With the recent release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD and the game’s ten-year anniversary, this week on Boss Rush I will be talking about my favourite bosses from the game. I originally played Twilight Princess on the Christmas of the Wii’s launch in 2006. I remember being blown away by the darker, more realistic tone the game was going for, and while this became one of the games biggest negatives for a lot of people, I always loved the scope of atmosphere the game could have. You could go from a lazy farm village to a heart racing battle on horseback in a matter of minutes. Twilight Princess, like every Zelda game, eventually received a backlash from fans, many criticising the dark tone as try hard, the side activities as repetitive and the story as too linear. While I understand a lot of the criticism levied at the game, I always held Twilight Princess in high regard, as it has always been one of my favourite entries in the series. Why you may ask? Well the weird characters of course!
Twilight Princess has a lot of bosses, due to the abnormally high number of dungeons in the game. We now know that the reason for this was that multiple dungeons were actually cut from the development of Wind Waker, which later resurfaced in Twilight Princess. While more dungeons in Wind Waker would have been nice, I am glad they were used here, as Twilight Princess has some fantastic dungeon design and some very memorable boss encounters. These bosses can range from a giant rotating demon skull to an adorable yeti lady trapped in ice, all of which are fun to battle and very imaginative.
This boss is memorable to me due to how it is framed in the dungeon. A lot of the time in Zelda titles the main boss of a dungeon will simply fit the theme, yet they don’t actually have anything to do with the dungeons place in the world or its lore. Blizzeta stood out to me as she is actually written into the story of the dungeon, Snowpeak Ruins. In this icy mansion you meet an adorable yeti married couple, Yeto and Yeta. Yeta has fallen sick due to the piece of the mirror of twilight she was given by her husband, and is later corrupted by it. The boss fight itself is quite simple, being a distance game between link and the giant ice creature, using the Ball and Chain to keep distance while dealing damage. After the piece of mirror is restored and Yeta is freed from her curse, Yeto arrives to tell her that she doesn’t need the mirror to be beautiful, as she already is to him. Its one of the more cute moments in Twilight Princess and brings this weirdly personal dungeon to a perfect close.
Okay, polarising opinion here. I love Zant. I love every version of Zant. Many fans enjoyed the oppressive, intimidating and powerful masked version of Zant, and believed him to be a perfect villain, yet were disappointed when he removes the mask to reveal a quirky, insane weirdo. I for one, adored this character arch, building him as a powerful leader while he is really nothing more than a spoilt brat used by Ganondorf. I adored the erratic, demented personality Zant showed in his last boss fight, teleporting you through every past boss location while screaming at the top of his lunges in a disturbing, distorted tone. This isn’t to discredit Zant’s introduction however, as Zant’s design is one of the strongest in the whole game. His fringed coat and creepy bug helmet are full of character and detail, giving off the presence of an intelligent leader of the Twili who will get what he wants. And to be fair, he did. For a bit. Before you know who shows up.
You know, I would argue that Ganondorf didn’t really need to be in Twilight Princess. He doesn’t show up until the last act of the game, he uses the main villain of the game as a tool for his own actions and remains in the shadows for most of the game. I have noticed this story device a lot in Nintendo games lately(Starfox Adventures, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) and while it works, I don’t always feel compelled by the final boss fight. That is, unless the character is done well, and ho boy, is Ganondorf amazing in this game. I would argue that Twilight Princess Ganondorf has become the most iconic version of the character, being used in every Smash Bros title now as the definitive Ganondorf. While my favourite version of the character remains Wind Waker Ganon(more on him some other time), I absolutely get the love with this iteration of the character. His menacing chuckle, his regal posture, hell even his horse looks awesome. Not only does Ganon look and act the part, but his final boss fight sequence is by far the best in the entire game. His battle is a four-part sequence which makes multiple call backs to the franchise’s past, from possessing Zelda(Phantom Ganon in Ocarina of Time), to transforming into Dark Beast Ganon(The Legend of Zelda) to even fighting alongside Zelda with her light arrows(Wind Waker). The battle culminates in the final climatic sword duel between Link and Ganon, ending him and restoring peace to both Hyrule and the Twilight realm.
Bosses are a part of The Legend of Zelda‘s design, heck they are pretty much integral to how we see the franchise. The gameplay loop of overworld, dungeon, boss is part of the lifeblood of the series, meaning if the game’s bosses are boring or repetitive(Looking at you Skyward Sword), a lot of the games design will fall with it. Luckily Twilight Princess knocks it out of the park with its boss design, with a few remaining as some of my personal favourites in the series.
Are you a fan of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess? Let us know what you think in the comments below.