I usually like Zelda boss fights. I do not like Puppet Ganon.
I know some people aren’t fans of the formulaic approach to bosses (find new weapon in dungeon, learn to use on unique enemies, use newfound skills to take down boss), but ever since the first time the camera panned up to Gohma on the ceiling inside the Great Deku Tree, I haven’t had too many boss fights that weren’t mostly enjoyable. Some too easy, some just annoying, but none like this. Puppet Ganon took a real toll.
Maybe my expectations were just too low going in. The dungeon had already run me through the gauntlet of the four previous bosses from the game, plus having to finally take down Phantom Ganon, I was all braced for the big one. The final Ganondorf fight. I already knew this game didn’t have the real Ganon, pig-form and all, so the cutscene before the fight took me back a little. But hey, it’s Zelda. Figure out which weapon to use, expose the sweet spot, slashy-sword-sword. Rinse and repeat three times. It’s late, and I’m ready to go ahead and finally finish Wind Waker for good.
It took me forever to figure out what to do with the first form. I was thrown off because the targeting was focused on his head, but what you’re supposed to do is hit the strings holding Ganon up with the boomerang, then shoot the tail with the light arrows. Once I figured that out, it was easy. The constantly-spawning Keese were a little annoying, but the also kept my arrows and magic in check, so it was tolerable. Done and done.
The second form was unexpected because the cutscene after the first form lasts just long enough to make you think it’s over before dropping into the spider form. This was just dumb. Or maybe I’m just dumb, but still. Best I can tell, Spider Ganon just hangs out above you on the ceiling, randomly turning and dropping leaving you to pray that you end up directly next to the tail. It would be easier if you could shift the view to look up where the legs would be when he dropped, but you have to constantly be fighting off the Keese, which is ridiculous because why would they use the most annoying enemy in the game to fill the roller of filler grunts? This one took longer than it should have.
But then the third form. Oh, the third form.
The first thing you notice about Caterpillar Ganon is the both the look and movements are similar to everyone’s favorite little worm from Link to the Past, Moldorm. This time you don’t have to be worried about getting knocked off the boss area though, oh no. You just have to worry about constantly losing sight of him between the random movements, the heavy health toll from any slight brush past, and having to manually aim at the tell since someone decided that the z-targeting should focus on the head. Why was that a good idea? I’m genuinely confused by that.
Also, remember when I mentioned Keese being a stupid choice as the most obnoxious enemies in the game? Turns out I was wrong. Its actually those little sea urchins things with the one green eye (Editors note: Morths, apparently?) They stick to you and slow you down, which is the worst thing that could happen constantly having to dodge Worm Ganon. They’re also hard to kill, smaller, and they come in bigger numbers. And half of them don’t even drop anything! A solid eight minutes of this section was spent waiting for them to spawn and actually drop the magic I needed, just to miss all my light arrow shots and have to start the process again.
I haven’t felt this physically drained after a boss fight for a while. Maybe the first time I fought a dragon alone in Skyrim, but even that doesn’t compare to the agony of Puppet Ganon. The lingering thought that maybe he’s just poorly design also adds to effect.
I left the game paused to come throw this article together, so when I finish, it’s back into it to take down Ganon and call it a night. Supposedly, this last fight has a reputation for being slightly too easy. At this point, that sounds pretty appealing to me.