Zelda OOT
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

N64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is 25 years old today.

Released in Japan on November 21st 1998, the N64 action adventure redefined the Zelda series, bringing it into 3D for the first time ever. Created by a core team including Eiji Aonuma, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Kensuke Tanabe and series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Ocarina of Time sees protagonist Link traversing the vast kingdom of Hyrule as well as shifting through time itself.

The game would arrive in North America on November 23rd, 1998, and in Europe on December 11th.

With seven million copies sold, Ocarina of Time was a resounding commercial success, but the critical reaction to its release is perhaps what sticks in the memory. Acclaimed by reviewers back in 1998, it is still regarded as one of the best video games of all time.

"There's a reason that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as one of the greatest video games ever created and it won't take you long to (re)discover why that is," said Nintendo Life when reviewing the Wii Virtual Console release of the game in 2007. "The game takes everything that was great about the Zelda series and somehow manages to bring it all into a 3D world without a single hitch on the first try. Not only that, but the developers also managed to add enough new elements to make the game truly stand out from the previous releases in the series beyond the extra dimension. Ocarina of Time is honestly as close to video game perfection as you can get and an absolute must-play for any video game fan."

A direct sequel – The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask – followed in 2000, while an enhanced version was released on the 3DS in 2011.