Ganondorf

        I seem to be completing a lot of forgotten games lately. Just last night I finally beat Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Ancient spoilers giving me a fair idea of what I was getting into, the final battle still took me quite by surprise, and provided much more challenge than I expected.
        To begin with, there was Ganon’s Castle. The entire area was surprisingly small compared to his Tower in Link to the Past and Wind Waker, but given the difficulty I had with what puzzles are there, I suppose I shouldn’t complain. Once Link enters the tower proper, he will see a giant pillar with an entrance, protected by a magical barrier. This barrier is being generated by six crystals, which Link must shut off by conquering the puzzles in the doors under them.
        Each is related to a Sage Link met previously and their element, and correspondingly to a dungeon he went through. Except the Light Barrier, which, since the Sage of Light was never captured, doesn’t reflect anything Link went through. However, it does have a theme of invisible and hidden things that need to be found, either though finishing a puzzle or using the Lens of Truth to see them, which makes since, as you’re basically illuminating these things.
        All of the others, though, are in some way related to a previous experience, and all of them end with a small room with two pots, one with a heart, other with magic, and a glowing orb that Link must shoot with a Light Arrow to disable that chamber’s barrier. This is why the magic is needed- it would stink if you came all that way and had to leave empty-handed because you were out of magic.
        Once all the barriers are down, Link can move forward into the actual castle tower. I should also note for this last part of the game, the music changes from the castle’s first area, to a haunting organ refrain that gets louder the higher you go. The first room is full of Fire Keese, basically flaming bats that ram into you. If can stay and try to kill them if you wish, but I find running up the stairs and ignoring them completely works too.
        The second room has two Dinolfos, quick moving sword-wielding lizard creatures, and then the next room is two Stalfos, skeletons who act much the same, but they might be a little stronger, and thanks to their shield are only vulnerable when they are attacking, making fighting them a much slower and more difficult experience. However, if you fire a Light Arrow at one, it will be frozen in the spot and vulnerable to attack. Defeating these two nets you the Boss Key.
        After that is a bigger room with two sets of armor before a barred off door. As with the last two rooms, the enemies here must be killed or you cannot move on, and in this case you’re facing two of the toughest non-bosses in the game, the Iron Knuckle. Link fought one of these beforehand, and luckily you don’t have to deal with two if you’d rather not, as they only come after you once you hit them.
        I actually hit both myself because I thought they would harm each other with their own swings… but I was wrong about that, and just had to deal with them both. Still, it wasn’t terribly hard. They use giant axes that can take off four hearts from your life, and can swing them horizontally, forcing you to jump back, or vertically, forcing you to move to the side.
        However, their bulky armor also slows them down considerably, and I didn’t have too much trouble staying out of their way. It also helps that Bombs will damage their armor as well as the Master Sword. Once their armor is stripped off by enough damage, they will start running at Link, but now can be harmed by arrows, meaning you can pick them off at long range if you want. I instead opted to wait for them to run to me and just stab them, stunning the Iron Knuckle briefly, back up, and repeat.
        Regardless of how it is done, after that you proceed to a room with a massive pillar in the middle that is climbable. In two of the room’s corners are a lot of pots, full of either hearts, arrows, or magic. Don’t touch them. Just don’t. Moving on from that room, the organ music is very loud now, and you finally come to the boss door. The key is put in, and you’ve reached the top of the tower, where Ganondorf lurks.
        You’ll find him playing the organ music you heard on the way up, but he stops after a moment as Link’s, Zelda’s and his own parts of the Triforce light up in response to their proximity. This, thankfully, heals Link. Ganondorf mentions that he wouldn’t have expected them to have the Triforce parts he desired, that they do not deserve them, and that they will hand them over to him now.
        Obviously he doesn’t expect Link to comply, so he instead turns around and fires out a wave of darkness, which doesn’t hurt Link, but it does prevent him from using Z-Targeting in this fight, meaning you can’t just lock onto him like any other enemy. The room also changes to the top of the tall pillar you saw previously, with blocks all around it. This will be very important in a moment.
        Now, the battle itself begins, and, I must urge that the very first thing you do is run. Run to one of the sides of the room, or the corners. It doesn’t matter which, just do it, and do it as soon as you can! This is because the very first thing Ganondorf will do is slam his fist on the ground, letting out a massive shockwave. It cannot be defended against, and your only option is to run to the side so it cannot reach you.
        The attack will also destroy all of the squares closest to that central spot. Link can jump the gap just fine, but every time Ganondorf uses this move, it will remove more of them, generally three at a time. This fact actually lost me the fight the first time, as I stayed close to him in spite of the shockwave. He then used his second and more iconic move, firing a energy blast from his hand. This is meant to be deflected back at him to stun him, but I screwed up the timing and so was flung bodily off the platform to the floor down below.
        I climbed back up, only to fail to deflect it again, and this time he used another shockwave, and continued doing so repeatedly. I presume this is to force you to get out of range, but I didn’t think to do that, and so he continued this attack until I either died or was flung off again. As a friend put it, I basically created my own hard mode for the boss.
        Getting back to his second attack, he throws a blast of energy at you. The further away you are, the more time you have to prepare and deflect it properly. The problem is that also gives Ganondorf more time to prepare as well, meaning you will be volleying it back at each other quite a bit. If you are right next to him, he will fail to stop it entirely, and if you are as far as possible, I believe you have to reflect it five times.
        In any case, once he is hit, he will be stunned. Now you have to hit him with a Light Arrow, which will stagger him and force him to land. Now you can target him if you want, and now is the time to get in close and slash him. After a short time, however, he will shave off your lock on and the stunning effect of the arrow and float up again. You’ll have to repeat this a few times to beat him, naturally. As he takes more damage, you can tell via his cape being more and more tattered. Also, I forgot to mention this, but no, you cannot hurt him by any method but stunning him with a Light Arrow and then slashing.         Anyway, after taking enough damage he starts using a new attack where he charges up energy before firing a barrage of spread out orbs at you, which home in. The best way to deal with this is to just shoot him while he is charging it. Unlike his other moves, he will be affected by the arrow, so he is basically leaving himself open. If he actually does pull off the move, you can knock all of the blast back and stun him for a arrow attack by using a spin attack with good timing.
        Of course, being the final boss, he does hit pretty hard- all of his attacks take off four hearts, and given you have to use Light Arrows to stun him, this can be taxing on your magic too. If you find yourself running low on either, you can hop down from this top area to the floor. Mind you roll as you land to avoid more damage. This will drop you down to the pots you saw earlier.
        In any case, that about covers the boss fight! When you beat Ganondorf, he is stunned that he lost, of course, and lets out a massive wave of power, demolishing the walls and ceiling, before collapsing. Zelda looks at him with pity, stating that his lack of noble virtues prevented him from controlling his own power, buuut I personally think she’s grasping at straws and he let all that power out in outrage. This is also supported by the fact that the rest of the castle suddenly starts crumbling, and the two have to escape in three minutes.
        I rather like this segment, thematically, because despite Zelda having the Triforce of Wisdom, she hasn’t had too many chances to show off in this game. True, she helped Link a lot while disguised as Sheik, but it’s hard for her to come off as wise or impressive when she immediately gets captured when she reveals herself, which she just as easily could have told Link without removing her disguise. This segment lets her take the lead and wisely lead you out to safety.
        In any case, now your have to follow Zelda, who will use her magic to open the barred doors so you both can progress. Rocks will fall periodically, fires will be burning, and there’s a lot of things to avoid. Once you get back to the Stalfos room, Zelda will be trapped in a ring of fire and the two enemies will return to fight you, which I can only assume is also Ganondorf’s influence. Once they are beaten again, you’re free to progress.
        I also noticed while Link has to make a couple of jumps to get down from higher ground, but Zelda just seems to float across without breaking stride. It’s not really important, I just thought that deserved mentioning. Anyway, the last room has a Redead in it, and its as annoying as ever. If you get too close to it, it will scream at Link, freezing him in place, and if it grabs him you’ll have to throw the annoying bugger off, and likely kill it, or it will scream again and… just stay as far away from it as the game allows.
        After that, the two escape, and it’s finally over. …but then the rubble shakes. Link goes over to investigate, and Ganondorf shoots out of the rubble, eyes glowing, and uses the Triforce of Power to transform into Ganon, a giant monster of even greater power. However, he’s as intelligent as ever, and his first act is to summon two giant blades and swat Link’s Master Sword out of his hands. A ring of fire appears to keep the blade and Zelda out of reach.
        Without his sword, Link is forced to rely on his other equipment to stop Ganon. Luckily, he isn’t using long range magic now, but instead simply lumbers after you and slashes when he is in range. Nothing you have can really hurt him while he is facing you, but luckily several of your items can stun him. A Light Arrow to the face, as you may expect, dazes him the most, but you can also Din’s Fire, the Longshot, or Deku Nuts to freeze him in place momentarily. You can also use a jump attack, but I highly do not recommend this. Once you got him dazed, quickly get behind him and smack his tail.
        Oh, and luckily, you can Z-Target again, which means you won’t have to aim arrows at him manually, and Navi’s targeting is especially good in this fight- if you manage to get behind him, the target will switch to his tail. As for how you hurt said tail, if you have a different sword you can use that, or the Megaton Hammer, or just roll into him, but the hammer or sword is probably safest.
        If you start to run low on anything, lure Ganon into one of the many chunks of rubble lining the area. Once he catches up to you he will slash, destroying the rubble and revealing either magic, arrows, bombs, or hearts. In any case, keep hitting his tail. After taking ten hits, he will collapse in pain, and the fire will fade. Get Link to his sword, and then head back into battle.
        Now that you have your sword, the fight goes on as before, but now you have your main weapon, and Ganon will be slightly quicker. Just repeat what you’ve been doing for ten more blows, and Ganon will collapse once more. He will start to get up, but Zelda will blast him with light, allowing you to close in for the final blow.
        And thus, the Great King of Evil has been defeated. The Sages use their power to seal Ganondorf away, and all is well once more. And that is the end of Ocarina of Time. I certainly enjoyed this classic game, and if any of my readers haven’t played it, I strongly urge them to give it a shot.

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