Is there anything more anxiety-inducing than the piano theme of a Guardian approaching? The continuous heart-like beat and recurring piano really put you on high alert, and my mind now associates it with one of the most stressful enemies I’ve ever faced in a Zelda game. In fact, when I came across a remix of this theme by Radiarc, all the memories of my first encounter with a Guardian came flooding back.
Radiarc has faithfully recreated the tense tune in their remix but has added additional drums, violin interludes, and other inclusions to really rev up the tension to eleven. I feel on edge just listening to it, but in a good way. I feel pumped, ready to face those spidery machines that can spot you from just about anywhere. However, as I’m sure many of you can relate, my earlier experiences with this track felt less like “Let’s do this!” and more like “RUN, oh God RUN”’.
My first proper encounter with a Guardian was in the hills not far west of Kakariko Village, beyond a Bokoblin camp that I had just confidently defeated. I was making my way towards Kakariko Village, ready to accept my destiny and save Zelda from Calamity Ganon, but after I emerged over a hilltop, there it was in the distance: a Guardian. As it skittered around a wide open plain, it saw me, and it aimed. I realized I was completely vulnerable. There was no cover nearby to protect me — no rocks, no walls, not even a tree. Only a well-timed Paraglider drop or shield bash would save me now, but this was my first encounter with a moving Guardian, so I was inexperienced. I just knew I had to destroy it before it destroyed me.
The battle theme restarted over and over as I reloaded saves to try and fight it again. I didn’t know how to defeat it at all. I futilely hacked at it with broadswords, pitchforks, and I think a mop at one point. After several deaths, I shamefully looked online and learned that I could do a shield bash to deflect its laser. That didn’t make it much easier, however, as I was not skilled at the timing just yet. So, once again, those first few piano notes replayed over and over as I stubbornly kept reloading, refusing to walk away defeated. Eventually, I triumphed over the Guardian, at the cost of a few pot lids, Bokoblin shields, and a bit of my sanity.
Although I am wholly confident taking on Guardians now, those first few piano keys of the battle theme will forever trigger the memory of that first struggle. But on the flip side, it also reminds me of my first satisfying victory over a Guardian.