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Video Game / The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

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Ciela: Linebeck! You fled the second you heard about monsters in the temple!
Linebeck: No! Of course not! I suddenly got worried about my ship!

The fourteenth game in The Legend of Zelda series, released in 2007, Phantom Hourglass is a sequel to The Wind Waker and stars the Hero of Winds once again. Unlike previous Zelda games, there was also a single central dungeon, the Temple of the Ocean King; beating other dungeons would allow the player to progress farther in the Temple, which would open up more dungeons, and so on. The Nintendo DS game is entirely stylus-based, with the bottom screen consisting of most of the action and the top screen containing a map that the player can bring down and mark for clues.

The plot picks up right after The Wind Waker, with Link sailing with Tetra's crew on the trail of the mysterious Ghost Ship. When the ship is in sight, Tetra goes aboard and disappears, prompting Link to go on after her. He is tossed from the ship, and wakes up on a strange island where a fairy named Ciela finds him. During his quest to save Tetra, he meets up with Linebeck, the captain of a steam boat, and the wise but mysterious old man Oshus. Oshus gives Link the titular Phantom Hourglass to ward off the curse placed over the Temple of the Ocean King by Bellum, a demonic creature that is steadily sapping the life out of the realm. It's up to Link to find Tetra and slay Bellum before he sucks the last of the realm dry.


The game also includes a two-player battle mode, playable either over local wireless or online, where the players compete for control of Force Gems in alternating rounds, either controlling Link or a group of Phantoms.

This game provides examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • The Phantom Sword, which sure would have come in handy a lot sooner than you're able to get it, as it's the only thing in the entire game that can kill the Phantoms in the Temple of the Ocean King.
    • Then there's Ciela's ability to create Time Spheres, which give Link the ability to freeze time. You only get it during the two battles against the Big Bad.
  • Already Undone for You: One of the main features of the Temple of the Ocean King. No matter how many times you make your way through it, the puzzles you've completed will always reset themselves if you so much as step outside.
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  • Anti-Hero: Lineback, oh, Linebeck. He makes it very clear he's only letting Link use his ship not because he wants to set sail with him, but because he just wants the treasure that awaits him on the Ghost Ship. Then when it turns out there was no treasure, he gets briefly upset before he's told the Ocean King will grant him a wish—which immediately gets him to motivate Link to continue his quest.
  • Bag of Spilling: Not even Link’s sword and shield from the previous game are carried over into this one.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Jolene wears an outfit that exposes her midsection, fitting for a pirate captain.
  • Big Bad: Initially, whatever it is on the Ghost Ship is the villain (though that's kept a secret). Upon clearing the Ghost Ship, it's revealed that Bellum is the cause of all the various events, setting up for the remainder of the game.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Not only do islands look a lot smaller while you're sailing than they do on land, they also have larger varieties in elevation like cliffs, hills and peaks when you're viewing them from your boat that aren't as evident when you're walking around on them.
  • Bottomless Pits: Deep holes in the ground are a recurring hazard in the dungeons, and Link loses half a heart if he falls into them. Curiously, the pits can also be used to the player's advantage, as knocking a Phantom into the void is the only way to kill the creatures before obtaining the Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Boundareefs: The lack of boundareefs on the edge of the map doesn't mean the game averts this trope: there are many conspicuously aligned reefs placed through the map to create wide corridors forming an "N" on the world map. Also, several islands are almost completely encircled by obvious Boundareefs, most glaringly the Isle of Ruins: there is only one opening in the ring surrounding it, which is conveniently blocked by a cyclone that must be dissipated with a Plot Coupon.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Collecting and equipping all ship parts in a single set will give the S.S. Linebeck three extra hearts, which is useful for naval combat. Collecting all of the super-rare, super-expensive golden ship parts will give the ship... four extra hearts. It makes for a stylish ship, but finding even one part of the golden set before the end of the game takes luck, and none of the sea obstacles warrant the extra heart gotten by grinding for all of them.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: One of the last areas Link visits on his quest is the Isle of Ruins, which contains a lot of pyramid-like architecture built by the long-gone people of the Cobble Kingdom.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • A more minor example than most, but two of the earliest characters you meet in the game, the fortune teller Astrid and her deceased assistant Kayo, are later revealed to be descended from the ancient Cobble Kingdom, the ruins of which are unearthed and explored later on in search of one of the Pure Metals.
    • Zauz is a double example. You have a chance to visit his island when you first explore the northwestern sea, before Oshus directs you to him later as the only person who can forge the Phantom Sword. Certain hints from his appearance and dialogue also suggest that he, like Astrid and Kayo, is related to the Cobble.
  • Colour-Coded Timestop: When Link uses one of the Phantom Spheres to stop time during the battle with Bellum, the game turns grayscale until the timer runs out.
  • Consolation Prize: Inverted; when you send a lottery ticket to the mailbox, and you supposedly don't win, you get a ship part as a consolation prize. When you do win, they forget to put the prize alongside the letter, so you receive nothing at all.
  • Console Cameo: Dee Ess Island very clearly resembles a Nintendo DS, more specifically an original model.
  • Cosmetic Award: Beedle's "Complimentary Card," which sounds like it can be exchanged for a free item. When you redeem it, he compliments you.
  • Demonic Possession: Linebeck is possessed by Bellum in the end of the game, becoming a buffed up, nearly indestructible Phantom.
  • Developers' Foresight: You can never board the Ghost Ship again once Tetra is recovered from it. Knowing this, should you leave the Heart Container behind, the Mailman will carry it to you with a letter with no return address. However, if you refuse to take it then, that Heart Container is unobtainable for the rest of the game.
  • Dungeon Bypass: To make up for its more irksome qualities, the Temple of the Ocean King is riddled with shortcuts that can be exploited with the proper items on return trips, allowing you to access keys and switches earlier than intended and even skip entire floors, should you know how.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bellum lives far beyond the reaches of man, mostly acts through avatars and projections, is completely impossible to reason with, is either not sentient or has a mind that is so thoroughly alien that it can't be defined in human terms, and is otherwise totally apathetic towards other life aside from needing to feed off of it. It isn't even evil or malicious, per se, more just a force.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Obviously Evil Cubus Sisters, at least while they still appear human.
  • Enter Solution Here: One way they show off the DS's features is to allow you to write notes on maps. To make sure you get maximum use out of this feature, the solution to a puzzle is frequently given somewhere else in the dungeon, and you're supposed to write it down when you find it.
  • Exposition Fairy: Ciela fills this role for most of the game, though Leaf and Nari also occasionally serve as this.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Cubus sisters surprisingly do this, praising Link for his skills on Dead Man's Volley before fading away.
  • Faceless Eye: Bellum's most prominent feature is the single eye on his body, nested inside his mouth. As a squid-like parasite, he doesn't need a fully-formed profile.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: The game ends with Link waking back on the pirate ship, the game's whole adventure being seemingly a dream...up until he pulls the Phantom Hourglass from his pack, and sees Linebeck's ship on the horizon.
  • Fishing Minigame: The Old Wayfarer gives Link a fishing rod for completing the first leg of his sidequest, letting him fish in the open waters whenever he finds a fish silhouette in the water. Of the five fish you can capture (not including the Stowfish, which can be found attached to the other fish), showing the Old Wayfarer a Loovar nets you an improved lure for fishing up bigger fish, obtaining a Rusty Swordfish (one of said bigger fish) has him give you a ship part and inform you of the legendary Neptoona, and you can exchange the Neptoona with him for a Heart Container.
  • Fortune Teller: Astrid, the only living resident of the Isle of Ember. Once you've freed her from her basement where she was trapped, she'll thank you by foretelling the correct path you must take to advance in your quest.
  • Funny Background Event: Used rather frequently, mostly with Linebeck. The most notable one is him leaning on the petrified Tetra while listening to Oshus describing the horrors of Bellum, then frantically trying to stand her back upright. Also, near the end of the game, the ship is flooded and you see Linebeck being washed away.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The two Giant Eye Plants and the Massive Eye (a flying whale monster), which suddenly appear as ship-combat bosses when Link tries to dock at certain islands throughout the story (their designs imply that they're minions of Bellum, but nobody in-game confirms it). The second Giant Eye Plant only shows up during the last leg of the optional Trading Sequence, making it even more unexpected.
  • Ghost Ship: Word-for-word! Searching for it is the main plot for the first half of the game, and even then the Ghost Ship returns during the battle against the Final Boss.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Grappling Hook makes a return from The Wind Waker and is one of the most versatile weapons in the series. On top of being used to grab things, it can also be used as a tightrope and a human slingshot.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: For part of the dungeon on Goron Island, you switch control between Link and Gongoron, the son of the Goron tribe's chief. You get to play as him again in the race on the nearby Dee Ess Island after you clear the dungeon.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The crest pointing to the Sun Key. Who would have known that you're supposed to close the DS to put the marking on it? Ciela even congratulates you on figuring it out! It's even harder to figure out if you're playing it on a Nintendo 2DS, where sleep mode is activated by a switch, or the Wii U Virtual Console, where you have to go to the Home Menu or Virtual Console Menu and back. At least the original DS solution does have a logical connection as you are physically putting the two maps together, if in a more meta way than most would expect, while the later methods are basically arbitrary.
    • If you don’t know that the DS has a microphone, then any puzzle requiring you to use it can turn into this, since the characters don’t do a very good job communicating what you’re intended to do. They’ll usually only tell you to “call out” to get someone’s attention, but don’t bother to clarify that they’re addressing the player, not Link himself.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: When Linebeck refuses to enter the Ghost Ship, Ciela refers to him as a "cucco." Cuccos are chickens in all but name and ferocity.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: The Cubus Sisters, once you figure out they are lying to you. (Which should take all of two seconds).
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The adolescent Link and the adult Linebeck. Eventually.
  • Internal Homage: The 'self proclaimed hero' is a giant shout-out to The Wind Waker. He tells Link, as a joke, that the kaleidoscope he found (belonging to someone from the Ho-Ho Tribe) belonged to his sister (as if he had one anyway), referencing Aryll giving Link a telescope; he dresses similar to Link with a heart on his buckle instead of a swirl, having blue boots instead of brown, and having a pom pom on the tip of his cap; calls his ship the 'Prince of Red Lions' in reference to the King of Red Lions; and in the trading sequence accepts the Hero's New Clothes, which is what Link got on the Second Quest in The Wind Waker.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Hero's New Clothes, making a return appearance from The Wind Waker. Allegedly they can only be seen by very honest people.
  • Item Get!: Generally played straight, but the game contains a number of hilarious subversions and parodies:
    • At the beginning of the game, Link attempts to hold up a small key while not being able to stand straight from Linebeck shaking him too hard, accompanied by a broken version of the Item Get! sound effect.
    • On the first floor of the Temple of the Ocean King, Link can open up a chest and proudly present... nothing. The chest contained the small key that Linebeck gives him a bit later.
    • Once Link rescues the Spirit of Courage (which is oddly silent since it's the inert half of Ciela's powers), he looks more concerned than excited as he holds it above his head.
    • When Link receives a "mysterious" gift (which is invisible clothing) from the Man of Smiles, he does his usual animation, but with a disturbed expression.
    • This game features Rupoors, negative black Rupees that subtract money. Whenever Link gets one, a distorted version of the Item Get music plays, and Link looks upset. Unfortunately, he still cannot stop himself from compulsively picking up every single one of them that he touches - even ones that are just lying on the ground - and holding it up over his head for the world to see.
    • After Zauz forges the Phantom Sword, he tells Link to take it back to Oshus, who can finish the job. When you meet Oshus, he asks Link to take out the Phantom Hourglass. For no reason whatsoever, Link decides to (unnecessarily) go through his typical Item Get! motions. However, Oshus, apparently not in the mood, grabs the hourglass from Link mid-motion, leaving Link with his hand in the air and... nothing in it!
  • Kid Hero: Link is still not beyond the age of thirteen in this game.
  • Knights and Knaves: A variation of this trope is found on the Isle of Frost, where Link must find out who's the (always lying) Yook among six potential suspects.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: If you have yet to play The Wind Waker and still want to play it without being spoiled, you might want to delay playing Phantom Hourglass, as it summarizes the plot of the former game in the opening cutscene.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of the talking skeletons whines about not being able to use the D-pad and buttons.
  • Lovable Coward: Linebeck makes a strong case for this trope, given his constant excuses to not go into anything remotely dangerous and various other blunders. In spite of this, everyone continues to put up with him.
  • The Maze: The Phantom Corridor on the Isle of the Dead, which can only be traversed with directions given to Link by the spirits of the sages buried outside. The nearby Maze Island also provides several maze challenges that Link can clear for rewards.
  • Mega Dungeon: The entire game consists of finding items in dungeons in order to progress further into the Temple of the Ocean King, obtaining what is necessary in order to go and clear more dungeons, rinse and repeat.
  • Mini-Dungeon: The pyramidal tombs in the isles of the Cobble Kingdom, where the corresponding four Cobble Knights rest. Link has to visit and clear all four of them in order to find a way into Mutoh's Temple, the island's only proper dungeon.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The game is bookended with Link's Awakening references: it begins with Link on a ship caught in a storm and ending up washed ashore on an island, and ends with Link meeting a whale-like creature who returns him to his own world where his adventures seemed to be All Just a Dream.
    • There are also some analogies with Majora's Mask. It's a direct sequel to a prior Zelda game, has Link freeing trapped guardian spirits (the Ocean King and his helpers/the Four Giants), an emphasis on time limits (the Hourglass/the three-day cycle), a Big Bad with tentacles and big yellow eyes who seems more like a destructive force of nature than a thinking, plotting villain (Bellum/Majora), a yellow fairy companion with a bit of an attitude (Ciela/Tatl), and the game's overworld having four major regions, with the fourth of them being the former homeland of extinct societies (the Cobble and Ikana Kingdoms). Also, the very last song you hear is the theme for the forest sage of the game's direct prequel (Saria's Song/Makar's Prayer).
    • The eyes on the boss "doors" and keys reminds one strikingly of Vaati's eye motif, and Vaati turns Zelda to stone in order to drain her Light Force, while Bellum turns Tetra (Zelda) to stone to drain her Life Force.
    • Gleeok makes its first appearance since Oracle of Seasons, but is given powers similar to that of Trinexx from Link to the Past (one head shoots fire, the other shoots ice).
    • The method used to defeat Pols Voices - by shouting into the microphone and then slashing them with the sword - was borrowed from the Japanese release of the original game.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Cubus sisters' name comes from succubus, female demons who tempt men. Meanwhile, their master Bellum's name can literally be translated as "war".
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The crew of the S.S. Linbeck includes Link (a brave, passionate hero), Linebeck himself (a greedy Lovable Coward), and Ciela (a Nice Girl with an abrasive streak).
  • Not Completely Useless: The items in the trading sequence, which otherwise serve no useful purpose — the kaleidoscope, for example, looks ridiculous if you don't know why you have it.
  • Obviously Evil: The Cubus Sisters. Seriously, this is what the youngest sister says when describing her "captured" sisters.
    Youngest Cubus Sister: Fallen! Fallen! They are the fallen! Excuse me. I don't know what came over me.
  • One-Time Dungeon: The fourth dungeon (the Ghost Ship) - and only the fourth dungeon - is an example, but partially averts one instance of Permanently Missable Content because it's a case of Developers' Foresight.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: While Link and Tetra are first led to believe it was All Just a Dream, Link finds the Phantom Hourglass on him and sees Linebeck sailing away in the distance.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: A girl just pretends to be one for fun. A big hint is her wearing a swimming ring as she swims around.
  • Out of Focus: Tetra compared to The Wind Waker, due to being a Damsel in Distress for most of the game.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Ciela turns out to be one once you get the hammer. When you equip it, it's wielded by her instead of Link, meaning it can be used at range!
  • Point of No Return: Subverted. At the bottom of the Temple of the Ocean King, the bridge leading to the final boss collapses behind you once you're across it, seemingly leaving you with no way to return to the surface. Once Leaf, Neri, and Ciela remind you that they're there for you, though, a pool of blue light appears to warp you back to the temple's entrance, if need be.
  • Pop Quiz: After arriving at Goron Island Link must seek the Goron Medal to enter the Goron Temple. The elder Biggoron tells him that he must first become a member of the Goron Tribe, which first involves talking to every Goron in the city followed by returning to him for a pop quiz on the island and its inhabitants, with a few questions having obvious answers thrown in.
  • The Power of the Sun: Link's life force is protected inside the Temple of the Ocean King for only so long as sand remains in the top half of the Phantom Hourglass. To explain why he can't just turn the hourglass over, it requires being taken outside and exposed to sunlight in order to restore its power once its time runs down.
  • Precocious Crush:
    • An odd one. After defeating the Ghost Ship, if Link returns to Molida Island, he'll encounter a girl near the dock who wasn't there on his previous visit. She swoons over her mental image of the hero who defeated the Ghost Ship and gives Link a treasure map to give to the hero, who she seems to think is much older than him.
    • In a more subtle example, three of the four sections of the map feature areas where rocks are arranged in a formation of three, and an island is hidden near each of them.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Beehives can be found on trees, and if Link knocks them down the angry swarm will attack him. In the manga adaptation, after Link accidentally knocks a beehive down, he actually fears for a moment that he'll die from the stings.
  • Schmuck Bait: Played straight and subverted with the Obviously Evil Cubus Sisters on the Ghost Ship. Played straight when one of them tries to lure you into opening a treasure chest with a small Rupoor (-10 Rupees) and spawns a Reapling. The only clue you get is when she tells you it's the left of two treasure chests and says "and left is the one that's not right!"; subverted when another warns you not to shoot the Reapling guards in the back lest you piss them off - it turns out that it's the only way of stunning them, making it much easier to slip past (it’s also effective against Phantoms as well making this an effective tactic throughout the entire game.)
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The Ocean King isn't entirely sealed away, but so much of his power has been sapped by Bellum that he's been reduced to the form of Oshus, a weak old man. Once Bellum is slain, he regains his powers and turns back into his original whale form.
  • Second Hour Superpower: You earn the Phantom Hourglass after finishing the first dungeon, the Temple of Fire, when you're told to return to the Temple of the Ocean King a second time.
  • Shop Fodder: Goron Amber, Ruto Crown, Regal Ring, Pink Coral, Pearl Necklace, Dark Pearl Necklace, Zora Scale, and Helmaroc Plume. Interestingly, their value and rarity varies greatly from game to game, so what may be commonplace in one game can be worth a lot in another. This also applies to extra ship parts as well.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Isle of Frost, home to reindeer-penguin-human hybrids called the Anouki and yeti-like Yooks. Its dungeon is the Temple of Ice, which has lots of slippery ice to be crossed with help of the Grappling Hook.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The pirate Jolene. When Linebeck robbed and left her she didn't take it lightly.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The Temple of the Ocean King is an infamous example. It must be visited several times throughout the game and is populated by indestructible Phantoms that will hunt down Link relentlessly, reverting his progress and draining precious minutes from his time limit should they manage to strike him.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: On the Ghost Ship, Link has to "rescue" four little girls, "the daughters of the house of Cubus." It becomes increasingly obvious that they're evil, but there's nothing else to do but "help" them.
  • Surveillance Drone: The Phantom Eyes. If they spot you, they'll summon Phantoms to your location while sticking themselves onto you to try and slow you down.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ciela. She even has the same voice as Navi. HEY! LISTEN!
  • Taunt Button: In the battle mode, you can use the D-pad to show your Link cheering, gasping in surprise, or pouting.
  • Technicolor Death: All bosses except the Ghost Ship's boss turn into gold, disintegrate partially, explode into a column of sand, and then the sand freezes in midair.
  • Tennis Boss: Wouldn't be a Zelda game without it. You have to beat the Cubus sisters in a game of Dead Man's Volley.
  • Timed Mission: The Temple of the Ocean King must be completed before the Phantom Hourglass runs out of sand, otherwise it will drain Link's health at a quick rate.
  • Time Stands Still: Ciela gains this ability just before the battle against Bellum. It must be used to freeze time during the split second when the monster opens its eye, allowing Link to take a proper shot at it.
  • Taken for Granite: Tetra, aka Princess Zelda. For the second time in the series.
  • Trick Shot Puzzle: There are puzzles involving shooting arrows through a series of devices that alter their trajectory and send them elsewhere (ideally, into a switch). One such puzzle requires the player to string his grappling hook rope across a gap and then bounce an arrow off of the rope to hit a switch.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Like its predecessor, the game takes place on a series of tropical islands on a sea, this time the World of the Ocean King.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: At one point, the game asks you to transfer the crest engraved in a wall mural onto your sea chart by pressing them together. The way to accomplish this is simply by opening up the chart so that it's on the bottom screen, and then closing the Nintendo DS.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: The Phantom Sword is the one weapon capable of beating Bellum, though none exist in present time. To make it, Link needs to gather three Pure Metals found in the game's later dungeons and bring them to Zauz the blacksmith; he forges the blade of the weapon, and Oshus completes it by fusing the blade with the Phantom Hourglass.
  • Warp Whistle: A variation — writing symbols on a blank slate summons golden frogs who use typhoons to transport the ship to various parts of the ocean.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Despite the fact that Linebeck's original (and subverted) reason for going with Link at all is to make money and plunder stuff.
    Linebeck: Hey, good for you! Taking a break from saving the world! Class act!
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Once the adventure is over and Bellum is defeated, Link and Tetra find themselves floating on the inert Ghost Ship. According to Tetra's crew, the amount of time they spent on the ship: about 10 minutes!
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already:
    • Drawing the Cyclone Slate symbols before being told about them will not let you warp.
    • In the Temple of the Ocean King, there's a red door on which you have to draw a Triforce in order to get the southeastern map. It doesn't work before you meet Zauz.
    • Also, you need to seek out an old wayfarer's hideout on Molida Island at one point in order to find the correct route through the foggy passage to the Northwestern Sea. If you try following the correct path before you've read it from the map in his hideout, you'll just get sent back to the start, as normal.

Alternative Title(s): Phantom Hourglass