The Hookshot has been a mainstay of Link’s arsenal ever since it first appeared in A Link to the Past, where, like the Longshot upgrade in Ocarina of Time, it was the main item of a water-themed dungeon: The Swamp Palace. Same story when it reappeared in the aquatic Catfish’s Maw in Link’s Awakening. In fact the only version of the regular Hookshot that wasn’t somehow tied to a water area was the one in The Wind Waker, and although it was the item for the Wind Temple, that whole game was kinda filled with water! Weird, huh?
Other variants exist like the Clawshot from the Lakebed Temple in Twilight Princess, of which a second is found in the City in the Sky (the Clawshots reappear in Lanayru Desert in Skyward Sword as well), and the Switch Hook from Oracle of Ages, which switches places with the target instead of pulling you to them. Arguably the Grappling Hook in The Wind Waker, but especially Phantom Hourglass, was also a Hookshot item of sorts.
These different ‘shot items, regardless of their specific mechanics, have been recurring items for a long time now. Needless to say, because of that, they’re familiar to most fans and even come up in discussions about other Zelda topics, like having firearms in Zelda games; they’re referenced to counter the notion that guns are too advanced, because the Hookshot is impossible with modern technology.
So it’s a super-advanced hand-held machine that fires out a hook (where’s the hook???) on a chain and pulls you to stuff. I can dig. But which one is the best?
Honestly, I have no preference really. I’ve enjoyed all the variants and would love to see new ones. I’ve tried to devise my own special Hookshots for fangame ideas in the past. A “Spearshot” that can pierce objects and hurt enemies? A “Snakeshot” that can curve and weave in the air? I think seeing more things like the Switch Hook would be awesome, especially if they function as improved upgrades to the regular Hookshot, like the Longshot was. But that’s just me, and I definitely don’t want to see the absence of the regular Hookshot.
I did think that the Clawshots shouldn’t have been in Skyward Sword and that for once, a new item (the Whip, with its swinging) should have totally replaced the Hookshot for one game… just for the sake of some variety and doing something different. This is what Spirit Tracks did with its whip, and it was nice. Skyward Sword could have done it even cooler in 3D. The reason I like the idea of without the Hookshot for a while is that I like variety in Zelda, even with the standard arsenal of items. But, like I said, I don’t want the Hookshot to go away for very long, and having interesting variants is pretty awesome too.
If I had to pick a favorite, then I’d pick the Grappling Hook from Phantom Hourglass, if it counts. I loved that it was essentially a basic Hookshot, but with a lot of added functionality. It could create tightropes you could walk on, bounce things off, or even use to spring you across gaps or up cliffs. It was a sweet item that I had a lot of fun with, and that really enhanced the puzzle-solving and area navigation in the game, unlike in some other games (cough, The Wind Waker, cough), where all I feel it does is overly simplify navigation.
So how about you? Which is your favorite ‘shot item? Have you seen or played all of the games they can be found in? Do you have any ideas on what Nintendo could or should do with this item? Tell me in the comments!