The dungeons in The Legend of Zelda that entrance me most are those that make you feel like you’re truly in a fantastical realm. In these locations, there are hints of magic everywhere you look. They feel grand and spacious, giving you the urge to explore every nook and cranny. While the dungeon that makes me feel this way the most would have to be the Tower of the Gods, Twilight Princess’s Temple of Time comes in at a very close second.
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!
I’ve heard complaints about this dungeon’s simplicity time and time again, but I don’t mind it at all. It allows me to enjoy the scenery and take in all the special moments to be had. Even just entering the temple is an experience! After summoning the gateway, you walk through the doorway into another Realm — possibly even back in time! It’s then that you enter the same room as the Hero of Time when he originally pulled the Master Sword from its pedestal. The haunting “Song of Time” even returns as well, lingering in the background as you relive your Ocarina of Time memories. However, when you insert the sword into its rightful place in this new adventure, a translucent staircase appears and leads you to the stained glass window above the room. When you approach it, the illusion of the window fades away and leads you to an entirely new area.
All the rooms of this dungeon are huge and elegant. The marble floors and giant columns are a sign of its regal importance. Statues, being a major theme of this dungeon, are prominent and featured throughout the location. Much like the Tower of the Gods, they play an important role in completing the trial. Hidden away in the depths of the Temple of Time lies an item that will allow you to control these statues (in a much more efficient way than the “Command Melody” if I do say so myself): the Dominion Rod.
The dungeon itself is rather unique in that you have to travel the linear path to make your way to the end of the temple, then backtrack once you find the Dominion Rod and Statue that you must escort to the first room of the temple, all while solving the same puzzles from a different perspective. At the end of the trail, before acquiring the Dominion Rod, there is a large, empty room with one foe awaiting your arrival. A Darknut guards the Dominion Rod, not allowing Link to pass without a fight, and what a fight it is!
This is one of my favorite battles and favorite enemies in Twilight Princess. The Darknut is covered in heavy armor which you must remove with swipes from your sword, but once it’s all gone, that doesn’t give you much of an advantage. The creature is now more agile, able to stave you off with its lighter sword, moving much faster than before. Defeating this foe requires a lot of timing and patience and is a fun challenge, opposed to the other foes that you can simply hack and slash your way through.
Though this dungeon’s puzzles mainly center around the Dominion Rod, it also makes great use of all of your other gear. Being as this is one of the last dungeons in the game that features a brand new item, it would only make sense to implement as much of it as possible. But the dungeon also makes use of the Hero’s Bow, Clawshot, and, of course, the fan favorite Spinner. If you want to get even more technical, you will also have access to a hammer. By using the Dominion Rod, you’re able to use the main guardian statue’s humongous hammer and bash your way through closed gates and all the baby Gohma spiders.
There’s one room inside the temple that’s one of my favorites, not because of any complicated puzzles or fancy new mechanisms, but because it feels like an adventurous dungeon crawl. After you return the guardian statue to its rightful place, parallel to its counterpart in the first room of the temple, a new door will open and lead you to a hallway with many bladed pendulums. There are some Beamos and Gohmas lurking around past the chasms and razors that spice things up as you dash your way across. I love this room because it feels like something out of an adventure movie or a Dungeons and Dragons game where you must dodge obstacles and avoid traps to get to the treasure, which in this case, is a fragment of the Mirror of Twilight.
To end things, there is the boss: Armogohma. Again, it’s a very simple boss battle, very reminiscent of the Gohma fight in Ocarina of Time, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Actually, in my opinion, I think this one is way more fun. There are a few reasons for this: the first is that this spider has heat vision, and that’s hilarious. The second is that once you knock the large spider on its back, you take control of an even larger statue with a giant fist and smash it while it’s on the ground. The third is that once you think you’ve defeated it, its dislocated eyeball sprouts legs and starts scattering about with its babies. Link’s all set, doing his fancy sword tricks thinking his work is done, but when you see his jaw drop at this ridiculous sight, you can’t help but laugh. Wrap this all together with that amazing music and you’ve got yourself a smashing battle.
I always look forward to playing through this dungeon whenever I start a new Twilight Princess file. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s magical. What more could I ask for from a Zelda dungeon? My only gripe is that the City in the Sky comes afterward.