Ocarina of Time: Master Quest

I'm left feeling vaguely disappointed by Ocarina of Time: Master Quest.

The game is supposed to be harder than the original Ocarina of Time. There's a few bits where it places a tough challenge much earlier, and there's enemies primarily used as minibosses in the original that are sprinkled more liberally in Master Quest, but it also erases a lot of challenge. What challenge has been added is mostly of the "how is the player supposed to figure out the answer" variety.

In fact, it mostly seems to destroy versimilitude and try to remove pieces of the game oft complained about by people.

The Deku Tree has some weird choices (why is the Slingshot earlier?) but is overall harder than the original version.

Same with the Dodongo's Cavern.

Jabu-Jabu's Belly negates Ruto's utility (ie makes the dungeon simpler) outside of activating the miniboss. (Whose room is incomprehensible if you haven't played the original) I do like the cow-switches. In the vein of the first note, it also removes a lot of enemies, and uses certain enemies exclusively in ways that are less difficult to deal with. None of the stingrays are hiding inside the floor, for instance: they're always found in shallow water.

The Forest Temple is simplified, albeit it has more enemies. In particular, the Boss Key is a lot harder to miss. It's overall easier, not harder.

The Water Temple outright walls off substantial portions of the dungeon, eliminates almost all underwater combat, pre-opens a wall you had to bomb open originally, circumvents some of the remaining real challenges, and in exchange requires you realize you are supposed to Hookshot random wall locations to progress. Some enemy types basically don't exist now, like the clams. I do like the waterfall you Longshot up in Master Quest better. It requires some actual thought. But overall, it dramatically reduces the difficulty in a dungeon that, while many players complain about it a lot, isn't actually all that hard of a dungeon. Just tedious.

The Fire Temple more or less requires you have Fire Arrows, and has some irritating sequences, but mostly it strips out all the vaguely challenging/fun things. The Fake Doors are gone, the run-from-a-wall-of-fire room lacks that gimmick, etc. The only really noteworthy new challenge is timing jumping onto an elevator block because it is blocked by fire if it isn't midair, where in the original there's no timing needed.

The Well removes almost all need for the Eye of Truth, and is designed so you can get the Eye of Truth without fighting the Dead Hand.

The Shadow Temple isn't substantially altered, but the alterations it does have mostly make the dungeon easier... again. The only noteworthy bit is having a Dead Hand fight that require you use Bombs to provoke it, as it has no hands. A trick you very possibly have no idea exists, which isn't so much making the dungeon harder as it is demanding the player go to GameFAQs to find out why they're stuck in the Master Quest Shadow Temple.

The Spirit Temple is "harder" primarily through nonsense. Stuff like a Rusty Switch in Young Link's section, Bombchuing up into a hole in the ceiling and Longshotting up, demanding you send a Bombchu through a pit... Why exactly would a player think a hole in the ground is traversable to a Bombchu? It does have a displaced Big Moblin, though. And I actually quite like the "play all six non-warp songs" puzzle. Those are both cool. But mostly, the Master Quest version of the dungeon isn't so much harder. Just baffling.

Ganon's Tower is overall legitimately harder. It, alongside the Deku Tree and Dodongo Cavern, are it, though.

An irritating trend that doesn't so much make the game more difficult as much as make it more time-consuming is that it makes many dungeon Golden Skulltula either more of a nuisance to find or outright impossible to acquire without a later dungeon's item. They're almost never more challenging to acquire, however.


This really stood out to me after years of people playing up how much harder Master Quest is. I like challenging games, I like Ocarina of Time, it seemed like a natural fit, and for a long time I couldn't get a hold of the game myself. Then, when I finally play it, it's almost exclusively easier than the original? I'm baffled. Why have people been hyping this up as the hard version of Ocarina of Time all these years? It's not like anything major is missing from the above list -Master Quest limits itself almost exclusively to the dungeons per se, leaving alone the games other challenges. It's not like chasing Dampe is any different.


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