Seven Temples in Seven Days – 6

Temple 6. The Temple of Time.

A brief description:

I’m completing all seven temples in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Masterquest in seven days. These are the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Spirit, Light, and Time Temples, which serve as different levels to complete within the game, the final goal being to save Hyrule. The game uses the number seven with themes of growing up, and The Hero’s Journey,  just like the Harry Potter books.

Impressions

Ocarina of time has almost reached the end of its story. The Temple of Time has been a part of the narrative since the beginning. Link returned to this location and finally met up with a character he has been looking everywhere for: princess Zelda appears, and explains a great deal of the story. In particular, Ganon’s plan, and his current machinations.

The temple is a cathedral, and every effort has been made to capture the reverence of stepping inside a cavernous, sacred structure. While the temple has only two rooms, and isn’t a dungeon with different floors like the six temples Link has already completed, the room where the master sword is kept locked inside a stone plinth is probably the most important room in the entire game. This is the place where time travel is possible. The Master Sword takes Link back and forth through time as he draws it, and returns it to the stone. The animation sequence cemented Link’s status as a hero from the beginning: it is a clear reference to the legend of King Arthur, drawing the sword from a stone, and becoming a King thereon. As mentioned, it’s similar to Harry Potter, drawing a sword from a hat in place of a stone.

The Boss

After a series of stunning revelations involving princess Zelda, the time has come to fulfill a long running theme in video games: it’s time for Link to save the princess from Ganon. The final quest, the rescue mission, begins here in the temple of time. I’ll include more about the final level, Hyrule Castle here later, and in tomorrow’s final entry on the Temple of Light.

Standout Moments

The images below show the standout moments that happened in the temple. Earlier in the game another key instance was Link opening the doors to the room housing the Master Sword, and drawing it. Zelda reveals later this was all part of Ganon’s plan: Link opening the doors, which are named the “Doors of Time”, unlocked a passage to a place called The Sacred Realm. There, Ganon stole an artifact called the Triforce, and has been using a third of its power to keep Hyrule under his control. Ganon is after the rest of the artifact – he walked into The Sacred Realm, unaware that he could not claim the whole Triforce. He needs princess Zelda and Link to finish the ritual. The final battle determines who wins the Triforce, and whether Hyrule will be saved or dominated.

Princess Zelda Appears.

Princess Zelda Appears.

Zelda talks to Link after seven years.

Zelda believes Link can save Hyrule

Before Link can act, Zelda is captured by Ganon.

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Seven Temples in Seven Days – 5

Temple 5. Spirit Temple

A brief description:

I’m completing all seven temples in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Masterquest in seven days. These are the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Spirit, Light, and Time Temples, which serve as different levels to complete within the game, the final goal being to save Hyrule. The game uses the number seven with themes of growing up, and The Hero’s Journey,  just like the Harry Potter books.

Impressions

In spite of all the exotic themes piled up throughout, including Ancient Egypt, Buddhism, and Indian Mythology, I felt the Spirit Temple didn’t have impact. It had brown room problem, which plagued the Fire Temple as mentioned earlier. I enjoyed the construction and design of the central room in the temple, which housed a giant statue of a Naga – a twin to the “Desert Collosus” standing outside the Spirit Temple, which is very much like the colossal Buddha statue of Leshan.

The remaining rooms and corridors felt stuffy and cluttered: fighting off three (or more) foes at once is a challenge in an enclosed space, but becomes bland if overused. Statues of giant cobras are well animated, however, and a particular monster called an Anubis is interesting and menacing: a mummy that can float around rooms.

Nabooru is the sixth sage, and an excellent character. The other sages Link has met so far (Rauru, Saria, Darunia, Ruto, and Impa) have represented qualities such as dignity, intelligence, and bravery and show quirkiness and maturity in their personalities. Nabooru, a prominent member of the amazon-like Gerudo tribe, makes an impact despite having  little time on screen. She is sassy, and makes light of serious situations: a contrast to her authoritarian sisters. She literally has spirit, and is the clear choice to be sage of spirit.

The Boss

Twin witches called Koume and Kotake, who can fuse together into a witch called Twinrova, apparently raised Gannon as surrogate mothers. It’s clear where Ganon gained his cruel streak: the villains capture Nabooru, trap her in a suit of armor, and turn her into a fighting slave. Kotake wields ice attacks, which she launches from her broom, and Koume wields fire magic. The solution to defeating the sisters is to reflect the magic attacks from one sister to the other, melt the ice with fire, or extinguish the fire with ice. They eventually change their form, but this does not change their odds of winning: Link can absorb their magic and reflect a blast of fire or ice back at the witch.

Standout Moments

Link uses time travel to complete this temple. He visits the temple first as a child, meeting Nabooru, and then returns seven years later to completed it via the Temple of Time. Nabooru is captured just before Link leaves the temple as a child. As a result, she was held in captivity for seven years, being “brainwashed” by the Twinrova to fight for them and obey Ganon. There is an excellent moment of animation when the Iron Knuckle armor she was forced to wear finally collapses.

Link plays out another myth: now he is Perseus, who received the Aegis, Athena’s mirrored shield, and Hermes’ winged sandals to defeated Medusa. Link fights the Twinrova instead, but the Spirit Temple is filled with snake references. Link already has the winged sandals in the form of the Hover Boots, which have wings on the heels. He receives the Mirror Shield here, and I enjoyed the mechanics where the player can bounce sunlight off the shield and onto the walls around the temple to complete different puzzles.

Seven Temples in Seven Days – 4

Temple 4. Shadow Temple

A brief description:

I’m completing all seven temples in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Masterquest in seven days. These are the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Spirit, Light, and Time Temples, which serve as different levels to complete within the game, the final goal being to save Hyrule. The game uses the number seven with themes of growing up, and The Hero’s Journey, just like the Harry Potter books.

Impressions

Ocarina of Time started with a set of themes: The Hero’s Journey, Good vs. Evil, Saving the princess, and many other tropes and devices that could be said to come from the fantasy genre. When it comes to the abyss of the Shadow Temple, however, a number of dark and mature themes that work against the child-like image of the game emerge. Simply put, it takes a very dark turn from its light beginning.

Like the earlier temples, the shadow temple is in a location that matches it’s element. In this case, the shadow temple was built in a graveyard. It’s an underground necropolis, filled with zombies, mummies, and skeletons. Guillotines and giant scythes weilded by statues of the grim reaper strike out of the shadows. It’s nowhere near the gore of resident evil, but the temple does surprise in how dark and bloody it gets at times. Apparently, the Land of Hyrule has a history of greed and violence. This is the place where it was unleashed, and locked away.

The Temple has a number of puzzles that involve the Lens of Truth. A little eye glass that allows Link to see hidden passages and invisible enemies. It’s a fun mechanic, and is a little bit like the reveal ability from the Golden Sun Series for Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS.

The Boss

On July 8, 2012 at 9:35pm, I wrote the following on the Shadow Temple Boss:

At the time of writing this (July 8, 2012), I have yet to defeat the final boss. All of the dungeon is complete except for Bongo Bongo – a “phantom beast” who fights Link on a giant drum. A ridiculous sounding name and an odd arena belies how frustrating the battle against is. I plan to update this entry within the next day, and before the next temple, to report on how I defeated the boss.

The same day at 11:30pm, I defeated the boss by using one key strategy: using the space available in the drum shaped arena to watch the phantom beast’s movements. I found it frustrating earlier because I was standing too close to the boss, and not watching his attacks. With any boss fight, there is always a pattern to watch out for. With this creature, watching his hands reveals what attack is coming next: a punch, slap, or hand clap, all trying to crush Link. With enough space, his movements are not difficult to dodge. When defeated, the boss smacked down one last rhythm and then dissolved into shadows.

Standout Moments

The Mid Level Sub Boss was not difficult to defeat, but was horrible to look at. It’s called a Dead Hand, and it seems out of place in Ocarina of Time. Dead Hand puts The Shadow Temple and the sub-level before it (the infamous “Bottom of the Well”) into a far darker territory.

A ship carries Link through a part of the temple called the “Valley of the Dead”. I was reminded of the story of Orpheus, who venture into the underworld to rescue his partner Eurydice. Including this boat in the Shadow Temple adds another layer to myths and legends referenced throughout this game. Orpheus had significant musical talent, according to the myth. It makes sense then, that Link acts out part of the myth since he plays the ocarina the game is named after.

Seven Temples in Seven Days – 3

Temple 3. Water Temple

A brief description:

I’m completing all seven temples in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Masterquest in seven days. These are the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Spirit, Light, and Time Temples, which serve as different levels to complete within the game, the final goal being to save Hyrule. The game uses the number seven with themes of growing up, and The Hero’s Journey, just like the Harry Potter books.

Impressions

Of all the temples I’ve played through so far, I enjoyed the design and layout of the Water Temple the most. Getting inside, however, was a challenge because the entrance is at the bottom of a lake. To reach it, Link needs some special equipment: a blue tunic that allows him to breath underwater, and some interesting footwear called Iron Boots, which allow him to sink to the lake floor.

A towering, underwater pagoda in tall a cavern dominates the temple centre. branching hallways and spacious rooms with waterfalls and rivers are paved with cerulean tiles, or built from dark blue stone. The blue colour palette is pleasing to look at, and helps stop this temple being a drudge. The odd dragon statues that turn up are also well animated and interesting to look at.

The Boss

There was no creature waiting in the bosses room: only a pool filled with very blue water. This water, however, turns out to be a alive – essentially living water animated by micro organisms. Specifically, an Amoebe called Morpha, which is a giant red nucleus that controls water. The boss of the Water Temple is water itself. I was reminded strongly of the Doctor Who special The Waters of Mars, where the Doctor fought off an attack of living water. The Doctor said “water always wins”, and that raises a question: is Morpha is really gone? The water vanishes after the battle, Morpha’s nucleus was destroyed, but it could return.

Standout Moments

As mentioned, the Zoras dwell in the waters of Hyrule. Their princess, Ruto, appears in the temple to help Link. She is infatuated with him and insists that they are to be married. This is a fantasy though, as Ruto can tell that Link has feelings for Princess Zelda. Link’s romantic interest in Princess Zelda is explored for the first time here. Link romancing Ruto would be a little bit like a Star Trek relationship, but an interesting alternative to the hero saving the princess.

Link also fights Shadow link, a dark copy of himself, and the toughest Mid Level Sub Boss so far, even harder than Iron Knuckle. Dark Link flawlessly replicates all Link’s attacks, and can disappear into the water. The battle takes place on a tiny island in a white lake with a single dead tree. The lake faded away after the battle into a blue room. It felt like the Holo Deck, which is the second Star Trek reference I’ve seen here, possible brought on by reading the recent Star Trek Doctor Who crossover.

Seven Temples in Seven Days – 2

Temple 2. Fire Temple

A brief description:

I’m completing all seven temples in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Masterquest in seven days. These are the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Spirit, Light, and Time Temples, which serve as different levels to complete within the game, the final goal being to save Hyrule. The game uses the number seven with themes of growing up, and The Hero’s Journey, just like the Harry Potter books.

Impressions

It’s impossible to go inside this place without wearing a heat resistant red tunic. This is because it’s built in a volcano. Where else would a fire temple be? Exploring the sprawling lava pits and ruins strewn throughout the temple make this place worth hacking through, even if it feels like the vast majority of the fire temple is a stiffing drudge through a never ending series of brown rooms.

There is a labyrinth room where the player is able to climb up on top of the walls, and see the entire maze layout beneath them as they jump from wall to wall. It was good fun to have this moment of parkour platforming.

The Boss

So we learn a bit more about the antagonist Ganon here: not only is he cruel and narcissistic (making a phantom copy of himself as mentioned yesterday) but it seems he really wanted a pet dragon, to the extent that he resurrected a legendary one named Volvagia, which died generations ago. Ganon’s a little bit like Viserys Targaryen from the Game of Thrones books and HBO series: he wants the power of a dragon to cement his command of the kingdom.

Ganon’s plan this time is to feed a race of relatively peaceful but rough characters called the Gorons to the dragon as a deterrent to anyone else who might think about rebelling against him. Since Volvagia has a legendary reputation, it’s a shame that the battle is not that challenging. When defeated, he crumbles into bones that fall to the cavern floor. I thought for a second if Ganon had spent hours or days collecting up all the dragon bones when he first went looking for Volvagia: did he want a pet dragon that much?

Standout Moments

In one room, a knight was sitting on a throne made of bricks, waiting for challengers. Its name is the Iron Knuckle, and fighting it was the most intense Mid Level Sub-Boss so far. After several blows with the Master Sword, he drops a piece of armor, and then stars moving faster. I really enjoyed this mechanic: it forces the player to change tactics in the middle of the battle.

Link’s job is to rescue the Gorons, and he has some help from the Goron leader, Darunia, who named Link his sworn brother after Link saved the Goron’s from starvation in an adventure early in the game. Other characters have called Link a hero many times now, but this is where the gameplay and the narrative actually made the player feel like a hero. It was a great feeling saving the Gorons from prison. But it’s not just a rescue of some cute side characters in distress: the Gorons are Link’s family now, and this temple is about saving your brothers from Ganon’s pet dragon.

Seven Temples in Seven Days – 1

Temple 1. Forest Temple

A brief description:

I’m completing all seven temples in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Masterquest in seven days. These are the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, Spirit, Light, and Time Temples, which serve as different levels to complete within the game, the final goal being to save Hyrule. The game uses the number seven with themes of growing up, and The Hero’s Journey, just like the Harry Potter books.

Impressions

The first thing I notice about the forest temple is the sounds. There are no chirping crickets or rustling leaves. This temple is quiet and moody, with an eerie soundtrack. The colour scheme is dark green (surprise) being a forest temple, with a generous amount of grey stone like a Quake dungeon. This has the unfortunate effect of making every room except the twisted hallway, and the castle courtyard dull to the point of mind numbing: paving the way for various monsters to catch you off guard.

This temple is full of monsters: spiders that drop from the ceiling, giant zombie hands called Floormasters that also fall from the ceiling (there’s a pattern here), and five very tricky ghosts – one of these is the final boss, and is very tricky indeed. The other four are not terribly strong, but they have stolen the keys to the boss’s room: some of them even hide behind more powerful monsters as you go about the temple and take back the keys.

The Boss

The final boss, Phantom Gannon, was a well structured battle. The gameplay demanded good timing of Link’s sword swings to reflect his magic back at him. It was like wizards playing tennis, where magic bolts of energy were served instead of fuzzy balls. This phantom had some great prowess with magic, and had the ability to walk into paintings, and run around the landscapes within the portraits that surrounded the arena. Despite all these powers, when he lost to Link, it was revealed that Gannon created him, and has the power to banish him to the “gap between dimensions”. A very sad end for a worthy boss.

Standout Moments

I would say the best parts of this temple were the twisted corridors: after hitting a switch it was like running down the inside of a spiral sea shell. the perfectly rectangle shape corridor was twisted up. It was a trip. Emerging into the atrium at the middle of the temple was incredible. I could almost feel the fresh air after walking into a castle courtyard, seeing that the forest temple was actually a castle complete with vine covered battlements. I wondered who used to live here before it was claimed by the forest.