ZeldaBlog

The Middle Extreme

February 25th, 2007 at 11:03 am by JC

When one thing is too bothersome, what do you do? What do you do? You do something to either nullify the situation or ignore it. Or maybe you do something to intensify it. Did you ever think about doing the opposite thing, though? I mean, don’t you want to be as comfortable as possible all the time? While you can be comfortable physically, you can also be comfortable mentally.

I’m sure every one of you who reads this has been in an uncomfortable state of mind before (I presume you’re all human). Maybe it was with another person, maybe it was during a test. Maybe it was while playing a game. A game that’s part of a series you’re oh-so-very-comfortable with.

I think you know where this is going.

There are probably numerous amounts of thoughts and ideas zooming through your heads as you play any Zelda title, whether it be Link’s Awakening or Four Swords Adventures. I picked those two titles specifically, actually. What do those games have in common? They’re both 2D, right? The biggest difference for the average person is graphics. Another big difference for Zelda fans is that Link is in two separate places in each game. One more might be that both games could be played by one person alone.

I picked Link’s Awakening and Four Swords Adventures for other reasons as well. Link’s Awakening was released after three previous Zelda titles that were set in Hyrule. Before I continue with Link’s Awakening, lets take a step back and examine what came before it.

The Legend of Zelda, released in America in the year of 1987, set the standard for all adventure games and all Zelda games alike. The next installment, The Adventure of Link, strayed far away from it’s beastly predecessor. The following game, A Link to the Past, returned to the way the original Legend of Zelda game played and expanded just enough to make it one of the best Zelda games ever.

The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link are two extremes. A Link to the Past is set right in the middle of those two, making it the middle extreme, or also the best of those three titles because everything about the game felt right. It was familiar. We knew how to deal with it, thanks to the original Legend of Zelda. It was just right.

Now, back to Link’s Awakening. That installment was released after A Link to the Past. As I stated before, the previous three Zelda games were all set in Hyrule. It was comfortable. We knew it. We were familiar with it. Link’s Awakening was set in a foreign land, aside from Hyrule, named Koholint.

Even though Link’s Awakening is heralded as one of the greater Zelda adventures, it still has yet to reach such stardom amongst its other 2D and 3D brothers and sisters. Why? The nature of the entire adventure was strange. It was weird. It was offsetting. It was unfamiliar. This time, A Link to the Past was one extreme, while Link’s Awakening was other.

We all know what’s coming up next. Ocarina of Time was the next big boy to come along and screw with everybody else. This was the next ‘middle extreme’ after A Link to the Past. For most, this middle extreme is the most comfortable and familiar. Its considered to be perfect even by some. Hey, as long as you feel comfortable, right?

Majora’s Mask, the next title added to the Zelda series, was the dark sequel to Ocarina of Time. It took what Ocarina of Time had, added a bit and subtracted a bit from it. Another extreme was created. A darker extreme for the Zelda series.

Following a year later, the Oracle of Seasons and Ages came to the Gameboy advance. This was a set backwards for Nintendo, so to speak. They were 2D installments, obviously taking after Link’s Awakening in graphic style and re-using the same classic 2D Zelda formula we’ve all come to know and love.

There was a twist, though.

You could connect these two games together. This was the first time ‘linking’ was brought into the Zelda universe. The linking wasn’t essential to game play, however. When you did link, you could change up your adventure a bit. Nothing too big, right? These two games created yet another extreme. The linking extreme, which will soon be called the multiplayer extreme, but we’ll get to that soon. Oh, yes.

The second to last 3D installment for the series, so far, The Wind Waker, was released in 2001. While deep down, it was still a good, ‘ol Zelda adventure, the graphic style was vastly different from that ‘perfect’ extreme Ocarina of Time. We went from semi-realistic graphics in Ocarina of Time to children’s graphics in The Wind Waker. Yet another extreme was created – a childish extreme.

The Zelda fan base got its taste of portable childish Zelda with Four Swords, coupled with a re-release of A Link to the Past for the Game Boy Advance. This was another 2D title, the first since the Oracles. However, ‘linking’ returned. Not only did you need to link your GBA’s together to play Four Swords, you needed other people as well. The linking extreme now became the multiplayer extreme.

Without the arrival of the next 3D Zelda game, slated to look and take after the perfect extreme, Ocarina of Time, we received The Minish Cap. This installment, however, did not create any new extremes. Nothing new from this childish-looking Zelda game sprouted anything interesting or unfamiliar for the series.

Finally, the next 3D Zelda arrived - Twilight Princess. With the perfect extreme, Ocarina, and the arguable child extreme, The Wind Waker, what did Twilight Princess do? It extended upon the dark extreme Majora’s Mask created. With this darker game, some fans of the series didn’t exactly like how dark Twilight Princess actually was. It tried to be Ocarina of Time, but it became jumbled up with overly darker tones and themes. Even mores so than Majora’s Mask! Definitely not comfortable with that in our little Zelda universe, right?

Every single Zelda game revolves around the ‘perfect’ 2D or ‘perfect’ 3D extreme by either adding or subtracting familiar and unfamiliar elements to the series. The titles that do this, like Four Swords and the Oracles, aren’t exactly heralded as the best Zelda titles now are they? They go too far to the left of A Link to the Past while The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess jet a little too far away from the perfect 3D extreme, Ocarina of Time.

I believe that because of this, that’s why some fans aren’t happy with some installments of the Zelda series. They’re only content with either A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time. While most fans adore each game, nothing can ever seemingly beat A Link to the Past or Ocarina. Nintendo does a lot of testing with the Zelda series and has found two perfect extremes.

However, are you comfortable with them testing around with those extremes?

Filed under Games, Editorials, Nintendo

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47 Messages from the Gossip Stones about “The Middle Extreme”

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Comments

I have to say, this is completely correct…Nintendo has done so much, yet those two games, that came in the earlier half of the series, are always said to be the best ones…NOTHING has beaten them!

Well, I have nothing more to say, exept, the oracles weren’t on the GBA, they were on the GBC, with an extra featurette, the advance shop, if you should be playing it on the GBA.

O.O
I got the first reply…
Well.. I found a pattern in the release of the games. Nintendo tests different extremes, and eventually comes out with a really great game. I just wish they knew a way to just come out with good games, WITHOUT having the whole extreme process.

I personally like when they change things in games. Like the Tales series. Each one is a little diffrent, so it’s not like playing the same game in 3-D.

bah, nintendo experiments too much if you ask me…

my favorite 2d zelda game is links awakening (or loz) and my favorite 3d zelda game is twilight princess (or majoras mask) :P ,but it seems most people (excluding me) do prefer LTTP and OOT as there favorites.ofcoarse those are alot of peoples first zelda games they played,which could have something to do with it,but I digress.I think nintendo should think through some of there experiments ideas before actually putting them into a game.things like the cel-shaded graphics in wind waker are fine,but then we move on to stuff like the forced 2+ players thing in FS or the side scrolling in AOL and,well,just look at those games…not very popular are they? not that they shouldnt experiment with different graphics or game play,they just shouldnt risk a perfectly good game on some idea they have going.

Both “normal”s were released in the 1990s. They were the last 2D console and the first 3D console games.

I loved Majora’s Mask, i think it went in a cool direction, but it will never be the same blockbuster as OoT. I do, however, think a outsider could judge it as a better game. OoT was more garden variety, but considering most Zelda fans played that as children / teens, it is partly the nostalgia that makes it so normal.

The Wind Waker was a disaster for me. The cel-shading was cool, but travel sucked. Twilight Princess was not all that dark to me, but i am less impressionable now. Twilight Princess was more or less a sequel, filled to the brim with fanservice, and maturity that wasn’t in OoT. TP is a great evolution, but not something that really strays.

Plotting the Zelda series is like plotting a book’s plot: introduction (TLoZ), rising action (ZII), climax (ALttP, OoT), falling action (MM, TWW), and resolution (TP). The Zelda series is poised to change incredibly, and Volume I is closed.

The extremes keep it interesting. MM was a really good game, possibly better then OoT to a outsider. TWW sucked because of travel.

Twilight Princess was not really a extreme. It was dark, but it lacked the really scary stuff. Of course i am less impressionable now. We all are, and back when ALttP or OoT amazed us, they were the normal.

You can plot the Zelda series like a book: introduction (TLoZ), rising action (ZII), climax (ALttP, OoT), falling action (MM, TWW), resolution (TP). Volume I of the Zelda series is closed, and something brand new is coming for Wii.

Sesshorochikuramaru said:

bah, nintendo experiments too much if you ask me…

I have to disagree, actually. I think that the experiments actually make the games rather distinguishable… and this is QUITE a task considering that we have dug ourselves into the proverbial “Zelda Formula.” Every Zelda game has basically the same abstract plot or thereabouts… yet we’ve seen 13 different games, each one lovable in its own right. I think without that experimentation, you wouldn’t be able to claim that about the series.

Scepia, I think you have the same English textbook as me, is it WriteSource? They have that same chart.

TP was definately the darkest, check out the fourth dungeon, I felt like something was watching me through the whole dungeon. Really, the mini-boss was the scariest thing in Zelda. Not resident-Evil, but for Zelda, dark.

I think OoT was the middle extreme of 3D, but I don’t think it was the best. It was balanced, but I liked the dark and story of TP.

Experimenting is not bad, because it always ends in a better Zelda game, and I’m willing to play all the experiments, because, though they mat not be epic, they are better than most.

The Missing Link said:

Sesshorochikuramaru said:

bah, nintendo experiments too much if you ask me…

I have to disagree, actually. I think that the experiments actually make the games rather distinguishable… and this is QUITE a task considering that we have dug ourselves into the proverbial “Zelda Formula.” Every Zelda game has basically the same abstract plot or thereabouts… yet we’ve seen 13 different games, each one lovable in its own right. I think without that experimentation, you wouldn’t be able to claim that about the series.

true,but some consistency would be nice.like I said in my last post the games with the random ideas in them-though creative-dont turn out so well.also,the inconsistency with the races does make the games stand out from the rest,yet at the same time when you see this brand new race the first thing you think is “im never going to see these guys in any other games” :P .

Bboy94 said:
TP was definately the darkest, check out the fourth dungeon, I felt like something was watching me through the whole dungeon. Really, the mini-boss was the scariest thing in Zelda.

it may have been dark,but I wouldnt say it was the creepiest dungeon in all the zelda games….that title would go hands down to the shadow temple :P .and as far as bosses go i would say the dead hand is the creepiest boss/sub-boss ever.ofcoarse I have the original N64 OOT so some things might be different such as the shadow temples floors being covered with red blood….as is the dead hand :) .

I like the change, actually. As long as it’s Zelda-like, I say, go for it. We’re never going to know if we like it unless we try it, or if it will work or not unless you try it.

I was just thinking, and I DO believe that TP is better than Ocarina of Time. I was much younger when I played Ocarina, so of course I was fascinated by it and loved it. I was even younger when I played A Link to the Past (my favorite one), but let’s get to the point. Ocarina and A Link to the Past are the ones I have the most memories of, the ones that give me the most nostalgia, and the ones I was most fascinated with. Twilight Princess? Fascinated with, I will have nostalgia for it in the future, and I will have many memories with it, but never as many as Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past, simply because I was younger when I played those. If you count that, then I believe, if I was younger when I played TP, I would have just as much, if not more, memories and nostalgia as Ocarina (I don’t believe I’d have more than A Link to the Past). That is why I believe that Twilight Princess is better than Ocarina of Time (not A Link to the Past, no game is better than A Link to the Past). So yes, since I’m older, I do consider Ocarina of Time the middle extreme of the 3D series, but when you bring in the account that we were all older when we played TP, I’d have to say that’d be the middle extreme of the 3D series.

How is Twilight Princess darker than Majora’s Mask?

M Warrior said:

How is Twilight Princess darker than Majora’s Mask?

well…i cant really say why its darker without there being spoilers involved, i’ll tell my opinion whenever there is a new spoiler article ^_^

I don’t see how Twilight Princess was darker then MM, or in many ways even Alttp and Oot. Oot takes the cake for creepiest dungeon and sub boss as has already been mentioned. Alttp is hindered by its 2d graphics, yet the dark world I had always had the impression was a really twisted place, full of vile creatures with literally no place to hide. Without stating any spoilers, Tp has some dark parts, but thats an element found in all Zelda games. Its presentation was simply superior thanks to technology, yet that does not mean Tp was darker.

The problem with extremes is that it only appeals to a minority and may drive away other fans. Games such as Alttp and Oot are balanced, hence all Zelda fans can find some thing that is enjoyable about them. They appeal to the entire, or at least the majority of the fan base, while games such as MM alienate a great deal of the previous fans. A minority will see the game as an improvement, yet thats only due to the game appealing to his or her own interests, while denying the interests of others. Must I remind everyone of that accursed time limit.:P It may not bother some people and you can excuse it away all you want, yet its still there and contrasts the idea of exploring the world that a Zelda game is set in at one’s own pace. It was also too dark and brooding for its own good, although thats the aspect of MM that I really enjoyed.:P

Gary_Jinfield said:It was also too dark and brooding for its own good, although thats the aspect of MM that I really enjoyed.:P

now your making me really want to play majoras mask :P .

anyways,games need something different in them to make them stand out from the rest….that goes without saying.but if you do too much to make it original it comes out awkward.so I think nintendo should just find a happy medium when they plan out there games….you know? not too extreme,and not too dull at the same time.they over did it in TWW with the ocean traveling.I mean,I understand that they wanted to make it feel like an authentic ocean but it was so boring.all you do is sit there listening to the monotonous music untill you get to your forced destination.there is nothing to look at (well…nothing besides water),only about two or three different types of enemies to ever encounter,and the only interesting thing on the sea (the large cyclones) dosnt come after your half way through the game.by the time that happens you can warp,but then theres no where to go! think about it…your in an ocean (or on maybe),the only places you can go are the little islands or the water.not that it was a bad game,it just gets unenjoyable at times.if they had made the ocean smaller and the islands bigger (or maybe even just made the islands bigger) it would have been fine.but nintendo has a way of overdoing things (like the the time limit in MM…that could have been a bit longer,and the results of your quest could have stayed).

I totally agree with you TML.
One thing that come to my mind while playing TP was a feeling of emptiness, especially in later parts of the game I thougt that the world didn’t feel alive. Hyrule felt kind of lifeless to me, I don’t know if it’s only me or have any of you felt that way? I didn’t like hyrule castle town at all, it felt like all the people there where only polygons, they really lacked personality + I hate to see a door, wonder whats inside of it, walking up to it, just to find out that it’s only a texture that you can’t walk through..OOT’s castle town however felt so much alive to me, it really had some special feeling over it that just captivated me and I felt like I were a part of it..And the uber town of all towns, Clock Town was a true masterpiece! another thing about TP to, I dont remember one single song or tune from that game and thats a bad thing..I feelt that the music was kind of to quiet and there felt like there where lot of times when there wasn’t any music at all :S And yes, I did turn up the volume ;) but all in all, I think TP is a great game, but after playing Oblivion (okey, it’s perhaps unfair to compare a 360 title to a GC title but..) I felt that hyrule was lifeless. And BTW, if Zelda was a religion, OOT would forever be the holy bible!

Macke said:
One thing that come to my mind while playing TP was a feeling of emptiness, especially in later parts of the game I thougt that the world didn’t feel alive.

I felt the same way.theres really no excuse for it being like that in my opinion.I dont know,maybe nintendo overexerted themselves and had to compensate for all the things they put in the beggining of the game :) .

oh yeah,and I figured out that MM is probably my favorite zelda game :P .

A while back, I did a complete replay of Majora’s Mask. I Was SHOCKED, SHOCKED that the game seemed to be so expansiive, even more so than the first time I played it. I had forgotten just how many side quests and mini games there were, it was just INSANE. You know what I think? Nintendo should make a remake of TP, one that has more life, and isn’t filled with the flaws of the original, though to be honest with you, that’s probably a high order considering so many have already beaten the game, so what would the point be of getting ANOTHER version of the same game?

Simple: A LOT MORE INTERACTION and satisfaction.

One thing I’d like to suggest to TML though… you think you could maybe make it easier to find articles on zeldablog that were written by a specific author? Make this whole thing a lot more organized…

I think I like LA the best (Links Awakening) because theres no master sword, hyrule,zelda,Gannon.(I think you get the point)Most zeldas have all that and its like playing the same game all over again, but LA and a few others are different and I like that. I hope that Phantom Hourglass is different than others zelda games

greenlink said:
I hope that Phantom Hourglass is different than others zelda games

thats not very likely though since its suposed to be the sequel to wind waker.though they are suposed to be sailing away from the location of wind waker so theres still a chance it will be different from all the others.

Ninja Lord Kakashi said:

greenlink said:
I hope that Phantom Hourglass is different than others zelda games

thats not very likely though since its suposed to be the sequel to wind waker.though they are suposed to be sailing away from the location of wind waker so theres still a chance it will be different from all the others.

well yeah thats what im hoping but wind waker was great so I wouldnt mind if it is almost completly the same but I think itll be different

Gary_Jinfield said:

The problem with extremes is that it only appeals to a minority and may drive away other fans.

Well, yes and no. Link to the Past was a broad step forward considering its origins… as was Ocarina of Time. Wind Waker as well despite the fact that many people decided not to play it solely on graphical finesse alone. Even then, unlike Final Fantasy, Zelda cannot afford to tell the same story over and over again because we don’t get new characters. Things have to change, and thus the changes must appear in the gameplay since the plot, character, and (for the most part) setting remain static.

Dark Mime Gogo said:

One thing I’d like to suggest to TML though… you think you could maybe make it easier to find articles on zeldablog that were written by a specific author? Make this whole thing a lot more organized…

Your wish is my command.

  • 23. Razz says:

Personally, of the games I’ve played in the series (and that is relatively few; OoT, ALttP, WW, and TP), I’ve enjoyed them all on their own merits. TP only beats WW as my favorite because of Midna, and WW is a personal favorite because of it’s experimental visual style (and the characters). I enjoy every game for its unique, individual story and for the often unique and fun gaming experience. One of these days, I’d like to round out my Zelda knowledge by playing the other games, but most of the GB games are completely inaccessible to me (the screens are too small and, in the case of the DS, there’s no way to attach the handheld to your tv), but that’s an entirely different can of worms. :D

I’m probably the only fan who is completely content to let Nintendo do whatever they want with the series (so long as it doesn’t involve outsourcing Zelda to another company who will destroy it). Nintendo has a tendency to revolutionize things and, really, once you get over the shock, it turns out their decisions were good ones (i.e. WW and the Wii). I realize I’m an apparent oddity among the Zelda fandom (I happen to adore the cheesy cartoon, even), but there’s my two cents.

I’m seriously confuzzled. Would I have had to play ALL the games to understand? Cause I haven’t played Links Awakening… and never beat several of them yet. The original is HARD on GBA.

Starlight Serenade said:

I’m seriously confuzzled. Would I have had to play ALL the games to understand? Cause I haven’t played Links Awakening… and never beat several of them yet..

maybe. i’ll try to explain, In every zelda game that nintendo has ever make theres always something new that they try. some examples would be different types of graphics(WindWaker,cel-shaded,Adventure of link has NES mario/NES FF graphics),different play styles(Four Sword Adventurers/Four swords, were you can or have to play with 2-4 people)games that you can link together to make one story(the oracle games)also in almost zelda every game there are new races that come and they usualy dont come back in any other games. :)

Just a little sidenote, I didn’t realize it was JC who wrote the article, sorry ’bout that ;) so know I can say: I totally agree with you on the subject JC :)

The Missing Link said:Even then, unlike Final Fantasy, Zelda cannot afford to tell the same story over and over again because we don’t get new characters.

but FFs story isnt always the same…its always different :( .

Razz said:
One of these days, I’d like to round out my Zelda knowledge by playing the other games, but most of the GB games are completely inaccessible to me (the screens are too small and, in the case of the DS, there’s no way to attach the handheld to your tv), but that’s an entirely different can of worms. :D

you could get the game boy adapter for game cube….the graphics might be a bit blurry but atleast you could play it.thats what I did with oracle of ages,oracle of seasons (and those two merged),minish cap,and even fire emblem 7.

Oh, that cleared up a few things, thanks Sesshorochikuamaru!

Starlight Serenade said:

Oh, that cleared up a few things, thanks Sesshorochikuamaru!

glad i could help ^_^

Ninja Lord Kakashi said:
it may have been dark,but I wouldnt say it was the creepiest dungeon in all the zelda games….that title would go hands down to the shadow temple :P .and as far as bosses go i would say the dead hand is the creepiest boss/sub-boss ever.ofcoarse I have the original N64 OOT so some things might be different such as the shadow temples floors being covered with red blood….as is the dead hand :) .

Actually, I didn’t find the Shadow Temple as scary as… Adult. Hyrule. Castle. Town. I know, It sounds horribly cheesy, but I was nine when I reached there, and it got me to stop playing Oot for three years out of Sheer. Terror. of those Redeads. Once I was older and made it to the Shadow temple, everything that was once scary to me was a breeze.

Prophet of Winds said:

Ninja Lord Kakashi said:
it may have been dark,but I wouldnt say it was the creepiest dungeon in all the zelda games….that title would go hands down to the shadow temple :P .and as far as bosses go i would say the dead hand is the creepiest boss/sub-boss ever.ofcoarse I have the original N64 OOT so some things might be different such as the shadow temples floors being covered with red blood….as is the dead hand :) .

Actually, I didn’t find the Shadow Temple as scary as… Adult. Hyrule. Castle. Town. I know, It sounds horribly cheesy, but I was nine when I reached there, and it got me to stop playing Oot for three years out of Sheer. Terror. of those Redeads. Once I was older and made it to the Shadow temple, everything that was once scary to me was a breeze.

hmm,yeah my brother hated those redeads too :) .anyways you said you stoped playing after you saw hyrule castle town,right? then how do you know the shadow temple wouldnt of been creepier to you :) ? theres two things I wish the shadow temple had that would have made it creepier:more redeads (which could posibly count as more than one thing,but I digress),and dark link.

back to subject though,are you counting different things like fusing kinstones in MC as well as the other stuff you named JC?

Shadow temple wasn’t really that creepy. :/ Bongo Bongo didn’t even look like a ghost. I don’t think you played the fourth dungeon of TP’s mini-boss, that was scary man.

Bboy94 said:

Shadow temple wasn’t really that creepy. :/ Bongo Bongo didn’t even look like a ghost. I don’t think you played the fourth dungeon of TP’s mini-boss, that was scary man.

bongo bongo didnt make the temple creepy,if anything he was comical.it was the atmosphere in the shadow temple that made it creepy.also I won twilight princess….theres really no way I could have skipped level four or the sub-boss for that matter -_-’ .no,I saw it….I even fought it :o ! it just didnt strike me as the creepiest sub-boss ever.

Ninja Lord Kakashi said:

The Missing Link said:

Sesshorochikuramaru said:

it may have been dark,but I wouldnt say it was the creepiest dungeon in all the zelda games….that title would go hands down to the shadow temple :P .and as far as bosses go i would say the dead hand is the creepiest boss/sub-boss ever.ofcoarse I have the original N64 OOT so some things might be different such as the shadow temples floors being covered with red blood….as is the dead hand :) .

sorry, i deleated tml and njk’s stuff. sesshorochikuramaru, my lost brother, where have you BEEN????!!!! the dead hand, has got to be, the ultimate in freaky and/or scary bosses! EVER!!!!!!!

dont even know why my text was written like that, lol…

actually that was what I wrote uberzeldamaster :) .but yeah,the dead hand is probably one of nintendos wierdest creations,im just glad they didnt misplace it *glares at OOT dark link* .

why are you staring at oot dark link? hes only doing what he was created to do… shadows have feelings too! you peoplez… -_-’

uberzeldamaster said:

why are you staring at oot dark link? hes only doing what he was created to do… shadows have feelings too! you peoplez… -_-’

actually I meant to stare at his placement more so then I did he himself since obviously he has no say in the matter :P .or maybe I meant to glare at nintendo…but that would have been too vague.at any rate he would have fit perfect in the shadow temple….*sigh*

i agree about that part. but i think that the entire reason that they put him in the water temple was this. remember the room? it was an illusion! dark link is supposed to be an illusion sent by ganondorf to kill himself! the room fit dark link perfectly. of course, they could have just done that in the shadow temple…

my thoughts exactly ;) .