Saturday, October 27, 2018

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past #3 - Tower of Hera, Hyrule Castle

I'm STILL waiting. I mean come ON.

The next step is one of the most memorable parts of A Link to the Past: The Death Mountain portal.

This, of course, transports you to the Dark World, the land created by Ganon's influence over the Triforce. Here, people take a form that "truly represents" them, which is an interesting idea. Link becomes a rabbit, because... he's constantly horny? The boy is eight years old! Shame on you, Shigeru Miyamoto!

Up north you can see the very edge of Ganon's Tower, which strobes in different colors like there's a rave going on in there. It's pretty menacing.

This guy explains how the Dark World works. He spends his days getting kicked around by a demonic bully, and there's nothing I can do about it. In the early 90's this was probably comic relief, but now it's more disturbing than anything else.

Our very brief encounter with the Dark World is an unpleasant one. Let's get the hell out of here.

That mirror the old guy gave Link lets him warp back to the Light World, getting another heart piece in the process. It's lucky he ran into that old guy when he did. What if the guy hadn't been lost? Or what if he'd been in the bathroom when Link walked by? Our hero would be trapped in the Dark World permanently, hopping through the apocalyptic wasteland. Both worlds would have fallen to Ganon. If there's a better example of the Butterfly Effect in a game, I haven't seen it.

The Tower of Hera is the Light World version of Ganon's Tower. This mountain-top is one of the more interesting places in the game, with a sweet view that I'll get shots of later.

This dungeon, like the Desert Palace, is a lot shorter than I remember it being. The big puzzle is landing on this platform correctly to get the Moon Pearl, which keeps Link from changing forms in the Dark World. Now I can actually fight there, but I still can't beat up the bully for some reason.

All of those pots contain hearts, and they're there for a good reason: Upstairs is the Moldorm, which likes to knock people down to the lower level mid-fight.

This might actually be the most difficult boss in the game on repeat playthroughs. Even when you know how to defeat it, it isn't easy. I had a lot of trouble defeating the Moldorm in Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes when I played that recently, as well. This guy is like the Yellow Devil of the Zelda series. Well, not quite, but he's aggressive and tricky. The idea here is to stay near the center of the platform so it can't push you off, while also hitting it in the tail.

The Moldorm is actually the first boss in Link's Awakening. It's significantly slower and easier to defeat there, at least, despite having a smaller platform. Link also doesn't get knocked back as much in that game.

Start reading my Link's Awakening posts if you haven't. They contain Howard Dean and a deadly rooster.

Back to 16-bit intensity, that's 3 pendants down, 0 to go. This means it's time to get the Master Sword.

The Lost Woods are a relatively safe place, though it's easy to get lost here. There are a few fake Master Swords strewn about for some reason. Probably that thief guy trolling people. The one who bumps you and takes your rupees. That guy's an a-hole.

Here's the -actual- Master Sword. Like the Excalibur of Arthurian legend, it must be plucked from a stone. Have to have the three pendants first though. What I'm wondering is, why haven't any corrupt kings invaded the three palaces to get the pendants before this? It'd be easy with a military, even a wildly incompetent one like Hyrule's.

This sword is a rad blue lightsaber, much nicer than the first sword. Longer reach too. It also fires LASER BEAMS~! when you're at full health, as is tradition going back to the original Legend of Zelda. I covered that too.

It's cool how the Lost Woods completely clear of fog after you get this sword.

The soldiers took my... sister! NO!

The Sanctuary guy proceeds to die. First Link's Uncle, now this kindly old man. Agahnim must pay! ...except that this doesn't really mean anything because both of these guys reappear good as new during the ending. Disney's Doug!

Since Zelda has been taken and time is of the essence, our hero rushes to stop Agahnim by...going for a leisurely river swim to get the Flippers. This guy right here is what the Zora looked like before Ocarina of Time retconned them to be smooth, sexy, supple blue people.

He's a real brat, and charges our hero ALL OF HIS MONEY just to be a fish. The greed is out of control! Down with capitalism!

A block away, this dastardly socialist gives our hero an improved shield just for being honest. It's the least she can do considering how hard he's working to protect the way of life of every creature in Hyrule.

The red shield is a lot less wimpy than the original shield, and can block fireballs.

Here's the Master Sword's LASER BEAM~! in action. It's great to plow through these guards as the game goes on.

Have fun storming the castle!

This place means business, as right away you have to contend with not one but TWO Ball And Chain Troopers.

It's another fairly brief dungeon, with the only remotely complicated room being this relatively simple maze.

Agahnim makes it sound like he's going to kill Zelda, but all he does here is warp her to the Dark World.

True story: As a kid I wrote quite a bit of Zelda fanfiction that tried to bridge the storylines of the games. Back then there were only four games. My Zelda story had five arcs: The first consisted of a weird combination of the first two games, the second followed the story of this game, the third followed the story of Link's Awakening, and the fourth/fifth were original stories that coincidentally ended up having a few things in common with Ocarina of Time (namely, Ganon wins at the end of the fourth arc, with the fifth being the liberation of Hyrule several years later).

I bring this up because in my version of events, Agahnim actually DID sacrifice Zelda here, and she was actually gone from the story entirely halfway through the second of the five arcs. I did this to clear the deck for Marin, who I liked a lot more, and so that the Link's Awakening arc could have her and Link getting together. Koholint was real in my version, so Marin went back to Hyrule with Link and pretty much fought by his side through the fourth and fifth arcs.

In any case, Agahnim is an iconic and super-fun fight where you tennis-ball his energy attacks back at him. Awesome stuff here. Just beware of his...


Here's the big secret to the fight: The Bug-Catching Net. It swings in a circular arc and actually knocks his attacks back towards him.

Agahnim's plan of world domination worked well up to this point. But he couldn't have predicted that he'd meet his match with...

...the Bug-Catching Net.

Our net-swinging hero is practically invincible on this fight. To think, this item used to only be useful for catching pixies. TAG 'EM AND BAG 'EM, BOYS!

Our first glimpse of the next phase of the game. From here on out, this is where you start the game at on boot-up, and it's a brilliant place to do that. It's worth noting that Death Mountain and Ganon's Tower can be seen in the distance, with the sun as a backdrop.

Before I start the Dark World, I've got a couple more errands to run in the Light World. First... the Bridge Hobo.

This guy gives me another all-important bottle, and it's a pretty cool screen to boot. This is one of those screens that's just fun to hang out in.

Next up: A Piece of Heart in the now-sunny Lost Woods.

The collection is taking shape.

This guy is being a jerk, so Link resolves the dispute with...


That leads to a really easy rush-to-the-end minigame, which nets me...

...yet another Piece of Heart. The trooper to the south of our ledge is completely clueless about the death that's about to rain down from above.

Near the Sanctuary, you can lift a boulder to find...

...why, another Piece! Stay strapped, homie.

Near the Zora and his Flipper stand is this awesome place to have a picnic and sex. Nearby is...

...another one! I'm starting to wonder how these work in the context of the world. How has no one found these before Link? The kid with the Bug-Catching Net seems like he was probably a badass before he got sick. I'm surprised he didn't get to all of the hearts in the land already.

On Death Mountain, dropping down a ledge in the right place leads to... guessed it, another one. But wait! There's a message panel on the wall.

It's Sahasrahla with an outdated message. Get with the times, oldster! The top of the mountain was so 20 images ago!

Lastly, I charge into this suspect-looking tree with the Pegasus Boots to reach...

...this hidden area with one last Piece of Heart.

Very good, Link. You can go on to the Dark World now.


  1. Yeah, the Moldorm is always tricky.

    The location and low difficulty of the Lost Woods means you're likely to explore it pretty early in the game, then find the Master Sword and stare enviously.

    Zelda doesn't look particularly Zelda-y in the scene where she's being zapped by Agahnim.

    I don't know if the Bug-Catching Net kid was a badass, but I know he could have beaten Agahnim.

    Link to the limit, in order to get her now!

  2. I thought Link was a bunny because he was pure of heart.

    I hadn't looked in the background and seen Ganon's Tower and Death Mountain before, but you're absolutely right, and I'm glad they did that.

    Moldorm was a big challenge for me as a youngster too, but a fun challenge, and I felt proud of myself for beating it. Same feeling playing this last year.

    Brayn is right that the Lost Woods would be explored early. And the thieves there are still jerks who grind my gears!