The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Dungeon Review (Hyrule Castle)

“Welcome to my castle.”

– Ganondorf, the Gerudo King

Hyrule Castle Courtyard (TP)
The open-air courtyard of Hyrule Castle.

This is it. The final dungeon. It’s actually pretty hard to figure out what I want to say in this intro paragraph, because I want to save all of the good words for my overall game review. Anyway, I’m actually a bit shocked that I finished the game. There were a lot of things that I wanted to do in game, and I just went on auto pilot and beat the final boss. It was a bit of a strange thing. I’ll make you guys a list, because I like lists, and so can you.

Things that Helix42 Wanted to do in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Before Finishing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:

  • Find out what was going on with that hawk flying around the Fishing Hole, and what to do with it. There’s got to be hawk grass around there somewhere!
  • What happened to the Hyrule Castle graveyard? There was a puzzle with torches, gates, and a few Dominion Statues. There were even some helpful castle ghosts pointing!
  • There was another door in Hyrule Castle, which I didn’t go through. I walked through the one that led to the Aerolfos battle, and the rescue by the Resistance, then I went past it and found the Big Key, but I kind of just went through and finished the game without looking back.
  • I had this delusion that I was going to find all of the heart pieces. But let’s be honest, that wasn’t going to happen.
  • I was going to find all of the golden bugs, and then get the wallet the holds 1,000 rupees.
  • I was also going to go back to the City in the Sky, and visit Occoca and Occoca Jr.
  • There was another door in the inside entrance room in Hyrule Castle, but I couldn’t get over to it, even by clawshooting on the chandeliers.
  • Come to think of it, there was another door in Hyrule castle, that was locked when I went there. It must not have been important, because I never unlocked it, and then ended up beating the game anyway.
  • In addition, I was going to get over 25 points (25, right?) on that river canoeing archery game in the Upper Zora’s River, and get bigger bomb bags with double the space.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with finishing the game. The Hyrule Castle dungeon is arguably the best in the game, though for now, it’s tied with the Arbiter’s Grounds. In fact, Hyrule Castle was on the shorter side of the floor count, like the Palace of Twilight and Snowpeak Ruins, as the castle only had five floors. The later three weren’t really that much in the way of space, and mostly just flashed by as I ascended the castle.

The locked door leading into the throne room, where Ganondorf waits.
The locked door leading into the throne room, where Ganondorf waits.

When I sat down to work a bit more on the dungeon, I never thought that I would be finishing it. I solved that torch and stair puzzle, and then solved a few more. I fought an Aerolfos, was ambushed, rescued by the Resistance, which I thought was a nice touch, as those were characters who I really thought didn’t get enough time to shine. I found the boss key somewhere in there, and thought that it was an entertaining thought that I might beat the game that day. I didn’t plan on it. But then I was ascending the tower, and fighting that last Darknut, and then I was looking at the door, and then I pressed A, and then it opened, and then I walked through, and I saw Hyrule engulfed in storm, and I climbed the steps, saved my game twice for good measure, and walked in.

Ganondorf, in one of his first appearances in the game.
Ganondorf, in one of his first appearances in the game.

Let me just say that, wow. First impressions. I have to take back what I said about Ganondorf in my review of the Palace of Twilight (here). I said that he was a one dimensional villain, and Zant was much better and cooler. I was wrong. Zant is still more creative, but Ganondorf was just pure evil. All of the bosses in this game (excluding Zant) were super awesome, but undercharacterized. I was fighting them for my Heart Container and Fused Shadow or Mirror Shard. Zant, I was fighting for my kingdom. Zant had tried to engulf Hyrule in total twilight, but failed, and then he had to pay the price. It was just good old fashioned payback on the Twili who had taken a shot at Hyrule. After all of the conventional bosses, it was a total relief to fight an enemy who lived and breathed evil.

When I walked in, Ganondorf was sitting on the throne, with a dead Zelda suspended inside a Triforce statue above him. For those who are wondering, Ganondorf didn’t actually kill Zelda. Zelda gave up her life force to save Minda’s life. Link and Minda engage in witty banter with Ganondorf for a minute, my real self in a bit of denial, because I couldn’t that this was actually happening, after three years. Then Ganondorf possessed Zelda’s body, and attacks Link.

“Both of you, faithless fools who would dare take up arms against the king of light and shadow… So you chose. And so you will feel my wrath!”

– Zelda, possessed by Ganondorf

Dark Beast, Ganon (TP)
Ganon, in his beast form, towering over Link.

That was pretty cool, but the next phase was even cooler. Ganondorf transformed into the Dark Beast, Ganon. This form had to be beaten with the Wolf Link form, and teleported around the room. You had to catch Ganon’s horns and then throw him off to the side, then attack his weak point on his chest.

I have to say, Ganondorf’s Dark Beast form was the hardest of the four part battle. If you stood your ground, but failed to catch him properly, he would run you down and take a heart. Failing to catch him meant that you couldn’t just hit A. You had to hold it until you threw him, and you couldn’t jump at him and catch him, however cool that may look.

Banishing Evil (TP)
Zelda and Link, about to be run down by Ganondorf.

After that happened, there was a small cutscene, and Minda used the power of the Fused Shadows to take on Ganondorf, as a fiery ball of hatred. Before she does that, she warps Link and Zelda to the Western Hyrule Field, and you watch as Hyrule Castle literally explodes. Ganondorf rears up on his black demon horse, holding up Minda’s Fused Shadow hat. The game zooms in as the King of Evil crushes the hat in his hand, and then comes after you. About to be sliced open and trampled by Ganondorf, Zelda saves herself and Link by disappearing, and then having the Light Spirits grant her Light Arrows while she’s at it.

You then got to ride around Hyrule Field, chasing Ganondorf, while Zelda shot him with the Light Arrows. When he was dazed by Zelda’s good work, you had to ride up and deal damage. That was repeated, but Ganondorf had the power to summon Phantom Riders. Zelda would start to charge up the light when you Z-Targeted Ganondorf, but you had to be quick or Ganondorf would drop Phantom Riders down on top of you.

Life Or Death (TP)
Link, clashing swords with Ganondorf.

After you topple Ganondorf and throw him off of his horse, he will set up a magical barrier around you and him, as he challenges you to single combat. Zelda and Epona are outside the barrier, and there is no escape. As Zant said, life? Or death? This epic duel of single combat would probably have been my favorite part of the battle, if not for the fact that Ganondorf had a literal crap-ton of health. Even so, this final part was a lot of fun, and I got beaten down by Ganondorf quite a few times, so it definitely wasn’t easy. 9.5 out of 10.

Tied with the Arbiter’s Grounds, Hyrule Castle is one of the best dungeons in the game. With the spectacular final showdown between Link and Ganondorf, Hyrule Castle is the amazing final chapter that I’ve been wanting from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Hey, everybody! You may have noticed that my review didn’t cover much. That’s OK! Because I’ll be covering all of the ups and downs of Twilight Princess. That’s right! The entire game! Stay tuned to The Fortress for my full review of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

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