In my previous post, I’m semi-predicted that I’d have this game in the bag by Labor Day. Well, here we are a couple days early, and I have done it! Yes, I am more than happy to report that I’ve completed The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, final boss battle and all! So let’s journey back to see how it happened.
When I last left the game, I had just finished weaving my way through the gloriously enjoyable Temple of Time. I really don’t know why I found it so fun leading around a giant statue with the Dominion Rod, but I did! Unfortunately, it turned out that all the work in the temple had depleted the rod, so Link had to find a way to get it working again. This task led to tackling a series of oddball side quests that brought Link back to Telma’s Bar (and further discussions with Telma’s Cat, who really gets around, apparently!), and eventually back to Kakariko Village, which wasn’t even his final destination. In a turn of events that involved the Gorons, Link uncovered the “Hidden Village,” a spot that was inhabited by a woman, her many cats, and a ton of baddies! The poor woman was so freaked out by the takeover that she wouldn’t even talk to Link until all of them were defeated, so we got to work. After clearing the town, and in a pesky bit of warping, Link met the woman and received Ilia’s Charm. Which obviously meant that Link had to go back to Kakariko Village and find Ilia, who was still suffering from amnesia. Thankfully, giving her the charm broke the forgetfulness curse. In return for some undying affection (I guess? I remain confused by the whole Ilia/Link thing) Ilia handed over the Horse Call to Link, which allowed him to call Epona at any time. Yay.
Then, after missing a set of instructions of what to do next, I proceeded to wander around in confusion. Oh, I must have spent a good hour or so just riding and warping around Hyrule wondering what the heck I needed to do next?! (Oh, me and this game sometimes…) Only after getting thoroughly frustrated did I make my way back to the Hidden Village, mainly because it was the only place I had yet to revisit. Good thing, too, because it was where I needed to be. Link talked again to the old woman and showed her the Dominion Rod. In return, she gave Link a book, the Ancient Sky Book. And this time I paid attention to what was going on – the book needed some deciphering, and for that I needed to go back to Kakariko Village to talk to a guy named Shad.
Well Shad…he was no help. Not really, anyway, because although he got the jist of the Sky Book, it was missing some key symbols, which Link then had to go out into the world to locate. Oh, goody. But the quest did involve the Dominion Rod and moving more statues, so that was okay. All the random traveling was not, but at least the whole process led to some major progression. Progression to the point of getting to the next temple thanks to an old, broken cannon and the help of Midna and that kinda-creepy canon guy at Lake Hyrule. Unsettling though he may have been, he fixed up the old cannon we had found, which, when used, hurtled Link to the stars. Or, at least, to the City in the Sky.
Guys, can we talk about the City in the Sky? Because the temples/dungeons in this game have been, for me, a series of ups and downs. Some of them have been fun; some of them have been difficult. But I cannot put into words just how much I disliked the sky temple. And when I say “disliked,” I mean “did not enjoy to the extent of nearly rage quitting several times.” I reached a point where I honestly didn’t think I could finish the game because of the sky temple — it was just that anger-inducing.
I could rant for paragraphs about this silly, unhappy temple, but I won’t. I can’t, for the sake of my sanity. Instead, I’ll sum up things in a few fragmented phrases: Too big. Too long. Too many levels to reach the boss. Too easy to fall. Hated using the Clawshot and the Double Clawshot. Hated all the puzzles. Hated starting at the beginning of the temple each time. (In fact, hated that issue through the whole game.) Liked the boss (a dragon), but the battle was no fun either.
I could not have been more relived to put the sky temple behind me.
Though, had I known that something as equally unfun as the Palace of Twilight was to follow, I might have sung a different tune. Maybe. By this time, I had mentally checked out of the game. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. I just wanted it to be over.
Due to that resigned state, I actually don’t remember much about the Palace of Twilight – it wasn’t very big, but it did throw some very acute tasks at you, like having to move lighted sphere called “Sols” to various spots while being chased by a large, dismembered hand. Also, you had to fend off ghostly versions of Zant, as well as large versions of just his head, at various times.
By the way…Zant? Wow. He might be the most evil villain I’ve ever encountered in a Zelda game. We met up with him earlier in the game, but his power-hungry and decidedly insane speech to Midna and Link upon their second meeting in the palace was downright scary. (If nothing else, I give credit to Nintendo for taking Twilight Princess’s story to some very dark places.) Zant was very disturbing, and it felt good to give him the ol’ heave-ho at the end of our battle. I think players are meant to pity him, but I didn’t – he was really off his rocker! By the end of the six-part encounter (yes…SIX PARTS!), I was done with him. And that meant it was finally time to face Ganondorf!
Between Link and Ganondorf laid one last temple, er…castle. Hyrule Castle! At this point, I literally did not care about anything – secrets, hearts, special items – except getting to Ganondorf. So I sped my way through the castle as quickly as I could. As expected, nearly every item that Link had at his disposal was needed, from the trusty Boomerang to the Clawshots to the Spinner. While the castle had the most(?) levels of any previous temple or dungeon, it wasn’t terribly difficult to traverse. In fact, I was a little surprised when I reached the boss door as soon as I did. I’m sure that there was plenty in the castle that I left behind, but it was time to hit the point of no return and face Link’s nemesis.
The Ganondorf battle occurred in three sections, with two sections containing two stages each. So it was a five-part encounter over Zant’s six, which should of made me rejoice, but I was too busy being ready to beat the game to really notice. In any event, The Final Battle, Section 1 involved a poor, possessed Zelda (“Puppet Zelda”) and a callback to the Ocarina of Time with Link and the puppet playing tennis with energy balls. Hitting Puppet Zelda three times broke the curse over her, but that was only the beginning.
The Final Battle, Section 2 saw Ganondorf morph into a large boar called “Ganon” that disappeared in and out of the battlefield thanks to twilight portals. The first stage of the battle involved waiting for Ganon to appear from the properly-colored portal, hitting a light spot on his forehead with an arrow, and then slashing away at the fallen beast. Do that a couple time and he’s done, right? Well, no. Because this part had a second stage in which Ganon dodged Link’s arrows by jumping. And when Ganon went up, he had to come down, and he usually came down right on top of Link. No good. After waffling around for awhile trying different items, I got the idea to talk to Midna (totally forgot about her!). She clued me in to the fact that Link had to be in wolf for this second section. That was a little baffling still, because even changed, I still couldn’t figure out what to do! Only by chance did I catch a button prompt that seemed to allow Wolf Link to somehow latch on to Ganon. Indeed, it turned out that, going against all common sense, the idea was to place Wolf Link right in Ganon’s charging path, grab his head/horns, grapple, throw, and then attack. It was crazy, but it worked, because eventually it was time for The Final Battle, Part 3.
This final, final, final meeting had a human Ganondorf battle Link twice. The first stage of the battle involved everyone on horseback. (And I hated every moment of it, just like I hated all the other horseback battles in the game.) Accompanying Link was Zelda (unpossessed and ready for revenge! Though not really, because she is the kind-hearted Zelda, after all), who had conjured up some Light Arrows for the occasion. It was truly no fun trying to manage Epona while also trying to line up Zelda just right so that she could hit Ganondorf with a Light Arrow. And getting him with an arrow wasn’t enough, because then you had to get ride Link close enough to Ganondorf to get in a few good sword strikes. It was all so incredibly frustrating.
Therefore, I was perfectly relieved when the second stage of the final, final, final battle turned out to be a good, old fashioned sword fight. Of course, Ganondorf was hardly a pushover, but Link won out in the end. I was so intensely exhausted at that moment that I had no words. I simply put down the Wiimote and watched the ending.
And so ends my time with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. THANK YOU to everyone who came along on this adventure and offered up advice and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you! Check back next week when I round up my whole experience with the game and look back on Twilight Princess, ten years later.