Ocarina of Time easily had some of the best-designed villains in the Zelda series. From the intimidating Iron Knuckles to the horrifying Dead Hand, I’ve been enjoying these villains since I first played the game as an eight-year-old kid. Volvagia, the subterranean fire dragon of Death Mountain, is a particular standout for how much backstory is put into this monster. Despite the build-up, the dragon’s boss fight is probably the easiest of the five temples.
Realm of Memories is a series where we reflect on our absolute favorite moments in The Legend of Zelda games. These could be the times we first fell in love with a game, were moved by the events of the story or actions of a character, felt triumphant when overcoming a tough boss or challenge, or we had an experience so unique that the adventure truly became our own. The Zelda series has touched our lives in many ways, and just as Hyrule has endless stories to share, so do our writers!
Volvagia’s story is told through the terrified Gorons found throughout Death Mountain and the Fire Temple. When I first arrived in Goron City as Adult Link, the place was empty except for a single Goron rolling endlessly. After I tossed a bomb at him, he described the current Goron state of affairs. The citizens have all been kidnapped and Darunia, his father, went to save them. The portion of the story that always made me feel uncomfortable was how Ganondorf was planning to feed the Gorons to Volvagia. Actually, that’s downright terrifying: the thought of the
To me, only two things stand out about the Fire Temple: the secret rooms (Golden Skulltulas hide in them) and the build-up to Volvagia. Without those elements, this dungeon would be mediocre at best. The Fire Temple builds suspense through the story. Throughout the dungeon, multiple Gorons are found locked up, waiting to be eaten by Volvagia. Seeing them captured and waiting for death hyped up the inevitable boss battle with Volvagia. The conversation with Darunia, the leader of the Gorons, also helped build tension. No other dungeon can build a sense of urgency quite like the Fire Temple. The necessity to save the prisoners really helped me get to the end of the dungeon.
No other dungeon can build a sense of urgency quite like the Fire Temple.
After finding the Megaton Hammer and the Boss Key, the time came to face off against Volvagia. The first time I came across the lava dragon, I found his design to be very cool. The boss fight, however, was underwhelming. The difficulty wasn’t there as I found myself playing a game of whack-a-mole (except the mole is, of course, substituted for a dragon). After a few hits with the hammer, the dragon turns into a pile of bones. Each time I faced off against him, naturally the battle ended quicker. Many years after my first playthrough, I found a trick that made the boss fight even easier: when he flies around the map, shoot arrows at his head. This makes an already easy fight, take even less time.
I wouldn’t say that the build-up to Volvagia resulted in disappointment because of the easy fight. The ideas were interesting for eight-year-old me and Volvagia’s design always looked cool. Nowadays, I like to see how quickly I can defeat him, which is something I don’t do often with Legend of Zelda villains. He has a place in Zelda history for me, as a boss with an interesting backstory and a cool design.