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Guide Dang It / The Legend of Zelda

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Every The Legend of Zelda game is almost contractually obliged to have a Guide Dang It moment in it somewhere.

  • Throughout the franchise:
    • Several Zelda games, when you fight Ganon (or some manifestation of him), require you to defeat him with a battle tactic known as the "Dead Man's Volley" — essentially, playing tennis on his projectiles with your sword. The problem is that in almost every Zelda game, your sword cannot otherwise reflect projectiles, and you're never informed that you can do this against Ganon. Later games seem to be counting on the player to remember this maneuver from a previous game. Sometimes your Exposition Fairy may teach you how to do it, but not all the time.
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    • Heart containers are more often than not in places where you either don't need to go, have already been to, or just simply in random areas you wouldn't even think to look. Only a precious few can be found with a little exploration; without a guide, you're looking at spending ungodly amounts of time searching every corner of the game for these things.
  • The Legend of Zelda was actually designed with this in mind; creator Shigeru Miyamoto wanted players to have to collaborate with their friends to figure out how to beat the game. As such, its only hints are obtuse, brief, and memetically mistranslated, leaving some NPC hints undecipherable for decades. It also likes to hide things like rupees, heart containers, and entire shops behind bomb squares and burned trees, but unlike later Zelda games, there is no visible indication that you can bomb or burn any particular square, requiring a heck of a lot of Trial-and-Error Gameplay. (And you can only carry a limited number of bombs, and the candle can only be used once per screen unless you have the red candle.) More specifically:
    • Level 5 requires you to go through a looping screen (the original Lost Woods) several times. There is an in-game Player Nudge, with the old woman by the waterfall telling you to "GO UP, UP, UP THE MOUNTAIN AHEAD" — except she only tells you that if you pay her the middle amount, which is a Guide Dang It! in itself, as most players had been conditioned to pay NPCs the maximum amount.
    • Level 7 can only be accessed by using the whistle, which everywhere else in the game warps you around. The only hint there is an old man in another dungeon reminding you that "THERE ARE SECRETS WHERE FAIRIES DON'T LIVE", which tells you where to go but not that you should use the whistle there. And inside the dungeon, you have to go to the room in the upper-right corner, kill all the Wallmasters, and move a block to open a secret passageway, which you need to decipher from "THERE'S A SECRET IN THE TIP OF THE NOSE."
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    • Several dungeons have an angry Goriya blocking your path, saying nothing but "GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE." Players were apparently supposed to realize that this was his stomach growling and that you were supposed to feed him, which would have been a lot more transparent if he'd said something like "I'M HUNGRY".
    • If you touch a Bubble, you cannot use your sword for a few seconds. But if you touch a Red Bubble, you can't use your sword until you either use a potion, go to a fairy spring, or touch a Blue Bubble — the last of which was totally unintuitive, as the game had been teaching you not to touch Bubbles of any color.
    • Beating the game unlocks the second quest, which changes everything up on you — items get moved around, and every level's entrance is hidden (except Levels 1 and 5). It also throws fake walls at you. You'd be stuck in a dungeon, having bombed every wall trying to find a way out, until you realize that some walls just let you walk right through them if you hold against them for a second or two.
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    • After bringing Ganon down, the Silver Arrows are needed to finish him off or he'll just recover and you take it from the top! It'd be nice to have that even slightly hinted at anywhere... if you find the Silver Arrows before stumbling into Ganon's lair, any player would figure "I should probably use the item I just got against the boss" but it's easy to accidentally find Ganon's lair first and not know why he just won't die.
    • It should be noted that a lot of this is due to mistranslated/altered/removed clues. Your average Japanese player who finds this game hard will blame the enemies, not wandering for ages with no idea what to do next.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link:
    • The bridge man in the town of Saria caused a lot of grief after a single dungeon. All you are told is that "Only townspeople may cross". But there's no way to become a townsperson, or to convince any of the other townspeople to come with you. You had to randomly wander into the forest to the north to find a man named Bagu, whose house is hidden, so you have to comb all of those trees to find it. The only hint that he's up there is a monster in one house, whom you have to talk to several times to wake up (itself a Guide Dang It!) and who tells you to seek his "master" in the woods. And without talking to Bagu, you can't get the hammer, which you'll also need to reach the next dungeon.
    • Thunderbird, the second-to-last boss, is invincible unless you use a certain spell. But which spell? Turns out you have to use the "Thunder" spell, which wouldn't make sense against an electrical boss. And it also costs 50% of your magic bar, so no one ever used it. People thought it might be the mysterious "Spell" spell, which doesn't have much use elsewhere in the game.
    • Finding the Hidden Town of Kasuto requires you to use the hammer, an item otherwise used to break rocks, to knock down tiles of forest in the overworld. Beneath one of those tiles is a town tile. There is no indication that this is even possible, especially as all other places hidden in the woods can be found just by walking into them. The only hint you get is "THE TOWN IS DEAD LOOK EAST IN WOODS".
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    • Some enemies that cannot be killed with sword attacks don't offer much idea to how to kill them, like red Goriyas which are only vulnerable to arrows, or the Stalfos Knights being vulnerable to bombs. Sometimes this is mitigated by Convenient Item Placement (rooms with these enemies tend to have ammunition or magic refills as needed for you to beat them), but it's still not immediately obvious considering that such items are located under objects throughout the game.
    • Several puzzles in the Dark World have rather obscure solutions, where without a guide to help you your only recourse is to Try Everything. For example, several rooms in Ice Palace have their doors opened by pulling on the tongues of statues — these statues are unique to this dungeon but otherwise are prolific inside it and only a couple of them can have their tongues pulled. There's also a room in the Palace of Darkness where you progress by shooting a statue with an arrow — the statue is colored differently so it's obvious you're supposed to do something with it, but it isn't immediately clear.
    • Turtle Rock holds rails where, when you use the Cane of Somaria on them, the cane will create a platform you can ride on. This is the only time the cane is used in this manner and nothing hints to this, not even the cane itself which otherwise has an entirely different usage.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening:
    • Some doors only open if you throw a pot at them. Aside from this not being very intuitive in the first place, this logic doesn't work in any other Zelda game, leading veteran players to assume they missed a switch or something. At least the DX version added hints.
    • Accessing the Color Dungeon in DX. Sure, the game tells you where to push the stones, but it gives the instructions in an ambiguous way. The game gives you "3↑ 4→ 5↑ [line break] 2→ 1↓". This three-then-two pattern matches the arrangement of the gravestones, and you're supposed to mentally superimpose the two, then push the graves in the order of the numbers. Those who don't notice the similar pattern and read straight across (third grave up, fourth grave right, etc.) will be stuck.
    • At one point in Turtle Rock, you have to shoot a statue with an arrow, which you never have to do at any other point in the game.
    • A puzzle in the second dungeon requires you to kill three enemies in a specific order to reveal a key required to progress. There is a hint earlier in the level which refers to the enemies by name, but the enemies' names are nowhere in the game or the manual. The only way you'd know them is from the manual of a previous Zelda game (though the first enemy to kill being described as "imprisoned" in the hint helps narrow it down a little).
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
    • The 100 Gold Skulltullas are remarkably difficult to find. Not only are they often hidden in odd places, but some only appear at certain times of day or in a single time period. Others require you to roll into a tree to dislodge them, which is mentioned in the manual but otherwise unintuitive, as these trees are small and barren and obviously aren't hiding a Skulltulla. The father of the cursed family will mention that some Skulltullas only appear at night or inside soil patches, but he will no longer give this hint once all of this children are freed, so if you never talk to him between getting your tenth and fiftieth token, you're on your own.
    • The dungeons, particularly the Water Temple, sometimes have keys that aren't supposed to be used on the first locked door you encounter, essentially leaving you one key short, and the replacement key is usually very difficult to find without a guide.
    • In the Forest Temple, you need to figure out that you can only defeat the Poe Sisters by shooting an arrow at their paintings.
    • The game never tells you that you can shoot an arrow through flame to melt ice, or that you can use blue flame to melt red rocks.
    • Learning the Song of Storms requires you to go back in time and play it to the windmill man, essentially causing a Stable Time Loop (and also allowing you to enter the Bottom of the Well).
    • Speaking of the well, you enter by walking through the first false wall in the entire game after no hints that those are even a thing.
    • The Master Quest version of the Well requires you to bomb something you've never bombed before, that matches the rest of the scenery in the dungeon, and has no indication that it can be destroyed, in order to acquire the Lens of Truth. Not even the compass tells you that the room contains anything.
    • You can press the B button to skip to the end of some NPC text, including the repeatable sections of that damn owl, Kaepora Gaebora. It would have been a considerable benefit if the game actually tells you this, but it never does.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is nearly impossible without a guide, to the point that the 3DS version includes an extensive hint system to counteract this. Certain masks are obtained by going to a completely random spot at an arbitrarily fixed time, or by using an item or mask in a completely irrelevant location.
    • Unlike in other Zelda titles, giving consumable items, such as potions, to someone requires you to assign the item to a button, and then pressing the button while talking to them. Other 3D Zelda games will have you press the button while standing in front of someone to give it to them, so this difference can throw players off.
    • The Thieves' Hideout requires you to basically find six bottles with no clues whatsoever.
    • Getting the two Pieces of Heart from Granny is a particularly frustrating challenge. First, you have to have the All-Night Mask, which only appears in the Curiosity Shop on the third night of the game if you rescued the Old Lady from Sakon on the first night—and to make matters worse, the Shop only opens at 10:00 PM, or the tail end of the three-day cycle. Then you have to listen to Granny's stories at the Stock Pot Inn while wearing the All-Night Mask, which otherwise has no use in the game. At the end of each tale, she'll ask you a question about the story you chose to hear, and if you pick the right answer, she'll give you the Heart Piece. The first one makes sense... but in an incredible bit of counter-intuitiveness, you have to answer wrong to get the prize for the second story. And there's no indication that Granny even has two Pieces of Heart to begin with!
    • In the 3DS remake, the Twinmold fight can be an exercise in frustration if you don't know how its second phase is programmed. The red worm must be punched a certain number of times for it to be stunned, however the counter is reset when it burrows, meaning all those hits must connect within a single cycle of its attacks. When Twinmold falls to the ground, it's left vulnerable, yet normal attacks are useless against it. To inflict damage, you have to grab the monster's tail, which is done by pressing the A button while NOT L-targetting. Additionally, rotating the circle pad while Link spins Twinmold deals extra damage, which is never hinted in-game.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games:
    • You have 64 Rings to collect, and no idea how to find any of them. The game does not tell you that Rings have five different classes, and that events that give you random rings only give you rings from certain specific classes. The Advance Time Ring and Advance Nature Ring can only be found if you play on a Game Boy Advance; otherwise, the shop that sells them is inaccessible. And the Red Ring in Oracle of Seasons requires you to slay four different "Golden" monsters, which only show up during specific seasons, in four completely different locations, with no hints as to where they are — and to even get to that point, you have to talk to an NPC in a separate unintuitive place that the game never hints at.
    • You can push jars in the game, but you can't in any previous Zelda game (and only Minish Cap since then), and the game never tells you that you can do this.
    • In Oracle of Ages, the seeds that grow into vines generally act like bottles: you can pick them up but can't put them down safely, so to move them to a particular place, you have to push them. But there's one key difference: the Switch Hook breaks bottles but leaves seeds intact. You won't get into the sixth dungeon without figuring this out.
    • In Oracle of Seasons, one thing that even tripped up the official guide is that you can fill holes with leaves during autumn.
    • In Oracle of Seasons, at one point, Onox holds Din as a Human Shield, and you're supposed to bat her away with the Rod of Seasons. This is something you've never been required to do before, and nothing tells you to even consider this — the only way players could figure out that the Rod of Seasons could be used like this would be to experiment with it on small enemies.
    • The Hero's Cave contains a room with a puzzle where you turn blue floor tiles into red ones, like in some other dungeons in the game. But this time, you're always left with at least one blue tile left. The solution, which is never hinted at, is to use the Cane of Somaria to create a block on the tile, which counts as turning it red.
    • The final room of Hero's Cave in a linked Oracle of Seasons game has eight randomly (so it seems) located treasure chests surrounded by puddles of water and different types of ground. In order to proceed, Link must open the chests in a specific order. It turns out that the topography of the room resembles the world map and the chests' locations correspond to the overworld locations of the main dungeons, and have to be opened in the same order Link visited the dungeons in (or is supposed to have). To make matters worse, not only is the eighth dungeon not located in the overworld but in the underground land of Subrosia (which is smaller than the overworld), you cannot even look at the world map, because Hero's Cave is technically a dungeon and shows you the dungeon map instead.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD:
    • The Tingle Statues sidequest requires you to bomb a specific point in each of the five major dungeons to cause a treasure chest to appear. Not only is there no hint that this is possible, not only is there no hint of where you're supposed to bomb (the Compass doesn't even hint that these chests exist), but there's no hint that the sidequest even exists (unless you played the original and used the Tingle Tuner). Your reward for clearing it is Knuckle appearing on Tingle Island, which is necessary for the Nintendo Gallery (unlike in the original). The real purpose of the quest remaining in the game appears to be to reward people who played the original and know where to go and what to do.
    • One Piece of Heart is found by destroying a very specific Cannon Boat that appears in one specific section of the Great Sea. Said Cannon Boat is completely unmarked and indistinguishable from every other Cannon Boat in the game. This is mitigated somewhat if you find the treasure chart that shows every Piece of Heart in the game.
    • At one point, the game requires you to play tag with a bunch of kids, one of whom is on top of a tree. You have to roll into it and knock him down — but if you have the Deku Leaf, it's natural to try flying over to him. You can get right up in his face, which ought to count as tagging him out, but the game ignores it. Worse, this is just tricky enough to make you waste a lot of time trying it before you realize you're not doing it wrong, it just won't work.
    • The Goron Trading Quest. This sidequest involves you trading items to the Gorons on Mother and Child Isles, Greatfish Isle, and Bomb Island. This trading sequence will get you the Magic Armor and a Piece Of Heart. Figuring out what the Gorons will give you is hard, as you're not sure what you'll get until they tell you what it is without looking at a guide or walkthrough. You might even give one of the items to the wrong merchant and get an item you've gotten before, and have to track down another Goron.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap:
    • At one point, you have to scoop up water with a bottle and pour it on a seed to make it grow. The game gives you no indication that this is possible.
    • Immediately after that, you have to get to the green water spring by blowing up part of a wall which does not look bombable — or indeed any different from any other part of the wall.
    • At another point, you have to use water in a bottle to put out fireplaces in Hyrule Town so you can go through them while Minish-sized. Your only hint that this is possible is the Minish passageways that can be seen going into the chimneys.
    • Some of the Kinstone fusions are unintuitive; some switch to other people over the course of the game, some people will only fuse by random chance, some people have two different fusions (one of which is often a shared one), and some require backtracking to areas that you have no story reason to go to. Reaching a certain point in the game without doing a specific fusion makes the Light Arrows unobtainable, a rare situation in Zelda games (especially for one of Link's most iconic items), and if you don't do this there aren't any obvious clues that you missed anything.
    • Vaati's first phase requires you to use the Gust Jar to suck up his projectiles so that you can attack, and his last phase requires you to use the Cane of Pacci to flip his arms over and then enter them. There is no indication that you need to do either of those things.
  • Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland has the eponymous character paying money to people. If you don't offer them enough, they'll tell you to get lost. Offer them too much, and you'll have wasted a bunch of money. There's no indication of what the correct price is. And if you're trying to sell something and ask for too much, the buyer might never come back.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the secret to getting that mark in the Temple of the Ocean King onto your sea chart requires you to physically close your DS to transfer the stamp from one screen to the other. It's a clever bit of Fridge Brilliance (which you might even accidentally stumble upon), but it makes no sense if you're playing on a Nintendo 2DS that you can't close, or using the Virtual Console on the Wii U, in which case you have to go to the Home Menu or Virtual Console Menu and back.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks:
    • Beedle's Air Shop is a store run out of a hot-air balloon, and is the only place to carry the Bomb Bag, which as in previous Zelda games is the only way to carry bombs. Of course, you'll need to get him to land first. He tells you how by mailing you a letter, which you will not receive for some time. Until then, have fun chasing him around like an idiot!
    • Getting all the stamps is a pain. The Sand Sanctuary one, for example, requires you to backtrack after you complete the Sand Temple just so that Rael would tell you he needs cuccos delivered to him. You need to use those cuccos to reach the tiny island where the stamp station is.
    • Phantom Zelda can pick up bombs and arrow orbs, and she never lets you know about it. This is very convenient when trying to get through the fifth level in the Tower of Spirits.
    • One of the final sidequests requires Dark Ore with no indication of where to get it, not even from all those Gorons. You have to do another seemingly unrelated sidequest first in order to discover it, but that one won't trigger until later in the main quest. This is unusual for the game, as other sidequests can be done immediately. And all you have to do is visit the Tower of Spirits and leave (you don't even have to enter the actual dungeon), but that just makes it more infuriating.
    • Near the end of the Tower of Spirits, there's a bizarre and non-optional stumbling block. A sign hidden in a dark area, which you can only read while Zelda is inhabiting a flame-sworded phantom, gives you a cryptic clue: "Only those with no special powers know the secret." Controlling one of the regular phantoms in the room won't help. The solution is to make Zelda talk to one of them, making them spill the beans about a weak spot in the wall (i.e. something you can bomb open). All other phantoms say nothing of substance, and it was already established that Zelda only talks to phantoms to distract them while Link sneaks by. It's probably easier to talk to one by accident while stumbling around in the dark than to actually solve the puzzle. As for the weak spot itself? The phantom's line implies that you have to place the bomb in the corner, but it has to be some pixels away from that in order to hit the passage.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: At one point in the Earth Temple, the path forward is blocked by several unbreakable pillars in lava, which up to that point you've been moving around in by balancing on a moving ball. There's no indication that you're supposed to bomb a very small and conspicuous crack in the wall to open up a hidden hallway.
  • Hyrule Warriors:
    • Characters can immediately break into a run by holding down the dodge button. All materials and weapons in the field are automatically collected at the end of a mission. Neither of these things are ever mentioned in-game, although the former is briefly mentioned in the manual. Also for the former, it's averted in Legends, where it's mentioned in a loading screen tip.
    • Some of the Hard Mode Skulltula clues can be misleading, as well. The clue for the final stage says you have to defeat ??? (Ganondorf) before ??? (The Castle Keep) is recaptured. This may lead you to believe that you have to capture the Castle Keep and defeat Ganondorf before his forces reclaim it, but you actually have to defeat Ganondorf while the Castle Keep is still in his possession, then capture it.
    • There isn't an easy legend for which 8-bit icon is whose in Adventure mode, especially the small heads that show who a reward belongs too. The three Links in particular look almost identical (Link's ears are long and pointed upwards, Young Link's are short and horizontal, Toon Link has a brighter color palette). This is particularly frustrating when a section of the first map is blocked off by "Link" being required and the game telling you he's not unlocked. You actually need Toon Link, who isn't even unlocked via that map. Good luck figuring that out if you're trying to do the adventures in order.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
    • The game's Wide Open Sandbox nature trips up Zelda fans who realize that they can go anywhere they want once they leave the Great Plateau — only to go west instead of east and run into a lot of Guardians, Lynels, and harsh weather conditions. The game does suggest that you go east to Kakariko Village, but Zelda fans are expecting it to railroad you.
    • Several places have lanterns that you can light with a blue flame. Zelda veterans were convinced that you would get something for lighting them all at the same time, but you don't. Many people only found this out by looking it up ("where is the last lantern?" was one of the most-searched phrases when the game came out).
    • There are 900 Korok seeds, and many of them found only by lifting random rocks, jumping in random circles of lilypads, and jumping into random clumps of leaves. The game itself is bigger than any other Zelda game, so good luck searching even if you know what to do when you get there. And you only need half of them to fully max out your inventory; the other half seems to be a way to annoy completionists.
    • In-game hints encourage you to look for wild horses with lots of Stamina, indicated by the spur icons that appear while running. This is also the only horse stat that you can easily determine without taking it to a stable. The catch is, since Stamina replenishes at the same rate regardless of the horse, it's only really useful for sprinting away from enemies. What the game doesn't mention is that the highest Stamina horses can't have maximum Speed, that maximum Speed horses can only be found in certain locations, and that you can only learn a horse's Speed by catching it and taking it to a stable (none of which are near where you can find such horses).
    • There are 120 shrines scattered throughout the world which also act as fast-travel points. Have fun trying to find every single one without looking it up.


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