Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D / Alice: Madness Returns reviews (Boston Herald, 6/20/2011)

June 25, 2011

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “The Legend of Zelda,” Nintendo is releasing a “Zelda” game for every current Nintendo system this year. All but one of those games are remakes, but that’s not a problem, as for most of its 25 years the “Zelda” franchise has been one of the absolute best.

The first “Zelda” of 2011 is the 3DS remake of 1998’s “Ocarina of Time.” “Ocarina” took the epic adventures of earlier “Zelda” games and transported them to a 3-D world that felt surprisingly live and interactive at the time. It remains many fans’ favorite game in the series, and is a legitimate contender for greatest game ever made. Of course it’s now 13 years old and has already been reissued for the GameCube and through the Wii’s Virtual Console. Is there any life left in the old girl?

Yeah, there is. A whole lot, actually. “Ocarina 3D” is the same great game made just a little bit greater.

“Ocarina 3D” fashions a more user-friendly experi-ence. The touch-screen removes the hassle of constantly pausing to cycle through your weapons and items. The 3-D graphics makes Hyrule feel more alive than it already does. And like the AR games that come with the 3DS, you can aim Link’s weapons by moving the entire system until you’ve locked on to your target.

It’s also a much easier game to look at. The blocky, fuzzy images of the Nintendo 64 original have been replaced with gorgeous new graphics that are greatly improved even with the 3-D effect turned off

“Alice: Madness Returns” is in no way affiliated with “Zelda” or Nintendo, but there are a few minor similarities. It’s a sequel to a game from 2000, and like “Ocarina 3D” it feels like a throwback. The combat resembles that of “Ocarina,” with Alice (of Wonderland fame) autolocking onto enemies and using a combination of strikes, ranged weapons and defensive ducks and shields to take down enemies. The Gothic, Hot Topic aesthetic is slightly off-putting, and the linear and repetitive levels mostly remove any chance for exploration. It’s not full of wonder, but “Alice” is a competent 3-D platformer.

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