Majora’s Mask Dungeons: Woodfall Temple

Axle the BeastOctober 23rd, 2012 by Axle the Beast

Well, I asked you guys which game you wanted me to review the dungeons from next, and while it seemed like it was pretty close between Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess, I figured I’d at least start Majora’s Mask for October and when I’m done move on to Twilight Princess. So first up is, as always, the first dungeon of the game: Woodfall Temple.

Some of the Zelda games with the best opening dungeons are the ones where the player goes through the introductory and tutorial portions long before ever getting to the first dungeon, and that’s the case with Majora’s Mask. Instead of the intro area leading into the first dungeon, Woodfall Temple is located at the end of the first of the game’s main regions, which is visited after completing the introduction entirely. As a result, Woodfall Temple, while still being by far the easiest of the dungeons, is far from a tutorial dungeon. In comparison to Ocarina of Time, I’d rate its difficulty just below the Forest Temple but above any of the Child Link dungeons.

Woodfall Temple can feel pretty basic, but I don’t mean that in a negative way like I have in the past. Woodfall Temple is another “forest temple”, being a stone structure filled with plants and other things to fit the forest setting and even having the Bow as its dungeon item, but it has a lot of unique elements to set it apart from the Forest Temple of Ocarina of Time, as well. Filled with poisonous water, lily pads and Deku Flowers for Deku Link to navigate with, and torch puzzles complicated by darkness and hostile moths, the dungeon ends up being very, very unique.

There are no puzzles that are mind-benders in this dungeon, nor are there any battles you ought to spend hours doing. Majora’s Mask is a very challenging game all in all, but Woodfall Temple is definitely its most forgiving dungeon, which befits the first of the game; even with new hazards and objects to interact with, there aren’t any parts of the dungeon that are designed in such a way as to completely stump the player. All Bow-related puzzles are familiar and mostly reused from the Forest Temple of Ocarina of Time, and everything feels “basic”. But again, a degree of familiarity or at least ease of understanding is crucial for the first dungeon of the game, whether it’s a tutorial or not. As a result, Woodfall Temple functions perfectly in this role. It marks the only dungeon of the game that I managed to complete without a walkthrough ages ago on my first playthrough, which is pretty significant because I pretty much had to play the game with a walkthrough in hand not long after completing this dungeon. But conquering this dungeon without help was still a challenge and one of my fondest gaming memories as a kid.

Similar things can be said about its Stray Fairy sidequest. Like every other dungeon in the game, Woodfall Temple has a number of Stray Fairies to collect in order to earn an optional prize from a Great Fairy. In keeping with the difficulty of the dungeon, these are definitely the easiest Stray Fairies to collect, and while you will still have to put some effort into finding them all, I also managed to find most if not all the Stray Fairies in this one without any additional help on my first run. One can only be collected after the poison water is purified within the dungeon, which happens upon getting the large central wooden flower to spin; interesting that this causes a change in the entire dungeon that is only used for one optional collectible. The prize is a magical upgrade to your Spin Attack — the same one from Ocarina of Time — which is another relatively basic aspect of this dungeon.

Thematically the dungeon is also “basic”, again being a forest-themed but otherwise somewhat generic stone temple. That said, it still has a lot of unique elements to make it feel different from other dungeons. Carvings of creatures and symbols abound in this dungeon, depicting Deku, moths, and all kinds of other things, making the dungeon feel truly tribal. Cementing that is the dungeon’s music, filled with chanting and singing of the same nature; almost Native American-sounding. The dungeon feels like a forest, feels tribal, and feels decidedly Deku, but it also feels like a swamp. Its forest theme is bent just enough and complemented with the water throughout, giving it the distinct sense of a swamp within a building, tying it together with the entire swamp region.

Finally, that brings us to the battles. Familiarizing the player with the norm for the rest of the game once more, Woodfall Temple has multiple mini-bosses. Two in this case: A Dinolfos and the Gekko. The Dinolfos can be tricky if unprepared (especially with its fire breath) but is otherwise familiar to anyone who’s fought the Lizalfos or Dinolfos from Ocarina of Time. The Gekko is very easy, even when he mounts the Snapper turtle, but is still a fun character despite being a total jerk and an enjoyable fight.

So what could be the boss of such a basic yet interesting dungeon? When I first played the game, I was expecting a large moth, in keeping with the moth hazards. I figured it was a fittingly scarce yet prominent aspect of the dungeon that could relate the boss, a fact which I thought was true when I walked into the boss chamber and saw a giant depiction of a moth on the well. But nope! Another tribal part of the dungeon!

This fierce jungle warrior is one of the strangest bosses of the series in my opinion, because of how normal he is. He’s just a large tribal dude in a mask. This makes him weird both because of the other bosses in both Majora’s Mask and the series in general, which are typically monsters, but also because he’s giant along with being otherwise normal. He’s interesting, too, because he dances and chants while attacking with his sword, but later in the battle his strange chanting invokes walls of fire that trap you, and both moths and large insects to kill you (at least I was right that moths relate to the boss!). It’s a very hectic battle with a lot going on.

Odolwa is, once more, both the game’s most basic boss and a very interesting one. Odolwa is mostly fought with Link’s human form, instead of a transformation mask like with the other bosses, but while other bosses in the game have alternate means of hurting them, Odolwa seems to have no particularly intended method at all. You can approach him cautiously and attack him with your sword. You can stun him with the bow (which makes the battle very easy). You can use the Bomb Flowers ringing the arena to attack Odolwa or his insects. You can try to close in on him from above with Deku Link, or take advantage of Deku Link’s immunity to the moths he summons. There’s countless ways to take out Odolwa, and as a result he is, in my opinion, the series’ most diverse boss fight. With no right way to take him on, the battle can end up being completely different every time you fight him. He is my favorite boss of Majora’s Mask.

Finally, with the boss out of the way, you teleport to the only instance in the game of a room in the dungeon that is only visited after defeating the boss, where you rescue the Deku Princess and then leave.

All in all, an excellent dungeon. Basic, yet fresh and memorable, and with a boss fight that ought to leave a lasting impression (as all of them should), Woodfall Temple is a favorite of the series for me. I don’t believe it beats the Forest Temple from Ocarina of Time, nor do I think Odolwa trumps Ghirahim from Skyward Sword as a boss, but they are still excellent and worthy of much praise. Possibly the series’ best first dungeon — but certainly one of the best — it’s an excellent way to start off Majora’s Mask, setting up the rest of the game flawlessly.

But tell me what you think of Woodfall Temple! Is it great? Is it boring? Does it serve its role well? Did you enjoy Odolwa and the dungeon’s other challenges? Tell me in the comments, and look forward to next week when I review the Snowhead Temple!

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  • Anonymous

    I really liked the tribal chanting in the music. It felt like I was invading a ritual that Odolwa was in the middle of. I agree with you that it is an excellent dungeon!

  • faror

    This just made me
    more excited!!!!!!!!!! I’m getting this game for my b-day next month!

  • Hawkins

    This was probably my least favorite dungeon in the entire game; nevertheless, it was still quite fun to play! Excellent article, by the way!

  • MajorasRage

    Can’t wait until you review the Stone Tower temple =)

    • Amins

      I can’t wait until he reviews the Great Bay Temple x)

      • Midna’s Sister

        I can’t wait until be reviews Arbiter’s Grounds =D

  • faror

    Dear axle, your
    articles are always my favorite!

    • crb

      he has his own website just look in the description in some of his articles and you’ll find a link

    • IMFWeirdo

      I agree. Especially the dungeon analysis articles, they’re an absolute joy to read! Lol, I’ve got a life… XD

  • Mseevers95

    I am odolwa… Odalawa… Odel….

    BILL!

    • Roth

      SHASHALASHKA!

  • Blakenator

    It’s nice that you mentioned what you did about the boss battle. Honestly, I was scared half out of my mind because I was so used to the traditional one-way take down boss style and Odolwa did not follow it at all. It was one of the best boss battles in the series and I always laugh when I think about him.

  • JuicieJ

    The Woodfall Temple is one of the few dungeons in the series that I would consider to have no pervasive issues in its design, minor or otherwise. While I wouldn’t place it in my Top 10 list, I would definitely consider it to be one of the best opening dungeons I’ve experienced so far, only being outdone by the Skyview Temple and *maybe* Dragon Roost Cavern. Oldolwa is also one of favorite bosses in gaming period. The amount of variety in the ways he can be defeated is astounding, and the amount of action in the fight is breathtaking. Overall, this is without a doubt a great dungeon.

  • The Wanderer

    I sucked at Zelda so much way back in the day that it took me probably over a month and meticulous use of a walkthrough just to make it to the Woodfall Temple. Ah, the memories….

    The Woodfall Temple actually scared the bejeezes out of me when I first played it (probably around age ten). Most of the temple is dark, and a haunting theme plays all throughout it, appropriately making it feel like an ancient, cursed place that doesn’t welcome you. The first time I entered the dungeon, I basically stopped and stared for a few minutes, unwilling to progress forward. I love it.

    Odolwa was also a hard boss for me, but again, I sucked at Zelda. Most of us are used to “Perform A to open up B, and exploit B to finish with C.” Odolwa’s non-linear nature was so different that I suspect I wasn’t the only one having trouble with him. It’s the kind of boss I’d like to see again in the future (although Ghirahim did somewhat take after this role).

    • dungeonmaster

      No dungeon welcomes you. They’re filled with murderous monsters whose only command is to kill a 10 year old in green tights. Or adult in green tights. The outside world is much kinder than the dungeons.

  • Jam9t3

    Yes! Now you’ve moved onto the temples in Majoras Mask! I cant wait for the Stone Tower Temple. Back to the topic, I think that Woodfall was one of the levels I had to just stop and scratch my head in, but it was still very interesting, and whenever I accidentally fell into the pit of those ‘black fuzz-ball monsters’ I used to get the shivers and run for the ladder! Those things are lurking down there watching your every move and ever so ready to pounce at you when the time is right, it creeps me out.

    • npatoray24

      I was going to say that too! those black fuzzy things used to scare the junk out of me when i was little…. lol i always liked this dungeon, but i prefer snowhead out of all of the ones in MM

  • EOTW

    Ah yes, Woodfall Temple. This was a really awesome dungeon. My favorite part was when you had to hit the ice-covered eye by shooting an arrow through the torch on the spinning platform. You would go around, miss by *this* much, then get to do it all over again! Twenty times! Ah, the memories.

    • ColdRadio

      The sarcasm is strong with this one.

  • Roth

    Last time I played, I was out of arrows when I fought Odolwa, and this certainly prolonged the fight. I discovered I could stun him with my handful Deku sticks and then slash him. Also, nothing beats dealing the final blow by shooting through him from a Deku flower when he twirls at you. Odolwa is a prime example of how a boss should be done.

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  • Gaseous Snake

    Am I the only one who found the chanting really annoying?

  • JeredenDonnar

    I never made it past this dungeon as a kid, i got scared out of my wits with the moths and chanting and the dark and the fact that I had no idea where to go in this (to me) labrynthian temple. Literally, Temple. i really like the way they made it look like some type of tribal religious center. It was also really cool to see it rise out of the swamp, awakened from its deep slumber. it really fit the whole mood of the southern swamp (which was always my favorite to explore, I don’t know why) and set up the dekus as a race and showed us their way of life. It was also strange how much it looked like the first very rooms from the initial chase sequence (where you’re trying to catch skull kid). Could it be that the areas were for some reason connected?

  • Ninja Stud

    Well I’m on my way to MM have to beat wind waker and OoT first…

  • Wes

    pretty basic article.

  • 7DS

    I found this temple fun but didn’t seem to serve the higher purpose of Majora’s Mask

  • http://www.facebook.com/christen.oddson Christen Oddson

    I like the woodfall temple in itself but I could never stand the music, it always kinda creeped me out so it’s the only dungeon that I mute the sound on when I play.

  • Neutopia

    I thought that Woodfall was definitely a great starting dungeon for the game, not too easy, not too hard, and it’s beautiful, and extremely memorable, great article, also you should do A Link To The Past dungeons at some point, that would be awesome! :D

  • OcarinistOfTime

    I’m a big fan of your’s and I love your dungeon reflections. (I know you’re doing Twilight Princess next but I’d love to hear your opinions on the WW temples, my favorite zelda game after OoT). While I hated the Deku Link transformation I have to say Woodfall was my favorite temple in Majora’s Mask. I think it was trying to give a haunted feeling as a shout out to the OoT Forest Temple but since it’s just implied instead of blatantly stated it gives a more eerie feeling. It’s a wonderful dungeon that tops off the Southern Swamp perfectly, the Southern Swamp felt like a dungeon to me in itself. By the time I’d awakened the temple during my first playthrough I was already mid-way through the 3rd day, so having to restart for this temple makes it stand out in my mind a little more personally.

  • LinkonthRink

    Good Review, good fun little temple, love Odolwa. Ah the Snowhead Temple next. Though I have only played a handfull of Zelda games, I found it to be by far the most miserable temple. Just brutal. Interested in what Axle says about it, that temple set me back years!

  • frgovo

    You know what’s funny? I’ve already beaten Odolwa several times, and I still have to understand *what* the developers wanted us to do with it. Every time I battle it in a different way (random slashes/defend and attack pattern, care/don’t care about the moths it summons, spammed/timed use of the bow…).

    As for the rest, even for a basic dungeon, it displayed all the graphical enhancements it could (stairways, dark rooms… obviously everything functional to gameplay and/or atmosphere). I could only argue that some of the torches to be lit with the bow needed almost more precision than the N64 could offer (also, the fact the spike of the arrow was not aligned with the target didn’t help).

  • Dungeon Crawler

    Yes, I was really, really hoping for this. Can’t wait to read.

  • Midna’s Sister

    Onward, yes. TP next! Anyway, everything said is true. It is awesome and really well-layed out.

  • BlackRaven6695

    Woodfall Temple is a cool dungeon. It’s a little bland, but I consider this a good thing for a first dungeon. It focuses more on broad gameplay mechanics than the more specifically themed later dungeons. A good way to start the game. And Gekko! Man, I love that guy!

  • ZeldaGames1095

    I beat the Woodfall Temple on my own acctually. One of the only temples i beat on my own.

    • Aaron hill

      i did all the dungeons on my own but it took forever

  • http://twitter.com/Popje667 Sean Gaffney

    YAY!!!! AXLE THE BEAST! WHAT IS AN AXLE THE BEAST ANYWAY????

  • http://twitter.com/Popje667 Sean Gaffney

    Woodfall is one of my least favorite dungeons (my first least favorite being the water temple). It could use some changes, and I hate the boss!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ongyuhann Ong Yu Hann

    I’m curious, did I perform a glitch? When facing odolwa, I somehow managed to kill it extremely quickly, only using two bombs, if I recall correctly…

    • http://www.facebook.com/ongyuhann Ong Yu Hann

      And few sword strikes, and no arrows

  • http://twitter.com/YellowDinosaur2 Yellow Dinosaur

    I loved the Woodfall temple. I played it when i was quite young and it
    scared the hell out of me. I thought Odowalda was terrifying, with all
    of its weird jumping around and dancing. I also thought the music
    was….just……scary as hell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LuisDarkjedi Luis Alvarez

    the dungeon was so easy but Odolwa scared me the first time cause I didn’t know what was going on with him

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