So apparently this top 10 list was too narrow for GameFAQS. I don't know why, seeing as how it never repeated a game and there are so many others to pick from. Oh well at least you can still read it let me know what you think.
With the recent releases of three different Zelda games on the Wii in past months I decided to pick through all of the Cannon Zelda games to find the best Dungeons, be it because they are hard, inovative or for some other seemingly arbitrary reason. Keep in mind please that for the most part these are my own opinions, so don't tell me that I'm wrong unless you wanna talk about it . . . oh right on with the list.
10:Earth Temple- The Wind Waker (GC)
Let's start this list with a more recent entry. The Earth Temple was one of the better dungeons in WW in terms of Puzzels. Between Flying around with Medli to the most involved light puzzel yet, this dungeon quickly rises above the rest. And if that weren't enough the creators introduced an improved form of the Re-dead that can cause as many chills as they did in OoT.
9:Catfish's Maw- Link's Awakening (GB)
The fact that this Dungeon has left it's inpression on me is quite evident in the fact that I haven't played this Zelda in years but this is the only name of any dungeon I remember. This starts out odd in that Link has to enter the very mouth of what appears to be a catfish. Then it goes on with a miniboss that stole one of the most important items in the game. After you beat him, four times, Link has to take on the real miniboss and finally the boss, an eel that doesn't matter very much.
8:Skull Dungeon- A Link to the Past (SNES)
When I was little I absolutely hated this dungeon, due to the labrynth of mini-dungeons throughout the Dark Forest. As I grew up and figured the whole thing out it became my favorite in the game. Not only is this the only dungeon in which you have to traverse the overworld and the dungeon itself, making the map hard to access when you wanted it, it is also a precursor to more recent games where Link has to find a treasure before even walking in the front door of a dungeon.
7:Fire Dungeon- OoT-Collector's Edition (GC)
Everyone loves a little fire. Same goes for the Dungeons in Zelda. Here is a great example of a perfect mix of action and puzzels, from a race up a spiral staircase less than a foot wide to Lizardfos in a giant maze complete with boulders. Not to mention one of the coolest weapons in almost the whole Zeldaverse, behind maybe three or four. This is possibly the standard to which all Zelda Dungeons should be measured against.
6:Temple of Time- Twilight Princess (GC)
What once was no more than the portal between seven years is now a full fledged Dungeon, but still set in the distant past. Between the endless armies of arachnids and armos the enimies are not even the main concern here. The treasure found here works similar to the Command Melody from WW but here not only is Link able to move with the newly moving statue, but he can instruct the most important statue to attack with it's own weapon. It certainly is a unique way to open a door.
5:Jabu-Jabu's Belly-OoT:MQ (GC)
Mooooo! Do I have to say more? Alright. If this dungeon was weird the first time through then this was completely out there. Within seconds of entering the Zora's guardian we see clear as day the head and shoulders of a cow rooted into his flesh. Not only are these just plain absurd, they are also the switches you need to find and activate to continuously proceed through the level. And then when you think you've hit them all one starts to move up in the flesh. I'm begining to wonder where the Zoras raised all the cattle to feed their lord this much beef!
4:Stone Tower- Majora's Mask (N64)
Here is a dungeon that was truly inspiring considering it was grouped with only four others. Link had to use every form he had and play and endless myriad of tunes. On top of that this tower was intricate with a dungeon at least twice the size of what it initially appeared what with all the flipping of the entire world. And if that weren't enough we found that the boss was a double boss with three, count 'em three unique ways of beating them. Link could go on as an ant among giants and try his hardest to defeat them or he could don the Giant's mask and grow to their size or he could take the easy way after the game was already beaten and become the fierce diety and crush those worms!
3:The very 1st Dungeon- The Legend of Zelda (NES)
Where would we be without the little gem? From the moment you find this dungeon for the first time you are hooked. Trek north fight, a few enimies, get some bombs, walk around half lost not sure how to read the map, find a room with the boomerang, blow open any wall you can. And then you finally stumble into the Boss's lair. Dodge, slash, hide, repeat, hope to the Goddesses that you have enough life and it is about to die. Finally Link gets that piece of the Triforce and you realize this is just the begining.
2:Arbiter's Grounds- Twilight Princess (WII)
Personally I'm not sure dungeons can get any better than this. The Arbiter's Grounds has a few things going for it that most dungeons are missing because they are simply too generic. First off when going into this dungeon Link isn't searching for a particular collectible to further his Quest. With the exception of the first dungeon in any game no other dungeon can boast that. Secondly, this level is home to one of the most unique weapon, key, or platforming tool since the Hookshot was first introduced. The Spinner; fun powerful and fast (when used in the right places). And finally the boss of Arbiter's Grounds; Stallord. This took one of the oldest enimies in the Zelda Universe, added some dragon fatures along with a horde of undead minions and created a boss battle that wasn't just new, it was fun.
1:Water Temple- Ocarina of Time (N64)
Here we are. The Water Temple at the bottom of Lake Hylia has long been known to be the source of endless misery for new adventurers, and it is precisely this reason that it tops the list. The complicated layout, the water level system and mini-boss harder than most average bosses (maybe because he was also a final boss) make this the hardest and also best Dungeon for Zelda fans to traverse.
No cliche lead out here. ;^ ) So of course I have to mention the levels that almost made it. Uhhh.. The Great Bay Temple, The Tower of the Gods, and I always liked The Shadow Temple, that ought to do it, right? Well it better. Feel free to let me know what you think, I might even respond . . .