The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was beyond revolutionary at release. It set the foundation that all modern action-adventure games currently follow. Without Ocarina of Time there is no modern gaming. As a result, it can be easy to reflect on it as a dated video game, but it’s stood the test of time wonderfully.
This is in no large part to how well Ocarina of Time presents its version of Hyrule. It isn’t big by today’s standards, but it’s large enough and well-paced. Hyrule is on the emptier side, but the world is lush and cohesive. There are secrets around every corner, some of which are incredibly easy to miss for inexperienced players.
10 Lon Lon Ranch Time Trial
Lon Lon Ranch is probably the best central hub to side quests in Ocarina of Time, most notably being home to the Epona side quest, a quest that many assumed was mandatory. Upon obtaining Epona, Link can return to Lon Lon Ranch and challenge Malon at her own game: a time trial around Lon Lon Ranch.
It’s short enough and basically a retread of the race against Ingo, but it’s fun enough to experiment in, and beating Malon’s time actually nets Link a cow for his house in Kokiri Forest. If obtained early enough in the game, it can make for a great source of infinite milk.
9 The Running Man
Hyrule’s Running Man is infamous in veteran Zelda circles, gaining quite the reputation over the years. Located in Gerudo Valley, Link can challenge the Running Man to a race so long as they’re in the future. No matter how fast Link is, however, he’ll never actually be able to beat the Running Man, always losing by one second.
Several people have claimed to have beaten him over the years, even photoshopping proof, but the Running Man is hardcoded to defeat Link no matter what. His real purpose is to allow the player to test their own speed across Hyrule Field. In that sense, the Running Man is yet another time trial.
8 The Hylian Loach
Fishing in The Legend of Zelda has always been a bit controversial. Some hate the mini-game for taking time away from the actual gameplay, while others find it to be a relaxing diversion. Ocarina of Time’s fishing pond is simple and humble. It also features the most difficult fishing challenge in the series: catching the Hylian Loach.
The biggest fish in the pond, the Hylian Loach can only be found in the future. It’s so difficult to catch that players are actually allowed to use the illegal sinking lure to catch it. In fact, it’s even outright encouraged by the game, as the Hylian Loach is otherwise far too difficult to reel in.
7 The Deku Nut Upgrade
Zelda games don’t typically feature permanently missable content, but Ocarina of Time does have one notable example. On one hand, it’s an upgrade for an item which few players use. On the other hand, it’s an insanely easy upgrade to miss. Link’s Deku Nut inventory can actually be upgraded further in the Lost Woods.
By finding the hidden Deku grotto and wearing the Skull Mask, the Dekus will praise Link and give him a Deku Nut upgrade. Should players already have started the Biggoron quest, however, the game will lock them out of getting the upgrade altogether. Anyone aiming for 100% should make this a priority.
6 Most Of The Golden Skulltulas
Considering there are 100 Gold Skulltula Tokens in the game and players only need to find 50 Golden Skulltulas to earn every Heart Piece, most fans won’t actually complete the Golden Skulltula side quest, leaving several to the wayside. This is a shame since the side quest is an insane amount of fun.
The reward at the end isn’t too special, but each Golden Skulltula takes players to specific areas in Hyrule. For a veteran fan, this is a great way of seeing Ocarina of Time’s world in a new light for the first time in years. Some Tokens are hidden way out of the way and others require creative methods to reach.
5 Gerudo Training Ground
Situated right at the end of the game—or the very end, depending on what order the Shadow and Spirit Temples are done in—the Gerudo Training Ground is a mini-dungeon that many fans choose to overlook. Not only does it come incredibly late, but it’s fairly difficult, even for Ocarina of Time. It very much feels like an endgame challenge.
That said, it is worth going through. It’s not as well designed as the main dungeons, but it’s creative, challenging, and genuinely fun. It also rewards players with the Ice Arrows. They’re completely useless and come way too late, but they are fun to play around with.
4 The Rest Of The Happy Mask Salesman Quest
The Happy Salesman Quest technically ends when Link sells the Bunny Hood to the Running Man in the past, but there is some more to the quest should players look for it. There’s no reward for doing this, but the Happy Mask Salesman offers four new masks to rent upon completing the side quest.
The Mask of Truth, the Gerudo Mask, the Goron Mask, and the Zora Mask all offer the player new dialogue when worn. Some of the new dialogue even shines light on the lore of Ocarina of Time, fleshing out Hyrule even more. It’s some great content for fans of the game really itching for more.
3 Sheikah Stone Hunting
On that note, the Mask of Truth, in particular, offers a lot of immediate lore. By hunting down the Sheikah Stones hidden around Hyrule and wearing the Mask of Truth, fans will learn more about The Legend of Zelda than they ever thought possible. A lot of Ocarina of Time’s nuances are hidden in these Sheikah Stones.
They’re also not all that easy to find and will require legitimate exploration. That’s what makes them so much fun to find, though. In an era before wikis, this was the only way to get actual information about Hyrule and The Legend of Zelda. There’s a lot of value in a system like that.
2 Playing Without Epona
As previously mentioned, Epona isn’t actually mandatory. Some might think so considering she has unique cutscenes for jumping over Gerudo Valley, but players can actually cross the broken bridge with the Longshot they get from the Water Temple. Epona isn’t necessary for completing the game at all.
So why not play the game like that? So many people believe the side quest is mandatory that there’s value in outright skipping Epona and making it through the game without her. It’s a completely different way of traversing Hyrule, especially since the future’s Hyrule is so lonely and quiet compared to the past.
1 The Alternate Dungeon Order
There is actually no set dungeon order for Ocarina of Time’s Adult dungeons. Link can tackle them in any order so long as he gets the Bow and Arrow from the Forest Temple first. There’s no requirement to clear the Forest Temple until the Fire and Water Temples are finished, both of which can be done in any order.
Interestingly, the Water Temple actually doesn’t need the Bow and Arrow. It helps, but a smart player can finish the dungeon first. Upon clearing the first three dungeons, players will unlock the Shadow Temple, but the Spirit Temple can be done as soon as the player finishes the Forest and Water Temples along with the Bottom of the Well.