Posted on September 14 2021 by Brandon Schmitz
Looking back, I’ve discovered that my favorite Zelda dungeons tend to be those with the deepest roots in their respective game’s mythology. A generic fire-themed temple is all well and good, but what really spurs my imagination are the locales that feel like a logical extension of the world I’ve been exploring. Specifically, I love a dungeon that feels lived in — a dungeon that explicitly tells the player just enough about its background, yet leaves much of its lore open to interpretation. As a gamer, there are few joys greater than theory-crafting while exploring a richly detailed Zelda labyrinth.
I’ve probably said this at least a dozen times throughout the past six years, but no game tackles this approach toward dungeon design better than Twilight Princess. Almost every time I play through that game, I discover at least one new thing about one of its temples. That said, the Arbiter’s Grounds is definitely the one I most enjoy getting lost in. I’m already partial to “shadow” and desert-themed worlds, and this place combines the best aspects of both. Just looking at this place gets the mind wandering! How long has it been here? Is this a repurposed Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time? Given the sheer magnitude of this prison, it definitely alludes to a darker side of Hyrulean history than what this series typically shows.
In any case, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which dungeon does the best job of capturing your imagination? Let us know in the comments below!