Twilight Princess Dungeons: Snowpeak Ruins

Axle the BeastFebruary 12th, 2013 by Axle the Beast

Ahh, Snowpeak Ruins… Time to review this unusual dungeon. Last week I wrote that I felt Arbiter’s Grounds’ level design was very unoriginal, mostly pooling from previous dungeons’ ideas and using its elements in uncreative ways (for better or for worse). Snowpeak Ruins is the exact opposite. It is completely nontraditional, both thematically and design-wise, and that makes it one of the most interesting dungeons in Twilight Princess. Unfortunately it also marks the last dungeon in the game that I have a personal fondness for, though that’s not to say that I find all of the rest to be bad dungeons.

Tucked away mysteriously into the cliffs at the end of Snowpeak, it’s the fifth dungeon in the game, and takes after a specific structure — a mansion — in terms of shape and theme. This makes it exactly the same as the Sandship in the later Skyward Sword (as I wrote in its review), in that it has tight rooms that are realistically themed and proportioned after the rooms you’d actually see in such a building. This is immediately apparent upon acquiring the dungeon map; it looks like a mansion, even when just looking at its layout.

Snowpeak Ruins is very unusual thematically, but surprisingly so. It combines two very straightforward themes — a mansion, and ice — and combines them into one of the most visually and atmospherically distinct dungeons in the series. There are a few — though not many — dungeons in the series that take after a mansion in terms of design (the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time is one such dungeon), but there are no other dungeons that actually are mansions. And with how realistic-looking the dungeon is — appearing exactly as a mansion should — that automatically makes it visually unique within the Zelda series. However, Nintendo also added the ice theme to it. Ice dungeons are just as basic, but adding the ice theme together with the mansion theme created something new: A beautiful, artfully crafted mansion situated on a frozen mountain that belonged to someone important but indeterminable that has since become abandoned, run-down, and claimed by the elements. There’s such a great interplay between a posh estate and rundown icy rooms in Snowpeak Ruins, as you pass from one to the next or sometimes experience both at once, that there’s really nothing quite like it either inside or outside of Zelda.

The dungeon’s theme does a reasonable job at communicating the concept; it sounds icy, but it also sounds a little more refined in certain areas. I feel like more could have been done to make it feel fresh, though, because while it works with the themes, it’s not unlike songs we’ve heard in other ice areas, and I think that’s a little unfortunate since the dungeon itself is so distinct and unique while the song just isn’t. This is probably due to the fact that there is a portion of the song that only plays in the safe areas of the mansion where its inhabitants — Yeto and Yeta — live, and that part is fittingly warm and silly. I think the song could have used even more variation, perhaps with some more versions that would play in different rooms as they progress from intact and fancy, to totally icy, as well as somewhere in-between. At the very least, the existing two versions should have played a bit more evenly throughout the dungeon.

Speaking of Yeto and Yeta, that’s another area where the dungeon becomes extremely unique; the entire dungeon is also patterned after these two characters, and it can be seen in many ways. First, two of the early rooms are safe areas where Yeto and Yeta live, and both characters will perform services for you throughout the dungeon. Yeta gives you the Dungeon Map and marks objectives as she attempts to direct you toward the Bedroom Key (which replaces the Big Key), while Yeto makes soup. Taking the ingredients you collect from the chests that Yeta accidentally steers you to, he makes better soups. This soup serves as your only method of healing within the dungeon; while there are hearts in the pots outside the entrance, there are no recovery hearts within the dungeon itself, so Yeto’s soup is your only way of healing. This concept culminates in the romantic moment at the end of the dungeon — which is friggin’ hilarious — in which Yeto and Yeta rekindle their romance and produce not only the first and only recovery hearts you’ve seen in the dungeon, but also the Heart Container that serves as your reward for beating it. So between these two characters making their home in this dungeon, Yeta guiding you gradually through, and Yeto taking away the ingredients you find to give you better methods of healing, the dungeon has quite a few distinctions from other dungeons thanks to these two characters. On top of that, they’re both charming, funny, and just add tons of personality to the dungeon.

The elements that Yeto and Yeta bring to the table impact the gameplay as well as the atmosphere of the dungeon, but they’re not the only way that Snowpeak Ruins distinguishes itself from other dungeons just in terms of level design alone. Snowpeak Ruins has a lot of very traditional ice-themed puzzles, particularly in the form of sliding block puzzles. They’re well-designed. But the dungeon also has just as many puzzles and navigational challenges that differ completely from what we’ve seen before. One that comes to mind is the room in the Northwest corner of the dungeon, in which you have to carefully navigate over icy rafters hanging over a pit. It’s a tight area to maneuver through, and you have to plan your route out, lest you walk over ice and slip off. Not to mention, immediately afterward you acquire the Compass, which is actually necessary in order to locate a chest containing a key that’s buried in the snow, which you would normally never be able to find without the Compass telling you it’s there. This is the only example I can think of in the series in which the Compass is necessary to solve a puzzle, and that’s really unique.

The dungeon in general does a really good job of blending familiar and brand-new puzzles within both its ice and mansion themes, and has a host of fresh central mechanics, like smashing things with the Ball & Chain, to transporting and firing cannonballs. Most of the puzzles and challenges are very well-designed, and I can’t think of any that are bad except for maybe the way to get to a few of the optional chests, like going across extra chandeliers or bombing the floor. It’s a solid dungeon in terms of puzzles, and very refreshing.

In terms of enemies and other threats, Snowpeak Ruins also sets itself apart from at least the others in Twilight Princess; I think that this is the hardest dungeon of the game. Part of this has to do with absent hearts, but even beyond that, most of the enemies are very tricky.

Mini-Freezards slip around and bounce off the walls, so even though they’re very easy to hit, sometimes hitting them makes them into a bigger threat to you. They’re deceptively difficult enemies that can drain a lot of health, and I’ve even had major close-calls where they’ve almost killed me. Freezards are just as rough, with their icy breath, surprisingly speedy rotating, and impressive reach. The icy, humanoid Chilfos are one of the most challenging humanoid enemies in the game. Once again, they are deceptively challenging, as they break rather easily. But if you don’t finish them off, they’ll regenerate their weapons, and their attacks are quick and they usually come in numbers. The enemies in this dungeon can and will drain your hearts, and especially if you’re wearing the Zora Armor (which doubles ice damage), the dungeon can be one hell of a challenge. This is a good thing, though, because it’s a late-game dungeon, and Twilight Princess in general is overly easy.

There are certainly moments where these enemies will make you want to pull your hair out, though, and a couple should probably have been avoided. Attempting to navigate the annoying metal chandeliers while trying to fend off or kill a Chilfos that’s chucking spears at you — all without falling — really tries my patience. So the dungeon is a little overly frustrating in a few select parts, I’d say.

I’ll also confess that to this day, I don’t really get the miniboss. The miniboss is the relatively cool Darkhammer, which sneaks up on you by pretending to be a decorative suit of armor. It swings a massive ball & chain and advances toward you, occasionally taking a swing and exposing his tail. Otherwise getting near him is very dangerous. The fight is cool — not to mention a nice throwback to the Ball & Chain Trooper from A Link to the Past — and I have no real complaints about it, but it’s always confused me because I’ve never, ever been able to understand how the AI decides when to attack; 90% of the time he just walks toward me and I just don’t get what’s going on. Unlike the rest of the dungeon’s foes, however, Darkhammer is overly easy and falls in line with most of the battles in Twilight Princess in this way, though he’s probably one of the most challenging. Either way, it’s a fun battle, and a good concept (especially since the dungeon item is actually his Ball & Chain and you pick it right up off the ground after killing him). Its music is the same miniboss theme that plays for the majority of the game’s minibosses, which first played while fighting Dangoro in Goron Mines. It fits well.

Finally, that brings us to the dungeon boss. While she’s still too easy, I think Blizzeta is the best boss battle in Twilight Princess. It helps the boss thematically that it’s actually a character turned evil in a shocking twist at the end of the dungeon, but Blizzeta stands on her own too. The fight is deceptively simple, like a lot of the enemies in the dungeon, and in fact it functions exactly like the Mini-Freezards; Blizzeta’s first form really just bounces around the room while sliding on the ice. It’s initially massive and hard to dodge, but begins to move progressively faster as you break off more chunks with the Ball & Chain, until it literally shoots Mini-Freezards at you. The boss theme for this phase is intimidating and scary, yet pretty, suiting the fight very well. And the boss is just as visually striking, made out of white, shining ice as it bounces around a reflective room. It’s just awesome; simple but well-done and cool.

The second form is even better in many ways. You have to use the floor as a mirror to see where the boss is, as she flies around the room dropping ice on you. This phase is just as simple as the first, but that’s not a bad thing with this boss, and dodging her ice chunks on the slippery floor while still giving yourself enough time to destroy them so her weak point is exposed can be pretty tricky. The music for this phase is even more impressive than the last, making the battle epic, pretty, and intimidating all at the same time. This isn’t just one of my favorite battle themes in Twilight Princess, but one of my favorite battle themes in the entire Zelda series. There’s nothing quite like it.

Unfortunately, there’s little to no challenge dodging Blizzeta and hitting her back, so while, like Darkhammer, she’s definitely harder than the game’s average boss, she’s still too easy. And considering how great she is visually, musically, and conceptually, it’s a crime that her being easy makes the fight so short. Had Blizzeta had more attacks and been harder to damage (not to mention had more health), she would have been a perfect boss.

Snowpeak Ruins is one of Twilight Princess’ best dungeons, and I love playing it every time. It’s one of the only sections of the game that actually manages to challenge me, and I love it not only for that, but also for how refreshing and new it feels. It might be the best-designed dungeon in the game, at least in my eyes, with the Lakebed Temple and possibly the Forest Temple as its only competition. Arbiter’s Grounds is cooler to me, but only because I like creepy things; Snowpeak Ruins beats it in so many ways. I love it.

But how about you? Do you love Snowpeak Ruins, or hate it? What do you think about its unique aspects? Or do you just think it’s pretty average? How about the battles? Tell me in the comments, and look forward to next week, when I review the Temple of Time!

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  • Lupine Hero

    Are you kidding? DARKHAMMER’S LIKE THE HARDEST REQUIRED FIGHT IN THE GAME!!! Well, at least for me. I’m just really terrible at not clawshooting into his ball and chain, and at dodging it. He’s especially hard on a 3-heart challenge.
    Other than that, I agree with almost everything you mentioned. And, somehow, I never noticed the complete lack of any recovery hearts, despite having done five playthroughs.

    • Pyrotek85

      I never noticed the lack of hearts either lol

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

      I said that he was the hardest of the game. =P

      And he hits me all over the place too; as I said I’ve never understood how his AI decides what to do so I can’t time anything. That said, I never have a shortage of potions. He is damn rough on a 3-heart challenge or minimalist run, though, I’ll agree.

      I also didn’t know about the heart thing until I read about it first a while back. XP

      • erikingvoldsen

        “Darkhammer is overly easy”

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

          I meet your quote, and raise you a: “though he’s probably one of the most challenging”

          Just because he’s easy doesn’t mean he’s not the hardest in the game; I think the entirety of Twilight Princess is easy as hell, but Darkhammer (along with Blizzeta) are some of the few bosses that manage to be a little challenging. I get hit by Darkhammer a lot, so arguably he’s hard, but I always have plenty of potions so it’s not like it really matters much.

          • Roedburn

            I hated Darkhammer and the whole game was difficult to me, but that’s probably because Twilight Princess was the first Zelda game I really played.

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

            Possibly. I played a lot of games — Zelda and otherwise — before I played Twilight Princess, so the game really provided no challenge for me most of the time.

    • firecrb

      I never noticed the lack of hearts too. :P
      The hardest required fight in the game for me is the two Darknut’s in the castle. Died 7 times before I beat one.

      • EOTW

        The absolute hardest battle in the game is the quadruple Darknut battle on the second playthrough of the Cave of Ordeals. Its in a tiny room, too, so you can’t lure them off one by one. Its an all out brawl on the 49th floor. The prize? you get to see the mailman. XD

        • JuicieJ

          There are only 3 Darknuts on the final floor. But, yeah, that was actually pretty tough.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            It’s like you guys never heard of bomb arrows – _ –

            Also Dark Hammer can be killed with the Mortal Draw in a single attack.

          • JuicieJ

            Bomb Arrows are for the weak.

            No, seriously. They’re borderline game-breaking.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Borderline…… they are game breaking. TP is a broken game, you didn’t know that?

            Mind you even without the bomb arrows, they weren’t that tough, they only do like a half heart of damage per hit. It’s annoying to have to jump around a lot and spam attacks till something lands, but they aren’t that hard.

          • JuicieJ

            Was pretty challenging for me, what with it being the final floor. Granted it was no Pit of 100 trials, but it wasn’t a cakewalk, either. A lot of positioning and quick maneuvers are necessary to walk out alive.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Sure a literally broken game is one riddled with bugs, but I was sort of using it in the context of your comment of “game-breaking”.

            That said the game is still poorly designed, especially in respects to it’s inventory of items, and it’s use of various in game features. Not to mention that many of the idea’s that don’t really mesh very well. Mind you this is more an issue with the fact that a lot of the games features were never fully realized or expanded upon properly.

          • JuicieJ

            I wouldn’t call it poorly-designed. Flawed, yes. Immensely flawed. But it’s not like The Wind Waker where the flaws are few but severe. They’re minor issues dotted across the entire game. It’s still a great game despite its issues (although it’s most definitely one of the weakest Zelda titles).

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            I don’t think they are minor issues when they stretch across the entirety of the game. The fact that these issues pop up in high frequency is not a good sign.

            Have one or two slip ups is nothing compared to an entire game riddled with such over arching flaws that it effects the overall game design.

            The Wind Waker had a few missed opportunities, but those aren’t flaws. They are just area’s that could’ve been developed more.

            A real flaw is when you have over powered items, attacks and then completely useless and under utilized items and abilities. Not to mention empty overworld that again barely gives you a reason to use those items or abilities, and dungeons that have that exact same flaw. To be honest since these issues start early on in the game and continue through to the end, really makes it a poorly designed Zelda title. Maybe it’s not poorly designed in comparison to the vast library of all video games. Still it is poorly designed in comparison to other Zelda games, and even other Nintendo titles.

            Look it’s not that I hate the game, it’s certainly entertaining, but it’s probably one of the bottom titles in the Zelda series, close to Phantom Hourglass, and Oracle of Seasons. Not to mention of the entire series, it’s one of the Zelda games I don’t get any desire to revisit for various reasons.

          • JuicieJ

            Honestly, I have to say you’re role reversing The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. TWW’s the one with flaws that spread across the entire game. TP’s the one with missed opportunities. Basically what I’m saying is TWW would need a couple massive overhauls for its problems to be fixed. TP would merely need some more polish. They’re weak entries in the series for vastly different reasons.

            Also, what makes Phantom Hourglass a “bottom title”? That was a pretty significant improvement over the GCN games, even if it wasn’t quite up to snuff with the N64 titles.

            …Kind of strange to be debating with you. Pretty sure this is the first time that’s happened.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            I’m not sure what flaws in particular you are talking about that spread across the entirety of TWW, I can take a guess, but if you can please give even one specific example. I mean I did make it clear what one of TP’s huge over arching issues is that starts from beginning to end.

            TWW keeps in mind the items and abilities of the player through out the adventure. The large ocean may be a bit on the empty side, but all things consider there is far more to find and discover in the over world then TP’s own large overworld (which wasn’t even that large).

            Not to mention that there are no over powered weapons, or instant kill moves. Even the “counter” sword skill is better balanced and more practical compared to TP’s.

            Even though many people were not happy with aspects like the Triforce Shard quest, it was still something that worked within the context of the world they created.

            Also Phantom Hourglass is a pretty bottom tier Zelda. Between rehashing Wind Waker elements poorly, a slow and dull over world, a horrendous soundtrack, and weak plot (it’s hard to care about the conflict with Bellum since there is nothing that even builds in that respect)…. one of the aspects I will praise is the creative dungeon designs, that are in fact quite good. Although the the Ocean King’s Temple is quite irratating…. not particularly in the design aspect, so much as it’s just boring Temple to revisit continually. Also Linebeck was a good character, although slightly wasted again on what was a weak plot.

            I’m sorry but Wind Waker still stands well above the quality of PH…. I’ll take the fast paced sailing and exploration of Wind Waker to the boring ocean trawling of PH.

            I’m not sure where PH stands against Four Swords (one of the other GCN games next to TP), I tend to put Four Sword games in a whole other category of Zelda because the multiplayer aspect really changes the game play from standard Zelda games.

          • JuicieJ

            I lost everything I typed, and I don’t feel like retyping all of it, so I’ll just have to give you the short version.

            – TWW’s sailing takes more than twice as long as PH’s
            – Nothing interesting happens while sailing across the Great Sea
            – Half of TWW’s dungeons and almost all of its bosses are one-dimensional and not stimulating in any way
            – TP doesn’t do much better with these, but at least they had impressive presentation
            – Parrying is effectively a needless QTE that serves nothing to the gameplay
            – The Hidden Skills require actual effort and enhance the gameplay, even if minorly

            Again, TWW got many things right, but it’s one of the weaker games because of a couple of crippling flaws, whereas TP is one of the weaker games due to an overall lack of polish. We ultimately agree that TP isn’t a strong Zelda game, so that’s something. I really do think you’re a bit too harsh with it, though. (And that you ignore TWW’s problems.)

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            I’d argue the exact opposite;

            – TWW’s Sailing is more engaging and hands on as you control the boat (the speed of the boat is faster then that of the steam boat, and can jump and turn with ease), and can choose to exit and jump in it in order to explore islands in a seamless manner (no load up screen or scene change just to enter an island). This actually encourages exploration as opposed to PH’s slow and clunky draw a path mechanic, and then just take pot shots at generic flying enemies. Sailing in TWW is far more involved and just feels good controlling, and that actually makes it enjoyable. Not to mention that as big as the sea is, it still is considerably fleshed out. The sea may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s certainly not flaw.

            I’ve really only come to appreciate the sea and the sailing of Wind Waker since the release of both PH and TP. PH slowed and dumbed down exploration so much I was appalled and disappointed. Much the same, TP had a large overworld but it was devoid of any real exploration, or reward in it for that matter. Have you ever searched the entire bottom of Lake Hylia? There’s nothing other then the Water Temple. Have you ever ran around Eldin Field? Not a whole lot to find or discover. Nothing rewarding to say the least save, a heart piece on a small cliff.

            Compared to those two games the over world of TWW starts shining a lot brighter. With a greater sense of adventure, and overall more rewarding experience in exploration.

            – TWW’s dungeons are actually very inventive and deep, not to mention the design of using alternate characters who aid you in your adventure. Not to mention that again, inventory usage is far better considered over that of TP’s.

            – The parry mechanic may be triggered in a quick time manner, but it actually takes skill, timing and risk to execute. In most cases this skill is also used to reveal some weak points. TP Hidden Skills are spammable, and over powered and since many are optional, there are very few enemies that were designed to take advantage of those skills. Oddly enough the Dark Nut is one of those few… but again… broken because you can just use bomb arrows which will strip it’s armor even faster. Again just making hidden skills pointless in the overall design of the game.

            – Presentation is subjective. TP looks worse and worse every time I revisit it with muddy textures, and stiff animations. Wind Waker’s visual style and scenes have held up much better over time. The world is vibrant and alive, the sea rolls, the grass flows with the breeze, the world is still fresh today.

            – Although on the topic of presentation, I suppose you could put the visual flair of Link’s Hidden Skills as part of this. Which is primarily the appeal of the skills…. to simply make combat look cooler then it was. Again though the moves look cool, but how many are actually useful or important to game play. TP is shallow and showy with these features rarely considered in the design of the game.

            It’s a pretty crippling flaw by and large when items basically break a game, and features that are never utilized (what’s the point of putting something in a game that really isn’t necessary).

            I haven’t even touched on other parts of TP, like character and plot execution, not to mention development. Or even the difficulty factor (Wind Waker may look like a kiddier game, but you actually suffer more damage in TWW then you ever will in TP) of the titles we’ve been discussing. Or even the nostalgia factor that TP is built on, since a lot of content within in the game plays on Ocarina of Time. It’s identity is muddled even because of how much the game borrows from OoT directly.

            There are a lot of things I could talk about when it comes to TP’s subpar nature. I may be harsh on it, but that is because I consider it one of the weakest Zelda games that didn’t seem to have a clear direction in regards to what it wanted to do or what it wanted to create out of it’s experience.

          • JuicieJ

            The thing is we’re basically not controlling the King of Red Lions while sailing. It’s entirely possible to set your course, place the controller down, walk out of the room, grab something to eat, walk back in, and still be sailing. Reason being it takes two minutes minimum to get from place to place it sometimes takes up to five), and any so-called “threats” are far and few in-between and will rarely hit you so long as you keep cruising by. That’s a lack of gameplay, which is most certainly not engaging in the slightest. Phantom Hourglass’s sailing may not be great, but at least it’s fast (two minutes is the absolute maximum it will take to get anywhere) and enemies that must be killed in order to avoid damage constantly pop up along the way. I used to be like you, thinking the Great Sea was superior. Recent playthroughs have told me otherwise, though.

            As far as the The Wind Waker’s dungeons go, the only “deep and inventive” one is the Earth Temple. Dragon Roost Cavern is pretty good, but it doesn’t do anything out of the box from a first dungeon (something Twilight Princess actually managed to do). The Forbidden Woods, Tower of the Gods, and Wind Temple, however, have annoying puzzles and bland environments (especially the Forbidden Woods). I actually nearly quit my last playthrough of The Wind Waker because of the combination of the awful sailing and the second & third dungeons. The only reason I sat it out is because I’m stronger than that. (You’re talking to a guy who suffered through the entirety of Sonic 2006.)

            What do you mean “stiff animations”? If there’s one thing Zelda has always nailed, it’s fluency in its visuals. Twilight Princess is no exception.

            The Hidden Skills definitely didn’t add much depth to the combat, but not much depth is better than no depth… which is what the parrying mechanic provided.

            I honestly don’t think it’s fair to fault a game for having an optional item that’s OP. It’s not something that’s required to use, so it’s not something that can be held accountable for the main experience. This applies to the Hidden Skills, as well.

            I actually get hit more often in Twilight Princess than The Wind Waker (although that’s barely saying anything), but even if this were the opposite, it honestly wouldn’t matter. The Wind Waker has a mind-blowingly generous amount of heart drops throughout the entire game, making the already low damage ratio and enemy ease a joke. Unless you’re a newcomer to the franchise, there’s no real reason to get a Game Over at any time in that game (and even then it’s pretty sad).

            Twilight Princess definitely had an identity crisis. It didn’t really know what it wanted to be, so it wound up going in too many directions for it to handle. Still, the flaws are only minor. The only reason it’s such a weak entry into the franchise is because of how many on these flaws there are (which is a freaking ridiculous amount). The Wind Waker may be more structurally sound in terms of sheer numbers of what it got right compared to what it got wrong, but the things it got wrong are just disgustingly awful. Which brings us back to what started all this. Me inadvertently saying that The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess are weak Zelda games for completely different reasons.

            We’re probably never going to see completely eye-to-eye on this situation, so I may just wind up leaving you with this, but I don’t think it matters that much in the end. I’m pretty sure we both agree on what Zelda needs to do in its future to truly succeed, so that’s something.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            This discussion is starting to boil down to opinions as opposed to technical design.

            What I will address is stuff that is irrefutable.

            You literally do not get to control the steam boats movement in Phantom Hourglass. You literally plot a coarse and let the boat ride it out. You can’t control the boat’s movement while it is on course or do anything other then shoot the canon.

            When it comes to the King of the Red Lions you are literally in DIRECT control… you press left and right to steer the boat and guide it on it’s path, and press the “R” button to jump over obstacles. You can do a full 180 degree turn and head in the opposite direction on a whim (although you will likely stop moving due to the wind direction)…. jump in and out of the boat directly…. you are in complete control.

            Additionally there are similar measures put in place in Wind Waker that would actually interfere with leaving the game un-attended…. the game spawns barrels, mines, and sharks directly in the path of the boat after a certain amount of time. It may be a long running joke that you can just leave the game while sailing, but it barely holds water. Not to mention left unattended you could easily over sail your destination as well as the boat isn’t on auto pilot and will continue sailing past it.

            Also I said the “counter strike” of Wind Waker is actually a necessity of the game in order to defeat certain enemies. Twilight Princess’ Hidden Skills are not a necessity, and nothing more then fancy showmanship. A necessary skill is always deeper then an unnesseccary one. Especially when it comes to game design.

            Having techniques and items that serve purpose make for more satisfying gameplay…. other wise they are just fluff and pointless. The only way I can even explain this further is to link this video regarding Super Castlvania;

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww_PjqYQi5E

            Honestly the issues with Twilight Princess are similar to how Egoraptor discusses Castlevania 4. Straight up it is just sloppy game design, Twilight Princess suffers similar issues. More so then any other Zelda.

            Like I’ve said before Twilight Princess isn’t a bad game, it’s entertaining, but it’s definitely not one of the better designed Zelda games.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            This is optional… but in regards to Opinions, I figured I’d give them separately.

            Either way, The Forbidden Forest is an excellent dungeon, making full use of the Deku Leaf and Boomerang. The Deku Leaf is used to hit propeller switches, move platforms, propel leaf boats, and fly from one platform to the next. The Boomerang hits out of reach switches, can target multiple targets automatically, cut ropes/vines, and defeat flying enemies. These abilities are used fully through out the dungeon for unique environment based puzzles.

            A far better designed dungeon by comparison to something like TP’s Forest Temple…. which is a more simple, free monkey, get access to a new area. Not to mention the nerfed Gale Boomerang that can only trigger propeller switches (that’s right it isn’t able to hit crystal switches because that is reserved only for the bow & arrow you get in the next dungeon) and bring items closer to you and that’s all.

            The Wind Waker’s Tower of the God’s is very inventive dungeon, with the first floor being continually flooded by the incoming swell of the sea’s tide. Using this mechanic to solve puzzles, and even make use of your boat in a dungeon. That’s all on the first floor…. after which you clilmb the tower and take command of statues to guide them through puzzling courses in order to activate a new area.

            The Wind Temple is an amazing dungeon, that tests all of Link’s ingenuity. Even expanding on the abilities of older items…. the Deku Leaf get’s a new lease on life as you use it to navigate the Wind’s, much the same, the Iron Boots prevent that same uplifting wind from carrying Link away. Not to mention you perform a daring prison rescue getting Makar out of the joint.

            There’s plenty I could talk about.

            At the end of the day, TP’s dungeons overall fell short because a lack of depth in any of the puzzles… something that could’ve been greatly improved had the game designers put Link’s large inventory to good use. The few inventive puzzles were often bogged down pace wise.

            Foe example using the Iron Boots to traverse the magnetic surfaces of the Goron Mines. It’s cool, but after about 10 seconds of climbing a surface it turns into a sloth like trudging. A similar issue occurs in the City in the Sky where you hang from peahats ever so slowly in a tedious manner…. which didn’t help an already simple and boring dungeon.

            Of the better dungeons many of them suffer from being rehashes/retreads of previous Zelda game dungeons. Arbiter Grounds may have been a new setting, but find the four poes was a game I played before in the Forest Temple (OoT) … which not only made me find them, but gave me a puzzle to solve along with them. The Water Temple of TP suffers the same problem with how similarly it plays out to the original.

            The Temple of Time is incredibly simple…. and even at it’s best moments, they are short lived. I mean the weight puzzle was the high point. Despite it being a very obvious solution. Although exciting to get to the Dominion Rod… the trip back other wise is so simple and basic as the statue smashes all in it’s path. Not to mention tough enemies don’t respawn.

            Then there is those two final dungeons I’ve already talked about in length.

            I wasn’t kidding when I said that Snowpeak Ruins is the best dungeon in this game, and for good reason. It was unlike anything else in a Zelda game, and for the most part it dished up a healthy serving of puzzles that was missing from many other dungeons in this game.

            Either way this is just opinion, and I know you will whole heartedly disagree. Still if you want to see the thought process there’s a piece of it.

          • JuicieJ

            Oh, I understand that we’re not in direct control of the boat in Phantom Hourglass. That’s something I don’t really like about it. But we’re not in direct control of the King of Red Lions, either. We’re in *partial* control. We’re not doing anything to make it move forward while it is. We’re just sitting there. Doing nothing. While having to deal with no threats. (Even when “threats” show up, you’ll never have to worry about getting hit by them ever.) For minutes at a time. Meanwhile in PH, we’re actually having to kill things that pop up for typically a minute or less. From a gameplay standpoint, that places PH’s sailing over TWW’s by default. Reason being TWW’s sailing HAS no gameplay.

            Also, the fact that the parrying is required to defeat certain enemies makes it a dumb mechanic. You don’t do it at will. You have to pointlessly sit there until an enemy attacks, breaking up the pace of the combat. The Hidden Skills flow with the combat like a dream, even if they don’t add anything significant to the gameplay.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Well when I play Wind Waker, I get out and explore platforms, blow up their turret defenses, jump out and explore islands, search for treasure, and race through the markers in order to collect rupee’s.

            If you chose not to I suppose if that makes the game more fun for you. Then all the power to you.

            Also parrying requires skill to execute, and pressing the A button at the right time. Not to mention that many of the Hidden Skills are still time sensitive to execute.

            Finishing Blow can only be performed by the “A” button prompt in the exact same way it was in Wind Waker. Other techniques are a little more elaborate, in that you can execute them when you want, like the backward slice, or the helm splitter, but again when they are pointless, they are well… still pointless.

            I’d rather have a game play mechanic actually be essential to game play and serve a purpose then be fluff.

          • JuicieJ

            Ah, but you’re getting out of the boat to do that, aren’t you? You’re not sailing. The sailing is what I’m talking about, not the things you have to trek on foot.

            I really don’t understand how you can’t see that parrying doesn’t add anything to the gameplay. It’s just visual flair. The attacks aren’t more powerful and they’re not beneficial to the flow of the combat. The Hidden Skills aren’t amazing, or anything, but at least they add SOMETHING to the gameplay.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Sailing around on the ocean isn’t any different then walking across Hyrule field. You are exploring, searching for land, and various treasures. It’s all a part of the game play. If you consider sailing to not have any gameplay then you must similarly consider walking across Hyrule field as having no game play.

            Except that there are enemies you can’t defeat with out using the timed attacks. It doesn’t add to game play, because it’s required. It’s a part of battle.

            Hidden Skills are actually optional and additional. If they actually added any real substance to combat, they would be necessary to learn, but they aren’t.

            You can’t beat Wind Waker with out that counter strike ability, you can beat Twilight Princess with out all of the Hidden Skills.

            Wind Waker designed enemies that require that counter strike skill…. Twilight Princess didn’t design any enemies that require the hidden skill to defeat.

            One game accounts for their skills and abilities, one game does not. One is an essential part of game play, the other is not.

          • JuicieJ

            The difference is we’re actively controlling Link while traveling across land, as well as constantly running into things to do (unless we’re playing Twilight Princess). We’re not doing these things while sailing. We’re sitting there waiting with nothing happening. That’s the complete opposite of what we should be doing.

            That’s my problem with the parrying. If it weren’t mandatory, I wouldn’t complain. But it is. The fact that it doesn’t add to the gameplay makes its forced use… well, forced. We’re required to use something that’s ultimately pointless to the game design. With the Hidden Skills, we CHOOSE whether to use them or not. It would have been nice for them to have been truly beneficial in taking out certain enemies like with the Darknuts (one of the few great enemies in TP), but the fact that they’re optional and do add a slight bit to the gameplay due to actually requiring input (waiting to press a button isn’t input, it’s padding) makes them superior to the parrying.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            What about Ocarina of Time. Hyrule Field is pretty empty. Even less enemies then the few that are in TP. Just put a book on the analog stick and it will keep it runing in a straight direction. Then there’s Skyward Sword, there’s really no enemies in that sky, and your loft wing for the most part flies straight. Not to mention there’s even less enemies in Skyward Sword’s sky.

            Seriously you can’t just apply the standard to a single game.

            Your problem with the parrying is that it’s mandatory? You don’t like a skill or ability to be put to use in the game you are playing?

            You have issues with being made to use a technique that was properly incorporated, but have no problems with, and prefer to use techniques that aren’t needed.

            I agree that having a CHOICE in how you play is important, but then having choice really only matters when what you choose effects the outcome and feels rewarding. Otherwise what is the point.

            Also Darknut’s are terrible in TP, they aren’t aggressive in the slightest, and again…. bomb arrows. They are easily disposed of. Without the hidden skills… in fact hidden skills are the weaker choice. Not to mention it’s kind of a chance game whether or not sword hits land and knock armor pieces off. There’s no strategy to them except to side jump around them continuously and attack.

            Just saying.

          • JuicieJ

            I don’t like OoT’s Hyrule Field much, either. It’s very uninteresting from a gameplay standpoint, even at night as Child Link. It’s honestly a problem modern Zelda has had in general, and it’s high past time for it to come to an end.

            I have a problem with a mechanic that literally requires us to wait in order for it to be used and has no impact on the game whatsoever being forced on us. If the parrying had always been optional, I wouldn’t complain. But it wasn’t. Nintendo decided for some bizarre reason that it was something they should force us to use. It irritates me beyond belief literally having to sit there waiting for an enemy to attack just to pull off a mechanic that’s required to defeat them. Before you bring up the Shield Bash, that’s not a mechanic that’s *required* to defeat an enemy, and it functions as a defensive maneuver, not an offensive one.

            Like I said, the point is to give some visual flair along with choice. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing. Unlike the parrying.

            TP’s Darknuts are very aggressive, and they’re most definitely harder without using the Hidden Skills. I’ve never seen anyone say otherwise until now, so that honestly shocked me. They could have been better, but they’re one of the few actual challenges from TP. Again, unlike in TWW.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Yeah well using bomb arrows is the fastest way to take care of a Dark Nut as they slowly approach you from 10 feet away. It’s easier then spamming Hidden Skills for two minutes as hits randomly land on it and chip away at it’s armor.

            It would be different if say striking the Dark Nuts from the back would remove the armor more effective, but it doesn’t. There is no particular strategy for removing Dark Nut armor, it’s a matter of the game counting a particular hit as cutting a portion of the armor off.

            That one item alone makes these enemies extremely easy, even compared to tWW’s Dark Nut’s… which were easy enemies to begin with, but at least you have to actually engage them in battle and risk taking damage from them in order to beat them.

            Which again yeah… you may not like but the parry does make the battles with Dark Nut’s more of a challenge. There’s more risk in the confrontation in generally, you can’t simply spin around them and avoid their attacks with easy or strike them from far away with bombs arrows.

            Meh, anyway, like I said combat in TP is terribly over powered, that it doesn’t matter either way. Hidden Skills or Bomb Arrows easily take care of all enemies.

            Twilight Princess combat needs an overhaul, or for actual enemies that take more strategy to defeat then a single sword slash. That along with it’s entire inventory fixed up.

          • JuicieJ

            Hidden Skills [i]can[/i] be overpowered at times, and the Bomb Arrows are… yeah, but they’re still optional, so, in terms of the core game design, I don’t think it’s fair to complain about them. It’s fair to say that they’re overpowered in terms of their SPECIFIC design, but not the design of the overall game.

            Overhaul? Definitely not. Some more polish to be certain — same with The Wind Waker’s — but not an overhaul. It had the right idea. The execution just wasn’t flawless.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            I think it’s very fair to complain about inventory items and even in game abilities are utilized. A well designed game accounts for it’s inventory. Makes each one useful and have meaningful purpose (like the video I linked to regarding Castlevania 1’s item usage). The whole purpose of having a variety of items that perform differently is so that the inventory compliments itself.

            It makes no sense to have Bomblings and Bomb Arrows in the same inventory, because they both do the exact same thing. Move bombs. Not to mention…. Bomblings are the poorer choice between the two. On top of that you are given access to Bomblings long after you are given access to the Bomb Arrows. That’s really poor game design.

            Not to mention Bomb Arrows are not much of a secret. The minute you highlight the arrow for your inventory the game whips up a nice nagging alert to tell you “Combine me”.

            It’s not really a secret. Everyone will discover bomb arrows immediately after they get the bow & arrow.

            Just the fact that the inventory is so poorly thought out with some items completely defeating and others just becoming useless shortly after their acquisition.

            Here is the list of useless items;

            Water Bombs – you only really need one in the entire game. To blast open the entrance to the Water Temple. There are a few other places where you can get a treasure for bombing a few rocks, but that’s really it. Additionally in the Water Temple, they give you the “Bomb Fish” enemy which you can use for the moments when you need to blow up walls in the actual dungeon.

            Bomblings – Pointless because you have the bomb arrows. They would’ve been useful if they created some twisted puzzles a kin to Ocarina of Time’s which made use of the Bombchu, but no such puzzles in TP.

            Horse Call – What is the point of being able to call your horse whenever you want at the end of the game, when you already have the ability to warp to every location in the game in wolf form. Not to mention every warp point has Horse Grass near by to call Epona if you do want her (not to mention all town entrances).

            Slingshot – Absolutely pointless after you get the bow & arrow in the second dungeon.

            Dominion Rod – This actually just becomes a waste of space as soon as you reach City in the Sky. It sits in your inventory. A huge slap in the face after the game makes you trod all over the place to make it work in the present.

            These are the most pointless items in the game. Which are literally useless save for extremely… extremely small instances over the course of the game.

            The other parts of Link’s inventory aren’t much better. Although I’ll be nice and say that the under utilization of items like the spinner, ball and chain were just missed opportunities. Still since these items were under utilized I think as a result TP’s dungeon designed suffered greatly because of it.

            Kind of like a chain effect. Items and inventory are a huge part of Zelda game design because of the fact that so many aspects of a Zelda game rely on the inventory. The challenges, the combat, the puzzles, and even how you explore the world.

            So TP having such strong issues with it’s inventory affects the game play greatly.

          • EOTW

            Actually I can think of three broken Zelda games, but we’re not supposed to talk about those. XD

          • JuicieJ

            Touche.

          • EOTW

            There are three on the first playthrough, yes, but if you go back down after completing the cave several of the floors have more enemies. The 49th floor gains an extra Darknut, bringing the total to four.

          • JuicieJ

            I’ve never bothered to complete it twice, so I wouldn’t know about that. XD

    • JuicieJ

      The lack of hearts is news to me, too. Probably because I take minimal damage in it, what with the enemy damage ratio being so low.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Cyborg1985 Joshua Anderson

    This is my favorite dungeon in Twilight Princess. Tough I think Hyrule Castle is more difficult.

  • Makarthekorokwarrior

    I really enjoyed Snowpeak Ruins. I know you don’t like the rest of the dungeons in the game, but I’ve always thought City in the Sky was ok, and honestly, the Temple of Time is my favorite dungeon. Guiding one giant statue backwards through every puzzle you’ve completed in reverse was kind of cool and refreshing. And being able to use the spinner as a weapon from time to time was equally nice. And I always miss the boss key and have to go back for it. Unfortunately, the boss is a joke, perhaps the easiest in the entire series, and the dungeon is extremely linear, and easy. But the concept is neat. By the way, do you ever have any plans of reviewing some of the 2d games’ dungeons, like Minish Cap, the Oracles, and Link’s Awakening?

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

      Well I’ve had good things to say about 4 dungeons so far, so I do like some of the dungeons in this game. Dungeons are one of TP’s strongest aspects. =P

      Yeah The Minish Cap’s dungeons are definitely going to get reviewed too. I want to do all of the games, but the format will likely be a lot different for some of the 2D ones; there’s so much less to analyze about some of their dungeons that I’m probably just going to combine a lot of dungeons into one review.

      • Makarthekorokwarrior

        When I said ‘the rest of the dungeons in the game, I meant to say ‘the rest of the dungeons (remaining to complete after Snowpeak Ruins)’. I probably worded that really badly, but that’s what I meant to say. Also, from an atmospheric potential, yes, the 3d games do often have far more to be looked into and described, but some of the 2d games really managed to knock atmosphere out of the park-namely, Minish Cap. And Dancing Dragon Dungeon, Eagle’s Tower, and Skull Dungeon were all rather impressive atmospherically, musically, thematically, and in respect to the puzzles, but I do see what you’re saying overall.

    • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

      My problem with Temple of Time is that although cool to have that giant statue in tow, it’s barely put into consideration of the design.

      Getting to the statue may take a bit of work, but the path back is far too simple.

      For starters many of the enemies you defeat on the way to the statue and dominion rod don’t respawn on the way back…. it means that there’s little in the form of risk or challenge while guiding him back. The dungoen could’ve been fun had they given some enemies to attack with your new friend the statue.

      Additionally there isn’t really any puzzles to solve on the way back…. the statue can bust through all the switch controlled walls and other fences…. essentially cutting out any work other then a a weight puzzle you have to solve on the scale.

      Just it’s a huge oversight design wise…. despite an epic battle you have against your first Dark Nut… the Temple of Time falls flat.

  • Zachary Morris

    NOT TAKE MIRROR!!!

    On the note of the compasses, it isn’t the only puzzle that requires the compass. There have always been rooms in Legend of Zelda games that are sealed off and require you to use the compass to figure out which wall to bomb.

    I have to agree with Lupine Hero about Darkhammer. The narrow rectangular room in which the boss fight takes place makes it difficult to dodge attacks, and you have to wait until he gets just close enough to know when to clawshot away. And it also takes time to notice the clawshot targets in the first place.

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

      ? Like when? I don’t even know of a game where the Compass tells you where walls need to be bombed. Are you referring to the Map?

      • Zachary Morris

        Sometimes you get the compass before you have the map in a dungeon and you can see that your treasure chest is just beyond the wall you are standing by, but you wouldn’t have known there was a room there.

        In any case, I think it would be cool to see them either come up with more creative uses for the compass in the future or get rid of it.

  • Alvaro Lanza

    Darkhammer was the only mini-boss in Twilight Princess where I actually had to go to ZD and look at Caleb’s video just so I could figure out how to hit it. When I was plating this dungeon I never really noticed that there weren’t any hearts. I just breezed through it. The hardest dungeon in TP in my opinion would be the one in the twilight realm (I think that’s what it’s called). I just hated it when the wall master would come chasing me and I would have to move the ball around. The boss fight was probably my 2nd favorite boss fight in the game. Like you said, it was original, but it was too easy.

    It sounds like this was your fav dungeon in the game. The only negative thing you said was that the bosses were easy.

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

      And that I hate those ghat dayum chandeliers. =P My favorite is Arbiter’s Grounds, but only for very personal reasons; it’s definitely not the best dungeon of the game. I think Snowpeak Ruins might be my second favorite.

  • ThatOneGuy

    I thought it was a fun dungeon with interesting and quirky characters.
    (First!)

  • Ordona

    As always, you’ve summed up the dungeon perfectly. I found the Snowpeak ruins one of the most difficult parts of the game, and I enjoyed it for that. I actually got pretty frustrated at the boss fight because I’ve never managed to handle the ball and chain well, I always missed the window of opportunity. The addition of Yeto and Yeta was what really made the dungeon one of my favourites. The soup was such a nice touch, both for the challenge of conserving health and watching Link get knocked over all the time. The scene after the boss fight is my favourite of the game (I think). It was touching at first, but I quickly burst into laughter when the first hearts started appearing. Also, seeing the heart above snowpeak in the end credits – I don’t know, Snowpeak was just really memorable.

  • Cinnamon

    Ahh, I remember darkhammer. I didn’t realize there was a hookshot target above him that you could use to get around him, so I spend ages trying to roll beneath his ball & chain XD But yeah, I’m not completely done with the game yet (halfway through city in the sky) but this is the most memorable dungeon to me. It has such a lovely and unique theme to it, and the missing hearts did give it a well needed challenge and resource management. I actually didn’t notice that detail until it was mentioned here, but upon hearing it I immediately recalled going back for soup more than one time XD

  • Guy

    I loved this dungeon

  • zombie_eat_flesh

    It’s ice. Almost as bad as….water……

    • Cmaster

      The ice temple was no where near as frustrating as the water temple.

      • ShadowsofTime

        By water temple, are you refering to the temple in Twilight Princess or Ocarinal of Time? The OoT Water Dungeon was just plain painfull.

        • Kravik

          I bet it was the OOT .. I do recall some frustration there. And I think I ended up cheating on the first run. As I could recall so easy when I played the OOT 3D ..

  • Mseevers95

    I beat Darkhammer the cheap way. Get behind him and use Mortal Draw, it kills him in one hit.

    Cheap but i think it’s better than having to do the full battle.

    • Kravik

      I missed the second wolf. And the stone by the tower.. So I did not have that skill learned yet.
      I beat it though! (Had to use one fairy.)

      After the kill, I noticed the claw shot targets in the roof..

      How do one use them, in the fight? I hope I remember those if I ever re play this for a third time. :) Please share if any of you did use them! I am curious to how they could or can not aid in the fight..

      • Mseevers95

        you can clawshot anywhere on the ceiling really. The targets just give you a hint that you can use it there

  • Anonymous

    One question, why on earth would you be wearing the zora armor?!

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

      For a challenge. It was really tough. =P

    • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.lilly.37 Cameron Lilly

      I do it too. Even when I noticed it takes more hearts. I just really like to have Link thematically tie in with the dungeon, plus its a nice challange.

      • Kravik

        Really? Wearing flippers in snow on ice, is a thematically tie?
        I think you might have misunderstood what the Zoras are. :p

    • JuicieJ

      Minimalist runthrough + Zora Armor + Snowpeak Ruins = one of the toughest challenges in any Zelda game. And that’s extremely surprising coming from Twilight Princess. A minimalist runthrough in Twilight Princess is otherwise every bit as easy as a normal runthrough.

    • ShadowsofTime

      I mean seriously; we all know you take double ice damage, but still, the only reason I wore Zora armor for this dungeon was because it looks like totally cool and I almost never keep the green tunic on once I get something else.

      • Kravik

        On that note. How long can one wear the magic armor if one have a full giant wallet? :)

  • Westar

    My favorite dungeon in the 3d zelda series i believe! I love the twisted plot about how you encounter blizzeta, and the fight is the funniest boss battle in the whole TP. The music does make me feel the presence of yeti and yeta all the time, which is kind of creapy if you ask me. But the darkhammer is a disappointing fight, however… If you take it cool you wioll never get hit. I got hit once the first time i fought him, but I like the way of getting the dugeon item though…

  • OwnerofTriforce

    Oh, man…this is a fantastic article, Axle! Snowpeak Ruins is my 2nd favorite dungeon in TP (After Arbiter’s Grounds) and I don’t think I could describe it any better!

    The whole design of it is awesome. The combination of it being a torn down mansion with a lot of frozen areas was a great move. This really was a challenging dungeon when it comes the enemies. The Chilfos could be a real pain in the ass, that’s for sure. Darkhammer was the most challenging mini-boss in the game, and I loved how you actually got the weapon he used himself. The Ball and Chain was just freakishly cool to use! Blizzeta was an awesome twist, although she was very easy to beat. It had great puzzles, and an amazing atmosphere. And like many of you here in the comment section; I never realized the lack of hearts in this dungeon either xD Loved how Yeto and Yeta were there to help Link through this.

    A great article that was absolutely delightful to read! :)

  • erikingvoldsen

    Late game dungeon? This was the middle dungeon. XD

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

      Excluding Hyrule Castle and the Palace of Twilight from the count (I consider them the final dungeons, not the game’s main dungeons, but I suppose that’s a somewhat arbitrary distinction), there are three dungeons prior to Arbiter’s Grounds, and three after, of which Snowpeak Ruins is one.

      If you count those two final dungeons, then yes, Snowpeak Ruins is exactly in the middle of the game in terms of DUNGEONS, but you have to realize that mid-game is still later in than the earlier parts, and besides, by this point in the game, you do FAR less to get to each dungeon; the early portions are padded a lot more, so in terms of overall gameplay, Snowpeak Ruins is absolutely “late-game”.

      • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

        I think it’s a fair distinction…. Palace of Twilight and Hyrule Castle kind of feel like half dungeons…. kind of like after thoughts for the game. They clearly didn’t put the same level of thought or effort in the design of these dungeons.

        Also yeah… Snowpeak Ruins is in the later group no matter how you chop it. Especially if you consider that getting the Master Sword really marks the half way complete.

        • erikingvoldsen

          I don’t see how they feel like half dungeons when, in fact, they are both average sized–in fact, they are actually slightly longer than Snowpeak here (52 minutes) with Hyrule Castle taking 55 minutes and PoT taking 58 minutes.

          • JuicieJ

            “They clearly didn’t put the same level of thought or effort in the design of these dungeons.”

            He wasn’t talking about size. He was talking about quality.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Palace of Twilight is short, it isn’t hard to solve any of the few puzzles there are, and the enemies are clearly low leveled (seriously Keese, Deku Baba’s, Shadow Vermin). Bring two orbs out of their little corridors and then bam get useless sword upgrade which is nothing more then a key to proceed further in.

            Then bam, boss fight. Cool boss fight but the boss fight takes up a large portion of your time spent in the dungeon.

            Much the same as Hyrule Castle. Hyrule Castle is a huge dungeon…. but it’s just a lot of big empty spaces for the most part. There’s a few minor puzzles (lighting some torches, kill some specific enemies) and that’s really all there is to the game. Not to mention a good chunk of the area is optional. You don’t need to open up the entire dungeon to reach the top and face Ganondorf.

            That’s a poorly thought out dungeon, and on top of that… again most of your time in this dungeon is spent in the final boss fight of the game.

            These two dungeons are not well designed, they aren’t significantly challenging, They are disappointments as final dungeons in a Zelda game.

  • the_flaming_raisin

    I agree with pretty much everything you said, Axle, but…..

    I hate Snowpeak Ruins.

    I mean, now that i am an experienced gamer, I realize that Snowpeak Ruins did a lot of things right. But TP was my first zelda game. I did not know that there even were other zeldas to compare dungeons to. I mean, i guess i couldve compared them to the TP dungeons i already completed, but stil….. All I knew then was that i was 8, these enemies were hard, these puzzles were hard, and these bosses were hard, all in a game(which i realized later) that was relatively easy. I remember raging so hard one day, I almost broke a window. My hands would get so sweaty with the intensity of the boss fights that the controlers started to get slippery.
    Im just saying, maybe i would like Snowpeak moreif i didint have so many bad memories assosiated with it.

  • I WANT IT

    ah, memories. flail lizard took me weeks, (he IS a lizard, right) and blizzeta was the only final boss in the game (zant and ganon dont count) whos week spot wasnt a gem or an eye.

    i remember fondly when i first got the game that my cousin told me”there is a part where you have to give fish, cheese, anda pumpkin to a wierd yeti and then you have to kill his wife who happens to not have arms.” ah, life.

    • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

      The only sad thing about Blizzeta is that it was still not an entirely unique boss…..

      It’s actually based on one of Ganon’s forms from Wind Waker. Where you have to watch for Ganon Spider as he falls from the ceiling to crush you, only using the water’s reflection to tell you where he was.

      Mind you it’s still a good boss fight, one that provided some challenge.

  • The Unicorn Hanger-Outer

    I spent most of my time hanging out in the kitchen, having some suit.

    • guest02

      I love suit too ;D

  • Some Rando

    The first time I played I didn’t realize snowpeak ruins was a dungeon until I was there for 2 hours… lmao.

    • Kravik

      I actually played through it was if it was not.. It sure is though! :p

  • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

    This was probably the best designed original dungeon in Twilight Princess.

    Simply put it had been a long time since Zelda had an ice themed dungeon…. not to mention one that was so uniquely designed.

    It still suffers from from the over arching flaws of Twilight Princess (little use of the wolf, and very little use of previously acquired dungeon items…. spinner, gale boomerang, arrows) but as far as the dungeons in Twilight Princess go, this one is the best hands down.

    The fact that there is consistency in design as you travel from room to room, and that it breaks up the typical dungeon monotony through use of character interaction and a very unique surroundings, makes this a dungeon to remember. Not to mention it is one of the few dungeons that isn’t significantly linear and you can find yourself passing through previous areas quite frequently.

    The dungeon is generally more punishing for careless mistakes as well…. so it provides some significant challenge in combat….. mind you it isn’t saying much in a game like Twilight Princess where most enemies don’t do more then half a heart of damage on average and give you exceeding amounts of health.

    Either way I think Axl hit the nail on the head with this one…. still looking forward to seeing City in the Sky, Twilight Palace and Hyrule Castle ripped apart….they were poorly designed….. Temple of Time I’m on the fence about, it was a nice dungeon…. but it was far too linear and simple….. with probably the most primitive boss in the game (it really is easier then even Bio Deky Baba whatever…. which is sad considering how cool of a boss it is).

    • iKhan

      1. Yeah Armogohma was way too easy, but they made it look 1000 times more awesome in the Wii U tech demo
      2. While I’m with you on Hyrule Castle and City in the Sky, I absolutely loved the Palace of Twilight. The Zant Hand mechanic was really fun, and the artistic design was incredibly novel for a shadow dungeon. In fact, if they ever make a futuristic Zelda, I want it to look all Tron-like the Palace of Twilight

      • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

        1. The Wii U tech demo is an animation for the most part the whole point of it is to look awesome…. as for whether or not the actual gameplay would be awesome is another question.

        2. Palace of Twilight was incredibly simple… two short corridors to grab some orbs. Not to mention it’s a final dungeon filled with low level enemies (keese, deku baba’s, shadow vermin…. it’s embarrassing considering you’ve faced ReDead Knights, Stalfos, Aerofols and worst).

        Also the idea wasn’t to be a shadow dungeon (akin to Ocarina of Time’s Shadow Dungeon…. which the Arbiter Grounds is more like). Visually the dungeon looked cool, but it’s wasted on what is for the most part a simple, boring dungeon.

        Not to mention the “Light” Master Sword is the most useless reward. Which doesn’t even carry over outside the Twilight Palace…. and doesn’t even play any prominent part in that battle with Zant. It’s just an arbitrary key of sorts.

        Just such a terrible…. dungeon.

        • rjhewgyrfu (aka ruifgyqforug)

          “Aerofols” lol

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            lol, my mistake, I thought that was the name they were going by, although yeah it’s aeralfos.

        • ShadowsofTime

          Is it just me or is this the only dungeon in the entire game that doesn’t give you an actual item to fight with. The Light Master Sword is exactly like the original Master Sword, save that you can cut apart shadows with it.

    • OwnerofTriforce

      “Long time since Zelda had an ice themed dungeon”? The Temple of Droplets in Minish Cap was based on ice

      • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

        I suppose that is true I forgot about that one, my mind drifted back to Link to the Past…. and the Ice Cavern wasn’t much of a dungeon.

        Also Temple of Droplets was a bit of a split in being a water and ice dungeon… you spend a lot of time swimming in that dungeon, and there isn’t ice themed enemies.

        • OwnerofTriforce

          But then we also have Snowhead Temple from Majora’s Mask. Part snow, part ice.

          • http://www.controlpaddesign.com/ TheMaverickk

            Part Ice, and part fire actually.

            Either way, it’s more so that ice plays a huge part of the Ice Palace in Link to the Past… every surface icy and slippery, it has penguins sliding around on the ice, ice men coming out of the walls… it probably made the biggest impact as an ice dungeon compared to the others.

            Snowpeak in many ways had a similar feel with all the floors covered in ice, ice beast enemies through out the dungeon. I’ve thoroughly played all those Zelda titles, and Majora’s Mask especially, but for whatever reason even it’s ice type dungeon just didn’t feel completely built around the idea of ice.

          • Kravik

            There is also the mini-dungeon from OOT ..

      • Kravik

        Thank you! .. It saddens me how often so called “Zelda” fans, just neglect most of the games in the series..

    • Kravik

      Little use of the wolf? It is imperative to the whole ‘dungeon’, just like the compass it..

  • Sir Quaffler

    Yeah I really like this dungeon as well. Definitely my favorite of the game, though the City in the Sky takes a close second (I’m probably in the minority on that one, though =P)

  • Bulby33

    The Snowpeak Ruins is my favorite Zelda dungeon of all time. It’s so good!

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  • That One Guy

    I actually just beat that dungeon on my playthrough of TP earlier today. :3

    • Kravik

      I just re-beat it myself. :) First time I ever read these kind of articles while actually playing through it myself. Just a happy coincidence. I was going to replay WW. But for some LUCKY reason chose to replay TP instead! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/burnsie322 Joshua Burns

    This Dungeon was perfect for Twilight Princess. It did EXACTLY what Twilight Princess wanted, placed zelda in a more realistic context. Everything you said about the dungeon layout and method of progression is exactly on the mark. This dungeon to me likens to the Forest Temple (and to a lesser extent the Shadow Temple) from Ocarina in alot of ways, because it gave you a location which was shrowded in mystery which meant it felt more than just your stock-standard dungeon. It felt like this place was actually a place in Hyrule, and not there purely for the sake of finding the next ‘element/sage/Important magical thing. I also liked the mood of the place, which was emphasised by the lack of strong light and build up. Prior to entering this dungeon you wander up a snowy mountain in what appears to be a blizzard. When you reach the top you glide down a mostly empty area but the music doesn’t change. This really builds up the feeling of isolation and lonlieness that this dungeon holds…even when supplemented by the scenes with Yeto and Yeta. However what I liked MOST about this dungeon is that the first time I entered Snowpeak Ruins I didn’t actually realise that it was a dungeon. I simply thought it was another area to explore and it took me 5 minutes to establish that this was indeed a dungeon, which owes alot to its build up and which I believe they attemped to replicate to an extent in Skyward Sword

    I was almost relieved at how easy Blizzeta was in comparison to the rest of this dungeon’s enemies. That damn Darkhammer drove me nuts, I swear I never timed my hookshots right and always wound up getting hit. Those Mini Freezards were a COLLOSSAL pain in the ass when you were just trying to get parts of the dungeon done, especially when your trying to kill them and run on ice at the same time as they bounce around you. Reckon I lost the majority of my health to those things. I say this but I enjoyed the challenge immensely. Completing sections of this dungeon really gave me a sense of accomplishment, and the enemies felt really unique (the Chilfos disturbed me for their almost ‘empty soldier’ human like appearance, whilst those multiple eyed freezards were awesomely monstorous looking). I also thought the ball and chain was an interesting weapon for link, again it went with the realistic theme of the game to have alternative weapons than just a sword, but also added to the ‘medieval mansion’ feel of the dungeon.

    I’m also glad (in a manner of speaking) about the fact that their were no hearts in the bulk of the dungeon. This of course upped the difficulty immensely, but it definitely fit in nicely with the atmosphere of the dungeon. More dungeons should have had slight quirks like this, would have emphasised some level of individuality.
    The ONLY gripe I truly had with this dungeon was that one section with the block puzzles. Not a huge one mind, I know that it presented a challenge but sometimes it just drove me nuts (a bit like that stone hopping puzzle in the Sacred Forest Meadow)
    Props to you again for another great review, keep em coming :)

  • iKhan

    Snowpeak is my favorite Zelda dungeon ever. I absolutely love what they do with the Ice mechanics, and its a real shame that Nintendo doesn’t put Ice dungeons in games more often if they can make something as great as Snowpeak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11401354 NoahDavid Lein

    Excellent review. Thanks for reminding me why this dungeon is great. Since it doesn’t have the epic sweep of dungeon’s like Arbiter’s Grounds, it may not get the respect it deserves. But for the balance of combat, puzzles, and theme, it should be on every Top 5 list.

    And yeah, you might want to consider adjectives more carefully… “overly easy” and “hardest” probably don’t work well together. The Darkhammer battle is mechanically flawed (like you said) and that makes it challenging. The narrow space intensifies these flaws and makes the battle obnoxious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katie.barber.902 Katie Barber

    This is interesting. I personally loved the design and themes of Snowpeak as well, personally, but Mr Light Chicken Bulbs (author of Group of Weirdoes on fanfiction.net) finds it one of the most boring and samey thematically, one of Axle’s Goron Mines gripes I do believe.

    Personally, I found this dungeon rather tedious in gameplay. The fact that you can only kill the big Freezards with the ball and chain makes them almost impossible in one particular room due to their reach. The Chilfos are irritating, but simple to snipe with bomb arrows, and the mini-Freezards are irritating, but killable as well.

    Then there’s the goddamn cannons. It’s a nice concept and would’ve been awesome if not for the fact that you have to carry the balls to the cannons and put them in, and carrying said cannonballs slows Link down. This slowing down and the levers to get balls through doors just makes it tedious, repetative, and boring.

    Then there’s Darkhammer. He’s cool, I’ll grant you, but far too difficult for my liking. He only ever walks towards you swinging the ball and chain, or is firing it at you. Problem is, it takes ages for him to get you in his range, which you then have to dodge in a small time frame by clawshotting over him. If you clawshot at the wrong angle while waiting, he hits you as you go sailing past. If you don’t know the Mortal Draw, the battle becomes long, drawn out, and boring, and frustrating.

    Blizzeta was awesome though. Solid boss, in my opinion, and one of my favourites in the series. Well, the second phase is. First phase is pretty short.

  • Totallyzeldagames

    I loved it, and it seems all your perspectives match mine. When I first looked at the map it did surprise me to see how deftly it resembled an actually house plan! Though you did over look one other source of health replenishment; the liquid you can scoop up in a bottle after besting a chu (but not the yellow ones, those being the equivalent to lantern oil). Looking forward to a stunning review on the Temple of Time!

    • Kravik

      I thought I recalled something like that! :D Thanks!

  • Kravik

    Bomb floor? Also I did not notice the claw shot target till after I killed that thing ..

  • http://www.facebook.com/EdgarLuzete Edgar Luzete

    You actually don’t have to wait until Darkhammer attacks you to strike back. You can just use the Grappling Hook on the gridded ceiling to get behind him, if I remember well.

    • Kravik

      That explains the targets! Thanks! :D

  • Kravik

    Where can one bomb the floor?

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  • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

    Darkhammer’s kind of easy if you know the trick to instantly killing him. Otherwise he’s a bit hard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wade.langner Wade Langner

    Blizzeta is the best boss battle in the game? Now that is a joke.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wade.langner Wade Langner

    Either this or the City in the Sky was my least favorite TP dungeon. I don’t like the atmosphere of either dungeon, and both have pretty dull themes.

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

    You know what I think…
    This dungeon was………….

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ..
    COOOL!
    Sorry. I’ll go to the corner now.

  • jake c

    i loved snowpeak and Yeta is so cute brings back nostalgia

  • Jeffers

    Personally I hate this dungeon, but I do agree with one thing: Blizzeta’s second stage theme is great.

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