Ranking all The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Dungeons
Favourite dungeons Tier
(From left to right)
Dark Palace – The first dungeon in the Dark World with an entrance very similar to the counterpart in the Light World, but very clear in how different it is from the comparison. This dungeon is huge, with so many paths to take and so many chests to find. You could decide to take the middle road, or go to the left- or right to find entirely new pathways here. I feel like this is possibly one of the dungeons (not counting the last) that has the most routes to your destination, with every direction you take offering something. And it didn’t sacrifice the quality of each individual room either, having a nice balance between puzzles and combat.
The hammer is… okay. It’s not really something I use outside of puzzles because it has a short range, but it can be useful still. And there are still some enemies that take a good amount of damage from the hammer so it’s not the worst item out there.
The boss is really cool though, I love the Helmasaur King. This is the first boss you’ll face in the Dark World and it immediately sets the mood with how intimidating it is compared to everything fought before. It takes up most of the room, uses several different attacks and won’t easily back down either. That faceplate of him is hard, taking a total of 16 hammer hits… or just throw 4 bombs, whatever you prefer. That’s not the end though, as he starts moving around faster in the second phase and looks perhaps even more intimidating than before. Definitely one of, if not my favourite boss in the game.
Swamp Palace – It’s not unusual for water-related dungeons to be near the bottom of Zelda games because of how they’re handled. Water rising and swimming can be people’s worst nightmares, but the Swamp Palace doesn’t have this issue due to how simple it is kept. Water levels only have to be changed once and then never again, and swimming in general doesn’t bring any issues. And the dungeon itself is good as well; not as big as the Dark Palace before it, but still one that offers multiple routes with nice puzzles. The hookshot room in the middle is definitely one of the highlights for me, though the room with the waterfalls also springs out to me.
Given that items are taken into account for the ranking, it should come as no surprise that one of the reasons this dungeon is at the top is due to the Hookshot. This is the first game where this prestigious item has been introduced and it should not come as a surprise that it’s my favourite Zelda item ever. It doesn’t just work as an item to get you across bottomless pits, but it does good damage against enemies or can stun them like the boomerang. This is also one of the reasons I don’t really care for the boomerang that much since the hookshot is that much better.
Another eye boss is awaiting us at the end being Arrghus, but he’s my favourite of the three. The item of this dungeon is used very well as the mandatory method to fight the boss, dragging all of the Arrgi towards you end killing them before they can return as a protective shield for the eye. It’s not really difficult to do this as the swirling attack is very easy to avoid, but I like the idea regardless. The second phase where he swims across the room diagonally is a nice end to the fight as well.
Skull Woods – This entry is actually funny because every time I start up this game, I dread going through it for whatever reason. But after I do go through it, the dungeon is… actually pretty solid! I like that there are many different entrances outside of the dungeon, with most of them necessary for the main items. Though I’m not necessarily a fan of the wallmasters, they do add to the challenge of the dungeon. The only negative I can say about the dungeon is that, if you’re familiar with the layout, you can easily skip half of the dungeon because they consist of mostly pointless rooms. This, of course, does not apply to first-time visitors, but it’s noticeable how much of the dungeon is practically unnecessary.
Love the item though, the Fire Rod is a great weapon. I don’t use it as often as other offensive weapons because it consumes magic, but it’s a very useful and powerful tool regardless that has a nice balance between puzzle-solving and combat.
Mothula is a decisive boss because of everything going on, but I’m on the positive side. I love that there is a flying moth who shoots out lasers, while on a conveyor belt with spikes on the edge of the arena that move to the other side of the room. It’s a tough boss that can easily destroy the unprepared, but I’m a fan of all this chaos that’s going on. After all, it’s not like A Link to the Past is a difficult game, so I’ll gladly take any challenging boss fight.