda's Rescue", from the scene when Link rescues Zelda at the start of the game.
This games is credited for greatly expanding the lore of Zelda by showing information on the three goddesses, how the Triforce and Hyrule were created, about the Golden Land, and how Ganon was once a human thief named Ganondorf. All of these story elements were introduced in Link to the Past. The detail lore specifically came from the instruction manual of that game. The one bit of lore the game added was the Triforce breaking apart if the person's heart was imbalance.
The idea that Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf represent different pieces of the Triforce. Although this game made it explicit, this detail goes all the way back to original Zelda and Link II. In the original game, Zelda was the keeper of the Triforce of Wisdom, while Ganon took the Triforce of Power. In the second game, Link goes on a journey to reclaim the Triforce of Courage, which was stated to be his destiny.
Young Zelda wears a hood. No other Zelda in the games wore one prior, however Zelda in the manga adaptations have worn similar garments.
One-Scene Wonder: Dark Link shows up as a mini-boss in the Water Temple with no prior foreshadowing and is never mentioned again afterwards, yet he's left an impression on several generations of gamers.
Paranoia Fuel: Any time the Hyrule Field theme switches over to the battle variation or the battle theme takes over the current music (if any) but you can't find the enemy that's triggering the music change.
Polished Port: The 3DS port substantially refines the now-archaic graphics of the original game while still remaining faithful to the art direction of it, while leaving the classic gameplay completely intact (save for a few minor tweaks) and the iconic music score untouched—it's such a faithful port, that they even kept in or recreated as many of the games glitches as they were allowed to (save the ones that completely broke the game). On top of that, it makes the infamous Water Templemuch easier to navigate, and it includes the Master Quest mode from the Gamecube rerelease of the game as an extra!
When Link first met Ruto, she was a Royal Brat who made him carry her through Jabu-Jabu's belly and was a bit of a Tsundere. In the future, she was much calmer and, while still in love with Link, realized that saving Hyrule and her duties as a sage were a higher priority. However, some people portray her as completely obsessed with marrying Link, to the point of killing his other love interests and that Link flees in terror whenever she comes around.
A lesser example is Navi. While she isn't portrayed as evil, people act like she does nothing but spout "HEY! LISTEN!" nonstop throughout the game.
Sacred Cow: Because Ocarina of Time is widely considered to be the greatest video game of all time, some people believe it to be above any form of criticism. Even the notion of whether the game is outdated in any way can result in heated debate.
Back in 1998, no adventure game had a 3D open world with such a huge scale and depth like this game. It showed how new technology at the time could give action-adventure games immersion like never before. Also, it had the most well written and complex story yet for the Zelda series. However, many younger gamers will find it to be a good, yet bare bones 3D Zelda experience compared to later games that improved upon the formula. They will never know how important this game was for creating a living 3D adventure, making it one the classic examples of a "You had to have been there" story. In late 2009, the designer Eiji Aonuma addressed this in an interview when he said the game wasn't aging very well. This can be seen in fandom debates on how OoT holds up compared to newer Zelda games (with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess being the most similar); fans are generally split between whether OoT is better than newer games due to it introducing many of the innovations of modern 3D gaming and the newer games not being as ground-breaking, or whether newer games are better than OoT because they took everything that made OoT good and improved on it, reaching the zenith of such with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
One element that suffers heavily from this is the game's Camera Lock-On. Back then, this sort of gameplay innovation was a huge step forward for not just the series, but for action-adventure games in general. Consider that before this, most games didn't give players very many options in real-time combat, and many had to resort to aimlessly flailing away at the enemies in order to take them down. OOT's introduction of this feature made said combat not only more accurate, but also allowed for a level of strategy note seen in the genre before then. Nowadays however, with so many games having since refined and expanded upon that system (such as Devil May Cry and Shadow of the Colossus), including severallaterZeldatitles, the system seen in OOT can come across as rather clunky and unintuitive.
One other reason why this game had such an impact with the franchise is that it was a major change-up to the series' Status Quo. Think about it: This game has both a Child and Young Adult Link, Impa is no longer a frail little old lady but a somewhat younger and muscular woman, Ganon is no longer a big blue pig but a tall buff somewhat Middle Eastern Man (most of the time; he does become a Pig Man when the plot calls for it but he's much more beast-like than earlier incarnations) and Zelda actually gets to be involved in the action granted, it's usually when she is disguised as someone else but still. When Ocarina first came out it was a fairly substantial departure from what the Legend of Zelda series is like at the time. But nowadays people often like to complain that Ocarina of Time became the series' new Status Quo and that most of the 3-D Zelda games are not different enough from Ocarina.
The visuals aged pretty poorly, particularly because the 3D visuals were a factor in the game's frame rate being in the teens (as opposed to the 30-60 that's commonly used); furthermore, in addition to low texture resolution, the N64 typically saved memory by having a comparatively limited color rendering palette, so compared to modern games, N64 Ocarina can look distinctly "washed-out". The 3DS version is considered a vast improvement in this respect, with much cleaner and more recognizable character models and enough RAM and processing power to use a more vivid color palette.
The real-time day-night cycle was the first time a system like that was ever used in a believable way. For a while it became a must-have in newer games, but eventually fell out of favor where a system like this doesn't affect the gameplay. It's still so ubiquitous that new players barely notice it, until they get stuck outside at night.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: A consequence of the above since 1.) Most of the major supporting cast is female and 2.) Many of them have Ship Tease with Link.
Signature Scene: This game has some of the most iconic moments, not only in the series, but in video game history.
Link both pulling out the Master Sword as a kid AND putting it back in its pedestal as an adult. Both images became so iconic that many later games in the series unabashedly replicate them.
The Great Deku Tree's death. Although this wasn't the first time death appeared in a Zelda game (e.g. Link's uncle in "A Link to the Past"), this was the first time they did it with a character that the player has at least the chance to form an emotional connection with, making it a genuine Tear Jerker.
Link and Zelda's first meeting in the Hyrule Castle Courtyard.
The entire Wham Episode of Link transitioning from a child to a young adult for the first time.
Link and Ganondorf's duel. Although some elements were introduced in A Link to the Past, like the "magic tennis match", this is the game that made them stick in the collective memory.
Link opening a chest and showing off the item over his head.
Slow-Paced Beginning: The first half hour of the game consists of a fairly long, unskippable intro cutscene, a few minutes of you learning the basics of the gameplay, and then searching for the Kokiri sword and having you farm rupees so you can buy a shield. After that, you get sone exposition from the Great Deku Tree, and you experience your first dungeon—but after that, you have to go on a long trek to Hyrule Castle to meet Zelda that'll take you at least another half hour if not longer to complete before you can even get to Death Mountain. And then you have to backtrack all the way to Kokiri Forest to learn a song from Saria that will eventually lead you to getting the ability to throw bombs and thus enter the second dungeon. And this isn't factoring in all the sidequests you'll undoubtably be doing along the way. Getting into the third dungeon is quicker than the first two, thankfully, and the games pacing really picks up once you travel into the future, get the Hookshot and Epona, and learn all the warp songs Shiek teaches you.
More than a few people have seen the Great Fairies' skimpy attire not as leaves but as their bodies rotting. Made worse in the remake where the leaves were replaced with leopard print bikinis... that look like a skin disorder.
The Great Fairies' heavy amounts of makeup and creepy laugh also unnerve quite a few people.
The Iron Knuckles minibosses are without question the nastiest enemies in the entire game, and each encounter with them is harder than most of the actual boss fights! They may move slow, but they have a very fast and absolutely brutal axe attack that will knock four hearts off you in one swing and send you flying across the room. Even if you have every heart upgrade by the Spirit Temple, you can only take five hits from them total (if you're attempting a Minimalist Run with only three hearts, that means you die in one hit), and your shield is absolutely useless against their attacks. Making matters worse is that they only have a small window for you to attack them before they attack you, and unless you have the Biggoron Sword, they are insanely resilient and take a lot of time to bring down. And once you damage them enough, they'll start running and swinging at you even faster. It is strongly advised that you bring a few Bottled Fairies with you in these fights—yes, you fight five of them in the game, and two of them are fought simultaneously!
Twinrova can be an extremely frustrating, or worse, impossible fight unless you know exactly what you're supposed to do.
Morpha can become surprisingly hard if you remain on the centre four platforms, he also becomes one of the funnest bosses in the game as well, Morpha actually seems to be programmed to combat the player if he remains on the platforms, as he will constantly attack from behind and attempt surprise the player if you remain on the platforms, but many prefer the easy way.
Dark Link is a pain if you lock onto him and try to fight him with your sword, and a cakewalk if you don't and use the Megaton Hammer (or Biggoron's Sword), but only if you don't target him or you'll almost never touch him. Thankfully, Din's Fire can allow the player to steamroll him.
Bongo Bongo can be pretty frustrating; it's difficult to aim with the constant bouncing and his hands do a lot of damage.
Phantom Ganon (on his horse) can be really tough and brutal if you don't know how his lightning attack works. Basically, if you haven't mastered the aim of your Fairy Bow or if you don't know about the triangles within the room, you can be in a serious world of hurt, and the lightning attack does 2 hearts of damage, which is a pretty huge chunk at your current health if you haven't been collecting any Heart Pieces other than the ones you got after defeating the other 3 bosses. Once you take out his horse, his Final Boss Preview form is easier.
The Master Quest version of dungeons other than the Water Temple were rearranged to make them more difficult for seasoned players. The Master Quest version of the Water Temple, though, was considerably easier than in the original. The creators have also fixed the Water Temple in the 3DS remake by means of two main changes: making the Iron Boots an item button item (an innovation from later Zelda games), and putting squiggly lines on the walls to lead players to the water-level changing rooms. Another change in the 3DS version of the Water Temple is that the camera goes down and focuses on the hole left behind when the block floats up when raising the water to the mid-level. Figuring out to dive under the block was one of the main brick walls a lot of first-time players hit (one of the small keys is in that hole, and it's needed to reach Dark Link and the second half of the dungeon).
For those wishing to get 100%, the fishing hole. Up for grabs, a Heart Piece (as a child) and the Gold Scale (as an adult). The only thing standing in your way? Actually catching a fish, which is made all the more difficult since A: It's a Luck-Based Mission even getting one on the line, B: There's no way to tell ahead of time how much a fish weighs (you need one that weighs 10 pounds for the Heart Piece and one that weighs 15 pounds or more for the Gold Scale respectively), C: it takes a ludicrously long time to actually reel them in once you do get them on the line, and, best of all, D: sometimes, for no explained reason, the fish will just randomly get away. And the Gold Scale is actually required to receive another Heart Piece (from Dr. Mizumi at the Lakeside Laboratory, where you have to dive to the bottom of his measuring pool which is about nine meters).
Dampé's Heart-Pounding Gravedigging Tour, which is a pure Luck-Based Mission. Ask him to dig up a hole in the graveyard, and there is a 1-in-10 chance of him giving you a Heart Piece instead of rupees. It is not uncommon to try this over and over for several minutes before getting the item for 100%.
The Big Poes. You have to use your horse and start in a specific location in Hyrule field and head in a specific direction to make the Poe even appear, and you have to chase - at high speed - said Poe and shoot it twice before it disappears. And you have to find all ten in order to have access to the final empty bottle. One in particular near Gerudo Valley has a nasty habit of vanishing into a wall almost instantly.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some fans consider the N64 version of the fight with Ganon superior to the fight in the remake, as in the original version Ganon appeared in shadows save for his Glowing Eyes of Doom, while in the remake he's in full view all the time.
Tough Act to Follow: This is that tough act, for the Zelda series, for Nintendo, and for gaming in general. Especially true when said act is widely considered to be the greatest video game of all time. To date, only one game in history (Nintendo's own Super Mario Galaxy) has managed to beat OoT as the best-reviewed game on GameRankings to this day. Within the Zelda series, every game after Ocarina has attempted to establish itself in some way, to varying levels of success; it took 19 years for Breath of the Wild to finally provide a possible contender for the new Tough Act to Follow in the series.
Ugly Cute: For short, long-snouted dryad-like creatures and malevolent ghosts, both of which are trying to kill you, Deku Scrubs and Poes are both awfully adorable.
The game's narrative. When it first came out, it wasn't considered bad, but it didn't receive the same amount of praise as other elements like game mechanics or graphics. Partly because, next to some of the other narrative milestones of its day, like Final Fantasy VII or Metal Gear Solid, it was considered too simple or even too "kiddy". Nowadays it's much more praised, and it's widely considered a magnificently executed Coming-of-Age Story. Things like the rivalry relationship between Link and Ganondorf, how it massively expanded the franchise's lore, or how themes like the loss of innocence, the end of childhood and the uncertainty of the future are represented are common praise points. There are even those who now consider it more successful than its aforementioned peers as a piece of narrative in video games, since it achieves everything without relying nearly as much on dialogue or cinematics. (The particularly snarky might also say OoT has one particular thing on FFVII: a coherent translation.)
Visual Effects of Awesome: While now outdated, the graphics were amazing for their time and gave a real sense of scale and character to the game. The 3DS version's graphics are also among the prettiest graphics seen on a Nintendo handheld, and retain all the color and character of the N64 original's while adding more detail and giving the characters more charm and better facial expressions.
The Woobie: Link. After his seven years of slumber, he's forced to deal with seeing Hyrule (including his home forest) turn from a charming, colorful land into a monster-filled Crapsack World, as well as the fact that one of his closest childhood friends is confined to an eternity of having to guard the Sacred Realm, never mind the fact that she is a member of a race that CAN'T GROW UP.
The Gorons. A race of peaceful, welcoming mountain dwellers, who in the future are reduced to imprisoned, quivering wrecks after Ganondorf tries to feed them all to Volvagia to set an example for everyone else.
The Zoras, considering something happened to their deity figure Lord Jabu-Jabu, and they were all trapped and left to die in their frozen home.