Game Center CX Season 14 – Back to Contents
At Last, the Masterpiece – "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time"
For the first time in almost five years, Arino returns to the Nintendo 64 to play another of its 3D classics. Before, it was Mario, and now, it’s Zelda — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, of course. Not only that, it has been over five years since the last Zelda game on the show, A Link to the Past. Ocarina is great, but it’s not short, nor a cakewalk (if it’s not the bosses, it’s the puzzles), so there’s little doubt Arino will be at this for just one episode. He’s nervous at the top of the show, but not because of the game, but because Inoko MAX is now a director of the show.
Arino launches into it (after renaming Link "Arino Kacho"), beginning as Young Link in the Kokiri Forest. He explores the forest village, getting the Kokiri Sword and eventually making his way to the Deku Tree, the lord of the forest who directs Link to the insides of the treeto take care of an evil presence inside
The next item Arino picks up is the Fairy Slingshot, which helps him kill the Skulltulas above his head. He then spends some time figuring out how to light the dead torches in the next room (not that he takes forever, but he does think it’s clever once he figures out how to light one). Unfortunately, the next rooms contain some Gohma Larva enemies that hop around and eventually kill Arino, earning him his first Game Over.
Once he continues, Arino gets past the little Gohmas and enters the chamber of the mother Gohma, the giant first boss. But one of the boss’ first moves is to release more Larva, which of course kill Arino a second time.
On the second try, he’s able to get a little more up close and personal with Gohma, but even after targeting its giant eye and slashing at it like mad, he still loses. On the third try, Arino elects to use the slingshot, which is the solution: it stuns Gohma enough for Arino to attack without worry, and in a couple of minutes, he’s victorious.
The reward is the Kokiri Emerald, and then the Deku Tree tells Arino of the evil that has befallen the whole of Hyrule, and the man who wishes to rule it. Arino heads out of the forest after that, but childhood friend Saria hands him the Fairy Ocarina as a parting gift. AD Katayama appears at that time, and hands Arino a real ocarina that he can use to call for help when needed.
After Arino treks across Hyrule Field, we jump ahead to Hyrule Castle, where he meets Princess Zelda, and also catches a glimpse of Ganondorf, who of course will be the guy to fight at the end of the game.
We fast-forward again to Goron City, where Arino must solve some more trouble for the burly Gorons, and collect the Stone of Fire. He heads into Dodongo’s Cavern, and immediately dies due to the laser-blasting statue right in the center of the room. One puzzle involves setting off a chain reaction of bombs to lower a stone pillar to lower some stairs, which Arino likens to Puyo Puyo.
Beyond that, a miniboss fight against a pair of Lizalfos begins. The slithery fighters are hard for Arino to judge, so within short order, he’s stabbed to death once again. And again, and again, and then again in another room by fiery Keese bats. Arino decides to use the ocarina… the real one. He toots a jumble of notes, and AD Katayama rushes to his aid.
Part of that bat problem was Arino losing his shield — the flames burned it away, so Katayama shows Arino a place to buy a new one from a lone Deku Baba. He engages the bats again, only to have the shield disappear again. And now he can’t afford another one. Neverthess, Arino returns to fight the Lizalfos. Again he madly slashes them, and manages to defeat them both this time!
After that, Arino drops down into the center of the cavern to face King Dodongo, the next boss. Dodongo rolls around the arena and also breathes far-reaching fire. Arino knows how to deal with Dodongo from other Zelda games — just feed it bombs, and then attack. Despite some close calls (Arino’s almost smooshed after one attack), Dodongo goes down in just one attempt.
We jump to Zora’s Domain to find the next treasure, and Arino finds the giant fish Jabu-Jabu. He walks inside to begin the next dungeon. There he finds princess Ruto of the Zora fish-people, who’s been trapped inside Jabu-Jabu, and makes Arino carry her through the rest of the dungeon. Arino works his way through, trying to find the right moments to let go of Ruto so he can free his hands and attack enemies or climb legends. At one point he walks through an opening without her, then goes back to find she’s disappeared already — ergh.
Later, when Arino grabs Ruto again, the only way to go is up; riding a rising platform, then jumping over to a ledge. No matter what, Arino just can’t make the leap, and each time falls down a long distance, and loses a heart’s worth of health each time. He keeps at it though, even through his last heart, getting another Game Over.
Arino goes through the whole rigamarole again, and on this next try, he finds a platform that rises up much closer to the ledge, and lets him walk right on through. Well, then. That’s just about the end of the puzzling parts, and Arino and Ruto finally find the Zora’s Sapphire. But then, Ruto is shuttled up past the ceiling, and in drops the miniboss, the Big Octo. The Octo endlessly chases Arino around the very tight circular room, but Arino manages to expose its weak point by hitting it with his newfound boomerang. The Octo is still speedy, though, and eventually clips Arino’s heels on his last bit of life.
With over two and a half hours spent on this dungeon alone, Arino goes in for another shot at the Octo. He stuns it earlier and more often, now, slashing at its big green weak spot until it’s finally dead and opens up the previously-locked door. Once more we jump ahead to Arino encountering the main boss of the dungeon, Barinade. Barinade is a big ugly nerve that houses several jellyfish and can shoot electric beams at Arino (that kind of look like vomit)..
The boomerang works well here, just as before, so Arino tries his best to whack Barinade and stun it. Despite getting zapped a few times, he hangs in there. With less than half health, Arino finally blows up Barinade for good. He and Ruto warp out of Jabu-Jabu’s Belly, and then, it’s time to return to Hyrule Castle.
Unfortunately, Ganondorf has been messing around in the interim, and Arino catches Zelda and her caretaker Impa galloping away on a horse, just as Ganondorf steps into view. From there, Arino enters the Temple of Time, uses the three dungeons’ jewels to open the chamber that holds the Master Sword, and suddenly, he’s taken seven years into the future. After Arino is given the rundown (Ganondorf’s run amok, the world is scary, etc. etc.), AD Katayama comes in to tell Arino that time’s up — he’s been at it for more than 13 hours, and Katayama says he’s only about 35 percent done.
Though he has the option to give up, Arino quickly refuses, choosing to go straight into a second day. And so it was — we cut to the second day, where Arino’s back at the office bright and early, with Katayama greeting him.
Given the general length of Ocarina of Time, and to better ensure Arino completes the game without going into a three-parter (or heaven forbid, a live show), Katayama and AD Ito took it upon themselves to play through some of game for Arino. Ito, consummate artist she is, sketched out the key scenes Arino missed, with Katayama narrating — including his taking a break for ramen. Katayama explains the meeting with the mysterious warrior Sheik, acquiring Link’s trusty horse Epona, and even defeating the next couple of bosses, Phantom Ganon and Volvagia.
That leaves Arino with three more dungeons to complete and acquire their spirit medallions. Before the ADs leave, Katayama warns Arino that the next dungeon is the most challenging in the whole game: the Water Temple. Without much choice in the matter, Arino dives down and enters the temple.
If Arino has much trouble getting through the temple, we’re not shown much of it. Early on, he solves a torch puzzle, but that takes him back outside of the temple. Once back inside, another room of moving platforms above a bottomless pit requires use of the Hookshot to climb up, but as soon as he gets to the top, Arino slips off and right back down into the pit.
After trying again, Arino makes it past that part and into the room with the miniboss, Dark Link (sorry, Dark Arino Kacho). Arino’s instantly reminded of a similar fight when he played Prince of Persia, which doesn’t fill him with confidence. Dark Link mimics Arino’s slashes, but also expertly dodges everything else he throws at him. Before long, Arino is struck down by Dark Link’s sword.
Arino tries bombs instead of the sword, but ends up hurting himself. He dies again, and for several more times, never quite figuring out what to do or what item will help. Desparate, Arino equips his newfound Megaton Hammer, and Dark Link doesn’t dodge it! After a strike, and a followup sword slash, Arino repeats the process until the shadow is gone for good. Following that, Arino gets the main boss key.
Some more traveling through the temple leads Arino to the boss chamber, where he faces Morpha, an autonomous watery blob that can ensare and toss Arino clear across the room. Morpha has a central nucleus that Arino can attack, but he constantly caught and thrown into the walls. A couple of times, Arino correctly grabs the nucleus with the Hookshot and slashes at it, but he’s killed more often than not.
Although the nucleus can be taken out of the water, it can still control the blob, striking Arino from behind a few times. But fortune smiles upon our hero, and after a few more slashes, Arino defeats Morpha after just two tries.
But that’s where this episode will end — next, Arino challenges the final dungeons, and even Ganondorf himself.
It’s early evening when we see Arino in the Minato ward, looking for a shop called Kaeru Honpo (lit. "Frog Shop"), a monjayaki place that also deals in treats for kids, and a few tiny arcade games, too.
Fittingly, two of the games feature a frog character named Pyon-Pyon, and Arino kneels in front of the first one, Pyon-Pyon Jump. The game resembles a slot machine, where "reels" of lily pads scroll down a creek, and if Arino’s chosen character lucks into three pads that let him cross, all the better. He chooses Botechin, but watches as he goes right in the drink on his first try.
Next to that game is simply "Pyon-Pyon," apparently the first in the series, and a more straightforward marathon game. As Arino fails with Botechin again, a boy and his little sister come up next to him and try a game of Pyon-Pyon jump. They both choose Pyon-Pyon, and immediately win with him.
After that fun, Arino and Kibe-kun sit down for a Kaeru signature monjayaki. Arino picks out the "American" monja, which features hamburger and potato chips as part of the mix. They even, uh, feed each other a bite.
To Catch a Catch Copy
For this installment, the first mystery game actually describes a "Mystery" in its tagline. Nakayama mistakenly chooses Transformers: Convoy no Nazo, and Arino fails, too. Tojima chooses Takeshi no Chousenjou, and he’s right!
The next game declared, "This summer, become a soldier!" Arino chooses Rygar (the Japanese title uses "soldier"), but that’s not it. Nakayama picks Star Soldier, for the obvious reason, and he wins that one.
Finally, there’s a game that references master warriors, and Tojima picks Karateka, because the reference sounds right for a martial arts game. He wins it! Nice and easy. That ties him with Nakayama, while Arino lags with only one correct answer.
Game Collections: 1991: February – March