Ranking the Bosses in Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Recently, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was voted as the best video game ever created on a GameFAQS poll, and with plenty of good reasons. The game pulled off a rather tricky task of bringing the Zelda franchise into the third dimension and did it admirably. Difficult puzzles, epic boss battles, awesome (for their time) graphics and sound, and hours and hours of side quests all made Ocarina of Time a game that to this day is often considered one of (if not the best) Zelda games ever. To celebrate its GameFAQS victory, I feel that it is time to create a list ranking the game’s bosses from worst to best. Only the main bosses, not mini bosses, are covered, though Dark Link would easily top a list related to the latter due to being so difficult. The ranking of the bosses is as follows:
10. Gohma: Quite frankly, this battle is a joke. We have a large arachnid that was the source of a deadly curse placed upon the Deku Tree after it refused to give Ganondorf the Kokiri’s Emerald, one of three Spiritual Stones needed to unlock the Door of Time where the entrance to the Sacred Realm, home of the magical Triforce, was hidden. Anything that powerful would be quite difficult to beat, but such is not the case here. It is not hard to figure out how to beat Gohma-simply shoot her in the eye when it is red and then slash her until she recovers-and you can even shoot her while she is on the ceiling and stun her for an even longer period of time. Granted, this is the game’s first boss, but other Zelda titles have at least given their first boss battles more depth. Here, the battle can be over and done with in less than a minute or so.

9. King Dodongo: This giant lizard-like creature might appear big and menacing, but his stomach is rather weak. All Link has to do is feed him a bomb, attack him with his sword while he is stunned, and then avoid his rolling attack. He only has to do this four times total, making this boss another pushover. Granted, he only ranks slightly higher than Gohma due to the battle being slightly tougher, but he is still quite easy to beat. If the Gorons had not been so famished, I am sure that even they could have beaten King Dodongo and reclaim their cave full of delicious rocks without Link.

8. Bongo Bongo: An evil creature who escaped from a well, set Kakariko Village on fire, and plays a drum with his disembodied hands is quite awesome. The difficulty in beating him, not quite so much. What makes him so easy to take down and limiting his potential in the process is that his hands are so easy to target and strike with the bow, and so is his single eye. About the only real trouble is trying to stay on the drum like platform while he plays his tune, but otherwise, he can be beaten rather quickly, and as such is the easiest of the bosses encountered by Adult Link. It is a wonder that Impa failed to stop this monster before she became a Sage.

7. Barinade: The first boss that delivers something of a challenge. Barinade was what caused Jabu-Jabu the fish to become quite ill, and its strength is one to be reckoned with. It can be a bit tricky to target Barinade while it is spinning with its Bari jellyfish protecting it, and any contact with the boss can be quite painful. Still, the battle is more time consuming rather than being too difficult, but any boss that causes a great deal of illness to a character is a cool boss in my book.

6. Twinrova: Koume and Kotake, the sinister witch sisters who brainwashed Nabooru the Gerudo prior to her becoming a Sage, actually work as a team initially, trying to defeat Link with the powers of fire and ice. Once our hero’s trusty mirror shield has reflected each witch’s power to her sister, they combine to form a single woman, which to be sure is one of the coolest scenes in the game. From there, however, the battle becomes easier, with Link having to reflect three consecutive fire or ice spells back at Twinrova and then use his sword against the stunned witch. Granted, she does mix up the spells as she gets weaker, but for the most part she is virtually a sitting duck. At least the post battle cut scene features a hilarious argument between the witches as they get sent to…heaven?!

5. Ganon: Ganondorf’s final form is a huge, frightening beast, armed with two swords and an insane amount of power. At first, Link will have to fire Light Arrows into the monster’s eyes to stun him, and then use his Megaton Hammer to strike his tail. Later, he uses the Master Sword to attack the tail. What makes this battle epic is that it takes place within a ring of fire, and Ganon is no weakling, causing quite a bit of damage with every slash of his swords. It is not as tough as the battle against Ganondorf in his human form, but it is still an amazingly awesome battle, and a great climax for a truly magnificent game.

4. Morpha: Since the Water Temple is often regarded as being quite difficult due to its confusing set up and tough challenges, it only makes sense that the creature within it is likewise tricky to eradicate. The fiend that cause Zora’s Domain to freeze over demonstrates its power quite well, with its nucleus being somewhat difficult to target and extract with the Longshot. As if this were not enough, Morpha’s tentacles can squeeze quite a bit of life out of Link should he become caught in one of them. A rather impressive water-based monster, and quite an epic fight.

3. Phantom Ganon: Although not as powerful as the real Ganondorf, this ghostly version of the King of Evil is a bit tricky to defeat. Link has to target him with his bow as he leaps out of the paintings, but a false phantom also comes at him. Target the wrong phantom and Link will surely feel the pain. After a bit, the battle takes a cue from the fight with Agahnim from A Link to the Past in that Link must use his sword to send the ghost’s spells back at him and stun him. This can prove difficult, especially when Link and Phantom Ganon send the spell back and forth like a ping pong ball. The battle is just plain cool, and the phantom’s death scene is well worth the effort.

2. Volvagia: This dragon has an appetite for Gorons, an endless supply of fiery breath, and a lot of strength, making him one of the game’s harder bosses. When Volvagia flies out of one of the holes of his platform, he will either breathe fire and send rocks crashing down, and each hit causes a lot of damage, even when Link is wearing the Goron Tunic. Link will have to strike the dragon with the Megaton Hammer as it pops out of holes a la Whack a Mole, and it gets harder later on as the dragon prepares to come out of one hole but quickly transports himself to another. A formidable monster, complete with another cool death sequence at the end.

1. Ganondorf: Link’s archenemy is not called the King of Evil for nothing. This powerful fiend sends blasts of magical energy, and each shot causes a lot of pain. Only by sending this energy back at Ganondorf with his sword, and often having to do it multiple times, can Link stun Ganondorf long enough to fire a Light Arrow at him, thus further weakening him and leaving him at the mercy of Link’s sword. The fight becomes harder as sections of the platform that Link stands on are torn apart and Ganondorf sends even more powerful blasts at our hero. The game’s penultimate battle is nothing short of epic and is quite difficult, easily one of the best boss battles Nintendo has ever created. In early versions of Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf even vomits red blood after his defeat, which is icing on an already awesome cake (though the green blood in subsequent versions is not so cool).

As you can see, the bosses in Ocarina of Time range from being pathetically easy to being extremely difficult in the sense that it may take many tries before the boss is finally defeated. Even so, they enhanced the transition of the Zelda series from 2D to 3D in that they presented many new opportunities for strong attacks and methods of defeating them. Nintendo was just getting started: battles in subsequent 3D Zelda titles would likewise become epic and impressive. Eleven years after its release, however, Ocarina of Time is still home to some amazing boss battles, one of the many reasons why it has taken its rightful place as being the best game ever made. If Nintendo can create such impressive boss battles like these in Ocarina and subsequent titles, imagine what they can conjure up for the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii. It will be fun to see what the company will have up its sleeves.

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