It wasn’t mega hard in the end, but it did take some deliberate play and a bit of a helping hand from the ZeldaDungeon guide.
The key part was learning the rooms in which to fight and those to just run through. If I’d have had to kill everything in every room, it would have been different story altogether.
The stuff I’ve spoken about before helped immeasurably. The compass and map carrying over after death, bombed walls staying bombed. Even though I only died once on my ‘okay this time I’m serious’ run, that stuff was super helpful. In the end I didn’t even use my potion.
The dungeon’s boss is interesting. It’s a giant spider thing called Gohma, which crawls along the top of the room, spitting out fireballs. Every now and again its opens its single, massive eye. That’s when you’re supposed to slot an arrow straight into it.
When Gohma’s eye is closed, it’s invulnerable. There’s nothing, no ability or weapon, that can inflict any damage. With its eye open, it takes one single arrow to destroy.
I didn’t need to fall back on the guide to discover this, thanks to the Old Man at the start of the dungeon. “Aim at the eye of Gohma”, he said. So I did. One shot. The easiest boss in the game so far.
This kind of stuff sums up a lot of what I’m enjoying about The Legend of Zelda. A hint whispered by a mysterious figure, a boss with a single weakness, puzzles and mysteries and secrets.
The way this kind of thing is executed in The Legend of Zelda is often wonky, too obvious or too obtuse, but it’s the starting point for magic. And besides, I remember what games were like in the mid 80s. I have that context. This must have been a revelation.