Which dungeon from The Legend of Zelda has been your favourite, and why?
Classic dungeons are the best
Many Zelda games feature dungeons as a classic test of player skill. There are several dungeons from the Zelda series that stick out in our minds, whether it’s a massive mechanical device, a hidden temple, or the literal insides of a giant fish.
I asked the Destructoid staff to pick their favourite dungeon from The Legend of Zelda games and explain why they like it as part of our Zelda Week coverage. There are many things to like about a dungeon in this game, such as the gadgets, the equipment, and the boss fights. Let’s jump right in.
Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple, as seen through Eric’s eyes
When it comes to setting the mood for a dungeon, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple theme is unrivalled. You’ve entered what is likely to be your first dungeon as an adult, and it all begins with a jingle of ominous percussion and a floating synth melody that dances menacingly above your head. Oh, I’m sorry, I was too caught up in the tunes to remember that a pack of Wolfos was ready to rip your face off the moment you walked in.
The mood at the Forest Temple is really different from previous parts of the Zelda series. Everything about this place is terrifying, from the twisted, sometimes real, passageways to the spectral Poe Sisters. Then, Link faces Phantom Ganon in a battle that mirrors his internal struggle with nightmares. I knew we were no longer children when we entered the Forest Temple; from that point on, everything became much more serious.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Deku Tree, voiced by Timothy
I’ve made some possibly divisive comments in the past on Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Although I enjoy the game very much, I was never exposed to it at a crucial juncture when it may have changed my life. I don’t say this to cause controversy; I hate being a dissenting voice. Rather, I’d like to make it clear that I, too, think the Deku Tree makes for a great introduction to an exciting journey.
Previous 2D Zelda games heavily featured dungeons with a strong fantasy atmosphere. They’re all great in their own ways, yet many of them seem the same because they reused the same tilesets. Meanwhile, the Deku Tree’s distinctive wooden walls and vertical level design demonstrate the full potential of the series’ updated 3D graphics right off the bat. I’ve never thought of it as gimmicky, but it’s definitely a playful use of space. In 1998, it was thrilling to enter a building and notice a spider web on the floor, and then break the web once you had climbed high enough. In reality, people of all ages can enjoy it.