Looking Back at the Water Temple: Best Zelda Dungeon Ever?
When gamers look back on the many dungeons in The Legend of Zelda, the one that stands out the most is the legendary Water Temple from Ocarina of Time. A lot of gamers have openly expressed their hatred toward that dungeon, while others admitted their adoration for it. When you really think about it, it's impossible to deny the fact that the Water Temple is easily one of the most well-designed dungeons in the history of the Zelda series. It's challenging, it's deep, and there's so much to do. Simply put, the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time is quite possibly the best dungeon in the entire series.
The Water Temple is the third dungeon that Link visits as an adult in Ocarina of Time. It is appropriately complimentary to Jabu Jabu's Belly, because that dungeon area is pretty challenging in its own right. That said, the Water Temple is surprisingly difficult, and it doesn't hide the fact that its sole intention is to kick your ass. Throughout its entire foundation, the Water Temple is a complex mix of confusion, challenge, and brutality.
The Water Temple is daunting in size and challenge.
With the aforementioned description rounds up how I feel about the Water Temple's design, you may think I would hate the dungeon, but the fact of the matter is I absolutely love all of those aspects of it. I love getting lost, I love backtracking, and I even love getting a little frustrated with the Water Temple from time to time. The truth is, the Water Temple shouldn't be very difficult, but gamers make it so. Sure, the path could have been made a bit clearer ... or we could just pay attention to our surroundings. The Water Temple is a massive labyrinth, but if you pay close attention to where you are at all times, it becomes a tad easier to navigate. Just a tad.
Not surprisingly, even if you pay close attention to your surroundings, it's still pretty easy to lose sight of what you're supposed to be doing. And the fact that you need to backtrack and continuously take on re-spawning enemies along the way is certainly cause for frustration. Ultimately, however, the Water Temple is a wonderful dungeon. The countless rooms, fiendish puzzles, tenacious enemies, and encounter with Dark Link are just a few of the dungeon's most memorable elements. And it should go without saying that the addition of Dark Link in Ocarina of Time is a major event, properly suited for what has become the most memorable dungeon in the game.
Oh ... Forgot about this crazy dame.
The Water Temple's difficulty is part of the reason it's such a great dungeon. Because there is a new challenge at every corner, you constantly get the feeling of satisfaction upon solving a puzzle, clearing a room, or as previously mentioned, defeating Dark Link. For every frustrating moment there's an equally rewarding instance of gratification. The Water Temple kicks your ass, and it kicks your ass a lot, but when you finally conquer its many trials, you know you're capable of doing anything in the game.
Toughness aside, the Water Temple is also a beauty to behold. Adorned with various shades of blue, this dungeon provides a calm and serene aesthetic for what is an otherwise brutally challenging experience. Ah, the art of the oxymoron! In addition to the cool color scheme of the Water Temple, there is also some wonderfully crafted architecture, and the designs on the temple walls are equal parts mysterious and mesmerizing.
Seriously, this is epic on every conceivable level.
I won't lie to you and tell you that I haven't gotten frsutrated with the Water Temple. Hell, when I first played Ocarina of Time, I found it ludicrously difficult and constantly lost my way. But once I finally reached the dungeon boss, I knew I had just accomplished the biggest goal in the game yet. And after I got through the entire game, I looked back on the Water Temple and thought of it as a surprise challenge--the biggest challenge in the game put ever so fiendishly in the middle of the game. It was a clever move, and I'm certain none of us saw it coming. When we played it, though, we were probably equal parts surprised and ticked off. But when we passed it, no event in the game with the exception of the final battle with Ganon could have been more rewarding.
It's a shame that Nintendo decided to revamp the Water Temple in the recent 3D remake of Ocarina of Time. I suppose it makes sense, though, especially since so many gamers grew frustrated with the boot-switching mechanic. In the end, though, the fact that every gamer who played Ocarina of Time remembers the Water Temple so vividly is a testament to the value of the dungeon. Not only was it the toughest area to clear, but it was also the most satisfying to survive through. That, in my opinion, makes the Water Temple one of the greatest dungeons in the entire Zelda franchise, and I'd dare argue that it can possibly be considered the best of the best, period. It's doubtful that we'll get something equally barbaric in challenge in the upcoming Skyward Sword, but I most certainly hope Nintendo included a dungeon as memorable as the infamous Water Temple.