“I spy with my giant, unsettling eye.”
There are many recurring enemies in Legend of Zelda games, but very few boss monsters match the history of the spider-like enemy, Gohma. This beast has plagued Hyrule and opposed Link in many adventures, and this persistence has made it one of Zelda’s the most memorable monsters.
Zelda’s Study is a series where we examine the history of The Legend of Zelda to bring you some fascinating (or just plain weird) trivia. In our studies, we’ll explore each game’s development, curiosities within the rich lore of the franchise, and the impact it has had on our culture. From time to time, we’ll also look at Nintendo’s past to unearth some facts about our favorite company.
Link first encountered Gohma in the first game of the series, Legend of Zelda. There were multiple Gohmas in this game, coming in regular red and stronger blue variants. The various Gohmas were fought in the sixth and eighth dungeons of the game’s first quest, and in fifth, sixth, and seventh dungeons of the second.
Gohma’s main method of attack was to walk side-to-side in front of Link, occasionally opening its eye to shoot fireballs from it. The goal was to take this chance to strike the eye with an arrow, which was the only way to damage her.
The spider’s next encounter came in Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. Gohma was a clear homage to the first game with her appearance being close to identical to her original version. In this game, a Gohma pair was fought simultaneously in a mini-boss encounter. Aside from the addition of a second spider, this battle played out in very much the same manner as her first appearance and with the same combat strategy.
Gohma would return again five years later in Ocarina of Time for what very well may be her most famous iteration. She was the first boss Link battled in the landmark, 3D title, and her more parasitic and disturbing appearance was an introduction to visually-striking nature of the boss designs in the game.
The fight with Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma was a mix of similar-yet-different compared to the previous encounters. The goal was to strike her traditional weak spot, her eye, but she made that difficult by crawling on the ceiling of her chambers to avoid Link. She would also lay multiple eggs that quickly hatched into Gohma Larvae, which then would pursue and attack Link.
The original style of Gohma returned again in Oracle of Seasons, but with the addition of a single, massive claw she used to grab at Link with. Link had to first destroy her claw before he could attempt to shoot her in the eye using his slingshot.
While her version from Ocarina of Time is probably the most well-known, the Gohma from The Wind Waker easily distinguished herself as the most unique. In this game, she resembled an arthropod more than an arachnid, complete with a long body and multitude of short appendages. Massive and visually stunning, Gohma was again the first boss in the game and a showcase of what to expect.
The battle with Gohma was just as interesting as her visuals. To defeat her, Link needed to use the Grappling Hook to latch onto Valoo’s dangling tail. Doing so would irritate the dragon and cause him to shake the mountain, which would then cause a massive, stone slab to fall onto Gohma’s body, cracking her exoskeleton. Repeating this multiple times would eventually force the shell to break off completely and leave the now-vulnerable insect open to attack.
Gohma’s last appearance (as of this article’s publication) was in 2004’s Four Swords Adventures. Gohma took on her original form once more with minor alterations to her size and color. This game marked the first time a version of Gohma was fought as a common enemy and a mini-boss, with multiples of the spider found wandering around the in the levels The Field and the Lost Woods.
Defeating these Gohmas played out the same the other, more traditional battles with the goals being to shoot their eyes with arrows. A larger version of Gohma was fought in a later portion of the Lost Woods level and was the only Gohma that was able to attack the Links.
Lastly, while it is technically a different species, a discussion of Gohma’s history is not complete without mention of the sub-species and boss from Twilight Princess, Armogohma. Roughly the same size as the Gohma from The Wind Waker, Armogohma was a gargantuan spider that greatly resembled real-world tarantulas.
The fight with this beast was involved, even by the standards set by the rest of bosses in Twilight Princess. Armogohma stayed mostly to the ceiling of her layer, crawling around and stopping only to fire a heat beam from the massive eye protruding from her back. To defeat her, Link first needed to shoot the large eye with an arrow, which would cause her to fall to the ground.
Gohma is a boss most Zelda fans have come to know, appreciate, and — in a weird way — love over the years. She’s been a thorn Link’s side for ages and is a staple of the series’s cache of villains.