Favorite Zelda Moments: Entering the Dark World

Sorry about postponing the Great Bay Temple review, but in the meantime I wanted to briefly talk about the first visit (or first couple) to the Dark World in A Link to the Past. I played Ocarina of Time before I played A Link to the Past, but I ended up beating the older game first, so I had very few — if any — expectations of the series at that time. It was a very fun game to me, and I had also yet to become jaded as far as fantasy cliches go, but I was still aware of how straightforward and normal the world was. And then I was on Death Mountain and got whisked away to another place.

Trapped in helpless bunny form and wandering around to a cool tune that I used to prefer over the main Dark World theme (for shame!), I learned that this was a place where people turned into monsters according to what was in their heart. Awesome. Little did I know I would return here later, but alas I did so without acquiring the Moon Pearl, so I was left to wander the Dark World as a bunny once again. Acquiring the Moon Pearl was actually a major trial for me as a gamer that took a lot of wandering around, exploring, and thinking… and even then I didn’t do it alone and probably wasn’t the one to figure it out.

The Moon Pearl is legitimately tricky to acquire thanks to where it’s placed (at least it was for me when I was younger), and the reward for doing so is the larger half of the game and a cool, dangerous world filled with monsters and an awesome song. This was an excellent bit of game design, especially considering the earlier Death Mountain visit to the Dark World is completely random at the time, but foreshadows a major plot point that’s been relevant since before the story started, even if you don’t know it yet. Excellent storytelling, excellent progression, and a cool setting.

Discovering the Dark World for the first time, and venturing into it for real, are both some of my favorite gaming moments of all-time. What about you? How did you feel about the Dark World and its introduction? Got any other favorite moments surrounding these? Tell me in the comments!