Twilight Princess Dungeons: Lakebed Temple

Axle the BeastJanuary 22nd, 2013 by Axle the Beast

Ahh, the Lakebed Temple. This is the water dungeon of Twilight Princess, and the third dungeon in the game. Perhaps I haven’t been around different forums enough, but I don’t ever really seem to hear that much about this dungeon, and when I do, rarely very many positive sentiments. No one seems to really like the Lakebed Temple that much particularly. I think that’s a shame; I like this dungeon quite a bit. I’ve written before about how I think that water dungeons have an unfairly bad reputation, and how I quite liked the infamous Water Temple of Ocarina of Time. The Lakebed Temple is no exception to this, and it’s actually my favorite water dungeon of the 3D Zelda games.

Conceptually, the Lakebed Temple initially comes off as a ripoff of the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time, because they’re both located at the bottom of Lake Hylia. This is very different visually in Twilight Princess, however, as you descend well below where the light shines brightly, descending into the darker depths of the lake and into a small pit where the temple entrance is located. For someone claustrophobic like me, this makes the dungeon pretty creepy right off the bat.

That creepy atmosphere is immediately continued and then carried throughout the entire dungeon by its music. This dungeon music is slow and atmospheric like the rest in the game, but in this case I think it’s absolutely freaking perfect. If there was one word I would use to describe this theme, it would be “pressure”. The song carries a sense of anxiety, certainly, which fits the dungeon well, but there’s more than that. It’s not simply that the music feels dangerous — which it does, but not overpoweringly — but that it feels like it’s weighing on you. The deep sounds and the wooden tinkling give a great impression of unreleased power, of pressure, and this fits the deep, submerged temple perfectly. There’s something dangerous — something unseen but that can still be felt — all around you. Is it only the water? The lighter cords in the song help to brighten it up slightly and give you a sense of the exotic alongside the sense of pressure, but these are heavily interspersed among other sounds, making this reprieve very brief.

The dungeon itself, visually, is fairly straightforward but still manages to be interesting, and does carry the sense of the exotic that pops up periodically in the dungeon’s music. It’s a temple built within a natural underground, underwater cavern. There are stalactites hanging from the ceiling, coral and vines, and the like. But there are also carved and ornate stone walls, stairways, and beautiful contraptions. There’s nothing significantly original here, but there’s a lot of neat ideas that, at least for me, make the dungeon one of the most visually striking in the game. It just feels a little fresh, distinct, and interesting. If I were to think of two words that I feel fit this dungeon’s visual theme, they would be “mermaid palace”. Do not ask me to rationalize that statement; if it doesn’t make sense right away, it’s not going to!

Gameplay-wise, the Lakebed Temple is elaborate and can be tricky, but I haven’t really felt that previous water dungeons — with the possible exception of the Great Bay Temple — were overly hard, so I certainly don’t think so with this one; the Lakebed Temple is of enjoyable difficulty for me, and I think, more so than its predecessors, it doesn’t deserve any of the stigma that water dungeons tend to receive.

This puzzle and navigation centric dungeon has you first simply navigate through a few rooms to its central chamber. From there, it turns you loose on the rest, and you must figure out your way to one of the two main wings of the dungeon. Within these wings, you must locate and open flood gates, that send water along channels in the ground. This flow activates mechanisms and then returns to the main room, where you must typically direct it down the rotating central staircase and into the other wing of the dungeon. The dungeon item, the Clawshot, is largely only used for navigational purposes, though it does tend to be the most, or only, effective weapon against some of the dungeon’s foes. It is nice to see the dungeon make frequent use of an item that isn’t its main one; the dungeon requires frequent use of Bomb Arrows.

The design concept seems confusing, but isn’t that bad once you understand it. The hardest parts are navigating to one of the wings for the first time, and keeping all the changes in the dungeon straight as you activate the flows. Effectively, the dungeon is difficult and mind-bending because of micromanaging. But otherwise, it’s pretty simple, and the more time you spend in it the more sense it makes.

The dungeon itself has a handful of minor flaws. Like the Forest Temple, this dungeon has an abundance of vines that must be climbed, and navigating them takes far too long. There is also a moment or two where the rooms you must navigate while underwater are very small and mazelike, making it very difficult to understand where you are (though this was probably the point and maybe I shouldn’t complain). The worst flaw for me, however, is the optional backtracking. I praise most dungeons in this game for their optional chests, but in this one they just piss me off. Particularly, after opening both of the floodgates, you can go back and acquire a few new treasures back in the first wing, but none of them seemed worth the lengthy trip to me. Especially the meager reward of 50 rupees that you get for trudging all the way back to the top of the room where you activated the first floodgate.

The dungeon certainly doesn’t focus at all on combat, but nonetheless it introduces some worthwhile battles. Lizalfos appear significantly in this dungeon and can be challenging. Several of the other enemies, particularly the underwater menaces, can do a hefty bit of damage to the player if they’re not careful and have yet to acquire the Clawshot. There are a handful of other enemies — the most prominent being the somewhat obnoxious Helmasaurs — but, like I said, they’re not the biggest aspect of this dungeon; most enemies are here to distract and whittle, not to challenge. That said, not paying attention to them over extended periods of time can still deplete Link’s health, and it can be easy to get that distracted while focusing on the puzzles and navigation.

Like all of the dungeons in the game, the Lakebed Temple has a distinct and iconic miniboss. The confusingly-named Deku Toad is one of my favorites. People say it’s disturbing (even Midna is grossed out by it), and I guess it is, but oddly enough it’s never bothered me even though its real-world inspiration, the Surinam toad, has always highly disturbed me. The fight is too easy, as always, but is extremely fun regardless and you can tell the designers had some fun with it. The boss has its own music, and it’s one of my favorites of the game. It fits the battle very well, giving it a sense of power but also of heaps of weirdness.

The dungeon’s main boss, Morpheel, is both one of the best and one of the worst bosses in the game. The beast is certainly impressive, being fought within a titanic, cavernous chamber buried deep below the rest of the dungeon. This water-filled room is nearly black, blocked from all light, and is pretty creepy considering the huge drop you have to make to get to it at the end of the dungeon. After diving to its very bottom, a giant maw opens up like a Sarlacc, and the battle begins as you target its tendrils. The fight plays out very much like that of Morpha from Ocarina of Time, and the reference is obviously intentional. The fight doesn’t feel too unoriginal, however, and is actually one of the best in the game. It tends to take a while to work out how to target the eye weak point within the tendrils safely, and I at least got hit many times trying to do so. As a result, Morpheel is actually pretty challenging at first, and though he’s still fairly easy, his difficulty is about perfect for merely the third boss of the game. Had this phase had a few more attacks and lasted a bit longer, it would have been flawless.

That all changes when you get to his second phase, however. When he pulls out of the sand to reveal himself as a massive eel and swims around the chamber, he turns into an almost entirely neutral target. If he has any programming to tell him to come after you, it’s barely noticeable as he moves around the chamber seemingly at random, and his only attack is for you to accidentally stay in front of him for too long and get sucked into his mouth; he never actively tries to put you in this position, and you have ample time to escape his suction before you’re eaten. The battle is mostly just about chasing Morpheel. This is inexcusable, and the fight should have been an intense chase where you desperately have to switch the situation from running from Morpheel to chasing alongside him. Regardless, the atmosphere is still great and both the first and second battle themes communicate the appropriate moods, even if the actual second fight doesn’t fit nearly as well.

The Lakebed Temple has a halfway disappointing boss and a few other annoyances, but overall I think its design is brilliant. It has a lot of clever puzzles and some tricky challenges in just getting around, and I think it’s very well-designed. There’s a lot of synergy between the different rooms of this dungeon, particularly from the central mechanic of the water flows, making the dungeon feel connected, and all part of one big puzzle. That’s the best kind of dungeon to me, and it’s this reason that I think it’s very well-designed. The Lakebed Temple is not only my favorite dungeon of Twilight Princess, but my favorite water dungeon out of all of the 3D Zelda games.

But what did you think of the Lakebed Temple? Do you think it’s well-designed like I do, or did you find its design to be frustrating or bad in another way? How do you feel about the Deku Toad and Morpheel? Did you find them fun or disappointing? How do you feel the Lakebed Temple stacks up to previous (and following) water-themed dungeons? Tell me in the comments, and look forward to next week when I review Arbiter’s Grounds!

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  • Jono

    Aside from the boss, this was one of two parts of the game that I absolutely loved (lakebed and city in the sky). Both were actually challenging, had some genius puzzle designs, and really cool settings. Unfortunately, the rest of the game wasn’t as good.

    • Kyle Clark

      idk this was my least favorite part of the game when i replayed it i got to this part then just gave up still havent rebeat it lol

      • Kyle Clark

        also least favorite water temple

  • clemens909

    I walked into the temple looked around and then said NOPE and got a walktrough
    the bosses I did on my own but I had no clue for dungeon

  • Roedburn

    I thought that the Lakebed Temple wasn’t that bad. Especially compared to the Water Temple i OoT, yes I’m one of those people who absolutely hates water levels in a lot of games.

  • Westar

    I really enjoyed the lakebed temple, not just because I like TP veru much but because you get such an amazing atmosphere while inside! Just as you said about the “mermaid palace”, it’s just magical! The innovations in the puzzles is really nice too! It may be under the influence of the great bay temple (which took me about half a year from start to finish…) which I really hate and it’s the only dungeon in the zelda series who have beaten my patience so far that made it so good in my eyes. However… Still like it Morpheel it a special boss for me, because I had a very difficult beating Morpha in Oot and saw this as an opportunity for a rematch, the second phase dissapointed me though… Best 3D water dungeon yet!

  • DuelMark

    I’m shocked to learn people don’t like this temple.
    I actually liked it.

  • Amnis

    I love the aesthetics of the water temple, some of its details reminds me of Gaudi’s work

  • Jeshua

    It´s a good level :D with a great soudtrack ;D some confusing bu it’s allright ;D personally, I think is the same udngeon (Cronology) that Water Temple of OoT, just the past of years and the Zoras chnge it :D

    • baileygirl99

      Level…..l…e…v…e…l… *explodes*
      Back to reality, I’m not trying to sound annoying, it’s just that when ppl call the dungeons levels, it just peeves me. Sorry, but that term in incorrect. It is a dungeon.

      • Evelynn Sable

        Except in LA, where it IS correct because the dungeons are called levels.

        (Sorry, I love finding technicalities)

        • PRDX4

          Los Angeles?

          • Turtles!

            No, Link’s Awakening.

          • Evelynn Sable

            The awesomest Zelda game ever (IMHO)
            Axle should do those dungeons/levels (like I said, the term is interchangeable) next!

  • firecrb

    I liked the boss. Swimming and creepy under water atmosphere was great.

  • Eien

    As always, I get lost in Water dungeons. It must be the water level changing part of it because that always causes me to lose a key (Always in OOT and this time around in TP, not looking forward to going through the chest trying to figure out which one has the key and how to get to it!). I do enjoy the temples, I don’t find them frustrating until that key goes missing. I just always have to wonder how I can never keep the water level methods straight. Its probably because they are in a circle in TP, if I had any guess there!

  • mark

    i have to say i really like water dungeons

    were as arbiters ground’s in tp -holy carp

    i mean… any water dungeon I’ve done has been easy

    lake bed, water, and ancient cistern are a breese. breeze

  • Scott Reika Ripberger

    We’ve differed a little on the two games previous that you’ve reviewed, but so far we completely agree in Twilight Princess.

    One thing I can say almost universally for the bosses in TP: why, oh WHY, are there such AMAZING attack animations if the rest of the battle is going to be so easy? The first time I damaged the eel form of Morpheel I thought I got lucky with my shot and was PUMPED by the smack and stab animation….then the rest of the battle happened and it I wasn’t so pumped anymore. I actually sat on one side of the room waiting for it to attack me for a couple minutes before I realized it wasn’t going to happen.

    As always, very well written and I’m looking forward to the next dungeon.

    • Jordan DiPalma

      One of my bigger gripes about Twilight Princess is the fact that the bosses are all about style and grandeur but are all ridiculously easy. They’re epic and simply look and feel awesome to fight, but at their heart they’re just really simple…

      I gotta say, I do love the finishing moves for most of them. Like Morpheel; if you hit A at the right time the last blow has Link stand over the eye, spin his sword around in his hand, and drive it into the eye. Freaking beautiful… just SO EASY….

      • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

        They are simple, but they can take quite a bit of time. I fought Argorok in only one battle… but it was a LONG one. Same thing with Stallord, though not as long.

  • Joshua Burns

    I think any seasoned Zelda veteran came to this temple expecting to be
    confused, but honestly this one didn’t give me too much trouble compared to
    Great Bay Temple (which took me nearly the whole 3 days, with the inverted song
    of time) or the original Water Temple (which took me ages to find that one
    stinking key lol). Your spot on with the atmosphere for this temple, it really
    does press around you initially and it definitely gives off a ‘realistic’ vibe
    with its design. The whole staircase and the ‘chandelier’ above the main room gives
    off a regal atmosphere that suits the zora’s in this game, and contrasts to the
    more tribal vibe given off by some of the rooms in the goron mines.

    In terms of the gameplay of the temple itself, the one thing that drove me nuts
    about this temple, as you said, was the vines. That one room where you had to
    hookshot across them whilst avoiding flying enemies drove me a little nuts, and
    that room where you had to change the water level and then climb them grated on
    me a little. Also I found myself getting slightly lost from time to time in
    this level…not for an extended period of time but enough that I had to
    backtrack (course I’d probably have avoided that if I bothered with maps lol).

    The Enemies where also a little challenging initially for me, those
    Helmasaurs for instance gave me heaps of trouble before I got the hookshot, and
    I went into most rooms expecting to go toe to toe with some sort of lizard,
    which added some challenge.

    I thought the giant slides on both wings of the temple were a pretty original
    touch (especially sliding down them like a waterslide once you activated them)
    I also thought the mini boss the Deku Toad helped give this dungeon a bit more
    character, in the theme music, general image of the boss, and the fact Midna
    won’t actually help you as she is so grossed-out (seriously, ask her opinion
    the next time you play the boss in the temple, she basically tells you to get
    lost lol).

    As for the Boss I actually beat the ‘morpha’ part of the battle quite quickly,
    I agree that the second part of the battle was criminally easy (alot like half
    the bosses in this game), but I still reckon having to swim down and hookshot
    onto Morpheel’s back was a bit of a cool touch, kinda goes with the whole rodeo
    ‘cowboy wrangler’ image that link seems to have in this game (plus the slight
    change in the music when your slashing the eye gives you that little sense of
    accomplishment). Could have been faster and more dangerous, but then you’d
    probably find people yet again bemoaning the difficulty of a Water Temple (I
    dont know about you but Gyorg in MM was the most pain in the ass boss for me) so
    in this case I think a simple, visually interesting boss worked to give that
    sense of accomplishment (although I nearly cried with happiness when I finished
    the original Water Temple lol)

    In short, I don’t necessarily think this was the BEST temple in Twilight
    Princess, but I do think that it manages to convey its own atmosphere nicely
    and leaves its own mark on the game.

    Great review as always, can’t wait till you do Arbiter’s Grounds though,
    that was my definite favourite :)

  • Lupine Hero

    Ah, the memories of this dungeon! I got so hopelessly stumped trying to access the boss key on my first playthrough that I resorted to rapid-firing my clawshot at the ground for entertainment. This dungeon also briefly stumped me on my fifth playthrough. Yes, FIFTH! However, I admit that it was hardly a puzzle, as I simply failed to realize that the rock in my path was bombable. Either way, though, for me, in terms of puzzles, the Lakebed Temple was the hardest in the game. … … … except maybe the City in the Sky…

  • Guest

    See, I liked the Water Temple and Great Bay. But I was never fond of this dungeon. Something about the layout and structure just feel very unpolished to me, as if it lacks the brilliance of other Zelda dungeons. And Morpheel is an unfortunately boring boss battle.

  • Zelda4Life

    My older brother: The water temple is sooo hard!
    I complete it in a half hour.
    Me: Really? -_-

  • Shade

    I thought that just the way you went through the temple was pretty cool. I loved how you had to move the staircase to get the water to go certain places. I found it a very interesting puzzle.

  • JuicieJ

    I actually don’t think the music fits the Lakebed Temple. It sounds like it belongs in an ice dungeon or an icy cave rather than a water dungeon.

    Other than that, I really like the place.

  • twilightlover

    I did love this temple however I didn’t think it was scary at all

  • baileygirl99

    SUPERCREEPY music. Because of the stair case that crept moving, and the longevity/largeness of the dungeon, I kept getting lost and having to backtrack a long way.
    I would always stop to fight the Helmasaurs that were on the bridges in between certain rooms, then I would get turned around and the the completely wrong way, because I hadn’t known how useful the map was. I clicked the link, and the picture of that toad kinda freaked me out…at least it doesn’t have a bunch of eyeballs on it’s back :-P. when I was about to fight the boss, I was like “why is there just a big hole?” and so I didn’t want to jump down, because I wouldn’t be able to get back up, so I was stuck there until I decided to look at a walkthrough and find out that you are SUPPOSED to jump down. Huh. It was just a hard boss for me. And I noticed that Morpheel is really close to Morpha… I found this dungeon just difficult, because I have very little patience when it comes to console games, but mainly TP overall.

  • HatredHazard

    I liked the gloomy, almost dull atmosphere of this temple. That, combined with the wetness, made it pretty unnerving and scary–especially in the underwater parts, when the environment gets darker the deeper you swim.
    I loved getting to the final boss–I remember getting this huge rush of adrenaline while swimming to the bottom of that HUGE room.
    I agree with what Axle said about the final boss; the second phase was visually epic, but the gameplay was a bore. Honestly, though, the size of the boss itself made it very memorable to me.
    I liked the design of the main room, with the huge rotating staircase and the balconies on the side. I thought it was all pretty visually appealing–they need to design a building like that in real life. And yeah, if we tweak the colors a bit (maybe give it a Skyward Sword artstyle treatment) to make the whole dungeon look more cheerful, and take away all the monsters and hazards, it would be the perfect mermaid palace!

  • Krishna Moorthy

    i haven’t played this game, but the great bay temple from majora’s mask is currently my favourite dungeon in the series

  • daEpad

    I also love this dungeon a lot. My 2nd favorite in Twilight Princess.

  • William Jones

    This was probably the most difficult temple in the game to navigate and figure out…and I just LOVED it! The boss was a little too easy for my liking, but he was still killer. All the Twilight Princess bosses were so tremendous, hideous and terrifying, but Morpheel was the most disturbing and nightmarish in appearance. Great game, great temples, great bosses.

  • The Guy

    My greatest satisfaction with this dungeon, is to hurry through it, beat it, then get the hell out and never come back again hahaha. Just kidding, but in seriousness, I don’t like the vines either as that was sort of like an overplayed aspect of some zelda games, vine climbing.

    I’d say in my opinion that the room you traveled through to get to the boss key would be my favorite as it is sort of like a maze (I have a fixation on mazes of sorts and I have no idea why) with it’s own set of obstructions (boulders, underwater enemies, etc.)

    Another thing I liked about the dungeon was the elaborate design giving it the feel of a mixture of a natural underwater cave-like environment along with a sort of modern underwater palace (for lack of a better word)

    A lot of the designs in the dungeon have me in awe as it’s like a sort of natural utopia for both the native organisms as well as explorers alike.

    Overall on a scale of 1-10 I give the dungeon an 8.

    On a different note, i’m looking forward to your review of Arbiter’s Grounds, that is my most favorite TP dungeon and even has my most favorite miniboss.

  • Zachary Morris

    I thought it was wayyyy hard the first time I played it, but in my second play through, it was just right. But I do know people who NEVER got past it.

  • Sir Quaffler

    I liked it fair enough. It’s been a while since I’ve actually played TP, but I don’t remember this dungeon being exceedingly annoying like some people make it out to be. I think that if they made the boss room almost completely black and made his attacks more aggressive, that would have been terrifying. But yeah, liked the boss and miniboss music like always.

  • Jordan DiPalma

    I always dread going through this dungeon then wind up enjoying most of it. I just seem to have bad memories from my first time through when I was an idiot and went searching for hours trying to find a key that doesn’t exist (I glanced at the boss door and thought it was a normal lock).

  • Legendary Sword

    Lakebed is my favorite dungeon in TP, and even one of my favorite dungeons in the series. Great review, Axle. Keep it up!

  • Andres Gonzalez Abascal

    ok, i agree in almost everything with you about this dungeon, except for the main boss, it does ressemble morpha very much, like you said, which makes it easy for OOT players to know what to do there, it took me literally 1 minute to end that battle, in my FIRST and only playtrough of twilight princess, i find this boss’s design interesting, and it does also ressemble a sarlaac haha, but it was way too easy, i had my toughest fight with the forest temple boss, because i couldn’t figure out what the hell to do, but well, it happens to some of us, i really like your articles, been following them since mid-oot reviews, and i really have liked them, keep it up

  • Jeff Taylor

    This temple was awesome…aside from that one freaking invisible switch in the main room. I bactracked through every room in the dungeon at least 3 times before I found out that this switch existed.

  • Philip Kunhardt

    I don’t know… I found switching between Iron Boots and Zora Flippers desperately so I could stay behind Morpheel in Phase 2 scary and intense. I though it worked out very well; I was terrified of being in front of him and being eaten; he always seemed to be maneuvering into a position where he could eat me if I didn’t keep switching footgear.

  • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

    I remember this. Got stuck here for weeks. It was pretty good dungeon. The miniboos and boss battles were a bit simple, but they were still good.

  • Wade Langner

    My favorite water dungeon in the series

  • Vixey Ohanna

    The boss was so damn easy but the temple took me three days to complete before I found a walkthrough to help.

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  • Linkachu72

    the hardest part of this dungeon is finding the boulder that you need to blow up in order to get the boss key. my walkthrough just said “drop down into the tunnel with the iron boots, find the boulder, and blow it up.” i searched for, like, half an hour, and i was like “what boulder? i don’t see any boulder! WHERE IS IT!!!!!!!!!!” then i turned around. “oh, that boulder.” then i found the ZD walkthrough, and i said “screw that walkthrough, im doing the ZD one because theirs is a million times better!”

  • darklinkisbetter

    ha i didn’t even take damage from him but maybe they made him easy to make up for that stupid escort the zora to the village thing i did it then later had to restart and cant get it

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