Some more interesting features of this great game...
As is the fate of most forms of entertainment which feature time travel (like The Terminator and Back to the Future), this, one of the best in the Zelda series, has plot holes.
For those of you not familiar with the game (shame on you) then I will explain a little about the Song of Storms. Basically, this is a song which when learnt and played on Link's Ocarina of Time causes it to rain. This can be very useful, and it is necessary for one part of the game.
To finish the game, Link needs an item called the Lens of Truth. This is a sort of magnifying glass which sees things exactly as they are - so you can see things which are invisible (such as chests and doors) and see through things that are fake. This item is found down the bottom of a well in the past, because in the future the dungeon is blocked up (The game is set in two different time periods - one where Link is about 10 years old and one that is 7 years later - see the above writeup for more information) but unfortunately the well is full of water, and Link cannot dive that deep or breathe underwater (annoyingly, older Link can, but that's another story), so the well needs to be drained somehow. If you talk to the windmill man as old link and get out your Ocarina of Time in front of him then he will comment that "He hasn't seen one of those for 7 years" and that the last time he saw one it was being played by a really annoying kid who made him play turn really fast (For those who don't know, the windmill man stands inside a windmill winding his musical box in time with the windmill turning. When this kid came in he played a song which caused a storm and made the windmill turn faster. He had to spin his box faster. This annoyed him.) After some prompting, he teaches you the Song of Storms. You then travel back in time (by replacing the Master Sword in the Temple of Time) and as young Link you go and play the Song of Storms to him. This makes the windmill turn faster, which drains the well so you can go down it (Don't ask me how making a windmill turn fast causes the well to drain. It's a Nintendo Logic thing.).
The only problem with this lovely little sequnce of gameplay is that if you were taught the song by the Windmill guy, but only after he learnt it from you, Where the Hell did it come from?
To be fair this is not really a mistake on Nintendo's part - it is more of a nod from Shigeru Miyamoto to his fans that are clever enough to think in this way. It speaks volumes, I think, when you find out that Shigsy's favourite film is The Terminator, which has it's own version of this temporal paradox...
Another nice feature of the game is the mask trading. You go to the Happy Mask shop in Hyrule Market and "borrow" a mask to sell to someone who wants it. Once you have sold a mask, you come back and give the money to the mask shop owner (there is sometimes some good commision, it depends on the mask) and you can borrow the next one in the seuqence of masks. Once you have sold a mask you are free to borrow it for your own use at any time. Some are useless, although the Mask of Truth allows you to talk to people and find out what they are really thinking (most of them just think "What a horrible mask!"). Each mask only has one person who wants to buy it, so there may be a large amount of searching required. The Bunny Hood in particular is very hard to sell - you have to find a man jogging around Hyrule Field (the game's main hub from which most other areas are accessed), but as young Link you cannot ride Epona, you just have to slog around constantly until you find him. You get a full wallet of rupees after you find him, and are given access to the Mask of Truth after that though, so it is worth it.
What makes this feature interesting is that while in this game it was just one of a number of minor sub quests, the concept was liked so much that it was expanded upon and made one of the main elements of the sequel, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. In that game, masks gave the wearer special powers, (such as changing into a Deku Shrub, a Goron or a Zora) and many were all but essential to completing the game.
The game had an almost real time day/night cycle, and it was one of the first RPGs released in the west to have this (I know that Seiken Densetsu 3 had one, and Far East of Eden Zero even had a real time clock which carried on ticking when you weren't playing, but these were only ever released in Japan). There were "Gossip Stones" placed around the world that told you the time when you hit them, with a day passing in about half an hour IIRC. There was some gameplay to go with this gimmick though - Hyrule Market closed it's drawbridge at night, which left you stuck on the field fighting enemies all night.
As brilliant as the game was, it wasn't perfect. There was one particular sub quest which foxed many players for ages - a man, who when found, would challenge you to a race across the whole land. I can't remember where he was found*, but he always raced to some completely obscure location that would take ages to get to. But when you got there, thinking that you had probably made quite good time, you would find him there, saying "You did well, but I beat you by just one second. Try again?". Everyone naturally thought that they would be able to improve their time by 1 second easily, so they accepted. Unfortunately, the man would always beat you by one second, no matter how long you took. A bit unfair, but in the midst of a game of this quality, I can accept one annoying element. Most games have at least a handful.
As with many Zelda games, there was an ultimate weapon, called the Biggoron Sword, which did huge amounts of damage and made the final boss a lot easier. To get it though, you had to perform a trading item sequence, a little like the one found in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. However, for this version, some of the runs were timed...
- First you need to get an egg from the Cucoo (name for a chicken in the Zelda universe) lady in Kakariko village. Play the Sun Song (which advances time by half a day) until the egg hatches into a cucoo, and then use it to wake up Talon (he's sleeping in one of the houses in the village).
- Go outside and give the cucoo back to the Cucoo Lady. She'll give you Cojiro, a Cucoo which doesn't crow.
- Find the wierd guy sleeping in the Lost Woods and use Cojiro in front of him. It will crow, and he will be so happy that he gives you an Odd Mushroom.
- You then have a time limit to get this to the potion shop in Kakariko village. The lady in there makes a potion out of it.
- Take back the potion to the guy in the woods. He has gone, but there is a girl in his place who takes the potion and gives you a poacher's saw.
- Get across Gerudo's Valley either with Epona or the longshot and give the saw to the carpenter in the tent. You are then given the broken Goron Sword.
- Climb up to the peak of Death Mountain and meet the huge Goron up there. He says he will repair the sword, but he cannot see. He gives you a prescription for eye drops.
- Take this prescription to King Zora in Zora's Domain. He will give you an eyeball frog to take to the scientist who lives by Lake Hylia.
- Transport the frog within the time limit (you'll need Epona) and the scientist will make eyedrops from it.
- Transport these eyedrops from Lake Hylia to the Goron at the top of Death Mountain (this is an absolutely huge trek - and most of it needs to be done without Epona) within the time limit and you are given a claim check, as the Goron says it will take him three days. So play the Sun Song 6 times (3 for day, 3 for night) and talk to him again, and you will be given the Biggoron's Sword. This kick ass sword requires both hands (so you cannot use your shield, but it makes up for that with brute strength.
Note: There is another blade
called the Giant's Knife
which can be bought for 200 rupees in the Goron's Domain, which does similar damage to the Biggoron's sword but the blade breaks after a few uses so that you are left with a very short stub
. Getting the Biggoron's sword replaces the Giant's Knife, whether you had one or not.
Second Note - after I spent hours getting all this written, it turns out that the Biggoron's Sword has been noded much better here by sam512. Ah well, such is life. Thanks to randombit for pointing that out.
* - Servo5678 reminded me that: "The running man came from the Gerudo Desert outskirts." and that the race ended "at the entrance to the Kokiri city, I think. I'm pretty sure the race was Shiggy's idea of a joke to players who insist that the game isn't "complete" until they finish all the tasks."
Own memory, which was jogged nicely by:
The Biggoron Sword FAQ by Patrick Allen (available at GameFAQs)