I guess we're pretty far in, huh? I've only one piece of the Triforce left to collect, and after that we can waltz into the final dungeon to show Ganon who's boss. Most of the overworld's been explored, though, and it would be such a slog to traipse around it all over again to find the last dungeon.
(actually it's not that bad with a fast-forward emulator function but shhh don't tell anyone)
Mercifully, the recorder does more than agitate spherical irritable beasts (and Digdogger) - it's also your personal tornado summoner, whisking you to the entrance of each dungeon you've visited. I'm not sure what the populace will think when the kingdom's been razed by natural disasters of my own making, but I'm sure I can pin it on someone else.
While I'm abusing it, let's use the recorder on that dried up fairy fountain. It'll be great ambiance if nothing else.
Howzat! Playing the recorder opens a secret staircase beneath the waterbed! I'm getting the impression the recorder is the all-purpose anything-goes tool. Impaling and explosions not solving the issue? Well, crap, start playing Chopsticks or something, I don't know.
It's dungeon 7, btw.
Fighting fire with fire never gets old. It's a pity the Zelda series peaked early with its magic wands - I mean, what more do you want than something that sets things ablaze? The Minish Cap had a wand that flips things upside down, for goodness sake. Great for pranks, I'm sure, but less so for world-saving.
Digdogger returns for an encore. It's a bit sad fighting the fellow now, though, knowing his weakness.
(sorry for barging in lads, hope you put that fire out safely)
At this point I wonder why I even bother mentioning these cryptic hints. What's the secret? I bet it's a secret passage holding a key or something. What's the nose? Probably some barely-distinguishable 'detail' in the environment, be it the overworld or just a protrusion on the dungeon map. The dungeons are clearly meant to have a shape, but they seem to look consistently like E.T. Sometimes he's facing a different direction. The tricky part is knowing where his nose is. Dude's an alien, who's to say where he keeps it?
Oh, Dodongoes! No time for you, fellas, I've got a locked door to open.
Well, dang, if I had 100 Rupees to blow I totally would like to have more bombs. I'd like them now, actually.
Not another Digdogger! And this one splits into three mini-Doggers!
I spoke before that the game does a great job reusing assets, and I do stand by that... in some cases. The knights and Wizrobes remain the most fearsome foes, and battling them in uniquely-structured rooms made each encounter a fresh challenge. It's just a bummer to be fighting the fire trails or boomerang dudes yet again, only in giant empty chambers.
On the flipside, they really do maximise their assets - look at the rooms they reuse! And they got a beefy nine-dungeon game out of this! Big ups, devs!
This guy's got the munchies.
And I'm supplying the munchies.
One of those things I overhear when people discuss the original Zelda is the grief some folk had trying to figure out what this guy wanted - and in doing so, I knew the solution years in advance.
I confess i'm disappointed I didn't get a chance to fool around with the slab of meat. What other purpose did it serve? Could I bludgeon people with it??? But, hey, whatever makes a stranger happy.
I've found the map, and, gosh, I can't tell what it is.
Is it a shadow puppet? The guy from Elevator Action with a nose extension? I knew that old man was on to something.
Wahey! A secret cash-money room!
And a few rooms away is this dungeon's token power-up: the orange candle. I can now use candles infinitely without having to leave and re-enter the room. This would've been a nice upgrade about five dungeons ago - I've already explored most of the overworld, and my room-lighting needs are fulfilled by the mighty wand.
Actually, now that I've got enough dough, I can go back and get that bomb upgrade!
... or I'll find the door's locked behind me and respawned all the enemies. No thanks.
... I used all six bombs and I didn't hurt any of them with them? Well, crap, I need that bomb upgrade now.
Don't mind me guys, just passing through. Ignore the sword.
Whoop! For 100 smackeroos I got a full bomb restock, not to mention an extra four to my maximum! This was a long overdue upgrade, and one I'm very thankful for. (could've done with it sooner, though!)
Pardon me. Excuse me. Hero on a mission here.
Okay, I'm back to the Dodongoes! ... only after getting lost and having to slaughter more moblins than I care to mention. That sucks, doesn't it? I just want to backtrack, I don't want to end a bunch of lives. You guys can hurl boomerangs into the darkness all day if you want to. Don't let me interrupt.
And defeating the Dodongoes... gets me more bombs. Hum. So... I'm at a dead end, it seems. Well, guess I'm backtracking again!
So I ended up backtracking through the entire castle, using all of my bombs on random walls...
... and I guess this is a new area? There's snakes in it. Guarding nothing at all. Good job, snakes.
And a group of Dodongoes, who are guarding a door that leads me back to the centre of the dungeon.
... where I proceed to waste all my bombs on another group of Dodongoes, the ones I already blew up just a few minutes ago.
Man, I'm a dope.
So I realised you have to blow up the wall to the right of the Dodongoes. Doy.
This leads into what appears to be a dead end, guarded by those bloody disco balls, but also a foe I don't believe I've met before: the Wallmaster! This sneaky sammy tries to snatch BABBS and dunk him back at the entrance, which I am quite merciful does not happen. A few licks of fire sends it running. Or the best imitation of running a giant hand can muster.
Pushing a block reveals a passage...
... leading me to the first boss of the game! I've since learned that it's called Aquamentus, and that's an unexpectedly nifty name for a noble-looking dragon. After Wallmasters and Manhandlas I was so expecting guy to be Shotbarfer or Maddrag or something.
It's gotten no less vulnerable to bombs since last time, though.
And with this, I've now completed the Triforce! I've got a fully formed triangle on my hands!
I'm running out of ways to wrap up these chapters. It's a good thing the next one will be the final trek to Ganon's lair!
I admit at this point the challenge in the dungeons isn't so much the enemies or the physical challenges - it's the resource management. Keeping enough bombs to find all the secret passages is tough, especially when I still haven't a foolproof method of restocking them.
It quickly throws roadblocks to my dungeon exploration, giving me no choice but to wander around rooms I've already explored, hoping to harvest bombs from defeated enemies. There's satisfaction uncovering passages with a bomb, but I do wish for a good ol' fashioned block puzzle to open a door once in a while, y'know?
Hopefully this sort of rigmarole won't impede my progress in the final dungeon too much!