I was recently watching Game Informers Super Replay of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Some of the dudes from Game Informer play through the entire game and talk about it, I suppose its their "Endurance Run" except its normally a game they like) and I was loving the design of the game. I typically want to play old games but ultimately spend more time playing modern games (though honestly I very rarely finish games) though I have tried to play A Link to the Past many times I end up playing it for one single sitting and never go back to it but the Super Replay inspired me a little to revisit the Zelda franchise which I happen to own on the Gamecube Collectors Disk.
Knowing my own tendancies I expected to run through the start and maybe get the first 'dungeon' while I watched theme complete the last three dungeons of A Link to the Past but instead in now sitting here 5/6 hours later still playing it (for those that know ive just finish the Dodongo Cavern dungeon) and im loving it and plan to keep going tonight. What suprised me most was how intuitive the game was unlike most "retro" games where I tend to have a walkthrough open so that I can look at it when I get confused Ive had no problems (so far) with Ocarina of Time. When I first entered the Lost Woods, and before the tooltip told me, I noticed that some doors had music associated with them and began to follow the sound each time and quickly found my way through that place and on to my objective (though I later returned to explore it and play tunes with some funky plant men). Similarly the design of the enemies often describes how to beat them, if its isnt already obvious. Within the "Dodongo Caverns" dungeon there are statues which come to life when you touch them and try to kill you, like the walls of A Link to the Past they are cracked and broken at the back which clued me into the fact that a good way to destroy them would be bomb's (helpfully scattered around the room since I had yet to attain a bomb bag).
Of course, graphically the game hasn't held up so well but im surprised that it does hold up as well as it does. There are parts which are quite ugly, especially a not of use of 2d objects in a 3d world, but the prime example I can think of is the town of Hyrule which uses pre-rendered backgrounds with 3d objects for towns people and doors. This area is quite ugly especially noticing the different between and a door and wall, or noticing that the grass dosent match with the background. There are a few areas where some of the textures look really grungy but once you get used to that fact, it is a very old game, the game still has a certain charm in its visuals and once I had the left the first dungeon I had forgotten about these issues and began to enjoy the games style.
Ive heard a lot of people question whether or not its possible to go back and play Ocarina of Time for the first time now and still enjoy it but as someones who has a definite love of Retro, but not a Zelda love (yet, maybe), I have to say this game stands up surprisingly well and I cant wait to play more (and discover why the Ice Temple is so terrible, though once I see it on the horizon I plan to open a walkthrough to make it a bit of an easier ride :p).