The Forsaken Fortress is one of the 49 islands mapped in The Wind Waker. The tightly guarded island fort is also Ganondorf’s hideout during the first half of the game. This island has become one of my favorite spots in the game despite its reputation for being notoriously annoying. Personally I don’t think this island deserves the hate it gets, and instead feel it should be praised.

Tingle’s Maps is a series in which we explore the endless lands of Hyrule in search of our favorite places in The Legend of Zelda. We’ll explore everywhere: the beautiful landscapes that make us put down the controller in awe; the deadly terrain that threatens Link with the harshest of elements; the bustling towns that bring the game to life; and the abandoned grounds that evoke peace and sadness. As well as the grand locales, we’ll also discover all the secret caves and hidden crevices that lie between. Let’s adventure!

The reason players loathe the Forsaken Fortress is because Link has to traverse through it without his sword. Being without a sword means players have to sneak around, hiding in barrels, avoiding Moblins’ attention. My heart never jumps faster when a Moblin almost catches Link. This section of the game is in the beginning, and most people prefer to have the sword during the first part of the game rather than sneaking around. I am among those who found this place frustrating during my first playthrough; at least exploration is rewarded as the Fortress hides a Heart Piece near Link’s jail cell.

By the second visit, players will have the Master Sword, so no more sneaking around in barrels. The return to the Forsaken Fortress stands out as one of my favorite parts of the game. This visit marks Link’s revenge. With the Master Sword, I always make sure to eliminate every single Moblin; exacting my revenge for each time they threw me in a jail cell.

The second visit also includes two boss battles. The first is against Phantom Ganon, in which Link and the ghost exchange an energy ball until one of them misses it and takes a hit. Eliminating him gets Link the Skull Hammer. The second boss battle is against the Helmaroc King, the bird that stole Link’s sister, Aryll, at the beginning of the game. My favorite part of the fight is when his mask cracks and his face is revealed. The bird’s defeat is also glorious as all the spotlights turn to him as he explodes into purple dust and a heart piece.

The cutscene after the Helmaroc King’s defeat also reveals two interesting pieces to the story. The fact that Tetra has a piece of the Triforce, strongly suggesting her connection to Zelda and that Link’s sword has no power because the two Sages are dead. Before this cutscene, I had no idea what was going to happen, but I hoped the game wasn’t ending. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed as I realized the game was only halfway done. The Forsaken Fortress is definitely a good end to the first half of the game.

For people who enjoy endless nights and want to find love like Maggie found Moe, the Forsaken Fortress may be the dream vacation for you.