Dampe the GravekeeperBy: Efrain Silva
About the character
This gravedigger - like character is one of a kind, a true relic to the legend of Zelda, in just about every way. In fact, play any other video game on the planet, and you won’t find another player or persona like him --- that’s a proven fact. Dampe is so original to Zelda, and I do sincerely mean this in a good way. He’s an old, semi - crippled man with an “ugly” face (according to players) and a bent - over back. He’s a bit limp.
He’s semi - creepy. But not to worry. He’s actually one of the good guys in the Zelda games….
I remember (and to this day, I still do not forget it), playing Zelda, back in the day, and making fun of this poor guy with my buddies (just because of his facial appearance and voice). But now I kinda regret. Dampe is a really nice guy, anyways, and one without which you definitely could not beat the game, period. Sorry I ever made fun of you, Dampe, even if you did sometimes unexpectedly creep up on me in the middle of some dark areas, but with nonetheless good intentions, I’m sure --- you rule!
What’s also cool about Dampe, anyways, is that you also get to meet his ghost --- or spirit. Yes, the ghost of Dampe will be alive after his corpse is gone, so that’s always pretty cool. I guess those who guard the graves of the dead should get a floating spirit of their own, with which to do so, after they themselves are dead...am I right?
Anyways, stay on Dampe’s good side (kidding) so that his spirit remembers you in a good light. Ah, I love this guy...dead or alive. He’s one swell of a character to get to know….
What he does in each of the 5 games he’s in?
The first game you’ll see him in is The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time (N64, 3DS titles), in which he’s just a regular old gravekeeper by day and explorer by night...or actually, it’s the other way around (not as you’d expect). In this special game, he sleeps during the daytime, so it’s really hard for you to get into his cabin, because it’s mostly locked as he’s catching his fresh slumber. But at night, however, it’s a whole different ball park --- he paces around in Kakariko Village’s graveyard. And during the dead hours of night, if you talk to him, he can give you a little walking tour (not creepy at all, heh), in which you might uncover heart pieces, rupees and more.
You can also race against Dampe later on in the game, and if you beat him to the finish spot, he will give you your hookshot. And pay attention : This is exactly why I have said that you can not get through the rest of the game without Dampe, because if you don’t beat him in this race and claim your rightful reward, then you can not proceed. You need the hookshot as an invaluable weapon that’s crucial to other parts of the game, and by the way, the same holds true in the other four games you see Dampe in, which are as follows : The Legend of Zelda - Majora’s Mask, The Legend of Zelda - Four Swords Adventures, The Legend of Zelda - The Minish Cap, and The Legend of Zelda - A Link Between Worlds.
In the other four titles mentioned, he does the same. It looks like he reprises his role as nightly gravekeeper and eventual “player rewarder” (if you can get through his puzzles and challenges, ha). He is also a good friend to talk to. Not bad, eh?
Where to have Dampe dig?
In Ocarina of Time, have him dig up all the patches you see. It can be hit or miss. Sometimes a bit of dirt will come out (with nothing else), sometimes perhaps a skulltula (at the right time and place, of course) that you can slay for a skulltula token, or sometimes even money, hearts and more little perks. In Majora’s Mask, it’s pretty much the same...except, humorously enough, here, you have to find Dampe first (hint --- he is hiding under his bed….talk to him and you may find out why….fun, fun). It’s the same in the other games, pretty much….just remember that he’ll make a stop right in front of where you ask him to dig, so be timely and accurate with your movements (as he follows you around).
How to beat Dampe in less than a minute?
Learn your L - targeting maneuvers like the back of your hand. They will serve you infinitely well in this 1 - minute race. You will have to rely on L targets all the time, especially as you see (or anticipate) Dampe turning each corner --- beat him to it.
Also, watch his pattern and rhythm (as he tends to repeat himself), and you might be able to spot when he is going to lay down fire behind him, which can hurt you and throw you back a bit….spot it ahead of time, and move out of the way, as you keep running forward. In the last area, roll right to the finish! And remember...practice makes perfect ; if you have to race him a few times, til’ you get it right, then so be it.
Dampe’s a cool character. Zelda would not be Zelda without Dampe. He’s like another character we all love, Tingle, but in a different way…..