Ocarina of Time is one of my favorite childhood games. I’ve played through the game so many times that I have the layout of the world memorized. There are many parts of the game that I enjoy, but it isn’t without its flaws — my brain cells begin to dissolve whenever I have to watch the Zora King slowly scoot his butt out of the way of Zora Fountain. The Gerudo Fortress is a part of the game that fits this theme perfectly and is one of the most fun areas to play through, but it too has its annoying moments.

The first time any player goes to this fortress, all they know is that they need to find four carpenters. My experience was like that as well, except I immediately got captured upon my first time in the fortress. As an eight-year-old kid who was still trying to understand the concept of moving in three dimensions, I was pretty terrible at the game. By the time I turned ten years old, I was good enough to never get caught and thrown into the prison.

After looking around and inspecting the area, I sneaked through the fortress and freed all four carpenters once I defeated the guards in front of their cells. The fights with the guards are always fun and challenging. Even now, I find myself on the edge of my chair whenever fighting them because the guards can take Link down with just enough hits — even if he has many hearts. My winning tactic against the guards is to use the Hookshot to stun them and then use a jump attack with the Biggoron’s Sword.

The only tedious part of Gerudo Fortress is talking to the carpenters. Each conversation feels repetitive and I find myself mashing the A and B buttons hoping that I can go through the dialogue as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, you have to wait for each word to appear on screen so it takes a while. A person playing for the first time may not find it very tedious, although after freeing the third carpenter, they’ll probably be bored of them.

After freeing the four carpenters, I obtained the Gerudo Token from one of the Gerudo leaders. The Gerudo Token allows Link to become an honorary member of the Gerudo. It also allows Link to go attempt the Horseback Archery Range Mini-game and the Gerudo’s Training Ground.

My favorite part of Gerudo’s Fortress is the Gerudo’s Training Ground. It’s a mini dungeon with ten rooms, each with a key in it. The keys are used in the center room to obtain the Ice Arrows. The arrows are unnecessary, but completing the challenge is a satisfying achievement regardless. The challenges each room has to offer are unique and difficult enough to keep me interested. However, the area isn’t without a little frustration, particularly the room with the Sea of Lava. I’ve fallen in the sea too many times to count. Also, in the room with the Like Likes, the chests that freeze Link always give me a heart attack.

Overall, the fortress is a fun and interesting spot to visit! I usually go through the area after beating the Water Temple. The Long Shot allows Link to get through most of the challenges in the Gerudo’s Training Grounds and to reach the chest on top of the Fortress. Just remember to keep an eye out for the Gerudo Guards.

“Woo! Watch out!”