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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is often considered one of the best games in the Zelda series and one of the best games of all time. Even today, it’s still fun to play but it’s age definitely shines through. The 3D remake for 3DS is my favorite way to experience it now. You know what would be neat? If the game supported multiplayer. Well that is possible thanks to the modding community. Ocarina of Time Online is a mod that supports up to four players online so Jeremy and I teamed up to save Hyrule together.
Everything in the vanilla game is intact except now there’s multiple Links running around. The mod comes with a loader where you can set up your username and a lobby name. One player creates a lobby and other players can join in. The loader allows you to customize the Tunic colors and browse through any lobbies that are already set up. You can set a password for the lobby and it appears that you can load other mods which we did not attempt. It should be noted that all players must use the Ocarina of Time v1.0 ROM. We used the Retrode 2 with the 64 adapter to extract the ROM from the cartridge.
Major events that affect progression are synced between all players and all players will share key items and abilities. For example, if one of you gets the slingshot, you all get it. All players will not share heart pieces but if one players acquires four, all players will receive an extra heart. You do not share rupees, health, and you cannot attack each other. If one player completes a dungeon, the dungeon is completed for everyone. The sharing is as far as the coop really goes. Each player will have to engage their own enemies and bosses. However, if another player defeats a final boss of a dungeon before you do, you might just get kicked out. They will have to sit through the cut scene but you can proceed to do anything you want.
The mod kind of fails at being a cooperative multiplayer experience. That is if you try to do everything together. Every player is essentially playing their own single player game but sharing items and progress. The sharing of items makes it easier to complete certain quests and puzzles but going through a dungeon together is really just unnecessary. After a while, we stopped going through them together because whoever was ahead was basically doing everything important and the other player just kind of trailed behind. You might think each player can complete different areas of a dungeon but that won’t always be possible. Not all keys are shared. Only boss keys. This means if you want to complete a different area of a dungeon than your buddies, you might have to wait until a player with a key comes along so you can progress and that can get boring pretty quickly. However, being able to do your own thing has its benefits and you can even help out the other players. One player can complete a dungeon while the others do other things like complete quests. When we got to the Water Temple, I said “fuck it, I’ll go get the Biggoron Sword” because, well, fuck that Temple. One player can fill up bottles with fairies and every player will get them which can be a big help for anyone struggling in a dungeon or against a boss. In fact, one player can be young Link and another can be adult Link simultaneously. That was pretty cool.
The mod doesn’t change any major part of the audiovisual presentation. It runs on the Mupen emulator so you can make whatever presentation adjustments the emulator allows. We left all of the settings at default. If one player is riding Epona, the other player won’t actually see the horse so it appears as if the player is just riding in mid-air which can be humorous. The frame rate would dip here and there and the game crashed on me frequently when trying to warp. The crashes didn’t happen nearly as often for Jer and both of us experienced noticeable button lag. I was playing with a 64 controller through a USB adapter and Jer tried multiple controllers including the Xbox 360 controller, Wii U Pro controller, and the GameCube controller through the 8BitDo GBros. adapter. Whenever you load the game, you’ll have to listen to the chimes for everything you’ve acquired one-by-one and this can last for a few minutes if you acquired a lot of shit.
Ocarina of Time Online is a great mod but if coop is meant to be the focus, it needs more work. And that’s because Ocarina is a single player game and the mod isn’t really allowing you to truly experience it with other players. You’re just sharing items and progress. That’s it. With multiple players, it can be easier to complete certain puzzles and quests but we found that progressing through dungeons together can be boring for any player that’s not leading the way. Unless you communicate who should do what and when or simply take turns doing things, one player can easily end up doing everything. I think allowing all players to engage the same enemies and bosses instead of their own would make a big difference. How hard that would be to implement, I’m not sure, but it would it would be pretty awesome.
I would recommend Ocarina of Time Online because it’s a free mod so there’s no reason not to check it out if you’re at all interested. But if you go into this thinking it’s going to be a true cooperative experience where you need to work together, you may end up being disappointed. This mod is more about sharing than actually working together but keep in mind, at its core, Ocarina of Time is a single player game. I hope the mod continues to be worked on and as it stands, the game is fully playable and it’s neat having other players roam around the world with you.