A few years ago, I played Ocarina of Time’s Master Quest for the first time on Nintendo 3DS. The game featured a mirror version of Hyrule, with each dungeon being rearranged to present more difficult challenges. Every dungeon definitely challenged me, but none really stood out — except for one. Anyone who has played this game knows exactly what I am thinking: the cows in Jabu Jabu’s Belly.
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!
First stepping in Jabu Jabu’s mouth, I began hearing mooing. Looking around the room I found a sight that topped my ‘most absurd things ever’ list: cows embedded into the flesh of Jabu Jabu. I could only wonder why, while I laughed at the insanity of the developers putting in these cows. The purpose of the cows confounded me for quite awhile; they still do today.
After walking around the room trying to figure out what to do, I Z-Targeted a cow and decided to shoot it. Sure enough, a chest dropped. Shooting the other cow opens the locked door. All very logical Zelda puzzles: shoot the cow, something happens. The entire dungeon was filled with these cows. At one point, I became low on health and decided to see if they’d give me milk. Despite their utters being enveloped into Jabu Jabu’s flesh, they were able to give me the freshest milk beyond Lon Lon Ranch.
My favorite cow (of course I have a favorite) in this dungeon was one found in the bottom level. The cow was completely submerged in the water and its hind legs and butt was enveloped by whale guts. This cow went beyond all logic, assuming it didn’t drown. Considering all the mooing, I have to say it was alive. Hitting the cow revealed a chest, because why not. I have to believe this was the logic behind the cow’s existence: “why not”.
People often reference how narcotics affected the developers of Mario, who created a game that features a short man that grows big after eating mushrooms. I think the bigger question is ‘why are there cows in Jabu Jabu’s Belly?’. My theory is that the Zoras sacrifice cows to Jabu Jabu by pushing them in front of him. He opens his mouth and sucks them into his body. The sacrifices’ purpose is to bring good luck to the Zora race.
I think this needs to be a bigger debate in the Zelda community, considering the scope of Ocarina of Time. These cows need to be studied for future generations.