Hyrule Castle Town
Remember that jolly, ancient place filled with jolly people dancing, buyers buying, sellers selling, couples getting married, families running their dogs loosely and freely, beggars begging, guard watching, and overall, people merry as ever? That’s Hyrule Castle Town, at least as we know it from its original Ocarina of Time creation --- a special place just South of Hyrule Castle itself, where good rules the land….that is, of course, until about seven years later, in which the tyrant Ganondorf has managed to pollute the entire land, including this once - beautiful castle town area. Yes, Hyrule Castle Town will always be an integral part of the Legend of Zelda, and as a special place of legend, may it never fade from memory --- may it live on in the hearts and minds of all Nintendo players.
The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, as we just briefly mentioned, is the first title to have featured this beautiful place of great scenery --- and in this game, the castle town officially went by the name of Castle Town Market, and one could enter and exit freely, at will. It was found in the very Northernmost region of the land of Hyrule. And in this game’s version of the castle town, main player Link was able to do lots of fun things, earning treasures and rewards, befriending local residents of the land, learning more about what he would need for his quest, and other things ; many memorable moments from the castle town are still remembered in many hardcore player minds, mine included, for sure……
One such incredible feature of this first version of the castle town --- the prototype version, as some may call it --- was that, right after entering the area by running across the publicly open bridge area, you were able to walk into a door just to the right. Once inside, you would see a room full of pots, that you could have fun with and smash with your sword. The guard inside, watching them carefully, would apparently not mind that at all --- I guess he really didn’t care about doing his job and enforcing the law, heh heh…..either way, the fun was there.
I myself would smash and smash and smash, at the time (especially when I need to collect Rupees for my wallet, in order to buy items in the game), and then exit the room, by the same door. Then, I would re - enter. And something fantastic, even magical (or unexplainable) would occur : The pots I had just smashed apart had somehow been pieced together all over again, or perhaps new ones were put out to replace them….how is that even possible, that after leaving the room, with all pots broken, I step back in two seconds later and find them fully restored, and in abundance? It’s just one of those beautiful little loopholes we, as Zelda fans, will need to continue living with, without a viable, reasonable explanation…..as we have for all these years. But there’s beauty in these little unsolved mysteries and anomalies, isn’t there?
That being said, this was definitely unique to the Ocarina of Time version. Other versions of this castle - town setting were also seen in Zelda games like The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Spirit Tracks, Link’s Crossbow Training, and Breath of the Wild….let’s try and talk about a few of these, perhaps starting with Twilight Princess……
In Twilight Princess, Hyrule Castle Town is perhaps way bigger than it had ever been seen before --- the designers truly knew how to take things to the next level. The Minish Cap and Ocarina of Time versions, as great as they were, just could not compare in size and scope ; there was definitely a whole lot more to roam, learn, do, and more. In Twilight Princess, Central Square, West Road, East Road, and South Road were the four main areas that made up the castle town. There was no North Road, since North, once again, would lead straight to the Castle of Hyrule or Hyrule Castle, which was practically always connected to the market - town.
In this game, one of Hyrule’s three main provinces, the Lanayru Province, is where the castle town is found. And much like in Ocarina of Time, after Ganon seizes control of the land, it falls to darkness and completely changes in appearance, becoming a gloomy, shadowy place of darkness and dread altogether, the laughter and smiling faces, and hearts of cheer, gone (as well as the people). When covered in darkness, both versions of the castle town look drearier than ever, but each in a unique way ---- the Ocarina of Time versions features a lot more ReDeads, for instance. Yet both versions feature an appearance of external, endless twilight and dark clouds surrounding the area.
The darkened Hyrule Castle Town Ruins in Breath of the Wild are similarly dark and depressing, filled with despair. And in this particular game, the Great Calamity was what did this. It turned a once - thriving, rich capital into nothingness.
In The Minish Cap, the castle town area is actually found in a place you would least expect, and where it has not been found before. Instead of being to the far North end of Hyrule, it’s found in the middle of Hyrule, right between North and South Hyrule. Huh? What were they thinking this time? Who knows? But it’s cool…..
The Spirit Tracks version of this castle town area has a waterfall right at its center, as seen before, too. It also holds lots of daily commerce. It’s technically a “rebuild” from a prior destruction. It’s right on the grounds of the new Hyrule Castle. It looks half 2D, half 3D, interestingly enough.
Hyrule Castle Town briefly appears in the side - game Link’s Crossbow Training, too. Here, it’s a stage 3 backdrop only. It services aerial targets you can shoot with your bow, to get greater training and experience as Link.