“Forest Temple” has to be my favorite piece from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (other than the “Song of Storms,” of course!). While there’s not much in the way of melody, the piece is memorable for the unique sounds of the percussion and the hints of a melody floating over the entire piece like beads on a string. This soothing, forest-y percussion underlying the entire track – a rattling of wood and hollow reeds, tribal music in the dark. Above this is a synth line suggesting violins or other strings, the high notes decorating the space with dust motes in beams of light and the branches of the canopy. At 1:10 a choral section is added for the spirits of the forest. I suppose in the end, the piece is a little trance-like, but overall it is a very pleasant, atmospheric piece, with the strange instruments making it exceptional.
The interesting thing is, comparing the Ocarina of Time soundtrack with the Super Mario 64 soundtrack, the instrument sets are very similar, especially for tracks like “Forest Temple,” which sounds quite a bit like the “Cave” theme.
Most of the remixes of this track have been trance. There was a pretty weak mix by Acoustic Department on the German Ocarina of Time Vol. II: The Lost Tracks album. There is also a rather odd lyrical mix (in Japanese) by pixietricks (Jill Golden) called “Prayer” from OCR. Not really a fan of this one, either. She might be able to speak Japanese better than I can, but it just doesn’t sound right when she sings it. Thankfully, the folks at Zelda Reorchestrated did an awesome straight-up arrange of this piece. Too bad it’s missing the vocal tracks (Though I have to say I’m a bit jealous ZREO managed to get to go to E3…for a vgm remix site? I run the biggest Metroid site on the web, and nobody invited us…).
I do have to say a couple things about the Ocarina of Time soundtrack (1998). Nintendo rarely does soundtracks to their games, but this time they went all out: the first prints of the album came with a replica of the Ocarina of Time in a special display box. Similar to the Metroid Prime and Fusion Soundtrack, there were also four covers to choose from (simply fold the booklet differently). Even without the first print, this still gets an A+ in album design with awesome disc art, booklet, and case design. Like most great things, too bad it’s out of print.