V Ideo Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
"Shadow and light are two sides of the same coin… One cannot exist without the other."
— Princess Zelda
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the thirteenth game in The Legend of Zelda series. It was released for the GameCube and Wii.In Twilight Princess, Link is a mere farmhand living a passive life in peaceful Ordon Village. This peace is shattered when strange shadow monsters invade and kidnap some of the children, including Link's best friend Ilia. Pursuing them, Link discovers that most of Hyrule has become drowned in "Twilight": an oppressive darkness where monsters thrive and life is frozen. What's more, this Twilight curses him into the form of a wolf, which brings with it a whole new set of abilities (like a wolf's sense of smell). Fortunately, his lack of opposable thumbs is made up for by a sarcastic imp named Midna, a denizen of the Twilight who allies with Link for her own mysterious reasons. Together they must fight Zant, the King of the Twilight, who seeks to rule over both the realms of light and shadow.The game featured a realistic graphics style that had been eagerly anticipated by fans since Ocarina of Time. A main feature is that Link can (eventually) shapeshift at will between his Hylian and wolf forms in order to solve puzzles and pass obstacles. The game also features more complex character development than most other titles have had (Link, in particular, has an actual life before the whole story starts), attempted to include a bit of moral complexity (primarily Dark Is Not Evil) and is the first to feature a character whose lines are fully "voiced" (Midna, even though it's just a selection of gibberish syllables).Twilight Princess offers new variations on the Zelda story, but still sticks to the series formula of "gather first set of Plot Coupons, Master Sword, gather second set of plot coupons, final dungeon", trademarked by A Link to the Past. However, this is done much differently in Twilight Princess in regards to function: the order of plot events is almost reversed from previous titles, and familiar items and locations show up in a much different context.The game's dual-console release is something of a coincidence. Originally developed solely for GameCube, its development cycle took so long that the Wii was preparing to launch by the time it was done. So a hasty port was made to add Twilight Princess to the Wii's launch line-up, with the addition of motion controls for the sword and bow so that a swing of the Wii Remote would swing Link's sword. While this was great advertising, Nintendo hit a Spanner in the Works when they remembered that Link is left-handed, unlike a good 90% of the human race. Their fix was to flip the entire game left-to-right so that Link would hold his sword in the same hand as most players. (Ironically, the Wii Remote was the only controller in the Console Wars that was fully ambidextrous up until the release of Kinect and PlayStation Move).In 2011, alongside other Wii games released in 2006 and 2007, it was re-released under the Nintendo Selects category.
Midna, prior to the game, but since she spends most of the time diminished in power and a lot more vulnerable, isn't one in the game itself and instead assists Link. She does truly fight alongside Link against Beast Ganon, though.
Adult Fear: The children of Link's hometown are stolen by Bulblins, and much of the first half of the game is about Link tracking down and rescuing all of them.
Advancing Wall of Doom: The Twilight itself qualifies as this to all of Hyrule. In the actual gameplay, Link must escape a burning bridge before the flames reach him.
All There in the Manual: Technically, more like All There In The Supplemental Material. The official strategy guide and the trading card deck each provide considerable additional information about not only Link and Zelda, but almost every significant supporting character.
And I Must Scream: Jovani sold his soul for wealth, and was turned into a sentient golden statue.
And Man Grew Proud: Lanayru relates the tale of the Dark Interlopers, a tribe of evil sorcerers who tried to use their magic to lay hold of the Triforce. They were stripped of their powers and banished from Hyrule. Midna and Zant are descendants of this tribe.
Animal Talk: Being a wolf allows Link to talk to animals such as cats, frogs, and cuccos. He can even talk to Epona, although about the only thing Epona says is that she knows it's Link but would rather see him transformed back.
Armor Is Useless: The improved graphics of Twilight Princess reveal that Link's trademark green tunic includes a suit of chain underneath. But he takes the same amount of damage wearing the Hero's Clothes as he does in the prologue without it.
Awesome but Impractical: For the most part, the wolf form takes more damage, can't block, and enemies that are knocked down can't be attacked directly. But hey, you're a Big, Badass Wolf now. And on those rare occasions you find a suitable enemy, few things are more cathartic than literally ripping their throats out.
Awesome yet Practical: The Iron Boots. Not only do they allow you to sumo wrestle the Gorons, walk on the bottom of ponds and lakes, and activate certain switches, they let you walk upside down. It's as awesome as it sounds.
Ballad of X: The main theme in Hyrule Field is called "The Ballad of Twilight."
Battle in the Rain: The second half of the battle against Argorok takes place on the top of the City in the Sky, during a raging thunderstorm. It's also raining in the courtyard of Hyrule Castle and will occasionally in Hyrule Field. It is likely to rain at least once when you fight Bulblin for Colin.
Battle Tops: The Spinner is a top-based battle vehicle.
Zelda, when she is possessed by Ganondorf (and is thus "Puppet Zelda").
Also Yeta, literally when she is possessed by the evil magic of the mirror shard.
There's also Ook, the baboon miniboss of the forest temple, who is being mind controlled by some strange insect on his head. You snap him out of it by hitting him in his bright red bottom with your sword (and at the end the bug falls off and dies); in the temple's boss battle, he comes back and helps you, free of the curse.
Beetle Maniac: Agitha. She is willing to pay handsomely for any new bug Link brings her. And the first time Link leaves without giving her all the bugs, she gets a little bit creepy.
Midna and Ilia towards Link, at least until the former deliberately breaks the Mirror of Twilight so that Hyrule and her realm can never again be connected... just as she's being whisked back through the portal.
Most notable are the Darknuts with the large claymore they initially fight with. Once their armor has been stripped off, they throw it at you before pulling out a more sensibly-sized sword. Sensible in that given the Darknut's size, it's almost as big as you are. The Death Sword miniboss is an enormous floating meat-cleaver thing, wielded by an invisible ghost boss.
There's also the one with which the Sages attempted to kill Ganondorf, which Ganondorf uses in the final duel
Big, Badass Wolf: Wolf Link, and also the golden wolf with whom he performs howling duets.
Bishonen Line: The final battle against Ganon, who goes from a bestial form, to his regular, Ganondorf form on horseback, to a one-on-one sword duel.
Bittersweet Ending: Sure, Link defeats Ganon and saves Hyrule, but Midna destroys the Mirror of Twilight, meaning the two of them may never see each other again.
Black Cloak: Zelda wears one over her regular garments while being held prisoner in the tower. The robe is implied to be a costume of mourning for her ravaged country.
Black Comedy: Malo, resident Comedic Sociopath, opens up a shop in Kakariko village - instead of visiting the injured Colin in the makeshift hospital. The real kicker is that Malo is using the merchandise and building of a girl who turned into a shadow beast and died shortly beforehand.
Blade Lock: During the final battle. It is required to land a finishing blow.
Bling of War: The Magic Armor, which is primarily red with golden trim - until you run out of Rupees, at which point the gold takes on the appearance (and weight) of lead.
The game begins and ends in twilight: it starts at dusk, and ends at dawn.
The final dungeon of the Fused Shadows arc is accessed from a cave at the bottom of Lake Hylia, and the boss is fought at the lowest point in the entire game world. The final dungeon of the Mirror of Twilight arc is accessed by a cannon that is also at Lake Hylia, and the boss is fought at the highest point in the entire game world. Both bosses have the same music, and both eventually involve latching onto and attacking an eye on the boss's back. Even more interesting is that in both of these dungeons, you get a Clawshot.
On a meta scale, Twiligth Princess was released during the start of the Wii's cycle, while Skyward Sword was released on the end of the console's cycle.
Boss Subtitles: With the theme of "Twilit", up until Zant. In some countries, Stallord is also exempt from the theme, being reanimated by Zant instead of corrupted, though he follows the Twilit theme in English speaking countries.
Boss Vulnerability: Type 2. The Final Boss is weird in the sense that he is essentially one of these, but the action you can do to break his guard is a free action (so long as you went to the trouble of getting it, of course) you can easily spam nonstop. However, this leads to the Final Boss becoming a Marathon Boss. In order to avert that trope and play type 2 straight, please see Blade Lock.
Broken Bridge: Three, in fact. Two of them are missing and must be rebuilt or restored, while the third has an entire chunk yanked out of its middle which you must hunt down.
Bullfight Boss: King Bulblin, when you first run into him avoid him running into you.
Can't Argue with Elves: Midna has a kind of logic that's all her own, and her suggestions to Link are usually just thinly-veiled (or not at all veiled) orders.
The Cavalry: Telma's resistance at Hyrule Castle basically blow up the bad guys pursuing Link.
Chained by Fashion: Wolf Link only gets to enjoy a few moments without a manacle chained to his paw. Midna breaks it by the chain rather than the manacle itself, so it somehow becomes a permanent part of his form, as it goes away when Link turns human, only to be there again when he changes back.
Chainmail Bikini: Ashei has a metal corset (on the outside of her shirt) and manica for "armor". Oh, and metal boots.
Charge Attack: The Jump Charge Secret Technique, and most awesomely, the Midna-Wolf Link energy field move. The Spin and Great Spin attacks can be used this way too, complete with Audible Sharpness, but it's easier to rotate the stick 360 degrees and slash.
Chekhov's Gun: On Death Mountain, a giant lava rock rains down from the sky; then later on you have to have Midna teleport it to Zora's Domain in order to thaw it out.
The Chosen One: Several different characters in the game explicitly refer to Link being the hero chosen by the goddesses. A Triforce mark (a sign of being the Chosen One) is also visible on his sword hand even from the beginning of the game.
Zelda and Ganondorf - also chosen by the goddesses - have the same marks on their hands too.
Chunky Salsa Rule: Unusually for this series, Twilight Princess features a few ways you can die instantly (as opposed to, say, drowning) regardless of how much health you have, although they're very specific things that players are relatively unlikely to do by accident. Staying in the burning bomb storage shack until it explodes, falling into lava while wearing the Zora Armor (also touching any damaging freezing object while wearing it), and standing in front of a cannon as it fires are all guaranteed instant kills. (Fairies still revive you, though.)
Clothes Make the Legend: When Link is restored to his proper form for the first time after being a wolf, the light spirit Faron explains that his new garments are those of the legendary hero.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Agitha, the bug-loving "princess" in Hyrule Castle Town. She's also one of the few people not scared of Wolf Link; for her, it's because she simply sees him as an oversized puppy dog.
Agitha: Li'l snail, li'l snail, just once I'd like to take a bath in that slime.
In a more literal example, Ooccoo, and by extension her son, Ooccoo Jr. Both of them are from the City in the Sky, and given this, it explains why they tend to act more than a little strange compared to everyone else whenever you meet them.
Clucking Funny: Cuccos can once again be attacked to cause something funny to happen, but this time it doesn't result in a flock attacking you. Instead, you get to control the cucco you were attacking for ten seconds.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: The in-game explanation for why the shop in Castle Town sells things at outrageous prices. How crazy? The cheapest thing in display is a set of 10 Arrows... for 2,000 Rupees. That's double your possible maximum money capacity in this game with both wallet items. And it gets crazier from there. The absolutely most expensive thing in the shop is the Magic Armor... for 100,000 Rupees.Of course, there's no way you're buying anything from this shop as it is... so instead you help Malo buy out the owner, and then purchase things from him at more reasonable prices.
The Corruption: The Fused Shadows and Mirror of Twilight shards both corrupt creatures into monsters. Though Midna doesn't care about what the Fused Shadows do, seeing what the mirror shards do to Yeta and Armagohma freak her out.
Crazy Cat Lady: Impaz isn't crazy, but she's the only human citizen in an abandoned ghost town otherwise populated by 20 cats.
Creator Backlash: A minor one; Miyamoto and Aonuma don't hate the game at all, but they had envisioned it as being much bigger and grander than it ended up being.
Malo, the unnervingly adult toddler from Ordon Village.
Agitha. The first time you try to leave her house when you haven't given her all your golden bugs. "I know you have bugs...". Freaking CREEPY when you don't expect it. Fortunately, the creepiness is reduced in that she's quite a nice person, just very loopy.
Dangerous Device Disposal Debacle: Inverted. After using the Mirror of Twilight to enter Hyrule and take it over, Zant smashes the mirror to pieces so Link and Midna can't use it to reenter the Twilight Realm. Midna declares that only the true ruler of the Twili could shatter the mirror and that Zant is a fake, so she has Link wander all over Hyrule to gather all the Mirror Shards and reassemble it so they could access the Twilight Realm.
Dark Is Not Evil: Double Subverted. The Twilight is initially shown to be a threat to Hyrule, but it turns out Midna and the rest of the Twili (who have been living there for generations) are mostly good people. However, it turns out that the Big Bad's power of darkness is not the usual Twili magic, as seen here.
Darker and Edgier: Twilight Princess is on par with Majora's Mask as one of the darkest entries in the franchise. It was even the first Zelda game to go above an E rating and earn a T rating for its more realistic depictions of violence and some legitimately disturbing imagery. note Similarly, Japan's CERO gave it a 12+ rating, and this was the reason why Akira Himekawa could not create a manga adaptation for this game. It is aesthetically darker, deals with mature themes, and has plenty of suspenseful moments the first time you play through.
Also Malo. "Time is money, stop wasting both." "I suppose I could part with it."
Not to mention the STAR Game Owner in Hyrule Castle Town Market. Under his breath, though.
Death from Above: The Head Splitter Secret Technique, which requires set-up from a Shield Bash.
Decoy Protagonist: Link is simply that; a character used to move the game where it needs to go. Midna, the titular Twilight Princess, is the real hero of the story.
Defeat Means Friendship: Ook the baboon, the miniboss of the Forest Temple, shows up to help you defeat the temple boss. Justified, because your defeating him causes him to be freed from the Twilit insect which was chewing on his brain and making him evil, and he comes to your aid out of gratitude.
Dual Wielding: Once Link obtains the second Clawshot, it becomes the "Double Clawshot" - one on each hand.
Duel Boss: Several: Four instances with King Bulblin (two of which even resemble jousting matches!), a couple of times with a Darknut and, of course, the final duel with Ganondorf.
Due to the Dead: After Ganondorf finally dies, Zelda is seen standing behind Link with her hands folded and her head bowed. The implication is that she's praying for the soul of her departed enemy.
Dummied Out: The game was supposed to use the traditional magic meter but it was scrapped. Evidence of this still remains; the back of the game box shows a green meter in the screenshots and the game itself has some green chu chus, which would restore your magic (in theory). Since there is no magic system, drinking them has the same effect as drinking water, a.k.a. nothing.
Also, on some copies of the game disc, one can find a few different enemies that were removed - including a golem made of Gorons.
Easy Amnesia: Ilia suffers this after she and the other village children are kidnapped. Unlike the others, Ilia was shot with a poisoned arrow, and Word of God explains that this is the reason for her memory loss.
Epic Flail: A ball and chain takes the place of the Megaton hammer.
Escape Rope: The character Ooccoo can be found in several dungeons and allows Link to teleport out at any time; then, by using Ooccoo Jr., the player can teleport back inside, even to the same room.
In the City of the Sky, Ooccoo won't teleport the player back to Lake Hylia, but instead to the shop, which is near the entrance of the dungeon. However, it's not possible to teleport back to where you were this time, because Ooccoo Jr. doesn't work in the shop, and as soon as you leave it Ooccoo jumps back into your inventory.
Escort Mission: Escorting Telma's wagon to Kakariko on horseback about midway through the game.
Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Forest Temple largely revolves around freeing adorable monkeys from cages so that they can help you out. And if that wasn't enough, the miniboss is a baboon, whose weak spot is his prominent posterior.
In Zelda's case, this is (for once) a Justified Trope, as explained by the official trading card deck. She's the ruler of Hyrule but still only a princess; however, her card explains that her coronation day was only a few days off when Zant invaded. She is actually supposed to be Queen Zelda at this point, but the plot of the game interrupted. (Note that the manual for Super Smash Bros. Brawl identifies her as the Queen of Hyrule.)
Fangirls: Link gains some after playing the STAR game. Beth is this to both Link and Ralis.
Fanservice: Link (however briefly) sumo wrestles with the village mayor... shirtless. We find that he possesses a not overly muscular, but very nicely toned chest and biceps. Balanced out by the fact that the mayor is also shirtless and pantsless. But one can pause the game, leaving only Link on the menu screen.
Fantastic Racism: The Gorons complain about the Hylians mistreating them, and Dr. Borville refuses medical treatment to Prince Ralis because he is a Zora. An NPC mentions that Borville was playing that off because he didn't want to be exposed as ignorant of Zora physiology.
Final Exam Boss: Zant, when he takes Link on a wild goose chase through an ever-changing backdrop of different fight scenes from throughout the game, which conveniently hint at whatever tactic the player should use to counter it.
The Darknut enemies work like this in a way. They're much easier to defeat if you have all the Hidden Skills.
Fisher Kingdom: When the Twilight envelops Hyrule, most people fade to mere spirit beings and powerless against the dark monsters. Link, on the other hand, is protected by the Triforce and gets transformed into a wolf and is able to fight them. Zelda (also protected by the Triforce) seems completely unaffected.
Finishing Move: The Ending Blow, the only one of the Hidden Skills which you are required to master in order to advance the plot/win the game (the others are optional). It can also be used on bosses after doing enough damage to their weak points.
Follow The Rupees: A series staple; in this case, rupees will guide you to risky (but rewarding) shortcuts during the snowboarding and canoeing sections.
Foreshadowing: To stop Zant, who has somehow gotten a power boost, you'll need the Mirror of Twilight, which the Gerudo used to use to execute criminals by sending them directly to the Twilight Realm. By extension, this included Ganondorf (the Gerudo King).
Midna and Link proceed to look for the Fused Shadows after purging Faron Woods from the influence of twilight. Luckily, the former already has the first one (her helmet).
When they find out that the Mirror of Twilight is broken, the Sages tell them about where the missing Mirror Shards are. Good thing the fourth shard is still in its place, so they only have to find three more.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Before gaining Ganondorf's powers of darkness, Zant was a regular member of the Twili race, occupying some unspecified rank within the ruling hierarchy in the Twilight realm. Given that he feels he had a legitimate claim to the throne and can't understand why he was passed over in favor of Midna, he must have held some role of importance.
Gaiden Game: Link's Crossbow Training takes place in the world of this game, with many of the same settings and enemies.
In the cutscene after the Escort Mission, Telma speaks to Link for a bit, inviting him to join the Resistance. Keep a close eye on where Link's gaze falls on her throughout that sequence.
When you fight Ook the baboon in the first dungeon, his vulnerable spot is his prominent butt. That's right, to beat him you have to literally spank the monkey.
Ghostly Glide: The Death Sword hovers in the air until it crashes down on you. Then it floats back up and heads slowly toward you. Only when you use the wolf's senses do you see the robed ghost holding it up.
Ghost Town: The Hidden Village north of the Bridge of Eldin, which you visit during your quest to help regain Ilia's memory.
Hijacked by Ganon: The trope namer. At least Zant foreshadows this when you first bump into him....
Hollywood Magnetism: The gimmick for the Goron Mines revolves around using the Iron Boots to walk around on areas of magnetic ore in the walls. That's plausible enough. What's not is that fact that in some places the ore emits some kind of super strong column of magnetism that will pull you onto the wall if you fall into the beam with the boots on.
Well, plausible until you realize that even if you don't have them equipped, you still have to be carrying them, and would be subject the exact same attraction. It's the same thing with earlier games and having the boots allow you to sink in water and walk on the bottom, but once you take them off, you're magically lighter.
Hopeless Boss Fight: This appears to be the case at the beginning of the second half of the Diababa fight. When the 3rd head emerged, it sank the bomb plants, making it impossible for you to damage it. You have to basically fend off its attacks for a minute before the now-good miniboss swoops in to help by bringing bombs.
Horseback Heroism: In a number of scenes, but particularly when Link rushes to save Colin from the Bulblins, and when chasing down Ganondorf for the final battle.
Item Get: Played straight with the "item get" music, except when Link receives the horsecall from Ilia. At that point, Link just calmly holds up the item while "Ilia's Theme" plays in the background. This is actually a good thing, as it probably would've killed the mood if he did a normal Item Get pose.
Done annoyingly often with rupees. Every time you load a save file, the flag for anything larger than a green rupee gets reset, so the first time you obtain a blue/yellow/red/orange rupee during that play session will result in an Item Get, even if you've sat through it twenty times before. Apparently Link has a really bad memory and needs the Item Get narrator to remind him how much each kind of rupee is worth as well as how he feels about it.
Karmic Twist Ending: The end of the Snowpeak Ruins subplot, (where Yeta is transformed by the Mirror Shard into a Nightmare Fuel beast — while contemplating the beauty of her reflection) could easily qualify as this. Especially because of what Yeto tells her afterwards.
I Fight for the Strongest Side: After losing several matches against Link, during the final dungeon King Bulblin finally declares a draw and just hands over a key to proceed before naming this trope and running off.
Implacable Man: The Postman is a benign example. Even the Twilight itself doesn't seem to deter him!
Instant Expert: For once, Link's mastery of the sword is justified, given that his father figure is a Master Swordsman. Not so much with the rest of his arsenal. Lampshaded when Malo challenges his skills with the bow, stating that "I've never seen you so much as hold a bow back in Ordon..."
Interface Spoiler: Part of the reason for the game's Ring Menu is to keep players from using it to measure their progress throughout the game. It still keeps track of your Plot Coupons, though.
Internal Homage: In the The Legend of Zelda cartoon, Link would twirl his sword before sheathing it. After doing certain sword moves, the Link in this game will do the same.
Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: After a certain point in your lessons, the Hero's Shade tells you that the rest of the secret techniques he's going to teach you are incredibly powerful, but also very dangerous to perform. They are actually quite useful (the Mortal Draw in particular one-shots just about everything that isn't a Darknut) but they're also easy to screw up, and you may want to stick with more pedestrian techniques if you're not confident in your ability to use them.
Kid Hero: Link's timid little friend Colin gets to be one of these when he saves one of the other children from being mowed down by a monster. He can be seen with a wooden sword and shield on his back during the end credits.
Lady of War: Princess Zelda in the battle on horseback toward the end where she wields the Light Arrows.
Last Villain Stand: After the Twilight has been purged from Hyrule and is unlikely to return, Zelda has been freed, and Hyrule Castle destroyed, Ganondorf does it twice, first on horseback and then on foot.
Lost Forever: In an interesting variant of the burnable Wooden Shield mechanic, the Ordon Shield that you get in the beginning of the game is one of-a-kind; a different kind of Wooden Shield is the only replacement for a burnt Ordon Shield.
Also, some of the Hidden Skills (except for the first, which is not optional) can become lost to you if you miss one of the encounters with the Golden Wolf.
And if you haven't left starting village in the game yet and thought to yourself "I'm going to do a challenge run and use only that wooden sword!", you're out of luck. The plot takes it out of your hands permanently before the first dungeon.
Mini Dungeon: The Bokoblin's fortress in Gerudo Desert, immediately preceding the Arbiter's Grounds. At the end of it, a Mini-Boss (King Bulblin) is fought.
Money for Nothing: The player is left with a full wallet several times and a lot of items can be obtained by cutting grass, breaking pots, opening chests, and killing enemies. What makes this game the top contender is that if the player finds a chest containing a purple (50) or orange (100) rupee and has no room for it, then Link puts it back and closes the chest. If one wanted 100% Completion, then one would have to make room in Link's wallet by purchasing items or using the Magic Armor to drain rupees and then open the chest.
When you first arrive at the Hidden Village, your goal is to slaughter the bulbins inside. This sequence is accompanied by spaghetti-western Shout-Out music, camera angles and dialogue. But this isn't what we're talking about. This trope comes in during a later sequence in the same town, using the same music, angles and dialogue, as you befriend kittens.
GOAT IN! whenever you successfully get a goat herded into the barn.
The cowl on Zelda's black robe, which covers the lower portion of her face, is speculated to be a shout-out to Sheik's face mask in Ocarina of Time. The robe is also embroidered or tooled with an image of the Sheikah eye. Additionally, the gown she wears beneath the robe is embroidered with a pattern of harps around the skirt - harps which are identical to the one Sheik played.
The boathouse for the Fishing Minigame has posters of the owner's family with various fish, along with one black-and-white photo of the owner of the Fishing Hole from Ocarina of Time. She also regards her brother as a "cheater" for using a sinking lure to catch his fish.
The dungeon passage that Link and Midna use to escape from Hyrule Castle is the same one used by Link and Zelda in A Link to the Past. Also, Hyrule Castle proper uses the music from that game.
Continuing the A Link to the Past nods, the Temple of Time is in ruins in the Lost Woods, en route to the state it is in that game: reduced to the Master Sword's pedestal.
A more ironic one, but the music from OOT that plays when you escape Ganon's Castle plays when... Ganondorf himself attempts to escape.
Narrative Shapeshifting: After the first segment in Hyrule Castle, Midna briefly shapeshifts into screaming images of Ilia and Colin to get Link to help her. A bit of Big Lipped Alligator Moment since she could easily have made the point without doing it and never displays this ability at any other point in the game.
No Arc in Archery - Averted in the case of Bomb Arrows. The boat minigame at Lake Hylia (where you shoot giant pots with arrows) takes this into account.
No Endor Holocaust: In order to thaw Zora's Domain from being frozen (again), Midna transports a HUGE VOLCANIC ROCK which is still probably thousands of degrees hot and smashes it directly into the frozen top of the waterfall which is the source of Zora River. The impact itself should probably instantly kill the vast majority of the Zoras, who are encased in the ice you just smashed, whether it be by direct damage or, more likely, the ice cracking in a way that cuts their brittle, frozen bodies to pieces. Furthermore, Zoras are probably cold-blooded, being based on freshwater fish, so the rapid temperature change probably made the survivors extremely sick as they went from freezing temperatures to at least lukewarm water. And finally, to add insult to injury, there's now a giant honking rock in the middle of their domain. However, in the aftermath of the cutscene, they seem to be little more than short on breath.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Particularly jarring here, where Ilia is clearly a love interest for Link, and yet after the scene in which Ilia regains her memory, the camera pans down to show the kids (Malo, Talo and Beth) looking in through the window at Link and Ilia, who are... staring at each other. Standing at least a few feet apart. The other people in the room even leave to give them space, for more staring, presumably.
Also Ganondorf. You expel him from Zelda? Good, but then he transforms into a gigantic beast Ganon. But we slice open his old wound, and he's dead... and becomes some kind of spirit thing, Midna then proceeds to sacrifice herself to blow him up with magic. But it doesn't work. He becomes humanoid again, only this time on a demon horse. But even after various slashes and Light Arrow shots, plus receiving a Sword Plant in the chest during a swordfight, he's still able to stand up. Only when the Triforce of Power abandons him does he finally die.
Midna has a moment when she sees that the Mirror of Twilight has been broken.
Prior to that, she has one when Zant forces Lanayru to hit her full force with pure light, mortally wounding her.
One-Hit Kill: The Mortal Draw Secret Technique, which requires you to have your sword in its sheath and not lock-on to an enemy. Tap A once an enemy draws near, and any non-Darknut enemy close to you who isn't defending right that second will be instantly killed. If an enemy still has health left but is knocked down, you can One-Hit Kill it with the Ending Blow. Lastly, as Wolf Link, you can use a Charge Attack by virtue of having Midna with you in which she spreads an energy field. After the field is fully formed, any enemies within it will be run through in rapid succession by Link once you release the button, unless there are physical barriers blocking some opponents.
Optional Stealth: To reach the Arbiter's Grounds, Link must pass through the Bokoblin Compound, a mini-fortress/guard station. If he approaches during the day, the lookouts will spot him the moment he enters the area, and call for reinforcements.
On the other hand, you can approach safely at night, which makes Link harder for them to see, while making it easier for Link to spot them, since their eyes glow at night. You can also douse torches with the gale boomerang, providing Link with more cover. And several of the guards who normally patrol the compound will be asleep. You can either snipe them or, if you're good, walk on by.
Pants-Free: Averted, for the first time in the entire series; unlike previous installments, in which Link was either bare-legged or wearing tights, Twilight Princess definitely gives him pants.
Papa Wolf: Rusl acts as this for Link. Supplemental material states that he considers Link to be his younger brother.
Rusl shows equal bravery in defending his own family - he's willing to fight off a wolf to protect them despite being badly injured (keep in mind he has no way of knowing who the wolf really is).
Link, in his turn, acts as this for the village children. Kidnapping or otherwise harming them will lead to you having a severely pissed Link coming after you. Bonus points because he actually becomes a wolf.
Plot Tailored to the Party: To the point that some items become nigh useless once their plot function is fulfilled. The biggest examples would be the Dominion Rod and the Spinner.
The Power of Love: After you defeat Yeta and she returns to normal, nothing interesting happens. But then her husband comes and after a heartwarming speech, he plows through you, they hug and hearts began to pop from them which can actually heal you, and the last is a Heart Container.
Prior to this moment, hearts are completely absent from said dungeon.
Raised by Dudes: Ashei's backstory, given briefly by her fellow Resistance members, and acknowledged even more briefly by herself when she says that this is the reason she may seem a bit rough around the edges.
Rasputinian Death: Ganondorf provides one of the greatest examples yet. The Triforce of Power has been keeping him alive since the events following Link's final return to the past in Ocarina of Time — during which he was stabbed through with a light-powered greatsword and imprisoned in the Twilight Realm. Then he breaks out and confronts Link, who savages him as Beast Ganon. Then he comes back as some sort of energy spirit, only to face Midna empowered by the Fused Shadows — and apparently survive, only to be shot through with light arrows by Zelda. Then he gets stabbed through the chest by the Master Sword, and then gets back up looking like he's about to rip Link a new one when the Triforce of Power abandons him, finally killing him. And even then, he doesn't fall over; he just stands there.Made of Iron indeed.
Raymanian Limbs: The spirits of the Sages have disembodied parts, including their faces.
Epona in the Wii version either does this or backs up, depending on how much you move the joystick on the nunchuck.
Real Is Brown: Especially compared to its immediate predecessors, which were bright and colorful. There is certainly color to be had, but much of it is washed out, and the bloom effect is on maximum, particularly during the Twilight Realm segments of the game.
Red Herring: In an early cutscene, Midna mockingly calls Zelda "Twilight Princess". The Reveal that Midna is the actual Twilight Princess comes halfway through the game. If no mention of the title had been made before that, it would have been a very obvious Spoiler Title for that reveal.
Red Shirt Army: As usual, Hyrule's guards prove less than effective in combat.
Redundant Researcher: Poor Shad. He makes it his life's work to find the Sky City, and Link just swoops in, uses magic tech from the past to find all the Runes Shad couldn't, teleports the sky cannon away to get it fixed, and explores the city himself without bringing Shad along! Way to repay him for translating that spell, repowering the Dominion Rod, and opening the way to the cannon, Link.
Required Secondary Powers: Unlike most versions of Link, this one doesn't need Power Bracelets or Power Gloves to manipulate heavy objects (he wrangles goats as his day job, so he already has the muscle for it). He does, however, need to use the Iron Boots to anchor his feet.
La Résistance: The Adventurers' Guild, also simply called "the Group." They're the only people in Hyrule (apart from Link and Zelda) to figure out that something's not right and try to stop it.
They also help you get to the realms where the Twilight Mirror shards are.
Ring Menu: The items menu is ring-shaped and can become relatively crowded as the player acquires more items.
Rule of Three: In the Snowpeak Ruins, Yeta incorrectly guesses the location of the bedroom key twice before getting it right on the third try. (The first two times, Link inexplicably finds food items in the treasure chests. Maybe Yetis don't believe in pantries.)
It takes three hits from Link's bow to render that damned hand in the Twilight Realm "unconscious" for a few seconds.
Not to mention that you have to find three shards of the Mirror of Twilight.
Really, we're talking about a kingdom powered by three goddesses and the Triforce. Zelda games have always loved threes.
Same Content, Different Rating: Despite being rated T, the game is only marginally more violent than its spiritual predecesor, Ocarina of Time, and there are very few despictions of animated blood in the game. There's also the scene with the half-naked Great Fairy in Cave of Ordeals, but it wasn't addressed by the ESRB when they rated the game.
Sampling: Zant's battle music samples the music of the boss he's imitating in his fight.
Scenery Porn: The game's environments are brilliantly rendered, with a great emphasis on scale. Major landmarks such as Hyrule Castle or Death Mountain are visible from a considerable distance, with swaths of terrain surrounding them. The former deserves special mention, being visible from most◊ any◊ point◊ in the overworld, and which looks even better up close◊.
Not to mention the area in Eldin Province that you see in the first movie before going through to the save file selection screen.
Schizo Tech: The Goron Mines dungeon is notably industrialized compared to most other things in the game. It even contains an electromagnet.
Schmuck Bait: Cutely subverted. The bomb shop in Kakariko Village has warnings plastered everywhere that lit lanterns are forbidden. Once Barnes reopens the bomb shop, go up to the second floor and put the warnings to the test. Barnes activates a sprinkler system on your head, soaking you and extinguishing the lantern immediately.
On the other hand, when exterminating the Twilight bugs from the town, you use a burning stick to light a fireplace in a storehouse full of explosives ... not exactly the safest course of action, but it does kill three of the bugs in the process.
Malo's war profiteering (off of Link) reminds one of Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22.
Show, Don't Tell: In-universe: Sure, the Water Spirit could just tell Link that long ago people, in their greed, fought each other over control of the Sacred Realm. But the spirit decides to show too. With a vision of Link and his childhood friend stabbing each other to death. The warning is much more memorable that way. Also, Nightmare Fuel.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Zant claims that he should have been the rightful ruler of the Twili instead of Midna and her "useless, do-nothing royal family". One ass kicking at the hands of Link later, Midna tells Zant that the reason the Twili didn't go along with him was because they knew he was a power hungry psychopath.
Sniping Mission: The Hidden Village, if you feel like it. Requires the Hawkeye if you do.
Also, to get the Hawkeye, a useful item that is pretty much a scope for your bow, you need to shoot targets in Kakariko Village. For the last challenge, you need to nail a pole on top of a guard tower from the other side of the village. The game is nice to you by giving you a different view to show where the arrow went.
Sociopathic Hero: When you first meet her, Midna doesn't give a damn about the dying people of Hyrule, only helps Link escape as a means to an end, and doesn't try to hide her amusement at Zelda's terrible plight. Over the course of the game, however, she becomes softened by the repeated proof she finds of Link and Zelda's selflessness; she warms up to them, and to the people of Hyrule in general.
Speaking Simlish: Midna, and also Shad in the scene where the Sky Cannon is discovered.
Spider Swarm: The Temple of Time dungeon is infested with tiny baby spiders watched over by four-legged spiders. After defeating the Giant Spider Armoghoma, it drops to the floor, surrounded by a swarm of the tiny spiders.
Spin-Off: Link's Crossbow Training takes place in the Hyrule presented in this game, with many of the same adversaries.
Spoiler Opening: An illustration in the instruction manual (which happens to be the same one used at the top of this article) reveals Midna's true form.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Almost everything that gets focus in the plot was invented in this game, i.e. the Light Spirits, the Twili, Midna... The Triforce is present, but never mentioned by name, and the Master Sword is just sort of there. In fact, the game should probably be called The Legend of Midna. Zelda is in it for 15 minutes tops, and it sure isn't Zelda who gets the character development.
Swiss Army Tears: Tears of light, the Great Fairy's tears that Link can drink to heal him and increase his strength, and the solidified magic tear which Midna uses to shatter the Mirror of Twilight, thus ensuring that no one from the Twilight Realm will ever again do what Zant did. All of the examples are most likely justified, as they're probably magical in nature, and the last one was foreshadowed.
Sword of Plot Advancement: The Master Sword, yet again. The Ordon Sword may also qualify, since Midna won't let you back into the Twilight-covered Faron Woods until you acquire it.
Teaser Equipment: The shop at Castle Town sells bombs, arrows, and other mundane items for thousands of rupees and more than you can carry with both wallet upgrades - the exact same gear can be bought elsewhere for 1% of the cost, or found on monsters roaming town. Once you give enough money to Malo, he buys out the shop, which reduces the cost of items immensely, and puts the price of the Magic Armor within your rupee capacity.
Technicolor Death: Though the Final Boss doesn't do this, all other bosses (and enemies) explode upon dying into little Twilight fragments.
Title Drop: Played with when Midna addresses Zelda as the Twilight Princess, teasing her about her kingdom being plunged in darkness; in fact, Midna is the real Twilight Princess.
Took a Level in Badass: Colin when he saves Beth from a group of stampeding Bulbos. By the end of the game, he's packing his own sword as he single-handedly escorts his friends back home safely across monster-infested Hyrule Field.
Also Plumm. Yes. It is cemented with the cliché Tsundere line when she gives Wolf Link a Piece Of Heart for breaking the high score of 10,000 points in her minigame.
Training Dummy: Link shows off his sword skills for the village children using a conveniently placed scarecrow outside his house. This is really a tutorial for the player.
Transformation Trinket: Halfway through the game, Midna notes that the combination of the Master Sword and the thing Zant embedded in Link's forehead to keep him in wolf form effectively gives the player the ability to shapeshift at will — however, Midna retains the final say on whether or not she'll allow the player to do so (such as if other people are nearby).
Triumphant Reprise: Lock swords with Ganondorf. His normally ominous and imposing theme will flatten, as if left speechless, before taking on a progressively more heroic and triumphant tone as you overcome him, ending in a very pleasing climax when you throw him off, before the theme returns to normal.
Tron Lines: Loads of it. Most of it comes from the Twili, but some come from other sources.
Troperiffic: It was intentionally designed to be highly similar to Ocarina of Time, as the developers knew they would have to significantly change the formula for the next game.
In the City in the Sky, at one point Link enters a bottomless room guarded by two lizalfos. Simply take two steps forward into the room (after the door locks behind you) and both leap to their doom while trying to come after you.
Another example is the second jousting match with King Bulblin. The first time, you rode Epona past his boar and swung your sword to knock him off, a la a proper joust. The second time you face him, he's wearing armor on his sides that protects him from sword swings. How do you properly joust him this time? Who said anything about jousting? Just pull out your bow and shoot him a few times in the chest. The third match would be the worst offender, now that he traded his armor for shields that prevent swords AND Arrows. How do you get past him now? Well his reactions aren't perfect, just shoot him when you're close enough that he couldn't possibly be fast enough to block.
The Unfought: The pair of large Shadow Beasts with round, silver masks, seen flanking Zant in some cutscenes. Beyond those cutscenes, they don't show up anywhere in the game.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Generally averted, as there are only a few human characters that don't freak out in terror at the sight of Wolf Link, and Midna does not allow you to transform in areas where other NPCs will see him. But you're otherwise free to transform in front of animals, monsters or bosses, who simply don't care. The animals in particular tend to think wolf Link is rather cool — a squirrel in Ordon specifically says that Link smells "like the trees of Ordon" (while one of the ranch's cuccos tells him that "You stink like the guy from the ranch").
Verbal Tic: Ashei ends most of her sentences with "...yeah?" regardless of whether they actually qualify as questions.
Victory Pose: Link gets a particularly epic one of these after winning the joust on the burning Bridge of Eldin against King Bulblin. Epona rears up on her hind legs and Link raises his sword while flames dance behind him.
He also uses a minor one if he sheathes his sword right after killing any somewhat powerful enemy, or if the killing blow was any of the Secret Techniques (such as Mortal Draw). Absolutely useless, unless you're preparing for another Mortal Draw, but it looks cool.
The cutscenes that happen just after beating a boss typically have Link sheathing his sword with an elaborate flourish. This is lampshaded in one dungeon, when it turns out that the boss isn't dead yet.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Cuccos can be attacked as in previous games, however, if the Ball and Chain is used Link won't be changed into a cucco temporarily as punishment for hurting the poor bird.
Once the Shield Attack is learned, it can be used in ways that it was not originally meant for. While the attack does no damage, it does leave an opponent open to an attack, or another shield attack to the face. This allows one to punch a Bokoblin in the head with a metal (or wooden) shield forever without having to worry about finding a new victim, not that this has any practical application.
Running around the Hyrule Castle Town as Wolf Link will scare the crap out of the townspeople as they flee in terror while screaming. If you go to the town square in this form, you'll cause the castle guards to appear, but they are deathly afraid of you and trying to attack them will make them drop items like hearts, arrows, and rupees as they run away screaming.
The Hyrule Field theme changes whenever you stand still, mount Epona, fight enemies, or when the sun goes down. Also, in Hyrule Castle, while climbing to the top, Ganondorf's theme rises in intensity the higher you go.
The music to Hyrule Castle Town varies depending on which area you're in.
The music for the Twilight Realm changes depending on whether you're inside or outside. The indoor version is much more sinister than the more relaxing outdoor version.
Zant's battle theme has six variations, depending on what phase you're in. What changes are the speed, which gets faster as you get to each later phase, the mixed in song, as he is his own Boss Rush, fighting similar to previous bosses, and the main, common theme gets added to as you go through the fight. His final phase plays the music extremely fast and contains music from all of the previous phases.
Victory Fakeout: Happens twice. First when fighting Stallord, and then again against Armogohma.
Villainous Breakdown: Zant gets hit by this one very hard. In an interesting variation, however, a flashback shows that he was crazy from the get-go, and that it's only because he has what he wanted that he keeps a calm facade. When Midna and Link fight through all his defenses and are facing him in his own throne room, he loses it.
The Virus: Barnes implies that this is how the Shadow Beasts operate: when the people of Kakariko went to save a woman being attacked by one, she was nowhere to be found and there were instead two of the monsters. It's never mentioned again, though.
Volcanic Veins: The boss of the Goron Mines, Fyrus. He takes this trope quite literally, too.
Wall Crawl: Link uses the magnetized Iron Boots to walk on walls and ceilings in the Goron Mines.
Weaponized Offspring: The Deku Toad is first seen when tadpoles drop from the ceiling and attack you (it repeats this tactic later on).
Weapon Jr.: Link (17 years old in this game) shows off his aiming skills with a slingshot, and his sword skills with a wooden sword.
What Happened to the Mouse?: You never find out why the kids from Ordona were kidnapped even though finding them is one of Link's major drives in the first part of the game. Unexplained, the whole incident is what gets Link out into the world in the first place. It's possible it was merely For the Evulz.
This is made further perplexing, much later, as the question is raised again when trying to restore Ilia's memory, leading to the discovery that Ilia was held prisoner in the Hidden Village. Since no reasoning is ever given behind the abduction nor the choice of prison, it becomes a Contrived Coincidence: had Ilia been held prisoner anywhere else, Link would have been unable to find the last Twilight Mirror piece.
There's never a reason given for why Wolf!Link, after being captured, ended up in the Hyrule Castle cells.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: During the credits we learn that Prince Ralis, now king, rules the Zora with the spirit of his mother Rutela watching over him. The children leave Kakariko and return to Ordon. Uli has had her baby. Shad, satisfied that his researches on the Oocca are finished, turns his attention to an archaeological study of the ruins of the Temple of Time, aided by Ashei and Auru. And Link leaves Ordon Village to (presumably) search for a way to be reunited with Midna.
Workplace-Acquired Abilities: As noted above under Chekhov's Boomerang, the wrangling skills Link has learned from his work with the goats come in handy on two occasions during the adventure (one of which occurs when he's not even in human form, at that).
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Congratulations! You've restored all the Light Spirits, banished the Twilight from Hyrule, and recovered those three thingies Midna was looking for so you can match the power of — wait a minute, did Zant just throw them all away? And nearly kill Midna with light? And Link's trapped in his wolf form again?