The Imprisoned (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

From Atrocious Gameplay Wiki
If only he stayed actually imprisoned...

The Imprisoned is a major boss in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. He is fought three times over the course of the game: once while revisiting The Old One at the conclusion of the first act, once at the conclusion at the second act, and once at the beginning of the Faron Woods portion of the third act, all three taking place in the Sealed Grounds, which is the second level of the game, and serves as the fourth, eighth and tenth boss of the game.

The Imprisoned is considered by fans to be one of the worst bosses in not just the game, but the entire The Legend of Zelda series. Even fans of the divisive Skyward Sword often hesitate to defend him.

Why He Sucks

  1. The movement mechanics of the game just aren't designed for him. Skyward Sword's movement is designed for stamina management so that Link can't easily avoid enemies or sprint through stamina-based puzzles such as the slopes in Eldin Volcano or the Sinksand in Lanayru Desert. Unfortunately, The Imprisoned is constantly moving, and rather quickly after the first "hit" of his first fight. Link's slow normal running speed and very limited ability to sprint therefore defeats the purpose of chasing down the boss.
  2. Every time you do damage by hitting his Sealing Spike, he becomes invincible, gets on his belly, and wriggles forward, allowing him to gain progress in his goal to escape while wasting your time as you can't do anything about it. It begs the question as to why he even bothers to walk forward when just wriggling works much better.
  3. At several moments during the fight, such as destroying all of his toes, getting up from wriggling, or damaging him, a cutscene has to play, breaking the pace of the fight.
  4. After damaging him for the first time, he sends out shockwaves from his feet with every step. This makes destroying his toes overly risky.
  5. During the second and third battle, the Imprisoned gains arms, which not only let it climb up the Sealed Grounds, but also makes it harder to get around him after he's knocked down as the Imprisoned's arms will block the path, forcing you to use the wind to scale up.
  6. The spiral slope of the Sealed Grounds is rather narrow for this boss, making it easy for him to knock you down a cliff when trying to maneuver around him.
  7. Lopsided difficulty depending on how you play; if you fight him by destroying his toes, he becomes almost unfairly hard, but if you fight him by climbing on his head, he becomes rather easy.
  8. His visual design comes off as very goofy. He looks like a giant avocado with weird Muppet legs tacked on while having weird egg-like toes.
  9. As mentioned, this boss is fought three times throughout the game. This isn't necessarily a bad thing even within the game itself, as his own servant Ghirahim is also fought three times with a much greater variety of attacks, but this boss's recurrence just makes its many flaws much more noticeable.
    1. Depending on how you play, you may have to fight The Imprisoned for the third time very soon after the second time. The portions of the Song of the Hero quest can be done in any order, but since Faron Woods is the first part of the other segments of the main quests, most players will naturally gravitate to that area first.
    2. All three individual fights with The Imprisoned are part of the dragon Lanayru's boss rush, itself offering a Piece of Heart and the Hylian Shield among the rewards. If you're aiming for 100% completion, you will end up fighting him even more times.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The idea of a boss that you must chase while it largely ignores you to escape to an endpoint is at least unique among Zelda bosses to this point.
  2. Unlike most Zelda bosses, you can fight it in multiple ways, including destroying its toes, jumping on its head, and skydiving from the large center geyser. In a way, it can be considered a predecessor to the more open-ended bosses of Breath of the Wild, which let you damage them largely any way you want.
  3. The second and third fights involve Groose as a semi-playable character, who he himself is well-liked even among the game's detractors.
  4. Narratively, the boss's recurrence does a good job of showing the urgency of the weakening seal on Demise.

Tip

  • Don't bother trying to attack the toes. Jumping on his head is much faster and a more enjoyable way to do the fight.

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