This game was a freebie given out by Nintendo with copies of their upcoming 2003 Zelda game for the GameCube, for people who pre-ordered the game in the US. It features a re-release of their Nintendo 64 title the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, as well as an altered version of that game, from whence this node gets its title (and which I'll talk more about below).

Known as Ura-Zelda in Japan, Master Quest was an add-on to Ocarina of Time for the Japanese-only Nintendo 64 add-on called the 64DD (64 Disk Drive), though it was never actually released. The fact that the 64DD (which, largely, sucked) was never released to the US didn't help. That it is now a bonus for The Wind Waker is quite cool. It is considered by the fan community to be one of the hardest Zelda games.

The bonus disc comes in a standard DVD case, like all the GameCube games. The cover features both the Ocarina of Time logo (the standard Zelda logo with "Ocarina of Time" underneath) and a second logo with "Master Quest" underneath, along with various other bits of info that describe what a great bonus disc this is and how honored you should be to have it. Opening the case reveals that it is, indeed, a single standard GameCube minidisc. There are three manuals, as well: the standard GameCube minidisc user manual that comes with all GameGube games, what's bascially a reprint of the Ocarina of Time manual, updated with the GameCube control scheme, and a preview of the upcoming Zelda game.

The disc also contains demo movies of several GameCube games and one Gameboy Advance game (the re-release of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past). The demo movies are:

  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - A very nice demo movie, which, combined with the printed preview, makes me want to play the game even more.
  • Metroid Prime - I already own this one, but it's a nice demo nonetheless.
  • F-ZERO - Rather stunning, graphically; for a racing game this fast (and I mean fast), you really need a high framerate at all times. They do this and throw in some pretty fancy graphics to boot.
  • 1040: Avalanche - Another incarnation of the snowboarding game; looks fun, but it's not really my thing.
  • Wario World - Honestly? This looks like ass.
  • Hot Clips - A clip show, showing short clips from all the above games, and several others besides.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - The Gameboy Advance re-release. It seems like a perfect conversion of the SNES game, and the multiplayer addition looks very fun.

After the startup screen, one is greeted with a little menu asking them to pick which game they want to play, and is presented a glorious rendition of the Hyrule Overworld Theme (which is a little odd as neither game actually has this theme in it, but I'm not complaining). This writeup doesn't cover the version of Ocarina of Time on this disc as it is, for all intents and purposes, indentical to the original version. I will, however, talk about the Master Quest version (if I didn't, this node would have a different title, heh).

The control scheme is just a conversion from the N64 control scheme. The C-buttons on the N64 controller map onto the C-stick on the GameCube controller; thankfully, the item buttons are also mapped onto the GameCube's X, Y, and Z buttons, so you don't have to mess with the stick to use items. The lock-on button is the L button, and the shield button remains the R button. A is the action button and B is the sword button. A decent control scheme, which isn't suprising considering the GameCube controller inherits a lot from the N64 controller.

All those parts of the game outside the dungeons are the same; the only things changed are the dungeons. And what changes they've made. Things are harder, mostly because one is used to the way they used to be. The first level, which one could run through in mere minutes, took me half an hour on my first play-through. Many of the puzzles are much trickier. Here's an example: in the original, there is a room with a rotaing metal pipe with spikes on it, which is over a pool of water. Going back and forth over this pool is a wooden platform. The water level is too high to jump on the platform directly without getting knocked off by the spiky pipe, so you have to lower the water level first, by pushing a button on the bottom of the pool. Simple enough.

The new version of this puzzle is much more complicated. Not only is there no way to lower the water (you now have to roll under the pipe while on the platform), but you need to light a couple of torches on the other side. You do this by lighting a stick on the side you start on. To light the stick you push a button, which turns on a torch just long enough for you to light the stick. The stick will only burn for a short while, so you need to time all of this with the platform. You must light the stick just before you're able to jump on the platform, then roll under the pipe while on the moving platform, jump off the platform, and light the torches on the other side. This isn't easy, even if you know what to do.

All the puzzles have been changed like this, though apparently the bosses haven't (the level 1 boss is still a complete pushover). The enemies in the dungeons have been mixed around, too, and some new ones added (a giant version of the Deku Babas, those biting plants, for instance). In my writeup for Majora's Mask, I mentioned that I liked that game better than Ocarina of Time because it was more challenging; I think, once I have played this version a little more, Master Quest may come out looking better than that game. (A Link to the Past, however, remains as my favorite entry in the series as a whole.)

This bonus disc is not something I'd pay money for. This doesn't matter, however, as it was free; I'd recommend pre-ordering The Wind Waker for this disc (I think it's not too late to do so as of this writing). I know it will tide over my craving for Zelda until the actual game comes out (exactly as the printed preview says they hope it will), but I doubt I'll play it much at all once I get my hands on the real game.