After seven years of stasis, Link emerges from Rauru’s secret chamber and leaves the Temple of Time. Much to his horror, he sees that the bustling Town Square has become ruined in dissolution. The fountain where the kids once played has become a moaning ground for Redeads. The Hero of Time runs straight through the town and heads out to Hyrule Castle. His jaw drops when he finds a tall dark tower floating over a pool of lava in place of the old castle. Ruins of various structures poke out through the darkened dirt and the fairy fountain is blocked off by a strange, pillar-shaped stone.
Ocarina of Time was first released in Japan on November 21, 1998. This month, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most beloved games of all time. Two decades on, Ocarina of Time is still widely regarded as not only the pinnacle of The Legend of Zelda series but as one of the greatest achievements in video game history. Throughout Ocarina Month, we’re going to be looking back on the game that shaped childhoods, defined the action-adventure genre, and introduced a generation to how magical exploring a 3D world could be.
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!
Ganon’s Castle is truly worthy of being the final dungeon in the game. Inside, the tower holds six sections, each feeling like a retrospective of the previous temples (except for Ruto’s section which is based on the Ice Cavern, and Saria’s section that features wind elements). Each area’s puzzles are at the right level of difficulty for the player to be able to succeed, but not have an easy time achieving the goal. At the end of each section, there is a strange barrier with a red center that Link must dispel using a light arrow. After bursting the barrier, the sage representing the area appears and pulls Link into the main hall to watch their barrier break down.
After all six barriers are down, the heart of the tower will become accessible. When Link first enters the bottom section, he will faintly hear organ music. As he progresses to the top, the music gets louder and clearer. The final staircase is the longest, giving the player a sense of tension as the music becomes clear. Entering the top floor, Link discovers Zelda encased in a giant, pink prism (that reminds me of a Rupee) while Ganondorf plays his grand organ. After a cutscene, which highlights Navi’s uselessness, the final battle begins.
The final battle seems easy in retrospect, but many first-time players will need extra defense as Ganondorf can hit very hard. To gain this extra defense, the player will need the Golden Gauntlets (found in the Shadow Temple section) and toss the giant pillar blocking the Fairy Fountain outside the castle. Now, with that extra defense, anybody can fight against Ganondorf, provided they can stay awake through the back and forth exchanges of the light ball. Sometimes the exchanges last way too long.
After the defeat of Ganon, the tower falls apart and the player will be forced to live one more nightmare: a Redead blocking the exit. This could not come at a worse time. The best thing to do is to run screaming out of the tower. Another highlight in the tower escape happens to be Zelda’s general incompetence. At one point, she will trap herself into a ring of fire. Unfortunately, Link cannot leave her behind as she is the only person who can unlock the doors through the castle. After watching the tower collapse, Ganon will reveal himself to have survived. He will turn into Ganon and the player will be forced to use the most reliable sword, the Biggoron’s Sword, to defeat the beast.
If you want to watch Ganondorf puke up green blood, take a trip to the Ganon’s Castle nearest to you.