From Zelda Wiki, the Zelda encyclopedia
The Targeting System is a combat and environment interaction interface that locks Link's focus onto a single enemy or other target with a press of the either the Z or L Button in 3-dimensional Zelda games. Up until the release of the Nintendo 64, all Zelda games were 2-dimensional games with a clear view of all the action on the screen. In order to incorporate an easy battle system into a 3-dimensional game, something different had to be done to make combat more manageable and less frustrating.
Ocarina of Time marked the beginning of Z-Targeting. Once an enemy is Z-Targeted, Navi flies to the selected enemy and all of Link's attacks are directed at the targeted enemy. Navi can give Link useful information about enemies that are targeted. Z-Targeting helped make Ocarina of Time a success, and the interface was carried over to Majora's Mask (with the help of a new Fairy, Tatl) and the Wii version of Twilight Princess.
The layout of the Nintendo GameCube controller lacks a conveniently located Z Button. In order to carry the popular targeting system over to the Gamecube, the button used for targeting was switched from Z to L. Implementation is the same, but with a different button. The L Button is used in the GameCube titles The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. It was also used in the GameCube re-releases of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask as well as the 3DS remake of the former, as the 3DS lacks a Z button whatsoever.
- In Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, Link can only target with the help of a fairy (for example, during the battle with Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, Link cannot target him as he drives Navi away). In Majora's Mask, targeting is achieved with Tatl.
- The targeting system of Ocarina of Time was originally meant to be more like the one in The Wind Waker or Twilight Princess; with an upside down triangle above the targeted object, but that was too simple for the designers. They thought of using a more typical design for a fairy instead, but due to the system's limitations, it became a ball of light with wings.
- In Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, Poes will turn invisible when targeted. When this happens, Link can no longer target or attack them until they turn visible again.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Iwata Asks : The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D : Where the Name Navi Came From, IwataAsks.Nintendo.com