Reminder, this post contains major spoilers, so consider yourself warned!
Now that I went over all the places in Skyward Sword I’d like to go a bit more in depth and discuss the temples and their bosses. This is probably going to be my longest post so far but I’ll try and keep it as brief as I can for every temple!
This temple is surprisingly short, but being the first it is understandable. The music is simple but fits the mood and Nintendo gave it a nice touch by adding a bit more sound to the main rooms that lead up to the boss room. Some people consider this place to be the forest temple but it definitely does not fall into typical “forest-fire-water” theme that’s been going on for quite some time. Instead it has its own unique feeling to it. You can’t really give it a specific theme but rather say that it’s just a general temple with the focus on using your beetle. Speaking of the beetle, it’s a very welcome addition to the series. It is sort of a glorified and improved boomerang and it works perfectly. The temple didn’t exactly have any challenging or hard puzzles though, 3 separate eyelock puzzles is a bit too much imo, but it does what it needs to do. The 1st fight with Ghirahim here is a challenging one and very different from what we’re used to in Zelda games. What it comes down to is that the Skyview Temple gives a good first impression and sets a good tone for whats to come.
The Earth Temple is probably my favorite despite it being only the second one in the game. Everything in this temple just clicks, I think it’s just the design that really hit a soft spot for me. It looks beautiful, has this wonderful sense of feeling to it and the music works so well with it and got stuck in my head instantly. The puzzles are again not all that hard but I just ended up having a lot of fun going through this place. Lizafols are fun to fight and at that point in the game even a bit challenging. Initially the rolling on the ball through lava felt a bit too Mario-esque and I feared that I was going to have to use wii motion to move on it but thankfully that was not the case. It’s simple but I just had fun climbing up the last bit of the temple and the Indiana Jones style running away from a boulder was a nice appreciative touch that made smile. Then comes the boss which was sort of a “meh”, at least in terms of design. What it comes down to is that Scaldera is simply a more fun version of fighting King Dodongo, but instead of King Dodongo we got something a lot less impressive. I honestly wonder who designed this guy. It’s a rock with 6 legs that’s on fire… way to be original guys. It’s also a bit of a let down since the whole temple has these Chinese Dragon statues all over so you’re already sort of building up expectations about the boss fight because of those. Still, it was like I mentioned a more fun version of fighting King Dodongo, not very original, but fun, so I’ll give them that.
LANAYRU MINING FACILITY
This temple gives me such mixed opinions. For every positive point I have, I can come up with a negative point as well. It has some extremely fun an interesting puzzles that use the timeshift stones, but seeing giant computer screens in this place feels ridiculously out of place and ruins it completely for me. At this point I also started to get a bit scared about the Temple sizes in general and lack of floors. Despite that it did take me a good while to complete this temple compared to the previous two. The gust bellows is a new (old) fun tool, but you never have to use it for anything else than blow away sand. Giving it a suction mode like the Minish Cap version would have added for more variation. I also don’t understand why they just give it to you without any challenge. There’s no minibossfight or puzzle to require it, all you do is walk up to a random chest and, hey, new item! The music is something very different too. At first I really did not like it, but then I ended up enjoying it more and more, mostly when the timeshift stones are active, which gives it that extra boost. As for the boss, It was obvious from the tiny scorpions that the big Scorpion from the E3 demo was going to be waiting for me, so there wasn’t much of a surprise. Still it was an enjoyable fight and the 2nd part that requires the Gust Bellows made the battle a bit more interesting. The epic music to go along with it helps a great deal too. Summed up, this temple ended up being a hit & miss for me on different levels.
Oh my God this place has 2 floors! That was my first reaction when I checked the map. Looking back I think that this place is my 2nd most favorite one in the game. You’d initially think that this would be the Water Temple, and while in a way it is, it’s also something completely different. The far-eastern theme is obvious and they make excellent use of it, even the music screams far-eastern and has a slightly haunting vibe to it. Very few Zelda temples have had such a distinctive feeling and I hope to see more of this in future Zelda games. The best I can explain it is, that I felt the same way I did when i walked into Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple, and that’s saying something. The whip sadly didn’t really impress me, but I wasn’t a big fan of the whip in Spirit Tracks to begin with either. I honestly prefer the Grappling Hook, but that’s just me. When you get to the underground it feels like you’re in a completely different place and the part with the spider thread was no doubt intriguing. I couldn’t help look it up and it seems like it was based on this story. It’s little things like these that Nintendo does so well, and I love it. Slightly disappointing was that we got Zombie Bokoblin instead of Redead, I missed those guys in this game. As for the boss fight, Koloktos, oh my a wonderful amazing epic boss fight that was! The best one in the whole game in my opinion. The 2nd phase took me completely by surprise and it’s these kind of fights that make the game so memorable. More of this Nintendo!
Oh my God this place has 4 floors! That was again my reaction when I checked the map. Sadly they’re not that very interesting floors. I don’t know what it is with this place, I just felt they could have done more with it. The whole idea of a Giant ship sailing a sea of sand and being able to take it back to it’s original glorious state is wonderful and original, but going through the ship felt very simple and even a bit boring at times I’ll admit. I suppose I found the inside to be a bit lacking when it came to interior. There’s several long hallways and rooms with barely anything in it. Considering the detail put in the houses in Skyloft it’s a bit underwhelming and makes you wonder why they didn’t go all out for the inside of this ship as well. The mini boss and actual boss fight make up for it however. Fighting the captain requires good timing and was a nice throwback to the jousting in Twilight Princess. The moment leading up to the boss battle is also great and again a surprising twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. Escaping the ship while it sinks and giant tentacles come crashing in made me go “oh holy mother what the hell is this thing going to look like. Then Tentalus pops out of the water and all I could do was yell “MIKE WAZOSWKI”. If you don’t get the reference then you really need to go watch Monsters & Co right now. Honestly, this bossfight is really fun and slightly epic even, but that design, what the hell Nintendo? I was expecting something scary, impressive and menacing and instead you gives us this cuddly wuddly design of a boss. Still, taking it down is a blast to do.
To be honest, there’s not really a lot of things coming to mind when I have to discuss this temple. I like how you had to save those Mogma’s Brothers and the “leap of faith” near the end was fun, but besides that I don’t think there’s much memorable to this place. I suppose part of the temple being outside is a nice extra, considering most of the temples in this game are underground or inside. Thing is, there’s just not anything specific going on in this temple. While all the other temples have their own theme this one has… digging? Speaking of that, the digging with the mogma mits felt slow and uninteresting and I feel it’s the weakest of all the items in the game. As for the music, I don’t even remember it anymore. There’s nothing wrong with this temple but just like the Sand Ship it sort of comes and goes. When I first entered this place I also realized that this would probably be the last temple on the surface, so I was hoping for an awesome last new boss, but instead got Ghirahim again. Extreme disappointment, especially because his tactics didn’t even change all that much. It’s nice to see him pop up from time to time in the game but this shouldn’t have been a moment for him, I wanted to see a new spectacular boss but instead got a rehash of the first temple. If I have to sum up this temple in one word, it would be “unmemorable”.
I’ll just go out and say it. Initially overwhelming, soon after, underwhelming. When you first enter they give you the impression that there’s a mix of a Sky Temple and Temple of Time going on. Then you notice the slide puzzle, and then you realize what it actually does. Odd, different, quite a twist indeed. I wasn’t sure what to think but I was very curious and excited of what would come. Then you enter the next room and disappointment hits… this is just another Ganon’s Tower wannabe that rehashes everything from the previous temples. I didn’t know anything about this place except for the fact that some people told me it would “blow my mind” and well, it didn’t. Yes the slide puzzle is unique and some of the rooms can be a challenge, but I expected something different. Something along the lines of the Tower of the Gods from Wind Waker perhaps. Something that stands out. Even more disappointing is that there’s not even a boss fight in this temple. They could have easily put you up against Dark Link as a final test before obtaining the Triforce. Instead we got to fight that mini boss Pirate Captain again, which felt out of place and lazy. This temple just didn’t leave any impact on me, something that, a place where you obtain the whole Triforce, really should do.
BYLOCTITE – THE IMPRISONED – GHIRAHIM
Byloctite was a fun boss fight that somewhat makes up for the lack of boss in Sky Keep but design wise it’s the 3rd time that I’m starting to wonder what people Nintendo had in their design team this time. Levias looks great but Byloctite is like a walking joke of how Nintendo stereotypically makes the eye the weak spot when it comes to their bosses. It’s like they went: How many eyes can we put on this thing?
The first time fighting The Imprisoned was ok, the 2nd time I went, again? and the 3rd time it only got worse. I’m going to repeat myself here but again what were they thinking when they designed this guy. He looks absolutely menacing until you realize that this massive scary head has little stubby feet with egglike toes attached to it. It completely turns your initial impression of “huge threat alert” to “aw how adorable he’s taking his first baby steps”. Fighting him feels very slow and it’s undeniably repetitive. Giving him hands and a tail, and adding Groose with his katapult to the mix is a welcome addition, but it’s not enough to make the fight more interesting for a 2nd and 3rd time.
As for Ghirahim’s 3rd battle, I really can’t complain. Fighting hordes upon hordes of Bokoblins to get to him in the first place is extreme fun. I was actually surprised to see that many enemies on screen at once, I think that’s the most enemies i’ve ever seen onscreen in a Zelda game. The first part of the battle isn’t too hard but knowing that you could go down in one hit adds a good amount of pressure. Things get mixed up a bit more in the 2nd half and get harder with it. It may not have been that hard to figure out how to take him down, but timing is crucial in this battle. Finding out his true potential and meaning is the best reward we could get as well. Him being a sword makes so much sense and it’s a nice counterpart of Fi. I’ve heard people complain that this is just another Zant-Ganondorf thing but this couldn’t be further from the truth. While Ganondorf only used and manipulated Zant, Ghiriham wants nothing more than to serve his master. He was never the main villain to begin with and they made that very clear early on in the game. It’s all about reviving his master. It’s his goal, it’s what he lives for, it’s the only thing that can truly make him feel happy and complete (and fabulous). He wanted to “die” so he could become a weapon of mass destruction, used by the worst evil that ever existed, his master. If that’s not good villain material, I don’t know what is.
Demise, he sure does look badass and is much more impressive than his Imprisoned form I can tell you that. In a way he even looks like a buffed up Ganondorf, which makes sense once he gives you his speech after defeating him. I really had a hard time fighting him at first and it took me about a dozen attempts before I finally was able to take him down. However, somehow the battle, as amazing as it is, lacks something. Let me first remind/explain how the final battle goes, before I go on.
Demise gets successfully resurrected and without a word of thanks absorbs Ghirahim (who seems to quite enjoy this) and turns him back into a Sword. He gives a speech of how pitiful people are and how the Goddess has reduced herself to flesh, but respects Link standing up to him and arranges a place for battle. He gives you time to think about it, he can wait a little longer he says. He disappears and leaves a portal. Now you can go do whatever you want and come back later, or follow him. If you follow, you appear in a beautiful blue sky with water as a surface. Demise welcomes you and speaks of his hatred, the place turns dark and you battle him one on one, sword to sword. Halfway he creates a thunderstorm and you have to raise your sword to catch lightening and take him down. When you defeat him, he curses Zelda & Link, mentioning he will always be reincarnated into a new evil as long as the 2 of them exist, setting up Ganondorf and potentially other villains.
What all of this lacks, is urgency, personality and more stages. Demise gives you time to think about battling him, he can wait until I show up he says, so hey, no pressure to go take him down! There’s also little variation in the battle. It’s a sword fight which gets harder and more dangerous halfway in, but no more. When we look back at Ghirahim, he explains his motives, he shows anger, happiness, and stress. As you fight him, he progressively uses more methods to attack and defend. He improved his armor, went from 1 sword, to 2 swords, to a huge sword. Because of this Ghirahim ends up being much more developed than Demise, which is great, but he’s just the sword, not the Master. When your main villain is less developed than his own sword, you have a problem. If Demise could have been resurrected earlier he could have had a bit more time to develop. He does seem to respect the people who dare stand up to him and offer them a “fair” battle, but besides that there’s little more to him. As for the battle, it could have been much more interesting if Demise would have used all of Ghirahim’s abilities, added to his own. Sadly this doesn’t happen and Demise ends up being one of those more simple villains with the typical “I am evil because I say so and I want to rule the world” background. Compared to how most previous games had 3 or 4 stages in the final battle, it feels a bit empty. If you take those comparisons away you really do have a great battle, but comparing is inevitable.
Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on more than enough, so I’ll just say that this concludes the Temples & Bosses discussion. Sorry for that wall of text at the end, but please do read it and leave a comment with your opinion. Nothing quite as fun as a healthy discussion about something you love! All that’s left now is my overall opinion of the game and gameplay in general so I will see you back tomorrow!