Dungeons in Zelda games have changed greatly though the years. While the mobile titles have opted to get a bit more complex and thematic (while still holding the same general design) 3D Zelda titles have been moving forward to more organic dungeon design. Generally speaking, I’m all for it, though I do sometimes miss some of the older designs.
Forest Temple: Ocarina of Time
The Forrest Temple is a recurring dungeon in many Zelda games, taking a different appearance every time. As far as I can remember however, none are quite like the Forest Temple from Ocarina of Time. Design wise it’s an outlier being what is likely a mansion in the middle of an arguably cursed forest that is home to immortal forest children and many lost souls.
So my question is “How did this even get here?”. How did a mansion so large and complex end up in the middle of a sacred meadow. Someone had to have built it, but for what purpose? These questions are never answered so we can only guess for the most part.
For a dungeon it I the only one I can recall in either of the 64 games that has an open area in the garden. The place while clearly abandoned still looks rather good with all the carpeting and such. With a little imagination (considering the limitations of the original games) you could assume that this lonely manor was once a bustling place to congregate. In many ways it looks like an abandoned mansion but the more I look at it the more I feel this place is closer to a church than it is to a home. That might explain the lack of living quarters and all the stalfos in the area. That could also mean that they were once the patrons of this place and either by Ganondorfs hand or the natural curse of the forest they succumbed and became monsters guarding what should have been their sanctuary. That would explain a lot of the phenomena at play including all the ghosts and twisted paths. Yet another sacred place defiled by Ganondorf.
Again, none of this is confirmed in any book so take it all with a grain of salt. This is just my interpretation of the dungeon, and if I may say for a starter dungeon to the adult portion of the game, it is a damn fine one. Often overlooked by places like the shadow or spirit temple, the forest temple has its own eerie charm.