By Dan Merrill, aka Hylian Dan
The first Zelda game I ever played was Link’s Awakening. I wasn’t very good at it. When I finally beat the game after a few years, the death count that showed up next to my file was pretty high.
I decided to play the game again, this time without dying once. I didn’t quite make it – when Link would twirl around and fall down dead, I’d frantically turn the game off before it would record the death. So in that way I managed to beat Link’s Awakening with a death count of zero, and the game rewarded me with a slightly extended ending.
Now, when I play a new Zelda game, it’s rare for me to see the game over screen more than once or twice, and even then it’s usually only when I’m being recklessly sloppy. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s had this sort of experience with the series.
As players, our skills have grown. We’ve become more familiar with the gameplay mechanics of Zelda games. And the games themselves seem to be getting easier, with no option for adjusting the difficulty settings.
When I breeze through new boss battles on my first try with my health meter close to full, I often miss those good old days when the bosses terrified and overwhelmed me, when I could safely expect to die maybe half a dozen times per boss.
Fortunately, I’ve found ways to recreate that sort of experience. The following list of challenges was created for all of you who wish there was more fear and difficulty in the 3D boss battles, for all of you who feel nostalgic for the days when you’d see Zelda’s game over screen again and again and again, and for all of you with free time on your hands.
I created and play-tested these boss challenges hoping they’ll provide the sort of thrill and desperation for veterans of the series that I originally felt when playing Zelda games. I haven’t just tried to create meaninglessly frustrating battle experiences, however. These challenges should certainly provide varying degrees of frustration, but I hope they also provide fresh gameplay variety, a solid fun factor and a sweet feeling of relief when the boss finally dies.
I’ve made videos so you can watch what most of these battles are like, but remember that the point of this list is for you to go and try some of these battles yourself.
Next page: Ocarina of Time Challenges