I haven’t played the game in over a month, because I’ve been too busy with other things. I’ve been wanting to get back into the adventure and advance in the quests, but I’ve been away for so long now that it feels like I’m going to have to review my old entries to recap where I’ve been and what I’m doing. Which is great, that’s the whole point of my keeping these diary entries.
In the meantime I wanted to post something, and I was just ruminating about this, and thought it was worth sharing…
One of my favorite new enemies that they added to Tears of the Kingdom is the Gloom Hands.
They’re super creepy and the first time I encountered them, I thought they were fantastic. I didn’t know too much about how they worked, I just kept my distance as much as possible, climbed to high ground where they weren’t able to reach me, and hit them with distance attacks. But later on I got into melee with them, and found that they pick you up and squeeze you, draining your life and afflicting you with Gloom sickness, which has the effect of draining heart containers from your life bar, temporarily.
If you kill the Gloom Hands, a Phantom Ganon sometimes will appear, seemingly to enact vengeance on you for defeating the Gloom Hands. Or maybe the Gloom Hands are like Phantom Ganon’s herald.
My initial take on Gloom Hands was that they were Wall Masters, only they appeared in the open spaces in the overworld, and not in dungeons. And I loved the callback to LOZ1 part of that.
I also immediately connected Gloom Hands to the Gloom plague that came with the Upheaval, and connected it with the Underworld, because that’s all plain and obvious.
I think a missed opportunity the designers could have taken advantage of was that the Gloom Hands should drag Link into the Underworld, if they manage to grab him and hold him for long enough.
Imagine being grabbed and abducted into the underworld, weakened by the drain of the Gloom sickness, only to be dragged downward through the earth, in a manner opposite of the Ascend ability you gain, creating a neat “bookend” to the design idea of Ascend. And once you’re pulled under, they drop you into that world, and rather than finish you off, they just drop you, leaving you weakened and lost in some random part under ground where you have no idea how to return to the surface, and you are forced to explore and rely on stealth as you fight your way out.
That would have been really great gameplay, and I’m sad that they just grab you and squeeze you until you break free or drain to 0 hp and die. They could have done more with them, and I wish that they had.