As the Zelda series began to progress and technology improved, one of the greatest boons was the ability to thematically develop the dungeons. From the simplistic gimmick of Key Cavern to the dark history of Arbiter’s Grounds, Zelda dungeons went from cookie-cutter labyrinths to structures with personality and pizzazz. With the cold weather months upon us, I thought it would be pretty chill to look at the various ice-themed dungeons throughout the series? Which is your favorite?

While The Minish Cap‘s Temple of Droplets has incredible music and I love the adorable Anouki near the Temple of Ice in Phantom Hourglass, Ice Palace from A Link to the Past is my favorite among the 2D options. It’s a very challenging dungeon, perhaps the game’s most difficult, and it compliments this with the stark atmosphere set by its blue and white corridors. We see the introduction of some very daunting enemies, and the dungeon’s progression ends with a devious backtrack that has thrown me for a loop more than a few times. Ice Cavern exemplifies everything I love about early 2D dungeon design.

In the 3D realm, it’s Snowhead Temple without question. My love for Majora’s Mask aside, not only is this my favorite ice dungeon, I consider it one of the very best dungeons in the whole series. It has tough competition, though. Fan favorite Snowpeak Ruins is a masterclass in Twilight Princess‘ thematic presentation, and Ocarina of Time‘s Ice Cavern is brief but iconic. For me, Snowhead just checks all of the boxes, creates some new ones, and checks those too. It’s a tricky dungeon that manages to avoid annoyance, it has an interesting central mechanic, and ends with a fantastic boss.

What do you think? What is your favorite ice dungeon? Do you generally enjoy this theme? Let us know in the comments below!

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