Posted on January 17 2015 by C. M. Lanning
Dungeons. They’re essential to any Zelda game. So naturally, I have to ask: what is the perfect number of dungeons to have in a Zelda title? Some fans love as many dungeons as can be crammed into a single game, others may want as few as possible, and still more may want a happy medium.
Dungeons are essential to the Zelda series for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is to keep the puzzle-loving crowd happy. Dungeons consist mainly of three things: bosses, puzzles, and treasure. Dungeons have been that way since 1986.
Another reason dungeons are used is to build up Link‘s strength and give him a chance to prove he is courageous enough to wield that piece of the Triforce he has. Dungeons can also be used to advance the plot of the story e.g., finding new sages in Ocarina of Tme to help Link defeat Ganon.
So with all of those reasons laid out, is there a magic number of dungeons to have in a Zelda title? No. I don’t believe in a perfect number, just a good range.
Let’s take a look at a few Zelda titles at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to too many or too few dungeons in the game.
Majora’s Mask has five dungeons, six if fans want to count the Pirates Fortress (I’ll let y’all argue about that in the comments since I’m sure you will). Majora’s Mask has some of the fewest dungeons to complete, and for that reason, some people put it at the bottom of their favorites list. Myself, I think the game could have been a little longer, but I still really enjoy playing it.
On the other side of the dungeon spectrum is A Link To The Past, which has a whopping 13 dungeons, and 14 in the GBA version. A Link to the Past certainly has the most dungeons of any Zelda game (though A Link Between Worlds comes close with 12 dungeons). Coincidentally, A Link to the Past certainly has the most dungeons of any Zelda game, though I personally felt that 13 was just too many. I beat the game all the same, but it became tedious for me instead of fun.
I guess I can be labeled as one of the “happy middle” folks. I wanted more from Majora’s Mask but less from A Link to the Past. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m picky with my Zelda games. I’m picky with my food too. I love cookies, but if it isn’t chocolate chip or snickerdoodles, forget about it.
My favorite Zelda game is Ocarina of Time (that’s right, I’m one of those people), and I believe it has the perfect number of dungeons. With a total of nine main dungeons (or temples, because I know I’ll see a comment about that somewhere), Ocarina of Time left me feeling completely satisfied. The original Legend of Zelda and Link’s Awakening also had nine dungeons.
While I won’t agree that there’s a perfect number of dungeons to have in a Zelda title, I will say I believe in a good healthy range. To me, that perfect range is between seven and nine dungeons. Any less, and I usually don’t feel 100 percent satisfied; any more, and the game becomes a chore. My one exception to this rule is Skyward Sword. That game has seven dungeons, but the whole thing still felt like a chore. Screw Skyward Sword.