Zelda’s Birthday

Zelda’s Birthday is a Nintendo 64 hack of The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time made by Rhett Osborne (aka Spinout) & co and released 30 December 2008.

It follows a more lighthearted story where you help recover stolen presents that were meant to be given to princess Zelda for her birthday. Saria, Princess Ruto and Malon all had their gifts stolen and they can be found at the far end of three custom dungeons.

I apologise for the choppiness of the video, it was an hour and a half of footage that had to be compressed into fifteen minutes. I did fast-forward all the backtracking and walking though.

Getting the Zelda’s Birthday ROM and how to run it

You can download the patch from Spinout’s website here or you can get it from the N64 Squid mirror by using the password “itszeldasbirthday”.

In order to play it, you need to obtain a debug ROM of Ocarina of Time Debug version called ZELOOTMA.Z64. Only do this if you already own Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. Then apply the patch to the ROM by following the instructions on our patching guide.

Once that’s done, you can run it in an emulator. I had some trouble running it in Project 64 1.6, so here’s the configuration I used for the ROM options:

  • CPU core style: Recompiler
  • Self-modifying code method: Check memory advance
  • Memory Size: 8MB
  • Advanced Block Linking: On
  • Default Save Type: Use first used save type
  • Counter Factor: 2
  • Other settings: Register caching

That should be enough to get Zelda’s Birthday running.

About the hack

Zelda’s Birthday was developed as a 10-year anniversary (or birthday 😉) for Ocarina of Time, which was released in November and December 1998.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Zelda’s Birthday (Version 1.5)

Taking place generations after the events of Ocarina of Time, Link’s decent embarks on a much lighter hearted quest, only to discover that even a peaceful Hyrule can be dangerous.

It’s a hack for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Debug ROM.

It features all new actor arrangements, all new text and story line, 3 totally redesigned dungeons, an optional side quest, endings (plural), and hidden goodies.

Spinout

The hack is credited to Spinout, but he also gives thanks to Dark_Link-77, Xu_Yuan, Cendamos, punk7890, Jissan, Wareya, Despair, MNGoldenEagle, cooliscool and to the members of ZSO.

Zelda’s Birthday Gameplay

The gameplay of Zelda’s Birthday is very similar to that of Ocarina of Time. In fact, if you’ve ever played OoT: Master Quest, you’ll know what I’m talking about right away.

Kakariko Village

You start off in Link’s room, which is now located in the Kakariko cow house. Like in OoT, Navi wakes you up and sets the plot into motion. Malon, Saria and Ruto all had their presents stolen and need your help to recover them.

The game begins by making an unceremonious exit though the back door of the cow house. The first thing you’ll notice once outside is that a lot of things are out of place. Some characters that should be in Castle Town Market are in Kakariko Village and some of the buidings have a different shape from what they should, at least at this point in the game.

Then following Navi’s directions, you head off to Kokiri forest. Mind you, as you leave Kakariko, you realise that you’re in Hyrule Field and have to fight enemies but have no sword. So you dodge some baddies and end up in Kokiri forest, bypassing the bridge at the entrance.

Kokiri Forest and Lost Woods

Kokiri forest has been completely redone. All the houses are gone and replaces with patches of grass. My first instinct was to grab the Kokiri Sword, but that tunnel is all patched up.

The Deku Tree is also blocked off, so the only lead now is to go to the lost woods, but let’s talk to Saria first.

So both the Kokiri Sword and her present are located in the woods. Let’s head out there.

Now, we’ve all been to the lost woods hundreds of times and luckily the layout is basically the same with a few differences.

There are some Big Skulltulas blocking some paths, but it’s possible to get pasy by taking a bit of damage. There are also some Business Scrubs peddling their goods and attacking shieldless foes. So to get a shield, you need to go to the secret butterfly room.

Once that’s done, carry on along the Lost Woods to Sacred Forest Meadow like you normally would. This area is now infested with more long-range attackers like Octoroks in the puddles and Deku Babas in the grassy alcoves in addition to the Red Tektites jumping around. I died here once, it’s a bit tough to get past on three hearts if you try rushing instead of at least killing the Octoroks.

There’s a Wolfos at the final stairway, but just run past it and get to the shrine. There’s a chest with the long-awaited Kokiri Sword!

Now you can defend yourself! So you can head back now to the Lost Woods Temple (not the Forest Temple you visit as Adult Link). Just be sure to grab the sticks on the way out, you’ll need plenty in the temple and you can’t find many.

Lost Woods Temple and beyond

I’m not going to get into too much detail regarding the Lost Woods Temple since it’s best to go through it organically on your own. There are plenty of guides out there, and even my video (above).

The stage is very reminiscent of the original Legend of Zelda for the NES with the way its square rooms are laid out. A lot of the room’s puzzles are activated when you move into particular places, so keep that in mind when trying to solve puzzles.

Also, there’s a glitch causing a graphical error when I remove the armor off of that second Iron Knuckle so a bit of advice: You don’t need to ‘kill’ any of the Iron Knuckles in this temple to solve their puzzles.

Conclusion

Zelda’s Birthday is one of the most comprehensive Ocarina of Time hacks out there. It overhauls the overworld, it has unique dungeons and it is mostly stable. It’s a bit of a pain in the butt to get running but once you do, it’s a lot of fun.

If you like Master Quest, you’ll love this. It provides just enough new context to keep it fresh but it still keeps that Ocarina of Time feel that solving the puzzles should come naturally. It doesn’t depend on glitches or anything like that.

If you have a few hours to spare, give the Zelda’s Birthday hack a try.

Articles across the web

Zelda's Birthday by Spinout is a Nintendo 64 hack of Ocarina of time where you retrieve stolen presents that were going to be given by Saria Malon and Ruto.
Article published on N64 Squid

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