I bravely ventured into the Arbiter's Grounds. In the first room, I was greeted with some sweeping views of the area.
I have a bad feeling about this place.
Once the preview ended, I had to use the Clawshot to get to the platform on the right and then jump my way over to the door in the back of the room. That sand on the floor? Yeah, you'll sink if you stay in it too long. Here's a tip for you: Don't wear the Iron Boots in the sand, or you'll sink instantly. Not that this happened to me or anything...
In one of the subsequent rooms, I had to cross more sand to get to a chest containing a Small Key. When I turned around, I saw about a hundred tiny insects crawling their way over to me, bringing back horrible memories of those scarabs in The Mummy. I had to use the spin attack to get them off me. It was terrible. But anyway.
In another room, I was attacked by the skeletons of midgets as soon as I got inside. No joke. The skeletons attacking me were only about half as tall as Link. I suppose they could have been children's skeletons, but that just makes the whole thing even more reprehensible.
Eventually, I made my way to the dungeon's main room.
See those torches with the blue flames? They were all lit when I entered the room, but soon as the door closed they all flew off somewhere and I was attacked by an extra-scary Poe.
Good job, Nintendo! Honestly, recycling mechanics from previous games...well, we've never seen that happen before, have we? Let's move on.
After the Poe died, a weird purplish glow emanated from its corpse. Inspired, I turned into Wolf Link and sniffed it.
I can't imagine that smells too good. Like...death. That's what I think it smells like. Nasty. And I get to follow this scent all over the temple! Like a good
Here's a room that's apparently notorious for confusing people! Something about how nobody ever expects the ghostly rats, or something. Well, I did. And they died.
So...just why are there ghost rats in this place? I mean, I didn't see ghosts of any other random vermin here. Why aren't there also ghost bugs? Sigh.
It was in one of these random rooms I didn't take pictures of that I encountered bad guys I had completely, totally forgotten about. Apparently they're called Redead Knights. Yeah, um, these guys are bad news. They're like ReDead, except when they freeze you they take the opportunity to slowly heft their huge swords and hit you with them, instead of jumping on you and trying to gnaw you to death like in previous games. No thanks!
I probably could have taken a picture of a Redead Knight if I'd really wanted to, but every time I saw one I just wanted it dead as soon as possible. So here's a picture of a Stalfos instead.
This guy was more like a normal Stalfos, except after he was defeated he collapsed in a pile of bones and I had to use a bomb to blow up the bones before they regenerated back into a Stalfos. How annoying!
So, I kept tracking more Poes through the dungeon, until finally I had killed all four! When I went back to the main room, all four torches lit up, and the door to the inner sanctum opened.
Inside the door, I found a strange mechanism on the floor that I couldn't do anything with. But it made me excited, because I'd forgotten about the special item you get in this dungeon, which is my favorite of all items in Zelda games ever. Yay!
I went through the only door I could go through to find this:
I had to use the Clawshot to basically rappel my way down to the bottom of the room, where I could manipulate a mechanism to make my way back up the pillar in the middle and get various things, such as a Small Key. Then I had to go back down the pillar to get to the locked door at the very bottom. Eventually I made my way to what I knew had to be a miniboss room...
Nothing happened when I walked into the room, so I did the only thing I could - I slashed one of the ropes on the giant sword. And...voila! Something happened.
You know...that is a really big sword. I'm not sure waking this thing up was the best idea...
At first I found myself facing just the sword, but my human powers were worthless against it. So I turned into Wolf Link and used my senses. There he was! A ghostly creature wielding a really big sword. So I attacked him a couple of times to turn him visible.
Now, of course, Wolf Link's powers were worthless against the creature, so I turned back into Normal Link and shot it with arrows to make it sink to the ground, where I could hit it with my sword. Rinse and repeat a few times, and...
OH HELLS YES!!! MY SPINNER!!! MY FAVORITEST ZELDA ITEM EVER!
Words can't really describe how much I love the Spinner. I just wish it had been utilized more outside of this dungeon! Haha....ha...ha...
Well, anyway, after I got the Spinner, I had to amuse myself with it for a while before I could move on, so I rode around the Spinner tracks for a while,
Of course, the very next room I went into was full of Spinner tracks to play around on. It was also full of spiky things, sand, more spiky things, and a Stalfos. Whatever. This Spinner is made for fun!
Eventually I made my way through the room (not before mistiming my jumps and falling in sand a million times) and got to the last area I had to make my way through with the Spinner before I could get to the door.
It took some special timing, but I got it done. Through the door I found the Boss Key! Now we're getting somewhere.
Back in the inner sanctum, I used the Spinner to activate the mechanism in the floor, which moved a section of wall aside to allow me access to the inner-inner sanctum, which was a circular room with a giant pillar in the middle, with Spinner tracks running around the wall outside. I had to use my amazing acrobatics to ride the Spinner up the wall and then leap heroically off the tracks
Real scary. He's just a heap of bones.
Before I started the encounter, I happened to notice a Spinner track around the edge of the room, so I had to amuse myself by riding around on that for a while.
Eventually, though, I got bored, so I decided to get things going.
Zant?! What's he doing here? I don't remember Zant being a part of this. Well, I guess it makes sense. Look, he's doing something crazy with his sword.
Ominous. Oh, look, the fossil has eyes...and they're PISSED!
You know, from that angle, the skull doesn't look as scary. It looks like a...goat skull. Or a cow. Some kind of ruminant. Which, you know, doesn't always scream "scary"...
NEVER MIND IT'S SCARY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY
Thus commenced the first part of the best boss fight in any Zelda game ever, hands down. I had to ride the Spinner track around the room, launch myself off it toward the boss, and try to hit his spine with the Spinner, which made some of the bones disintegrate and lower him deeper into the sand he seemed to be stuck in. Eventually the boss added spiky things to the Spinner track to knock me off, as well as baddies that rose up from the sand to block my progress, but this fight is still the most fun I've ever had in a boss fight.
Eventually, I destroyed enough of Stallord's spine to make him sink into the sand, which brought us to...part two!
All of the sand drained out of the arena, leaving me and Stallord's head on the aforeseen pillar in the middle of the room. See those Spinner tracks on the walls? Yeah, things are about to get crazy.
I can't remember what I did to make Stallord's head come back to life, but whatever it was, it made him even angrier.
And so began part two of the battle!
This time I had to ride the Spinner around the pillar, waiting for Stallord's floating head to come into view, and then dodge fireballs (by jumping to the Spinner tracks along the outer wall) long enough to get close enough to the head to jump off the pillar and hit it with the Spinner, knocking it to the floor and allowing me to get some hits on it with my sword.
As if all this weren't epic enough, after the first time I knocked Stallord's head to the ground, he added spiky things to the Spinner tracks on the pillar. After the second time I knocked him down, he put spiky things on the outer Spinner tracks as well. But it was all in vain, because in the end Stallord died just like all the rest.
Here's his vanquished head flying through the air.
And here's a shot of me sheathing the Master Sword in victory.
This is where I have to stop for today, sadly. Next time: The Mirror of Twilight and associated shenanigans! Including an EPIC REVEAL. I wonder what it could possibly be!