I’m not sure about the rest of the world right now, but where I live it’s cold and snowy. I mean, the snow is currently as high as my dog’s belly. Sadly for me, I am not much of a fan of the cold, but it did inspire me, because not only do I hate the cold, I also hate cold, snowy video game levels. And while skidding on the road for a few seconds in you car is bad, skidding into a never ending abyss can be significantly worse. So I thought I’d feature a few snow levels and give my thoughts on them.
#1. Ice Cavern
Some fans will know this as one of the most annoying dungeons in Ocarina of Time (second only to the Water Temple in my mind.), and others may know it as a simple get-in-get-out scenario. You enter the cavern by jumping on top of a series of spinning platforms in what had previously been Lord Jabu Jabu’s pool, and from there it only gets harder. The floors are slicker than Elvis’ greased hair, and the puzzles where incredibly…challenging.
It’s probably good, actually, that I find the puzzles really annoying. Why? Because I always screw up. And why is that a good thing? Because I replay the game a lot, which means the puzzles are challenging every time. That’s a good sign that this dungeon is actually pretty spiffy.
Game: Majora’s Mask
Ask what my least favorite type of dungeon in video games are and I’ll say ice levels. Ask my Dad and he’ll say fire levels. So this is a nightmare for both of us. I know, most of you are probably asking how a snow level and a fire level could happen at the same time, but let me explain.
Snowhead is a mountain top that stands over a Goron village. It doesn’t normally snow there (why it has the name year round, I have no clue), but it was cursed by Skull Kid, sending it into eternal winter. And so Snowhead isn’t really a snow & fire level, but more of a snow level with key notes of fire usage. There is some lava, near the bottom of the dungeon, and it really is annoying, but I loved the whole idea that for once fire almost played the role of good guy. The whole point of going through Snowhead is to beat the boss, find the giant, and bring back summer.
#3. Zora’s Domain
This is less of a dungeon and more of a shout-out, because over the years, Zora’s Domain has frozen over a lot, at least twice. In both cases, it was due to the tyranny of the story’s main villain attacking them as a sign of dominance. The weird part is, it was only unfrozen in one game, Twilight Princess. In that game, Link unfroze it using a giant volcanic rock. But in Ocarina of Time? Stays frozen the entire game. Most likely it remains frozen because it was intended to be added that it unfreezes, but things happened and it got pushed aside. So, yeah, poor Zoras.
#4. Every Freaking Ice-Type Pokemon Gym!
Okay, I will not deny that the ice-types are a strong and worthy foe… but man, I really hate ice-type gyms. They are very much like the Ice Cavern mentioned at the top of this post, filled with annoying bosses and annoying puzzles, until you face the Gym Leader and get it over with.
#5. Snow Peak Ruins
Never let it be said that I despise all snow-levels. I actually really enjoyed playing through the Snow Peak Ruins and searching every room for food. I know, why would we look through an abandoned mansion for food. It all starts when you arrive at Snow Peak Ruins with the helpful yeti, Yeto. He says he was sneaking into Zora’s Domain to find his wife’s favorite kind of fish because she’s been feeling under the weather.
We meet the sick wife, Yeta, and learn that her husband brought home a shiny mirror fragment (the whole reason we’re up there), and that she’d hung it in the master bedroom. She then sends us on a series of small tasks to find it and most of the time it turns out that what we find is actually cheese, pumpkins, or other foods, until finally she remembers the right place and we go to the master bedroom and battle the boss (no spoilers 😉 ). One of the things I love most about this place, and I’ll probably go deeper into this later, is that for all that the place is “abandoned”, the monsters who live there seem to act like soldiers defending their home.
So there we have it, some snow dungeons just waiting to be explored. Have you been there yet? Well pack your cocoa and hold onto your gloves folks, winter’s not through yet.