The Lost Woods are an interesting feature of the Zelda series. beginning simply as a maze designed for the player to navigate through and nothing more, over the years, the Lost Woods have evolved to have significance on the story and lore of the Zelda series. No longer just a winding labyrinth of trees, the Lost Woods have become tied to Link’s journey, often serving as the resting place of the Master Sword or serving as a trial in his quest to obtain the mighty blade.

In Ocarina of Time, the Lost Woods are located near Link’s home in Kokiri Forest and serves as the pathway to the Forest Temple, as well as including access points to other regions in Hyrule like Zora’s Domain and Death Mountain. Still a maze, things are at least changed up by having Link rely on the music of his best friend to navigate them properly. On top of that, the Lost Woods take on new meaning when it’s revealed that Kokiri Children who become lost in the forest become Skull Kids (with adults becoming Stalfos), and Majora’s Mask heavily implies that the Skull Kid Link can interact with in the Lost Woods becomes his enemy through the influence of Majora’s Mask. Other games have taken this approach of cementing the Lost Woods firmly in the lore (with Four Swords Adventures including a similar story of lost travelers becoming Deku Scrubs), but since Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game I played, this aspect of the Lost Woods’ history made me appreciate the amount of depth taken to justify every location in the game and connect it to the story and characters.

Not only is this bit of lore relatively dark and fascinating, it paints the Lost Woods as more than a maze for the sake of the gameplay experience.  The fact that it’s a recurring location in both Link’s childhood and adult life makes it even more important too, rather than just an obstacle for a key item or piece of treasure. In addition, Ocarina of Time‘s version of the Lost Woods plays with some interesting ideas of what it could signify. What causes the adults to transform into Stalfos if they become lost? Does becoming lost mean more than just literally, but mentally as well? What do they have to lose to become transformed? These questions make the Lost Woods a fascinating location to explore and ponder, and for me, that made Ocarina of Time‘s iteration of the forested maze the most compelling one.

What do you think? Which version of the Lost Woods do you like the best, or none at all? Let us know in the comments!

Feature art by Tree-ink

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