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This article was originally published on zeldadungeon.net under the name Keaton, because that is my first name.
If there's one thing Zelda has no shortage of, its memorable
moments, locations, characters, etc. They always make for an interesting topic
to discuss, because the reasons for their memorability are limitless. Perhaps
there was a pivotal story moment, such as Link pulling the Master Sword from
the Pedestal of Time, that was done so well that it proved to be unforgettable
in the following years. Maybe a certain quirky character was charming enough to
stand out from the crowd of more standard NPCs. It's even possible that
somebody remembers an otherwise normal part of a game especially well because
they happened to play it under unusual circumstances. Everybody remembers
different parts of their favorite games for their own unique reasons.
When I think back to what was memorable about Zelda for me,
the results are probably a little unusual. Of course I recall my favorite
dungeons and boss battles (I'm looking at you, final boss battle of The Wind
Waker), but I often find myself recalling smaller, stranger moments. Unexpected
or just plain weird things stand out just as much to me as finding a brand new
item, or slaying Ganon for the umpteenth time. Strange moments aren't the only
ones, either. There are a few which surprise me because, at first glance, they
don't seem very memorable at all. Without further ado, here is my list of those
memorable parts of Zelda which most often come to mind.
Controlling Cuccos in Twilight Princess
This one is a complete enigma to me. What is the point of
this? Why not include the traditional Cucco swarm? And most importantly, how
does it make a lick of sense?! When I give a Cucco a few good slashes of my
Master Sword, I expect to be assaulted by a blood-thirsty swarm of its
companions, not to play as it for a short amount of time. Maybe it's some sort
of twisted punishment for Link's malevolence towards innocent livestock. He
puts a harmless animal in pain, and so must in turn feel that pain by swapping places
with it for a little while.
Remembering this is never much of a challenge. It caught me
completely off guard when I simply wanted to see another iteration of the
classic Cucco swarm of doom. And considering the majority of Twilight Princess
features a darker color scheme, gritty realism, and more serious tone, these
weird little moments stand out like a sore thumb. I can't say I understand the
decision to put this in the game, but I know I would be disappointed were it to
be left out in a remake.
Stealing from Trill the Bird
Early in Twilight Princess, in Faron Woods, there is an
unusual shop. This shop sells potion and oil, but that's not the unusual part.
This particular shop is run by a bird named Trill who expects Link to pay the
correct amount of Rupees for whatever he takes. Link can choose to pay extra,
not pay enough, pay exactly what he owes, or nothing at all. But shouldn't
there be consequences for underpaying or stealing? There are, though they
probably aren't what you'd expect.
The consequences are exactly what makes this memorable,
because they're anything but deterring. Frankly, they're actually pretty
pathetic. It's possible to pay exactly one Rupee for every trip to the shop,
with the only punishment being that Trill calls Link a cheapskate. Paying
nothing doesn't result in anything much worse, either. Trill will attack Link,
but does so little damage and is so easy to avoid that stealing from the shop
is actually more fun than it is dangerous.
Ocarina of Time cows
Starting with a cave on Death Mountain, Ocarina of Time
features several caves with lonely cows trapped inside. Link can liven these
tragic bovines' otherwise dull lives by playing Epona's Song, and in return
receive a bottle of Lon Lon Milk. Similar to controlling Cuccos in Twilight
Princess, this doesn't make much sense. How did the cows get in there in the
first place? The holes that lead into these caves aren't nearly large enough
for a full-grown cow, so they must have somehow ended up there as calves. But
that leaves the problem of how they survive for so long. With only a few clumps
of tall grass to eat, how do they keep from starving? And we know they spend
years in those caves, because they're still there even after Link awakens from
his seven-year slumber. I'm probably over-thinking this, though. Truth is, I
remember it for the humorous, whimsical moment that it is.
Did you think cows surviving in caves all by themselves for
years on end was strange? Well, Master Quest took cows to a whole new level of
absurdity. In Master Quest's version of Jabu-Jabu's belly, many live cows are
embedded in Jabu-Jabu's flesh, a sight that is equally horrifying and
hilarious. Some of these cows' heads are even used as switches! You can't tell
me that's not memorable.
This is one location I wouldn't normally consider memorable,
but my experience with Majora's Mask has proven quite the opposite. I only
played Majora's Mask once, so I don't remember much of it in great detail.
However, I recall the doggy racetrack, where Link could bet on cute little
racing terriers, very fondly. In fact, I remember it more vividly than any of
the Majora's Mask boss battles, of which I can only describe two.
So, why exactly do I remember this place? It's difficult to
pin it on one specific reason, though I think the music plays a big part. The
song that plays during the races is the same theme used for the horse race from
Ocarina of Time, and is somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine. I have to admit
that I enjoy it more than a few other standout tracks, such as the Song of
Storms. I suppose I also remember it for how silly it is. Why, when the moon is
literally falling from the sky and many innocent lives are on the line, is Link
trying his best to pick a winning dog in the races?
Majora's Mask is full of oddities, and this is no exception.
On the night of the first day, Link can help defend Romani Ranch from invading
creatures referred to only as "They" and "Them." There is much to suggest that
they are aliens, though the game never confirms whether that is true. They
abduct the ranch's livestock, and even Romani herself. Romani is returned,
albeit with an erased memory. Even the music during their invasion sounds
suspiciously alien-themed. I guess I don't remember this one for any reason
other than the possibility that they are aliens, which I think is pretty cool.
So, now that you've read my musings on memorable
Zelda moments, why not share yours? Like I said, this is an interesting topic
to discuss, because you never know what obscure thing someone might bring up. I
look forward to what you all have to say in the comments!