Twilight Princess – Lakebed Temple

Zant Whispering to Midna

During my last playthrough of Twilight Princess, I got horribly stuck in Lakebed Temple. I put the game down halfway through the temple, went away for a week, and couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to do when I came back. Zelda dungeons always have a sense of flow, and it’s never a good idea to interrupt it. I therefore made sure I had a good stretch of uninterrupted time to get through this monster.

It was still confusing as fuck.

Like the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time, the guiding mechanic of the Lakebed Temple involves changing the water level in the dungeon’s central chamber, which has multiple exits that can only be accessed if certain environmental conditions are triggered. Unlike the Water Temple, the Lakebed Temple is more teleological, meaning that Link only has to fill the central chamber, not repeatedly raise and lower the water level. It took me about three hours, but I finally managed to figure things out.

What’s interesting about the design of the Lakebed Temple is what ties it to the other temples in Lake Hylia, the Water Temple and the Ancient Cistern. Namely, in the high fantasy setting of the Zelda games, replete with swords and castles, you’ve got these super technologically advanced structures with waterwheels and sluice gates at the bottom of a lake. If I were onboard with the “Hyrule is a postapocalyptic society” theory (and I totally am), this is one of the pieces of evidence I would use to support it. Is it possible that Lake Hylia was once some sort of reservoir? Were the “water temples” control facilities to help monitor the purity of the lake water, or perhaps regulate the energy generated by some sort of dam?

Whatever the case, the boss battle with Morpheel is a lot of fun. The creature resembles a prehistoric armored fish, and it has bonus grabby tentacles! The game designers must have had a lot of fun with this one.

When Link recovers the final Fused Shadow, Midna transports him to the Lanayru Spring, where the evil usurper Zant is waiting for them.

This sequence goes by quickly and doesn’t make a great deal of sense, but basically Zant attacks Link and Midna, steals the Fused Shadows, turns Link back into a wolf, and sexually harasses Midna before seriously injuring her. Along the way, he reveals that he’s getting his power from some source other than the “obsolete magic” contained within the Fused Shadows. He then says that his ultimate goal is to bring together the mundane and the twilight worlds…

…which makes no sense, because no one except Link even notices the twilight. Moreover, the shadow beasts and wolf Link, not to mention Zant and Midna, can already exist outside the twilight. What’s even the point?

Zant’s spit-filled mouth is super gross, though, and what he does to Midna is super inappropriate, so it doesn’t really matter. We don’t need a clear justification to kick his ass.

In my mind, Zant is basically a fanboy for Midna who just wants senpai to notice him. This is totally understandable, but he should have just stuck to figurines and fan-made dating sims like the rest of us.

( Header image from the Monster Wiki’s Midna Gallery )

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