Twilight Princess – City in the Sky

M. C. Escher Another World

I took a long break from Twilight Princess because I dislike the City in the Sky dungeon, which does two things I hate. First, it requires the use of precision motion controls. Second, it forces the player to maintain contact with the game for more than two hours.

I have expounded on my annoyance with motion controls in my posts on Skyward Sword, so let it suffice to say that I have trouble getting them to work properly.

The treasure of the City in the Sky dungeon is a second Clawshot, which allows Link to hook onto a target while he’s already hanging from another target. This is all well and good when the targets are sedentary, but it’s tricky when one or both targets are moving. Because the motion controls used to operate the Clawshots are not reliable, I was not able to make precision shots with any degree of accuracy. This was particularly annoying because a number of rooms in the dungeon are extensive 3D mazes that must be navigated from the beginning if Link falls at any point…

…and Link fell to his death many, many times over the course of this dungeon.

The boss fight, which wouldn’t have been that difficult if the motion controls worked properly, took me about 45 minutes.

Speaking of which, this is a long dungeon, even if the player uses a walkthrough (as I did) and doesn’t waste time getting lost while trying to figure out where to go next. Although the City in the Sky is filled with Oocca creatures, Link can’t use any of them to exit the dungeon and re-enter it at the point where he exited, which means that the player has to play all the way through without stopping unless she’s up for some serious backtracking.

Although I love video games, I also have a job, and I don’t have many uninterrupted three-hour stretches of time in my life. I suppose I could stay up all night, but I’m cursed with the middle-aged affliction of having to sleep in order to function like a normal human being during the day. I know a lot of “hardcore” gamers think this sort of artificial difficulty – being forced to play for hours and hours without quitting – is fun, but I don’t. I am a shitty casual gamer, what can I say.

ANYWAY.

Shad, the scholar who sent Link on the epic fetch quest to activate the Sky Cannon, had previously told Link that he’s fascinated by the Oocca, who may have created not only the incredible architecture and lost technology scattered around Hyrule, but also the Hylians themselves. In reality, the City in the Sky is literally falling apart, with its crumbling blocks and bridges presenting a number of challenges to Link throughout the dungeon.

Shad’s theory is probably not canonically correct within the larger Zelda universe, as the mythology of both earlier and later games in the series states that the Hylians were created by “the three golden goddesses” in their own image. Regardless, this discrepancy raises an interesting point concerning how “legends” function in Twilight Princess. Namely, no matter what truths they may hide, legends are a highly distorted and oblique method of communicating the reality of what happened in the past. The legends of the Twili are suspect, as are the legends of the Hylians. Even Shad, who studies these legends, has no way of knowing the history that informs them.

The fallibility of legends as artifacts of human memory is an especially bleak message in a game titled “The Legend of Zelda,” but this game is going to get even more upsetting before it’s over. Now that Link has gathered the three shards of the Mirror of Twilight, he can enter the supremely disturbing Twilight Realm.

( Header image from the Zeldapedia entry on Oocca )

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