The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time’s Water Temple Is Still The Worst In Gaming

I’ve encountered so many phenomenal games that practically beg me to replay them. But many of them include at least one part that I must moan and groan my way through. Sometimes, this single part of the game is enough to discourage me from replaying it at all. From having to play Blitzball in Final Fantasy X to climbing to High Hrothgar in Skyrim, there always seems to be that one excruciating painful moment of every great game. But the Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda’s Ocarina of Time isn’t just the worst dungeon in The Legend of Zelda Series—it’s the worst part of any game I’ve played.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I’d rather play through 100 Blitzball matches and then drag my ass up and down the trail to High Hrothgar than trudge through this Water Temple ever again. Part of what made the Water Temple so infuriating was that trying to change the water levels constantly was horrendously tedious. But in addition to that, players needed to equip the Iron Boots in order to sink to the bottom of a room filled with water and walk around. But, of course, you can’t rise to the top again with boots equipped, so you constantly had to remove them as well. Someone, somewhere, decided that it was a good idea to force the players to have to open the equipment screen every time they needed to take the boots on and off.

The one redeeming point I can make is that some adjustments were made from the original Ocarina of Time on the N64. In the 3DS version, the doors have different colored outlines to indicate the water level and if it can be changed in given rooms. Furthermore, in the newer version of the game, players can switch between the Kokiri Boots and the Iron Boots with the push of a button.

But the tediousness of switching around the water levels, constantly having to open the equipment screen, and struggling to find necessary keys are the obvious ways that the original temple was the bane of existence for so many players. One aspect that I don’t think has been talked about enough though is the way that water itself often plays a significant part in making tasks in games strenuous.

Seriously, when I reach a part of almost any game that involves water, I instantly hate it. Plunder in the Sunken Ship from Super Mario 64, Clanker’s Cavern in Banjo-Kazooie, Coral Canyon in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex—all the way through modern examples like The Thieves Guild quest in Skyrim that involves escaping a room that’s filling with water—I hate them all. Water levels or quests are so often notorious for adding several layers of stress that don’t enhance the game. It’s just not fun when you’re suddenly encountering a part of a game in which you lose the movement abilities you’re used to, often lose your normal attack abilities, and you are under pressure to accomplish tasks before you run out of air.

Before even starting Ocarina of Time, I already had preconceived stress about dealing with water. If you take that and add it to the absolutely terrible design of the temple and its irritating equipment issues, it made for the all-around worst experience I’ve had. I will be legitimately impressed if I find another part of a game that can outrank Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple as the worst in gaming.

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