Top 20 Dungeons in the Zelda Series #20-16

This month, Zelda Dungeon (the Zelda fansite I volunteer for) is counting down the Top 50 Dungeons in the Zelda Series based on staff input. The post gets updated weekly, with 10 dungeons added at at time. So I decided that I would post my top 20 dungeons, in 4 installments, with 5 dungeons each. I have a couple things to note first:

  • I haven’t quite played every game in the series, but I’ve played most. And a few of them I haven’t played recently, so I don’t remember them well enough. So a year from now I might look back at these and they’ll be completely different.
  • I’m not including Four Swords/Four Swords Adventures, or Triforce Heroes.
  • A lot of the time, it was hard to decide where exactly to rank the games. I will say that the top 5 are pretty accurate, but the rest could definitely move around on the list.

So without further ado, here are the first 5!

20) Temple of the Ocean King – Phantom Hourglass

This one gets a lot of hate. But I love coming back to it with new items and new ways to get through the dungeon. You are kind of replaying sections, but new items give you shortcuts. And I always love a good stealth section. A lot of people don’t, which is fine – it certainly does slow down a game, but it makes thing much more high stakes for me (yes, I do love the silent realm in Skyward Sword).

19) Tower of Spirits – Spirit Tracks

The Tower of Spirits is Spirit Track‘s Temple of the Ocean King – a central dungeon you keep returning to so you can unlock new areas on the map. It’s supposed to be an improved version, removing all the stuff people hated about the first iteration. Kind of like how Spirit Tracks is to Phantom Hourglass. Is it actually the superior version? Honestly, I’m not sure and I would have to replay the games to really figure it out. So it’s current ranking is a benefit-of-the-doubt of sorts. But this dungeon is one of the reasons Spirit Tracks has a special place in my heart. Zelda (as a spirit) actually travels along with you, and is able to possess phantoms to help you get through this dungeon. I love when Zelda takes a more central role in the games, instead of watching from afar.

18) Catfish’s Maw – Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening got a fresh coat of paint last year with its Switch remake and I fell in love with it all over again. The new art style really brought all the whimsy of the original back into full light. And while I adore the original, I don’t think any of the dungeons would have made it on my list if I hadn’t played the remake this year. Catfish’s Maw features a four-part mini boss battle with a Master Stalfos, who flees and moves to a different part of the dungeon each time you defeat him. At his final defeat, he drops the hookshot, so you can traverse through the rest of the dungeon. It’s a dungeon designed to be explored and re-explored. I’m not too fond of the dungeon’s boss, but the Master Stalfos battles make up for it.

17) Stone Tower – Majora’s Mask

There is one reason why this dungeon is on this list. Halfway through, you flip the dungeon upside down to play it through again. I mean, what a unique way to change up a dungeon! I also love that you have to use all your forms to complete the dungeon. And the music uses the instruments of each of your forms – ocarina, drums, horns, and guitar. It’s a really nice final dungeon. There’s a good likelihood that it’ll move up in my rankings after I replay the game…because I actually never finished the dungeon. My family’s Wii stopped turning on, and that was the only platform I had the game on. But I’m probably gonna get it on my Wii U, as I’m planning on playing each game in release order some time in the next year (and maybe streaming some of them if I can get myself a capture card!).

16) Woodfall Temple – Majora’s Mask

I love playing as Deku Link – it’s so much fun being thrown out of Deku Flowers so you can fly around an area. It’s one of the best first dungeons in the series. And for me it has the most memorable boss (other than Majora) in the game. The music perfectly fits the atmosphere as well. Gosh, I am really itching to play Majora’s Mask.

As I said at the beginning of the post, these dungeon ranking probably could’ve been switched around quite a lot. I’m definitely looking forward to reviewing this in the future, after a revisit to the games.

Stay tuned for dungeons #15-11!

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5 Comments

  1. I can see why people would like the Temple of the Ocean King, but I still feel that the Tower of Spirits was the idea it was going for done right. I definitely think the dungeons are the main draw of the franchise, though ironically, my two favorite games in the series (Breath of the Wild and Majora’s Mask) don’t feature a particularly strong dungeon lineup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the dungeons, but I do tend to like the games where there’s a lot to do between the dungeons more. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll do with dungeons in the Breath of the Wild sequel.

      Liked by 1 person

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