Zelda 30th Anniversary | Worst 6 Moments

By Az Elias 23.12.2016

For all its highs, The Legend of Zelda does have some low lows. Whether it is using innovative controls to force players into playing with gimmicky items that can cause stopping playing a game altogether, or just plain frustrating or odd inclusions that damage the experience, Cubed3 runs through some of the most prominent worst moments that stick out in our heads.

The Imprisoned - Skyward Sword

Bosses have played a core role in the Zelda series since the very first title. After overcoming the challenges within the labyrinths, these dungeon masters often guard the treasure at the end, acting as a final test for players to prove their worth. While boss fights have progressed to also taking place outside of dungeons and playing a part in advancing the storyline, Skyward Sword treated players with utter disrespect when it came to its own bosses, especially in the latter half of the game.

The Imprisoned is a monster summoned at multiple times throughout the adventure, and Link is required to defeat it on three separate occasions. Not only is it a ridiculous looking enemy that gets worse with each following fight, but it is an incredibly mundane and frustrating battle—certainly not exciting enough that it needed to be repeated twice. Hacking away at its giant toes to cause it to topple over, Link must whack a small pillar on its head across three different phases before it reaches the top of the spiralling area the battle takes place in. As it grows arms in later battles, Groose is used to fire bombs at it to knock it down to the ground and prevent it climbing higher up.

With so many scripted events and stop-start scenes as the monster is knocked down, gets back up, and flies into the sky, and with switching between Groose and Link, not to mention the times the player fails the fight, misses damaging the boss in the allotted time, and other causes for grievance that occur across all three battles, The Imprisoned is easily one of the low points in the Zelda series, and something that must not be repeated in the future.
- Az

The Running Man - Ocarina of Time

Side-quests serve the purpose of giving the player a little extra something to do. They allow the unlocking of new abilities or weapons, or to get an elusive item needed. The Running Man, or at least the final race against him in Ocarina of Time, does not serve this purpose.

Now, there's a couple of different theories floating around as to why he challenges Link to this final bout of speed. Some say it's because Miyamoto doesn't like gamers to feel like they have to complete everything, and wanted to make this quest impossible to finish. That seems highly unlikely. Others say that Miyamoto thought it would be good to teach players how to move quicker, which seems more plausible. It also means this is a late game tutorial, put in by the producer to teach the player one last lesson. Either way, the final race cannot be won. Therefore, stop racing him, head off to your next dungeon, and realise sometimes it's okay not to achieve 100%.
- Thom

Fishing - Twilight Princess

Picture the scene: after years and years of anticipation for the latest grand adventure in the Legend of Zelda series, finally coming to terms with the fact that it was being split across GameCube and Wii, and eventually deciding to delve in with the supposedly enhanced Wii version, the day was here. What a day it was to be! What wonders would be awaiting this long-term Zelda fan?

Imagine the crushing feeling of despair, then, when Twilight Princess arrived, was eagerly unwrapped, cracked open and slotted in. Fantastic elation as the game loads up, and then utter horror when having to go fishing early on in the adventure. First off, why fishing? Secondly, surely it should be superbly simple using the wonderful infra-red and gyroscope of the Wii Remote, acting like a real fishing rod. Oh, no, not so simple at all. In fact, infuriatingly and hair-pullingly awful, to the point of killing off all enthusiasm for the rest of the game. Who in their right mind thought such a pointless and annoying element should be included so early on, if even at all? Well done, Nintendo! *golf claps*
- Adam

Wind Flute - Spirit Tracks

You can't fault Nintendo's desire to innovate, but just what is it with forcing gimmicks down users' throats when there are clear issues at play in many of them? Like the above-mentioned fishing problem in Twilight Princess thanks to the motion mechanics, Nintendo saw fit to combine the use of both the touch screen and the microphone of the Nintendo DS when it introduced the Wind Flute to Spirit Tracks' gameplay.

This musical instrument required players to follow audio cues, sliding the stylus across the touch screen in timely fashion to essentially move Link's mouth over each pipe, and actually physically blow into the mic to register the action in-game, hopefully ending up reproducing the intended short song Link is attempting to play. Frustrating enough just reading what must be done, if played on a Nintendo 3DS system, the issues were exacerbated with the out-of-the-way placement of the microphone, where your hand would block the mic as you tried to blow and drag across the touch screen at the same time and keep an eye on the screens with the system right in front of you.

One song stands out, in particular, where Link performs a duet, and little information is given as to exactly when to blow the notes and how. Blow a continuous breath, or in parts? Blow in time to any beats, or not? And if mistakes are made and the song is deemed a failure, the game does not tell you where you are going wrong, so you end up trying and failing for what can quite easily end up a hundred goes.

Quite possibly the worst item and implementation of it in any Zelda game, and even forced into use during the final battle, for crying out loud, the Wind Flute's inability to work properly had the power to prevent people from ever finishing Spirit Tracks. Through sheer persistence, I, personally, only just about somehow forced my way through it, but not at the cost of nearly losing my mind!
- Az

Item Descriptions - Skyward Sword

Not all Zelda items are major, must-have, one-time additions to the inventory screen. Things like bugs, rupees, arrows, and other minor items are found commonly throughout the land of Hyrule, and Link will gather many of them over the course of his quest.

If that quest happens to be Skyward Sword, every time a save is loaded, these mundane items will be treated as new, and any accompanying descriptions and animations will play as though they've never been encountered. It sounds like a small issue, but being explicitly told what a blue rupee is for the 30th time (let alone the who-knows-what-number time in series history) can be enough to toss the Wii Remote across the room—or worse, put down Skyward Sword for good.
- David

Sailing - The Wind Waker

There's nothing better than being out in the open air, enjoying the sights, taking your time to roam around the land in the latest Zelda adventure, right? So beautiful the surroundings, so serene the experience, traversing the land on the back of Epona, maybe dabbling in the odd bit of monster-slashing along the way. After all, having something to do on the journey is healthy. How about transferring all of that onto an ocean scene, then? Water is peaceful, isn't it? Gazing out towards the horizon, long stretches of blue ahead, with not a care in the world.

Hmm...no. Not quite the same appeal, especially when in a cumbersome boat, constantly having to go back and forth around the world, losing direction easily, and seemingly ending up spending more time adrift than on dry land battling foes. It doesn't matter how cute Toon Link looks, with his foppish hair and goofy grin, the sight of water became almost sickening by the time Wind Waker was over, to the point where trying out the HD version on Wii U just couldn't be stomached.
- Adam

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