Ocarina of Time Dungeons: Spirit Temple

Axle the BeastOctober 2nd, 2012 by Axle the Beast

We’re nearly done with the dungeon reviews for Ocarina of Time. The Spirit Temple is the last of the game’s main dungeons, located in the Desert Colossus past Gerudo Valley, the only locations in the game you’re never driven to visit until it’s time to handle their temple; every other region is visited earlier in the game as Child Link. This means that there is no sense of rediscovery with the Spirit Temple. You aren’t finding an important dungeon hidden in a previously visited, familiar area. This is new territory, and they go to some length with the design of the Haunted Wasteland to make it feel like it’s “at the end of the world” in every sense. Being found at the literal edge of the game world, separated by a mazelike, low-visibility wasteland, has that effect on a location.

From what I’ve seen, the Spirit Temple is actually a really popular dungeon amongst Ocarina of Time fans, and I guess I can see why. It’s epic, it’s long, and it’s got a lot of cool puzzles. You can even tell that the development team liked it, because a sequence from it can be found among the game demonstrations that play if you wait on the title screen. Me personally, I was never crazy about it, I guess just because it wasn’t that unusual or unique, just a cool-looking straightforward dungeon with some fresh puzzles; I thought the Forest Temple and Water Temple were more striking all in all. Where it did strike me, however, was in its music and its story presentation.

The song that plays in the Spirit Temple is a particularly epic one. Not my favorite but I can see why it would be someone else’s. Very majestic, mysterious, and beautiful, but also a little sinister or dangerous. It’s very fitting for the final area, and its Egyptian sound fits the desert. The visual design of the dungeon works with the song and the surrounding region very well, and it has some really unique rooms that look a lot different than anything you’d see in another dungeon. While I feel the dungeon was less atmospheric — or perhaps less subtle would be a better way to say it — than the Forest or Water Temples, it’s certainly no less original.

The dungeon’s layout involves solving a lot of puzzles to advance, requiring a total of two dungeon items — if you count the Child Link portion’s prize of the Silver Gauntlets — to clear it. Spread throughout are many tricky enemies and health-draining traps, which help to give the dungeon a feel reminiscent of an Egyption tomb, a place that guards secrets with traps and curses. I think this concept could have been taken farther, because the dungeon still feels very traditional in terms of how the rooms are laid out in the overall design, but it’s a nice touch, and the dungeon is a fun experience as a result. It’s challenging but never too frustrating, and its design is much more forgiving to those who need to retreat to refill their bottles than the Shadow Temple was, because it does have a central area even if you go far away from it often.

Side note: If you ever used Fire Arrows or Din’s Fire on the Anubis enemies, then I disown you. You just robbed yourself of a fun little puzzle!

Like I said before, I think where the Spirit Temple really excels is in its story and presentation. It is the most directly plot-relevant dungeon of Ocarina of Time, containing a story that ties directly into Ganondorf’s backstory. The desert region is the home of Ganondorf and his people, so it’s fitting that you never visit it until the end of the game when the confrontation with Ganondorf is nigh. And then you gain some insight into what his homeland is like, what his relationship with it was like, and how things have gone in his absence. This story is depicted somewhat in Gerudo Valley, but it’s shown the most in and immediately outside the Spirit Temple itself.

Within the Spirit Temple you meet and conspire with Nabooru as Child Link, after which you proceed to do a short Child Link section of the Spirit Temple that’s in some ways like a mini-dungeon. Then Nabooru is taken by Ganondorf’s brainwashing witches, and Nabooru herself is fought as a brainwashed Iron Knuckle at the conclusion of the dungeon, before the Twinrova are finally confronted and their relationship with Ganondorf — being his surrogate mothers — is revealed.

This is one of the earliest examples in the series of a dungeon with a story that unfolds in its midst, the only one predating it being Thieves’ Town/Gargoyle’s Domain from A Link to the Past with its Blind subplot. Others would follow, like many of the dungeons in Twilight Princess, but the Spirit Temple is one of the rare ones that deals with the main story of the game (hinting at Ganondorf’s origins) instead of just a region’s self-contained story. Either way, it’s an interesting way of doing a dungeon, and it makes the Spirit Temple a lot cooler.

The Twinrova battle is also a fun one, boasting excellent buildup with the witches’ various appearances up until that point, and good presentation with the lines they utter while their awesome theme song plays just before the battle begins:

“With my flame, I will burn him to the bone!”

“With my frost, I will freeze him to his soul!”

(I really, really, really like these lines!)

The battle itself is a fun one. Nothing terribly special but a good, basic use of the Mirror Shield. On the other hand, while they can be repetitive at times, I love the Iron Knuckle mini-boss fights throughout the dungeon. There are three in total, and they are such cool enemies that I have to love them. Epic Iron Knuckles for the mini-bosses, and freaky plot-relevant witches with more personality than most bosses in the series for the main dungeon boss; the Spirit Temple has good foes.

So all in all the Spirit Temple is a very solid dungeon that has an excellent place in the story, consistent storytelling within, and excellent presentation. It’s a little less atmospheric and more basic and direct than some of the game’s other dungeons, but it makes up for that by being visually unique, having great puzzle design, and an awesome song. A worthy “final destination” before Link takes the fight to Ganondorf.

But be sure to tell me what you thought about the Spirit Temple! And be sure to check back next week for the final entry in the series, Ganon’s Castle!

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  • person

    a very good but unremarkable dungeon

  • VikzeLink

    Will you continue with this “Article Series”? And will you do it for ALL the games?

    • RedCyclone

      Please don’t. I prefer he doesn’t ruin my favorite game with his stupid opinions.

      • GhostLink

        Then don’t read the articles…

        • Guest

          Agreed^

      • JuicieJ

        And we’d prefer you not to comment on articles with pointless and insulting comments.

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      Yes, though I don’t know if it will be right away.

  • zeldafever98

    first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ted Nindo

    One of my favorite dungeons of OoT! Loved it when Link had to line up the mirrorstatues through the broken walls. The misterious soundtrack fits very well and gives the temple an extra mystical touch. Twinrova bosses were very well thought of, once you know how to damage them, it’ s fun and challenging.

  • zeldafever98

    axle what would you say is your pesonal favourite dungeon in ocarina of time. i know you think the forest temple is the best but what’s the one you personally enjoy the most?

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      Forest Temple in that case as well. It’s not my favorite dungeon of the series, but it is for Ocarina of Time.

      • ET34

        What’s your favorite in the seiries?

        • JuicieJ

          What is the best dungeon in Majora’s Mask? (That’s your answer.)

        • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

          Stone Tower Temple from Majora’s Mask.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.comfort Timothy James Comfort

    I always look forward to reading these articles! Thanks so much for continuing to post these. :D

  • Amnis

    I like how the desert themed temples/dungeons are the most treacherous and mysterious. Great articule Alex :)

  • Person

    I loved the Spirit Temple, it kinda reminds me of Snowpeak Ruins from Twilight Princess with its separate portions (but I like Spirit Temple better). I don’t really have a favorite dungeon so I can’t say it’s my favorite, but it’s pretty high up there. . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/jweatherup Jeffrey Weatherup

    What about the mechanics of the Mirror Shield (and general mirrors) throughout the dungeon? I thought that was one of the coolest elements; quite different from some of the other items in the game, and really made you use not only your eyes, but overall powers of observation to actually notice objects/surfaces which required sunlight. I also loved the rotating mirrors built into the snake statues. I loved that part because it’s reminiscent of the theory that the ancient Egyptians used mirrors to light the tombs.

  • Monarch

    Please do Twilight Princess next!

    • Mseevers95

      Actually I think Majora’s Mask would be next.

      • baileygirl99

        Your right…even though I haven’t played MM yet, it would probably be best to do MM right after OoT…

      • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

        It probably will be, but realize I jumped from SS to OoT. :P

    • frgovo

      What about something outside the main series instead? The Oracles, maybe, or the DS episodes…

      • OracleofSages

        I’d love so see some of the handheld games reviewed too, but I think it would be a lot more difficult for axle to write full articles on the 2D dungeons, simply because they have significantly less atmosphere and story to them than their 3D counterparts.

    • IMFWeirdo

      I second this! Although I have a feeling Axle has more negative things to say about TP dungeons…These articles are awesome, now I really, really want to play OoT 3D (haven’t played the original, I know, I’m deprived XD). The variety in the dungeon’s themes is absolutely striking, they’ve covered so many different atmospheres and cultures…ehrmergerd Zelda <3

  • http://twitter.com/koen12345678 koen

    the spirit temple is awesome because it is scary but not too scary but i think the first temple in zelda wiiU will kick ass

    • The Murph

      speaking of that game, is that honestly what they are gonna call the game, just Zelda WiiU, what an utter failure for a Zelda name, what happened to good epic titles??

  • stupidsyrup97

    This is my favorite dungeon in the series. And it’s actually one of my fastest in the game. I don’t find it very long at all. I always have save and quit in the Water Temple but I always finish this one right away. I think this was a great review of this dungeon. Great job, Axle.

  • JuicieJ

    Never been a fan of the Spirit Temple to be honest. I find it rather bland and tasteless for the most part. Yeah, it feels like a temple in the desert, but… that’s just it. That’s all there is to it. There isn’t much cleverness in the design and the scenery is just a lot of square rooms and tan walls. Twinrova is also a lame boss fight in my opinion. I fight a boss to, well, fight a boss, not to sit there and half-heartedly reflect its attacks back at them. It’s not a bad concept — I mean, look at Phantom Ganon — but the way it was done with Twinrova was just mediocre and shoddily put together to me.

    I did like the Iron Knuckles, though. They were pretty cool. That’s about all I have to say in the realm of positive things, though. A rather anti-climactic conclusion to the main dungeons of the game if you ask me.

  • Lydia Shepherd

    I love the spirit temple but I do prefer the water temple. I love the whole feel of the temple and the music is awesome!

  • http://twitter.com/EzioAuditoreAC2 Ezio Auditore

    i hate his articles

    • SabreFencer

      As much as I hold the Assassins Creed series to a very high standard, that was a little uncalled for.

      • Hello I am the ChuChu

        Both comments there yours were a lot uncalled for! Ezio Auditoire, keep your rudeness to yourself, a lot of us love Axle’s article. And to Axle…uh…what was that all about? I mean, has somebody stolen your account or something? And as a response to that…What?

        Oh, and Twinrova is just disturbing(see the Top 16 Most Disturbing article for details, I just don’t want to repeat it here!). Despite the creepo surrogate mommies of our least favourite Gerudo and really misplaced cooments, I hold both Axle the Beast and the Spirit Temple to a high degree.
        jjl;ljkkljkljoikjoijkojimouoijk, I love doing that! Yuu should try jumping on the-oh. You’re not a Chuchu, are you?

        • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

          I thought it was a clever response. His username is Ezio from Assassin’s Creed II, so I say Altair from AC1 was cooler. :P

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      Altair was so much cooler.

      • http://twitter.com/EzioAuditoreAC2 Ezio Auditore

        im sorry but every article or video i see of yours its always the same thing: i liked it but it would be so much cooler if this was here… or something like that and nothing is ever good enough for you

  • SilverSloth

    Master Quest Spirit Temple…. the game designers went wild on that one

    • Demise (aka Name)

      I love the room with the two gold skultullas and Iron Knuckle that you can fight an unlimited number of times… I just love fighting it again and again!! I wish the next games had a place where you can battle every singel enemy, kinda like the boss reviving in oot3D and the thunder dragon round, but for the enemies. Maybe not ALL enemies, but all miniboss-like enemies, e.g. stallmaster and actual minibosses, e.g. oot dark link. I love fighting dark link, but you can only do so once :(

  • Mseevers95

    Oh my god! These gauntlets don’t JUST give me super strength. They also play copyrighted Disney music when I use them!

    • ET34

      …What?

  • LINKY

    shouldnt the gauntlets allow you to swing your sword a little harder? just a smidge?

    • baileygirl99

      Your right!!! *light bulb*

  • triforce of courage

    You could use fire arrows on the Anubis enemies?! :O Why did I never think of this?

  • frgovo

    I liked the fact Nintendo lightened the atmosphere a little with two of their jokes: the axeless Iron Knuckle (short but memorable) and the witches arguing about their age after being defeated (the only Boss Battle, except for Armogohma’s -and maybe few more-, that doesn’t end on an epic note).

    • BlackRaven6695

      Whether Yeto and Yeta’s hug could be considered an epic ending to a fight or not is tough to call.

      • frgovo

        Right… I forgot to exclude the “heartwarming” endings. Well, even the sum of the funny and heartwarming endings is not very high compared to the traditional boss endings (those with bosses leaving with a threat or dying), is it?

        • Randomness

          I believe Twinrova did both of those… Actually, an empty threat followed by death is pretty common. :P

  • Darkgreyfire

    I did like the fact you used grown up, and child link in one temple. But, after you left the first room, it just seemed ordinary. Then you got to the boss fight with Twinrova, one of my favorite bosses in any zelda, Maybe only second to puppet Gannon from wind waker.

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      I think that’s my main reservation about the dungeon… it’s very straightforward.

  • BlackRaven6695

    I love the Spirit Temple. The atmosphere was very impressive and creepy and on a more profound level than the more conventional creepiness of the other Adult Link Dungeons, except for perhaps the Water Temple. I loved going through the dungeon as both a child and an adult. It seems very fitting for the final dungeon of the game.

    Where I take issue is with the boss. First, they didn’t seemed rather out of place. Why are these very European witches in this otherwise Egyptian area? The boss fight was a bit dull, too. The first phase is cool but in the second phase you just stand on the spot charging your attack up. The boss doesn’t even try to stop you until when she’s almost out of health and starts alternating between fire and ice attacks, which she should have been doing from the very start.

    It may have been a bit dull gameplay-wise, but the whole event was still kind of cool and the Iron Knuckles are just amazing enemies. The negatives of the dungeon far outweigh the positives, for me. It’s my favorite dungeon in the game and possibly my favorite in the series.

  • BR!4N

    This is my favorite dungeon of all time.

  • Sir Quaffler

    While it may not have taxed my mental capacities like some in the series do (particularly the water temples – I find orienting myself in these dungeons to be very exhausting) and while the boss wasn’t the hardest (Bongo Bongo was much harder for me and is the only one to this day who still gives me trouble), this dungeon is my favorite in regards to story and general atmosphere. While the Forest and Water Temple were indeed very atmospheric, they were so in a very subtle way; this one felt so much more upfront and spirited (hehe) to me, almost oppressively so. Favorite dungeon of OoT and among my favorites of the series!

    • Dude876

      I have problems with the Twin Rovas, because they just take a while to actually kill….. Bongo Bongo I can defeat in about a minute and a half. For me, the Water Temple is easy unlike everyone says, so I am confused on that one. Forest Temple was my favorite, because of the atmosphere and the enemies. Though good reflections over all!

  • zombie_eat_flesh

    If I stood under the shadow of the Desert Colossus, would my ceiling start talking to me and telling me to kill 16 giants to revive my girlfriend?

  • Guest

    Probably my favorite dungeon in OoT. It was the perfect conclusion to the dungeons in that game, from both a gameplay and story perspective; it had obstacles and challenges that encompassed all your skills and thus highlighted how far you’ve come in your journey, and you now needed to trek deep into the land of Ganondorf’s birth. I thought it was quite beautiful how the developers connected Link’s childhood with adulthood in the Spirit Temple. If you really think about it, it takes you seven years to completely progress through the place, bringing the whole concept of time to the forefront. Beyond that, the Spirit Temple is just legitimately fun and brilliantly designed–I never once thought any area of it was a chore to get through. Add a crazy-fun boss battle with Ganondorf’s surrogate mothers, memorable theme music, and a carefully crafted layout, and I believe this dungeon easily qualifies as one of the best in the entire series.

    • Gaseous Snake

      I agree. I also think that this could be the model for many more dungeons.

  • Abyssal_Shadows

    This was an awesome dungeon, and I loved the music and the atmosphere it created. I do find it odd how “everybody” plays this main temple last … I always do it before the shadow temple, just for the gauntlets and the mirror shield, as it does look incredibly badass with the Goron’s tunic :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/alec.b.stevens Alec Bradford Stevens

      I always play it after the Shadow Temple but now I am playing it on the 3DS and I am doing it before the Shadow Temple. I can’t tell if I like it this way or not.

  • baileygirl99

    I realized something…Kotake AND Koume are somehow BOTH Ganondorf’s mothers…how is that??????
    I LOVED the Twinrova battle! It’s so much fun (and easy) and it uses the mirror shield VERY well.

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  • The Wanderer

    I used to use the Fire Arrows and Din’s Fire on the Anubis when I was little. Now I view them as a cunning little puzzle and refuse to take the easy way out. Please don’t disown me, Axle.

    I always liked the return to the Spirit Temple as an adult, as it always gave me a slight amp in adrenaline. Nabooru gets kidnapped by Twinrova, and you return with more power, knowledge, and the Silver Gauntlets to clean up and take care of business. Kind of an epic entrance, or at least I felt it was.

    Twinrova was kind of easy, ironically more so when they fuse into one. It was still one of the most interesting fights in the game, and the ending argument cracked me up the first time I saw it.

    I’m looking forward to your future dungeon articles, Axle. They’ve provided much more entertainment than would seem to be on the surface.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aine.harnettlennon Aine Dragon Harnett-Lennon

    You know what I am quite disappointed about in the 3D version?
    I never found the creepy dying soldier n castle town…
    I like the spirit temple though. Although the puzzles weren’t really that challenging I thought it was quite fun.

    • BlackRaven6695

      The dying soldier is in the 3DS version.

  • Neutopia

    I like the Spirit Temple, I’m not amazed by it or anything, definitely not my favorite, I always seem to not like it too much until I’m actually at it, then I enjoy it aha, it’s weird, great article! :P

  • CrazyMidna

    this is my favourite dungeon of ocarina of time, it was just so beautiful and amazing, I don’t know what else to say, twinrova was my favourite boss in the whole game (but I’m amazed by any sort of magic) and ill admit I use din’s fire on Anubis, I can kill them without it, but I’m lazy….. plus I like to get rid of them ASAP because I think they look freaky enough that they could have been in the shadow temple or bottom of well, not saying they don’t suit the spirit temple, all I’m saying is they could have fit in with those temples XD

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