- "In the world of the dead, the eyes of the living were easily deceived. Mirages disguised doors that could only be unlocked by keys found in invisible chests. The best partner for anybody foolish enough to venture into the temple was the Lens of Truth, which revealed what the phantoms kept hidden."
- — Nintendo Power Player's Guide description
The Shadow Temple (闇の神殿 Yami no Shinden?) is the seventh dungeon from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the fourth dungeon in the adult portion of the game. Interestingly, the Shadow Temple's Japanese name, "Yami no Shinden", is the same name used for the Palace of Darkness in the Japanese localization of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Ironically, both are incorrect translations of the actual name, which is actually "Temple of Darkness".
The Shadow Temple is one of five major temples in Hyrule that was constructed to house five of the Seven Sages. It is generally believed that the Shadow Folk, the Sheikahs, built the temple for purposes unknown. The temple lies at the back of Kakariko Graveyard in the shadow of Death Mountain. Very little of the temple is above ground, and as such, it is often referred to as the "House of the Dead". When the Phantom Shadow Beast, Bongo Bongo, breaks free from his prison at the bottom of the Kakariko Well where he was sealed years before by Impa, it retreats to a large chamber in the recesses of the Shadow Temple. Impa then goes to the temple in an attempt to seal away Bongo Bongo again. At the very bottom of the temple, Link must face Bongo Bongo with the help of the Lens of Truth and the Master Sword. Upon its defeat, the Shadow Temple is cleansed of evil and Impa awakens as the Sage of Shadow.
The Shadow Temple is located on the ledge in the far east side of Kakariko Graveyard and can be accessed only with the help of the "Nocturne of Shadow". The Shadow Temple consists of four floors infested with ReDead as well as the many paintings illustrating spirits which whisper clues and warnings. The temple is described as the house of the dead. It includes many invisible enemies, false walls and false floors, making a near-continuous use of the Lens of Truth necessary for beginning players.
The major prize in the Shadow Temple is the Hover Boots, that is acquired quite early in order to cross the Valley of the Dead and further explore the temple. The Iron Boots must also be used to to get across the hallways with fans to prevent being blown backwards. The temple has a prominent theme of the smiling skull or hooded skull. These can be seen in multiple pictures on the wall, and they often whisper warnings or advice that only Navi seems to be able to hear.
The temple's design is somewhat different than other temples. Instead of being a standard architectural design, the temple simply goes further and further into the ground, making it the most linear dungeon out of the five major temples, in direct contrast to the Water Temple. Often gallows and whipping posts are depicted in some of the lower chambers, sometimes with spots of blood on the ground below or near them. The dungeon also has a recurring theme of spikes and guillotines.
- Big Skulltula
- Blade Trap
- Blue Bubble
- Fire Keese
- Flying Pot
- Gold Skulltula
- Green Bubble
- Infinite Hand
- Like Like
- Red Bubble
In the Master Quest port, several changes have been made to the dungeon. The Fire Arrow is necessary to solve several puzzles. The Hover Boots are found in the same area but a Small Key found deeper in the dungeon is required to get them. Many of the walls that require the Lens of Truth to see through now have added obstructions such as Breakable Walls or a Stone of Time making the Lens of Truth even more important. Unlike most dungeons in Master Quest the order in which the rooms are visited is the same and the dungeon contains no new enemies.
- "Shadow Temple... Here is gathered Hyrule's bloody history of greed and hatred..."
- — Skull Painting
One theory about the original intention of the Shadow Temple is that it was built to absorb and concentrate all the "evil" and negative feelings of Hyrule such as greed, hatred, jealousy, etc.; all of which can form a breeding ground for what will come to grow into a corrupted world. Assuming that this statement is plausible, it would mean that Shadow Temple was in fact built for the purpose of preserving peace and calm in Hyrule, making sure it would remain a healthy and prosperous country by simply taking in all conceivable malice and negative emotions, and not to be a dark, twisted torture chamber which is easily assumed by the interiors and overall eerie feel the temple offers. Subsequently, this would mean that the Shadow Temple would have to reap the penalty of the wrongdoings of the entire world of Hyrule. Again, if plausible, this could certainly reduce the temple to nothing more than a frightening, distorted nightmare accordingly. This theory is based upon clues whispered by Skull Paintings in the Shadow Temple.
It is possible that the raven-like statue found all over the Shadow Temple symbolizes the dungeon's patron deity. This statue is never mentioned, but it is seen quite often throughout the temple. This raven-like being could very well be a god or goddess to the Sheikah, though neither Sheik nor Impa ever mention a patron deity of the Shadow Folk. Also, all of the other adult dungeons seem to have their own representations.
Fourth or Fifth Temple?
There seems to be a minor contradiction in the game during indications of whether the Shadow Temple is the fourth or the fifth temple. By looking at the order of the medallions on the Quest Subscreen, it is revealed that the Spirit Temple is intended to be completed before the Shadow Temple. However, story wise, the Spirit Temple is the last major temple. The need for the Lens of Truth to cross the Haunted Wasteland and find the Spirit Temple also seems to imply that the Shadow Temple is intended to be completed before the Spirit Temple, as the Lens of Truth is acquired in the Shadow Temple section of Link's quest.
The strange, circular symbol imprinted on the ground near the entrance to the temple greatly resembles the Mirror of Twilight. Although seemingly unlikely, it is possible that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess drew inspiration from this symbol. If so, this furthers the theory that the Twili are indeed Sheikah.