This probably isn’t a moment that a lot of other people would call one of their favorites. It’s just Moldarach. Again. In a pretty similar-looking room, when you’re stronger and it’s much easier to defeat. “That’s the definition of lame boss recycling!” you might say. Possibly, but I think there’s some other serious merits to this moment, and because of them, it at least made a big impact on me.
Think about it from this perspective: How many bosses in the series have their place in the world basically explained to you? Think back on the large number of boss monsters throughout the series, and it’s pretty obvious that we have no idea what most of them even are. Even a number of the ones where we have hints — such as Bongo Bongo, an “evil shadow spirit” that was sealed in a well — are still not sufficiently explained to the point where we can understand how they work and what their place in the world is. Moldarach was entirely different. It wasn’t a demon, or a nondescript monster, or just some other weird being not elaborated upon; Moldarach was what happens when a tiny Aracha grows to be 1000 years old. It is seemingly the product of the natural growth process of these normal animals in the game’s world.
I thought that was really cool to begin with and lent the Aracha-infested Lanayru Mining Facility dungeon a pretty interesting flavor, but it wasn’t until this moment that it really, really hit home; this was the point when the game basically said: “Oh, what’s that? You thought Moldarach was just a boss with a neat little backstory? No way dude, this thing is an actual thing in this game’s world! Bro.” (The game probably didn’t put it like that.)
When I entered the final room of the Lanayru Shipyard, and began searching under the sand with my Gust Bellows, I didn’t expect an overworld boss (which we need more of, by the way). Even as I started uncovering Moldarach under the sand, and I’d done so enough to realize what it was, I was in disbelief. There’s this entire period beginning when he leaped out of the sand and ending when he died where I can’t really remember what happened because I’m pretty sure I was yelling “oh my god this is awesome” a lot.
Uhhhh… Whoa… You’re kind of imploding my mind right now…
Was this a recycled boss? Well, yes, definitely. Does that make it bad? No, of course not. Recycling a game’s elements to lengthen the experience is an age-old tactic that — provided it’s done judiciously and intelligently — impacts the game in a wholly positive way. Moldarach was a pretty cool boss to begin with — the concept of sword dueling with a giant scorpion still gives me giggles — and even though he’s unchanged and easier here, that’s fine by me as long as the game doesn’t try to pass him off as a big deal, and honestly Skyward Sword didn’t. He’s just there. He’s easier because he’s a miniboss, and he’s just a cool, short little rematch thrown in for a little bit of good padding, a neat overworld boss encounter, and a pretty sizable chunk of worldbuilding. Or, rather than adding worldbuilding — which the original fight against him did — the rematch lends credence to existing worldbuilding; without a second encounter with these natural occurrences within Skyward Sword’s world, we’d basically just be taking Fi’s word for it. Which is fine of course, but it gives the game’s worldbuilding more the feeling of a textbook and not a firsthand experience of the world’s wonders.
Zelda needs more worldbuilding — and more worldbuilding credence — like this, just as it needs more overworld encounters, minibosses, and just generally cool moments. I think it’s silly to try to complain about this rematch on the grounds of it being content recycling or too easy, because it’s too short to be offensive and a miniboss should be easier. I enjoyed this moment a lot. It was a small touch, but it added a lot to the game’s world.
How about you? What did you think of the rematch with Moldarach? Did it make any impact on you at all — positive of negative — or was it just not noteworthy to you? If it did make an impact, what are your thoughts on it? Tell me in the comments!