This is the third installment of my Top 20 Dungeons in the Zelda Series, inspired by Zelda Dungeon’s Top 50. Here are my first and second installments in case you missed them. I found #10-6 the most difficult to rank – after the top six the dungeons I chose, the other ones were dungeons I loved playing, but didn’t feel as passionately about as those first six. A lot of dungeons were ranked more in relation to one other dungeon on the list, and some of them definitely got some recency bias. I’ve decided that when I do my playthrough of all the Zelda games, I’ll rank each game’s dungeons individually before I look back on them as a whole. But for now, here’s #10-6!
10) Dark Palace – A Link Between Worlds
I’ve been playing A Link Between Worlds lately, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with the dungeons. Normally I like the Zelda games with a lot more side content, but the dungeons are just so much fun that I don’t really care. The creative gimmick in the Dark Palace is that there are some things you can only see with a light on, and some things you can only see when it’s dark. It makes for a rather mysterious and engaging dungeon. And it’s another one of those dungeons I was so fond of in my last post that relies on a central puzzle – lighting up 4 eye balls so you can get to the boss room.
9) Lakebed Temple – Twilight Princess
Lakebed Temple is on here because of the giant bridge in the center of the dungeon. You have to change its position both to get around, and eventually to alter water levels. It’s such a unique feature for Zelda dungeons, and it’s another central puzzle! I know a lot of people hate the boss (it can definitely get frustrating trying to clawshot your way onto it), but I love the concept. You basically get to ride around on a giant sea monster.
8) Swamp Palace – A Link Between Worlds
This is my favorite water dungeon. I actually had to change the order of the list after saying that because I originally had Lakebed Temple ahead. You get the fun of changing water levels without the backtracking. In some rooms you change the water level by turning on a flow of water that sweeps you across a room, and it’s like Link’s riding a water slide.
7) Earth Temple – Wind Waker
I get to buddy up with one of my favorite Zelda characters for this dungeon – Medli! Having a partner for dungeons really changes things up, and I hope its a feature they use in the Breath of the Wild sequel (please let me play as Zelda). I love using the mirror shield to redirect light in the Earth Temple. It’s not a unique puzzle feature at all – I can think of a handful of games of the top of my head that use it – but it’s always fun to me.
6) Lanayru Mining Facility – Skyward Sword
The time stone feature is just really cool. It does for time travel what the Swamp Palace did for water dungeons – instant changes that don’t require a ton of backtracking. It’s been almost 10 years since I played Skyward Sword, but this dungeon really sticks out to me. The way that hitting a time stone can completely change a room is incredible, and I’m working on a Skyward Sword Switch summoning circle so I can play this again soon! (Or maybe I’ll just cave and get new Wii controllers)
Stay tuned to find out what dungeon takes the top spot!