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General Zelda Favorite/Least Favourite Dungeon Themes


Jul 1, 2012
Dungeons play such a vital role in the series, they a basically the core element so gamplay and so much so that Zelda games are actually structured around the dungeon and their order. In my opinion anyway, I think dungeons are just so vital to the success of that game and like anything within a Zelda game, dungeons need diversity.

Diversity can be done in so many ways within a dungeon and one of the main ways of having one dungeon differ to the next is through the current theme. We have seen so many themes over the years; forest, fire, water, desert, sky, ice, dark, light and so on. For me anyway Iddo have a preference when it comes to what dungeon themes I prefer and that is what I ask to you guys; What are your favorite/least avourite themes and why? I'll start off:

It's a tough choice but I'll have to go with the desert theme, threthink theme is just really unique compared to the others. Desert themes always seem to offer a great challenge, followed with some tough enemies and engaging puzzles. Some of my favourites would be the Arbiter's Grounds, Spirit Temple, Lanayru Mining Facility and, if counted, the Stone Tower Temple; great and challenging dungeons there.

Least Favourite
This is quite an easy one for me but it would have to be the common fire theme. It seems that apart from one or two exceptions I actually really dislike most fire themed dungeons. I think my reasons for this are just the claustrophobic feel fire themed dungeons give off, sometimes I just feel to trapped within them. There's also the mater that I find the enemies to be rather annoying, the likes off the fire keese are just annoying more than anything, I also hate getting overwhelmed with enemies in a dungeon I would rather a more puzzle focused dungeon.
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An avid Blue
Apr 30, 2013
North Carolina
Favorite theme: All the horror/graveyard themed temples/dungeons. The one in OoT made me throughly scared, with the music, atmosphere, enemies, and Bongo-Bongo is freaky looking as god knows what. Plus, the use of the Eye of Truth and the Hover Boots was excellent. It felt like, to me, with your magic meter always seeming to run a little lower than usual and the fact that you couldn't hover forever, that you really didn't have a lot of time to get through things in that dungeon. Like death was always just a wrong step or turn behind you. That's the main one that I've always liked the most, but other graveyard-themed dungeons are scattered throughout the series.

Least favorite theme: Anything that involves multiple levels (i.e. Wind Temple in WW, Snowhead Temple in MM, etc.). They're extremely tedious and I find it extremely easy to get lost throughout the levels. The first time I ever played the Wind Temple in WW I struggled to get anywhere in the room with the giant fan in the pit. I couldn't find the doors I hadn't been through and struggled to keep track of Makar on the multiple levels of the giant room.


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
I absolutely adore the cryptic themes, see Forest Temple (OoT) and Shadow Temple (OoT). They bring an air of mystery - and through that - scare. They cause me to constantly wonder what is around the corner, what's staring me in the face, and what is lurking behind my back. I just can't detach myself from them <3


Gardener of Elysium
Jan 21, 2013
Academia de Hyrule
Favorite Theme:
Whatever theme was created by the Ancient Cistern- the watery Asian tropical paradise mixed with the zombie-filled hell. The design of the first half was so great, with the fish water spouts, the lily pads, the enormous Buddha statue and the overall oriental style. The second half was good too, but a little simplistic, and if the same theme mash-up was to be used in a future dungeon I would like the oriental style to permeate the basement too, however in a twisted and eerie way. I would love to see an oriental styled water dungeon like the Ancient Cistern in the future, I just loved it so much.

Least Favorite:
Forest themed dungeons. This doesn't extend to the Forest Temple in OoT, which doesn't really use a forest theme, but includes the Great Deku Tree, the ST Forest Temple, the TP Forest Temple, and the Woodfall Temple. I've never felt that the theme was well executed in Zelda. Maybe because they are ALWAYS THE FIRST DUNGEON. Because of this, they never have the time or effort put into them that other dungeons do. They come off lacking, when a well executed forest theme could do so much than just be a first dungeon. The one good forest themed dungeon I can think of is the Forbidden Woods from WW, which was a overall good dungeon, with a well-executed forest theme. And hey, what do you know, it wasn't the first dungeon.
I'll go with the desert dungeons, not because i enjoy the setting (deserts actually depress and bore me) but more so than not, desert regions and the dungeons within them are usually enjoyable and have a fair few cool ideas. There is also a lot of cultural references to cultures which do make things quite interesting.

Least Favourite
Fire dungeons, i've never liked the fire element and they always seem to be the second or middle dungeons and you're going through the motions after the first going to the third and fire feels like it is stuck in the middle just for padding. It also feels as if the dungeons aren't very diverse either, mines, volcano, volcano... volcano...


Jun 22, 2011
Ice dungeons are certainly my favorite. I can't get enough of ice block puzzles, and ice is a theme that doesn't seem to be overdone. Of the console games only ALTTP, MM, and TP have dedicated an entire dungeon to the theme I think, and I've loved each one. Plus Temple of Droplets in Minish Cap is just amazing to me. Ice is definitely my favorite theme, but I do love water as well. The one-two-three punch of the Water Temple, Great Bay Temple, and Lakebed Temple is a nice collection of challenging water-related environments. I even love the few dungeons that take place in the clouds (all I can think of is Palace of Winds). I just love water in all three states of matter regardless of the temperature.

Least Favorite
Fire dungeons have consistently been some of my least favorite dungeons of the various games in the series. The Fire Temple is my least favorite adult Link dungeon in OOT, Goron Mines in Twilight Princess annoys me somewhat, and the two fire dungeons in Skyward Sword are easily my least favorite dungeons of the game. Dragon Roost Cavern is one of the few fire dungeons I really like, but overall fire is a theme I just haven't liked too much. Maybe a lack of fire is why I love Majora's Mask so much.

Mellow Ezlo

Spoony Bard
Forum Volunteer
Dec 2, 2012
Is it bad that I don't prefer any theme more or less than any other?

I wouldn't say so. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, even if said opinion is nothing at all.

Favourite Themes
I think, for me, it is a three way tie between desert, water, and ice.

I love the design, typically the music, and also the enemies (bosses included) of typical desert themed dungeons. But most of all, I thoroughly enjoy the puzzles. Spirit Temple, Arbiter's Grounds, and Lanayru Mining Facility are all among my top 10 favourite dungeons, notice all three of them have awesome design, music, enemies, and puzzles (some people's opinions may differ on the music... I have heard people say the LMF music is just annoying, which I can understand)

I love the Water themed dungeons mostly because of the ingenious puzzles typically associated with them. All water based dungeons, with the exception of the Ancient Cistern, had really fun and somewhat challenging puzzles. In OOT and TP, the main theme was raising/lowering the water level, whereas in MM, the theme was turning on all the pipes. The bosses are also generally cool, and both Gyorg and Koloktos are among my favourite bosses (if Koloktos counts... He wasn't really a water themed boss, even though he was in a water themed dungeon)

The main thing I like about ice dungeons is the design. Snowpeak Ruins, Snowhead Temple, and Temple of Droplets each have really good designs. I am also a big fan of block puzzles, and I find some of them quite ingenious. I also love ice-themed enemies, especially in TP. Chillfos, though slightly annoying, were some awesomely designed enemies IMO. I also quite enjoy the bosses, like Blizzeta and Goht.

Least Favourite Theme

My least favourite dungeon theme, by far, is the fire theme. There are very few fire dungeons that I actually enjoy, and the ones I did like were all quite easy (Dragon Roost Cavern and Earth Temple). I think everybody else already said why, though.


Darkest of all Dark Links
Oct 28, 2012
Ice...not SNOW...but ICE. Ice enemies are some of the toughest in Zelda, so it's not to have a refreshing challenging.


Flamey-o, Hotman!
Aug 29, 2011
Halfway There
Favorite . . . anything other than fire and undead (just thinking about the shadow temple gives me shivers). (*shiver*)
I really don't prefer anything specific out of the themes that are left, but let it be noted that some of my favorite individual dungeons of the series are the Sandship from SS, Stone Tower Temple from MM, and the Forest Temple from OoT.

My least favorite is easily fire. I mean, WE GET IT. You took a painfully simple design and replaced all of the bottomless pits with lava. Finis.

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