The Legend of Zelda Cold Run: Session 6
Wherein I toot my own whistle
After stumbling across dungeon 6 in my previous session, I renew my efforts to locate dungeon 5. The only region of Hyrule left unexplored is in the northeast, where I previously ran into a mountain pass that had an infinite loop similar to the Lost Woods. A directional combination unlocked the latter and I remember one of the NPCs in the cave telling me to head ‘up up’ the waterfall. The looping mountain pass is near the waterfall and it’s the only other directional clue I’ve received so I go for it. Sure enough, climbing the northern ladder four times in a row sounds Zelda’s famous chime and I enter the gaping mouth of the fifth dungeon.
Darkness, lava tiles, hard-to-reach items, room filled with enemies that were previously bosses—the game is upping the ante on dungeon design by testing all of my previously acquired skills. Once I acquire the map, the layout is revealed to be an interesting crook shape with a single screen dividing the upper and lower portions. But as I navigate the map, I find that the locked and shuttered doors prevent a direct path. Exploration demands circuitous paths.
One dead end contains the old man who instructs that, ‘DIGDOGGER HATES CERTAIN KIND OF SOUND.’ Based on previous inscrutable clues, I presume Digdogger is the dungeon boss and that I’ll acquire the whistle within.
Once I accumulate enough bombs to kill the room with three Dodongos and open the leftmost door, I proceed to explore the western portion of the map. A few screens later, I end up facing a gang of blue Darknuts in a room with a descending staircase. I expect this is the treasure room, but I’m wrong; the ladders in the underground passageway lead me down then up again. Once I resurface, I check the map—I’m in the upper northeast cell.
Fortunately, I have enough keys to proceed, so I head left. Another room of blue Darknuts and a suspicious center block that’s begging to be shoved. I clear the room, shift the block, and find the whistle stowed in the chamber beneath. Chances are it produces a ‘certain sound.’
Further exploration west nets a handy bomb upgrade for 100 rubies. I pay the old man and find my bomb capacity (and stock) increase to twelve. A steep fee, but worth it. I use the extra bombs to test the walls in my immediate vicinity, but it appears I’m blocked from a direct route to my compass pointer in the upper western room. Apparently I’ll have to return from whence I came and loop back through the ‘neck’ of the map to finish the dungeon.
The journey proves uneventful. I’ve maintained a full stock of hearts throughout play so I still have my long-range attack. As I approach the boss room, I preemptively equip the whistle. Once inside, I encounter one of my least favorite layouts: four spouting gargoyles posted in each corner. The peculiar Digdogger bounces within.
I take a few steps in and blow the whistle. The action pauses momentarily and Digdogger shrinks to a fraction of his starting circumference. As advertised, the circular cyclopean monstrosity truly hates whistles.
I strike him a few times then sound the whistle again, this time to no apparent effect. I continue dodging and manage to dispatch Minidogger without taking damage. The gargoyles continue spewing so I exit while I’m still ahead. Triforce get!
Level-5 is the most interesting to date. Its gated spatial layout is rewarding to explore without being tedious or overtly obtuse. There’s a healthy mix of bombable walls, keyed entries, and monster shutters, but I never find myself struggling to figure out my next move. The enemy distribution also feels fair—I’ve now found a few workable combats techniques for the Darknuts and the Gibdos (mummies) are simple to defeat with the ladder and a ranged sword. The dungeon also takes the longest to complete: twenty minutes on the dot. I hope the dungeons continue to escalate in quality, but the bar is already high.
Once outside, I decide to head west again to replay Level-6. Using some strange mental calculus, I determine that my extra heart will now seal the fate of the Wizzrobes. False—faulty brain math requires revision. I die again, but this time one screen further in than before. At this rate, I’ll only need six more hearts to clear the dungeon. Time to devise a new strategy…
Death count: 14
Triforce count: 5
Session time: 00:29
Total play time: 02:42