Dragon Roost Island, You Stole My Heart

Long-time readers of Kotaku may know that my absolute, unquestioned, favourite video game of all time is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. There are many reasons for this. The timeless art style, the "open world" design, the inherent charm and humour present throughout.

There's one more reason though that's not quite as robust. And it only comes into play every time you sail near Dragon Roost Island.

The Dragon Roost theme is just one of those video game tracks that leaps out of the game and digs hooks into the deepest recesses of your consciousness. Even now, nearly 10 years after the release of this game, I can hear a pipe, or even just look up at a clear blue sky or a calm sea and BAM, this track hits me.

It's so jaunty. So evocative of the tropical, "new world" design of the game, with its tip of the hat to South American music and properties like Cities of Gold. It's also a great reminder of the duality of Wind Waker, a game that's more candy coated than any other title in the series when you're out on the ocean, or on the outskirts of any of its islands, but which gets surprisingly dark once you venture inside.

How? Because as ridiculously happy and up-beat as this number is, the island it's played on holds more than its fair share of dark secrets, and once inside its chambers and dungeon you're treated to the exact opposite of the exterior theme: lots of brooding, evil tunes, the Nintendo equivalent of building tension by slowly dragging a crooked fingernail down a blackboard.

Which can...actually, forget all that, that's just me over-thinking the game again. This is a JAUNT, with PIPES, and if it doesn't make you feel good about your day then, shit, I can't help you.


    I like Skyward Sword more. Link to the Past is still the best.

    I'm not really a huge Zelda fan and never had a GameCube, but that game always looked insanely cool to me. Too bad Nintendo never re-released it on the Wii like they did with Pikmin. (Was hoping they'd release Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi's Mansion too.)

      You could always buy them + a gamecube control for your wii :D

        You and your logic. :P

          I'm hoping for a HD re-release on the Wii U with improved draw distance

        What this man says. Outside of the tri-force shard collecting near the end, the game is amazing.

        I sure do want to spend ~$50 on a old gamecube game. Sure, I'd like to play it again, but it's just too much. My local Gametraders has two copies, for $150 each (locked up in a perspex box).

          Just cruise ebay. I picked it up for about $30 all up and in pretty good condition.

    It looks even better in dolphin. Broke out my Windwaker collectors edition the other day. So nice.. and skyward sword is right up there as well, but playing them in nice shiny high res on my pc is wonderful. And the motion controls with the included wiimote from the Skyward sword pack is perfect. One of the my favorite gaming experiences.

    Wow has it really been 10 years already?
    So many great memories playing this game:)

    If ocarina didn't have the extra nostalgia factor I think this would be my favourite zelda game. Great in almost every way - absolutely loved the ocean track too, didn't mind the endless sailing when it was to that epic tune :D

    its funny the end section where you collect the shards and clean up all the loose ends is my favorite bit in the game.

    This was my first full-fledged Zelda game and I loved it. I didn't get around to Ocarina until the 3DS version relatively recently (despite my Wind Waker collector's edition), and I much prefer Wind Waker. I suspect if I'd played them the other way round so would be my 1 and 2, but there you go.

    While i prefer the more fantasy-realistic style of Twilight Princess, Wind Waker had such a great story, fun characters and was a real 'leap' for the franchise in terms of gameplay and narrative. It's a shame that they never continued to push the franchise (or this story ark) further with later games. They basically pissed off this nice narrative and re-started with Twilight Princess... and again with Skyward Sword - which in my opinion sucks arse..

    This is one of those games that would work great on a 3D screen. I honestly feel like it's a better idea to just leave a Link to The Past where it is, as it already has the best possible graphics for its style of gameplay, whereas a simple port of windwaker would look FABULOUS. I wouldn't mind a simple re-release of LttP on virtual console on 3ds

    10 years later and I still think it's one of the greatest Gamecube games, if not games in general, ever made. Second only to Tales of Symphonia.

    Except for the irritating triforce shard collecting. That was balls.

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