After many mediocre domestic CDs from Nintendo, such as Yoshi's Story, Diddy Kong Racing, and Banjo-Kazooie, how about another domestic Nintendo CD? No? Well, I don't blame you. But even if The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Soundtrack, the latest CD from Nintendo, isn't enough to change your mind, it's definitely more worth checking out than those other efforts.
Now I'm sure you all know that The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, the game, is nothing short of spectacular. Well, the same thing is true for this soundtrack, which is no surprise, considering that it's by Nintendo's main music man, Koji Kondo. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of Kondo's Super Mario 64, as well as Legend (the film score by Jerry Goldsmith).
In Super Mario 64, Kondo took advantage of classic nostalgic Mario tunes and upgraded them to the next level, along with creating new themes. Well, with Ocarina Of Time, he takes advantage of classic Zelda themes and upgrades them to the next level, and also creates new songs, which is just fine. For example, listen closely to "Title Theme". The whistle motif is masterfully incorporated into the music. And what about the famous Overworld theme, is it used in here? Well, yes and no. Once or twice, the first couple of notes from the Overworld theme appear in "Hyrule Field Main Theme", but that's just about all that you get from the Overworld theme. That's a tad disappointing, but don't let that discourage you, there's plenty of excellent stuff on here. In fact, some tracks like "Ocarina Of Time" and "Kakariko Village" will definitely bring back more memories of playing Zelda games of the past... particularly The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past.
Ocarina Of Time is like Legend in that it isn't just a musical score to go along in the backround, but more like a true musical accompaniment. In "Hyrule Field Main Theme", the mood of the music changes from happy to suspenseful and so on. The way it literally shifts gears is absolutely stunning.
The sound system sounds a bit like the one that was used for Star Fox 64. The instruments aren't exactly orchestra quality, but then, I didn't have much of a problem with it in that score and I don't have a problem with it here.
As of the time of writing this review, I have not played the game, nor have I bought the Japanese soundtrack, so I cannot make any comparisons yet. However, I can definitely say that Nintendo has finally learned its lesson with this album. There are a total of 35 tracks on this album (only 29 are listed, the other six are bonus tracks), unlike Nintendo's other releases, which had about 15 tracks or so. Plus, the CD runs for a lengthy 72:10, whereas Yoshi's Story and Diddy Kong Racing both ran at only 30-39 minutes. I'm not sure if this is *all* of the music, however, this album is definitely a considerable improvement over Nintendo's past efforts. (Except that the liner notes information is still not there.)
After a bunch of disappointing CD releases, Nintendo has finally learned its lesson. And with The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, Koji Kondo has pulled a rabbit out of his hat once again. My comments on this album may change when I get the Japanese version, but for now, I am extremely happy to recommend this release. Three cheers for Nintendo!