Adventuring through a dungeon in the Legend of Zelda is so much fun, with all of its thrills and challenges; that is until you hit a roadblock and you can’t figure out what to do, staring at the screen for hours at a time before finally rage-quitting for months before you pick up the game again… Alright, so that doesn’t happen ALL the time, but there are those moments when we just can’t figure out a part of a dungeon’s puzzle. I remember when this first happened to me while venturing through my first Legend of Zelda game, the Wind Waker.
It was the first dungeon (or the first official dungeon anyway), the Dragon Roost Cavern. I was so proud that I had made it so far on my own, given that the Forsaken Fortress was rather tricky to figure out — at least for me as an eleven-year-old. I was on a roll! I started to make my way through the cavern, entering the first lava filled room. I continued forward onto the wooden path attached to the wall of the cave until I stopped at a large gap. I saw there was a smaller stone ledge underneath it, so I tilted forward on the control stick and Link hopped onto the platform. The first thing I tried to do was to jump and grab onto the ledge of the other wooden scaffolding. Nope. Fell into the lava. Maybe I just jumped at a weird angle? I tried again, but once again Link fell into the boiling lava beneath him. Now what?
I sat there for so long, looking around the screen, trying for find a hint of what to do next. I search up high, hoping there would be a hanging lantern to swing across the divide, but there wasn’t any rope in sight. I looked low, thinking there might be another platform even further down. Nope. That only resulted in my falling into lava again. It was funny the first few times, but now it was getting old. I must have spent a good half hour trying to figure out this puzzle, and I had very little patience when I was younger. If I couldn’t figure out something in a game, I would sell it. I had just recently (and now regretfully) sold my copy of Pokemon Silver because I couldn’t make it through the woods; something I would later find out in my high school years was super easy to do. I was thinking it in my head, I was ready to give up, but I couldn’t. I had made it so far to get to this dungeon. There had to be a way!
I turned off the game and came back to it later, still not able to figure out the puzzle of how to jump the gap. Internet walkthroughs were not as available as they are nowadays, so I simply asked my friend for help. This was the friend who I first saw playing the Wind Waker, and made me want to pick up a copy of my own. He and his brother came over to my house one Saturday, and I begged him to help me get passed this dungeon. I handed him the gamecube controller and he began to make his way through the cavern. He arrived to the spot where I was having so much difficulty.
“There! That’s the spot!” I pointed out to him.
“Seriously?” He replied.
I nodded and he proceeded to the spot. He made Link jump down to the stone platform, just as I did before. I watched intensely, awaiting the secret that lied within this dungeon. He adjusted Link to face the wall, and he began to pull out a stone block, in which he then climbed atop of and hopped easily to the next part of the platform.
I was completely embarrassed; so embarrassed that I made him finish the dungeon for me. I didn’t want him to see me screw up even worse than that. I should have known better, the first room of the dungeon had a block puzzle! I should have seen the insignia in the wall, and more importantly the obvious gray square! Regardless, I was still excited to watch him proceed through the cavern. I watched carefully at all of his moves, and noticed how most of the puzzles in the dungeon worked. I wanted to make sure I could finish this game and not fail to a silly road block again.
In the end, Medli was saved, Gohma was defeated, and Komali bestowed Din’s Pearl to Link. I asked for the controller back, as I was excited to give this game another try. Throughout that year I continued to play Wind Waker, and though I was admittedly slow to this new franchise I had discovered, it helped me with my puzzle solving skills. I got better with each dungeon, and felt so good every time I completed another formidable trial. Now, looking back on this game after having completed the Wind Waker HD for the WiiU in the past year, I find the Wind Waker to have some of the more easy dungeons of the series; either that, or I really have just gotten a lot better. Whether it’s truly difficult or relatively easy, the dungeons of the Legend of Zelda are always an enjoyable aspect of the game, and even when I get stuck, I know I can count on friends to help me.