Dungeons and Zelda go hand in hand. They are like Link and Princess Zelda, Kafei and Anju, and Revali and his pride — one would not be complete without the other! Throughout the past 37 (whoa!) years of Zelda, we have seen a plethora of unique dungeons and temples in each entry in the series. These dungeons have always been a staple throughout each adventure in Hyrule, and they often pose challenges for our favorite green-clad hero, giving him the keys, items, and skills he needs to grow, mature, and fulfill his destiny.

But among all the head-scratching puzzles, epic boss fights, and noteworthy musical themes, which Zelda game should take the crown for overall best dungeons?

For long-time Zelda fans like myself, this question is unfair. Every Zelda has its share of fantastic, memorable dungeons that fill us with nostalgia and fondness. However, is there a title in the series that delivers a fantastic balance of puzzle-solving, overall theme, atmosphere, and difficulty throughout each fortress Link has to topple?

For me, after much debate and pondering, I think it’s a toss up between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.

Ocarina of Time‘s dungeons were the series’ first attempt at bringing puzzle-solving and boss-fighting to 3D, and each time I play through that memorable adventure, I’m struck by how solid all of them are. They each bring something new to the table and have withstood the test of time. Who can forget the eerie atmosphere of the Forest Temple, fighting Twinrova in the Spirit Temple, being absolutely terrified in the Shadow Temple, and wanting to rage-quit while searching for that one wretched missing key in the Water Temple?

Oh, the memories.

However, Twilight Princess is known for not only for having some of the series’ most iconic and difficult dungeons, but also for having the most in any Zelda game to date, hitting us with 9. There are so many dungeons in this game that you would think playing through them all would get boring and tasteless, but each is so well-executed and unique that they simply add to the charm of adventure (well, every one except for the City in the Sky, but I have my own beef with that maze in the clouds!). Two of my favorites in the series are placed one after another in this game, being Arbiter’s Grounds and Snowpeak Manor — both being so unique and fun to conquer. Some of my fondest memories during my first playthrough include having a blast on the Spinner in the sand in Arbiter’s Grounds and enjoying the charm of exploring what I initially thought was just a giant mansion in the mountains, only to realize after besting baddies and searching for the darned bedroom key that I was in a legit dungeon. I think that’s the charm of Twilight Princess‘s dungeons — they were some of the most unique yet solid dungeons the series had seen at the time of release.

Though Skyward Sword, The Wind Waker, and even The Minish Cap have their share of solid dungeons too, I think Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess take the cake for best overall. But perhaps Tears of the Kingdom will give us new entries that will put all other dungeons to shame. My expectations are high!

What Zelda game do you think has the best dungeons overall? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Artwork: PapayouFR

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