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How Long Should It Take to Reach the First Dungeon?

Dungeons are what most people love in Zelda (aside from me) and one criticism i hear towards a few Zeldas are how long they take to get you to the first dungeon. In Majora's Mask we have to wait the first three days out, get the Ocarina during an encounter with Skull Kid, rid ourselves of the Deku Scrub mask/curse, fix a witch, hire a boat, rescue a monkey and then we can get into the dungeon.

In TP we have a handful of things to do in Ordon including rescuing kids, doing chores, summoning hawks, yapping to locals, being turned into a wolf, running over Hyrule castle's rooftops, navigating sewers, meeting a princess and following a monkey through a thick fog before getting to the first dungeon...

whereas in OoT we have to find a sword and a shield and then we get to enter a giant tree- cue first dungeon.

So the question is this; how long should a Zelda game take to spring the first dungeon on you?
How long do you prefer to wait before the first dungeon?
Which games take too long and which games are just right?

Have fun


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
The first dungeon should be more of a tutorial area in that monsters are weak and you can test getting used to the controls on live bait. The Zelda series isn't likely one to employ the usage of, say, super dungeons or even raids, so I'd keep the formula safe and efficient by having the first dungeon easy to get to -- 20 minutes or less like Ocarina of Time -- as well as easy to complete.
Jun 14, 2011
It shouldn't take very long. Skyward Sword took the longest to get into the first Temple and I just really wanted to get in there already. I think Ocarina of time was just right with the gap between the start of the game, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to do a bit more before you venture to the first Dungeon/Temple. So roughly I'd wait for the first dungeon roughly about an hour or two into the game, that would be ideal for me.


Swag Master General
Aug 1, 2012
The End
Apache Helicopter
I think the first dungeon should be the tutorial. So I think you should be in the first dungeon as fast as possible and the dungeon should teach you how to play the game (like Inside the Great Deku Tree in OoT).


Pokalink the avaricious
Feb 5, 2012
Outset Island
Yes, i think you should send them in quickly, i think that the sooner you get into a dungeon the more ominous the nature of the game, as you start realizing quickly the menacing nature of your foe (Espicely why i like the beggining of ALTTP), and it also just serves a tutorial to how the Legend of Zelda opertates, and the faster you get to the Dungeon, the faster you will get attached to the series.


Version 1
Apr 6, 2011
The Turnabout
At the maximum, I would say to give the player about 45 minutes at most before the first dungeon, or at least engage in some basic puzzles before the first dungeon, just like OOT did when you have to recover the sword and shield.


I think the reason why ALTTP is my favorite is because the first thing you do is start in a "dungeon" so to speak. I absolutely hated how long Skyward Sword took to get me into a dungeon. Nowadays you are spending anywhere from an hour to four hours before getting into the first dungeon. If they'd do like what OOT and ALTTP did with the first dungeon and use that as a brief tutorial, people wouldn't complain about the tutorial aspect of the game as much.

- Dave


Darkest of all Dark Links
Oct 28, 2012
20 minutes. Sure, it may feel like a pain in games like MM and TP to go through the tutorial, but not only does this introduction time give us time to set up story and characters, but it also removes the need for a tutorial dungeon. Deku Tree was a tutorial dungeon. Not awful, but not that great of a dungeon. Because TP and MM had solid introductions and tutorials, we had solid, albeit easy, first dungeons for both games.


Jan 14, 2013
Ente Isla
I dunno for sure. TP and SS definitely felt too long to me. TP more than SS, because in SS you at least get to the surface soon enough (with Fi stating the obvious at every single turn). I like it best when it doesn't feel like "OK, now. THIS is the first dungeon. The game. Starts. Here." and feels more like "Oh, look. The first dungeon."


Keep it strong
Mar 17, 2012
Liverpool, England
I disagree with the idea that the first dungeon should be a tutorial. I prefer the approach taken in Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword because it means every single dungeon is a robust experience. Inside the Deku Tree from Ocarina of Time honestly barely counts as a dungeon to me. Majora's Mask's mini-dungeons are more fleshed out and challenging than it and when people say OoT has three dungeons before you get to be an Adult, I always find myself thinking 'But one of them was opening a couple of doors and swinging your sword a little'. The boss can even be beaten in less then 8 seconds with virtually no skill, just pop it in the eye and spam Spin Attacks.

With MM, TP and SS you get all of the learning the controls stuff out of the way to preapre you for the dungeons. The Woodfall Temple is more of a challenge than half the dungeons in OoT and I do think that is how it should be. The dungeons should not be somewhere that the game uses to hold your hand and take things easy, they should be somewhere you are tested and challenged. TP is my favourite example of this because the tutorial of how to use your sword is even used to help flesh out the charatcers of Malo, Talo and Beth as well as setting up the image they have of Link which is a minor plot point later on with Colin. Having the tutorial happen outside the dungeons has the benefit of allowing it to be used for story development and it let's each dungeon be a complete dungeon experience.

A Link To The Past handled it exceptionally well too by giving us a mini-dungeon as a tutorial. It introduced us to the combat, the map and keys and boss fights all while developing story too, showing us the corrupted knights and it being a daring rescue of the Princess. This approach works well as a middle ground because at the start you have something dramatic to draw you in and at the end you don't feel cheated out of a dungeon. So I say it should take a fair amount of time to reach the first dungeon, something akin to TP and SS but having a mini-dungeon extremely early is a good alternative to a blatant tutorial.
Feb 23, 2011
In my honest opinion, most of the time it depends on the plot. Does the plot involve a relatively lengthy period of time before it introduces the opening premise, or does it employ a brief approach to getting the story up and running? Those two factors, from my experience, are what govern the time it takes for me to reach the first dungeon.

Take for instance Ocarina of Time: it takes very little time before Link goes inside of the Deku Tree. One key factor to note in this case is the fact that OoT is not very story-driven; this is reflected in its pacing. Grab sword and shield and you're good to go... While Skyward Sword on the other hand, was a bit more story-driven, which is probably why it takes longer (imo) to reach the first dungeon (tie in the fact that you jad to familiarize yourself with a whole new control scheme, and... yeah).

What I am trying to say here is that elements of gameplay, particularly beginner tutorials and collecting starter equipment and items, indiscriminately tie into the plot (this is an aspect of pacing), and serve as the base of what forms the window of time between turning on the game and reaching the first dungeon. = filler...

Could the series improve on this in the future? I'd say, yes, definitely. But until then, want to reach the first dungeon faster? Try a game that is less story-driven like OoT.
May 3, 2012
I really like how OoT did it, you start off not knowing too much of the story, you find a sword and shield and learn some basics, then once you get through the first dungeon you feel accomplished and story starts to unravel. The Wind Waker had good pacing in the beginning too.


Jun 22, 2011
I won't tackle the question of what how long it should take in the games, but I personally want five minutes at most. Majora's Mask never bothered me for some reason though- maybe I just really love clock town. I started a new file of Skyward Sword last week and watched two entire episodes of 24 on dvd while blindly pressing the A button to get to the point when the game finally lets you go to the surface. I really wish I had saved a file at the start of hero mode. Ranking the console games in terms of how happy I am with the respective games' openings is basically a chronological listing with Skyward Sword swapped with Twilight Princess because however much Skyward Sword's start bothered me, I definitely prefer it to Twilight Princess in this respect. Legend of Zelda is my favorite because it doesn't make you do anything.


default setting: sarcastic prick
Dec 17, 2012
Regardless of tutorials, plot, etc, I don't want to be held up for more that 45 minutes.


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