I started playing the Master Quest of the 3DS release of Ocarina of Time. The Master Quest is a more difficult version of the game that is unlocked when the player beats the regular version. Damage is doubled, and the overworld maps are flipped along their y-axis.
In addition, all of the Master Quest dungeons are different in strange and surprising ways. Last night I played through the “Inside Jabu-Jabu’s Belly” dungeon, which takes the form of the cavernous interior of a living fish. This dungeon is weird to begin with, with mucus and dangly bits and “suck holes” and breathing pink walls that twitch and bleed if Link strikes them. In the Master Quest version, there are cows embedded in the walls. This means that, as well as the normal wet sloshing sounds of the dungeon, there are also cow noises.
It gets better.
The cows function as switches, meaning that the dungeon environment changes in various ways if Link shoots their faces with his slingshot. In order to reach some of the cows whose presence is only indicated by their irritated lowing, Link has to blow up boulders stuck in the fleshy walls of Jabu-Jabu’s stomach. Because these boulders are located in inconvenient places, Link has to employ roving explosive devices called Bombchus, which are a lot of fun to play with. When a Bombchu strikes a boulder a detonates, the dungeon walls spasm, presumably to indicate that Jabu-Jabu is tickled or in pain. The final cow “switch” must be shot three times before the membrane blocking off the boss room becomes permeable. Each time Link shoots it with his slingshot, it moves further up the wall, a motion that is accompanied by a grotesque animation of creeping slime and muscle set to thick slurping sounds.
I love how bizarre the design of Zelda series is sometimes, and I think the experience of moving through such absurd digital spaces is one of the main reasons why I play video games.
( Header image by saltycatfish on Tumblr )