I wait all night by the hot springs where Dugby and Grapp are hanging out, and to pass the time a bit I screw around finding mineral deposits and a couple of korok seeds. Morning comes, and Dugby finally wakes up, and I show him the drill bit spear, and he tells me I found his secret, so I can keep it. Gee, thanks, Dugby.
The spear only does 15 damage, but it can be used to mine ore, so it’s not completely useless, I guess.
I head back down toward Goron City, and on the way back I spot a gigantic ribcage sitting in the magma flow below to the right of the road. I figure there’s a korok seed there, and I glide down to find out I am right. I was hoping I might also spot the skull of the Eldin Leviathan here, but it’s not anywhere I can find it so far.
I also climb up to some high points and find another seed or two. This game is nothing if consistent at meeting expectations.
As I come back down the road, I decide to play around with the mine carts on the tracks, and figure out that if I drop a bomb into the basket at the rear, it will propel the mine car. It looks like the explosion would do damage to someone sitting in the car, but after trying it one time I find that it does not, making them a usable thing.
On the way back to Goron City, I stop again at the Abandoned North Mine, and try to find the missing Goron. I glide out to the magma-flooded mine area, and it has been taken over by fire-lizals, who I take out the easy way using ice arrows. At a couple of points, there are cannons set up that I use to shell their fortifications, which makes defeating them considerably easier than it was even with the ice arrows. I find a few weapon chests, and a shrine signal.
I locate the missing Goron, he is trapped in the mine, behind some rocks that have sealed the entrance. They are glowing a dim red, so must be very hot, and yet I don’t take damage from them if I touch them.
I can’t figure out how to free him. Ice weapons don’t do anything, nor do the two goron weapons that I’ve found, nor do bombs, magnesis, or time-stop. So I’m stuck for the time being.
I think, maybe I’m just supposed to locate him, then go back and tell the Gorons, and they’ll put together a rescue operation. So I go all the way back to the front of the North Mine area and find the Goron who I talked to the day before, and he’s still there, but he just says the same stuff he said the first time I talked to him, and there’s no provision for me to convey that I have found his missing buddy.
I note a couple of other spots where similar looking rocks are, they are a bit different looking from most of the rocks, and they have a slightly translucent, slightly glowing appearance to them, but I can’t figure out any way to interact with them at all.
I keep thinking that maybe there’s some way to aim the cannons, and there’s one that is close to where it would hit the mine entrance if only it were angled a little more to the right, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to make adjustments to their aim or position.
I do have to say that the voice actor who does the Goron’s screams for help is probably the best voice acting in the game. He sounds really scared. In a lot of the voice acting, there seems to be a bit of tongue in cheek humor, or campiness about it. Like when the great fairies try to kiss Link, it’s supposed to be funny. But this guy seems real-scared, not comedy-scared.
I’m not sure how to get him out of there, and it’s probably not going to occur to me for quite a while, as whatever clues there may have been in this area have gone completely over my head at this point, and I have no idea what it’s going to take to get him out.
I wander around the area, looking for something that might help, and decide to investigate that shrine signal. The shrine is inside a cave that is accessible only by mine cart, and I have to actually put the mine cart onto the tracks using magnesis, so it’s not the easiest to find, but having played with the tracks a few minutes earlier, it’s not that hard to discover. I give Nintendo’s level designers credit for giving me the clues to put it together, but making it subtle enough that it feels like I’m smart for figuring it out. Good job, guys.
Inside the shrine is one of the larger and more difficult ones to figure out that I’ve been through. I give up on it after puzzling for an hour, but come back fresh the next day and figure it out. At the beginning, there’s a large magnetic block on a guillotine-like track that I can lift it up and down on, and it has spikes on the bottom. I can lift it high over me and run through just fine, and it falls behind me but there’s no real danger. Past that, it gets trickier. There’s two staircases leading up from the platform I’m on, at right angles to each other, forward and to my left, and both of them have breaks in the middle. The floor is lava, and so there’s got to be some way to bridge the gap to make it up. The one to the left is obvious: a couple of metal platforms on rails that I can move with magnetism, and if I go straight up the stairs there’s a blue flame brazier, and if I go left there’s a treasure chest. The chest contains a torch, so I have to ditch one of my Dragonbone Moblin Clubs to use the torch to light more braziers throughout the level.
I do so, and walk down to the platform on the original level. The broken staircase to my left is still inaccessible to me, but there’s a torch atop it, and I need to get up there somehow to light it. Ahead of me, the platform extends maybe a hundred meters or so, and I see a series of water fountains spraying the platform; somehow or other, I have to make it past them all with a lit torch and keep it dry.
It’s easier than it looks; the first two, I simply walk across, and then I can duck under the third, an I get the next brazier lit with no problem.
This activates an elevator, which goes up and down, conveying an unlit brazier. I don’t know what to do with it at first, and get stuck here, trying to work it out. After I quit and come back the next day, I realize I can hit it with a flaming arrow. I light one of my normal arrows with the blue flame from the brazier and fire it off, and hit the elevator brazier on the first try. Lighting it triggers the remaining staircase segment to rise up out of the lava to complete the way up to the rest of the level.
I light the brazier at the top of the stairs, and this triggers a chute to pivot downward, and a rolling spiky metal ball comes down at me. I’m too dumb to get out of the way, and it hits me, knocking me back and into the lava. I should have expected and been ready with magnesis or time stop, but after I respawn I’m back on the chute, and the spikey ball is gone, so it’s fine.
I walk up to the next platform level, and there’s more braziers to light and more fountains to confound me. The next one involves three braziers; the central one is easy to light, and stays lit when I do. The other two, as soon as I light one, it triggers a fountain to extinguish it. I use time stop and this prevents the fountain from activating, and so I’m able to light the two remaining braziers, and this triggers the gate in front of me to open. I proceed through, and have an easy combat with some mini-Guardians, who are standing on dry leaves. Even three of them are not a difficult challenge for me; I use weapons on the first two, but then back up and light up the leaves and the third one is incinerated.
At the end of the level, there’s another brazier-fountain puzzle; this one has a circle of five braziers, and I can only get 2-4 lit at once before the fountains activate, and time stop doesn’t help here. I solve it by using a charge-attack to spin with the torch, and light all five in a split second. It’s obvious once I figure it out, but because I’m thinking about more creative solutions, it takes a while to come to the easy solution.
I don’t get anything here that helps me rescue the trapped Goron in the mine, so I resort to googling for help. It turns out that I was on the right track with the cannons. They are aimable. But to aim them, you have to hit a switch at the rear of the assembly with a weapon. These cannons are clearly made out of metal, and in keeping true to the game’s “multiple answers, whatever works” philosophy, there should have been multiple ways to move these cannons into position: the switch, magnesis, timestop + pummeling, whatever works, right? I had tried to “use” the switch with the A button, like it was a door or something else you pick up or interact with, but for whatever reason that’s not how you flip these switches — you have to pound them with a weapon.
I didn’t figure that out for over an hour, because so many of the game’s puzzles had multiple correct answers for creative gamers to figure out, and this one has one specific solution. Boo.
I aim the cannon and blow the mine entrance open, rescuing the Goron. His name is hard for me to remember how to spell right, but it is multi-syllabic, Japanese-sounding, and starts with Y. I’ll just call him Y, then. He is the descendant of Daruk, the Goron Champion from 100 years ago who fought side by side with Link. He returns to Goron City, and I do as well. We talk to the Boss, and we decide to try to attack the Divine Beast Vah Rudania.
The approach is perilous. Rudania launches copter drones and they start patrolling the path up Death Mountain. Y needs to come with me, as he’s a “human cannonbal” for the cannons. He has a special power, Daruk’s Protection, which makes him invulnerable, which makes him an ideal artillery shell.
This seems, frankly, a bit farfetched, but I guess if Legend of Zelda was an after-school cartoon, it’d be fine. But it’s a tad lame.
Anyway, I’m supposed to lead Y up the mountain, avoiding detection by the drone copters, and launch him — multiple times — from various cannon emplacements, to weaken Rudania enough to enable me to enter. There’s no mention of Rudania having a shield or anything. It seems like Link could realistically just ride up on a thermal with his glider and get onto Rudania directly, without all this cannon nonsense. But this is what the game has us do.
I have to signal to Y when the coast is clear, and he’s always too slow and too big, so triggers the drone copters anyway. When this happens, Rudania goes nuts and triggers an avalanche of magma bombs that damn near wipe me out. I am able to take cover the first time, the second time I’m out in the open and lose about half my hearts, and the third and fourth times I am able to find adequate cover so I’m able to avoid the worst of it.
The rest of the way, I just destroy the damn copter drones, using metal boxes and magnesis to slam them. they’re not the super-powerful, deadly drones I’ve encountered elsewhere, but mini-sentries, so they only take a couple of hits.
We fire Y at Vah Rudania 3-4 times, Rudania falls into the lava crater, and now finally it’s time for me to go. I jump down and enter the Beast.
It’s much the same as the others; I have four access terminals that I need to reach and activate, and doing so requires solving some platform puzzles, aided by manipulating Rudania through the map. He can change orientations by 90 degrees, and that’s it. I figure it out without a whole lot of fuss.
Then I go to the main control console to re-assert control over the Divine Beast, which of course triggers the Calamity Ganon Boss to appear, Fireblight Ganon.
I find Fireblight Ganon difficult to hit with the sword, but easy to hit with frost arrows, which seem to do a lot of damage. When I nail him in the eye, He drops, but not far enough for me to hit him. I swing and miss uselessly, and Ganon recovers, and flies away to resume the attack.
Fortunately I have a bunch of frost arrows, enough to take him down below half his hit points, which triggers his second attack mode. He creates a powerful shield, and charges up a weapon to release a big fireball at me. I can’t penetrate the shield, but the fireballs I can shoot down with ice arrows. I can’t figure out how to hit him, and I’m starting to run out of ideas, when the voice of Daruk comes in and tells me that my regular weapons won’t work. I run up closely and hit him with Urbosa’s Fury, and this does get through his shield, and actually does fantastic damage. Two Urbosa’s Fury, and he’s down for the count, and I’ve cleared Vah Rudania.
After re-activating Rudania, Daruk’s spirit appears and gives me his Defense ability, the same shield that Y uses when he’s a cannonball. I transport back to Goron City to receive the thanks of Boss Bludo. He gives me a weapon that belonged to Daruk.
I transport to Kakariko village to see Impa, who tells me I am ready to face Calamity Ganon at Hyrule Castle. I try to touch their sheikah orb, thinking that now, finally, I should be able to carry it up the hill to the basin where I’ve been wanting to take it since I first got to Kakariko. While I’m here, I visit the Fairy and get my armor outfits upgraded as much as possible, but I don’t have all the materials needed to take them up to max.
I make a list of stuff to find, and set out to find it:
I need more fireproof lizards, yellow lizalfos tails, some kind of firey butterfly that I’ve only seen one of, way up on Death Mountain, stealthfin trout, hearty bass, and Lynel parts, Molduga parts, and more.