Smash Stage Analysis: Gerudo Valley (2023)

Notes:

  • This article has content based on the author’s opinions that shouldn’t be taken as fact.
  • Some of the screenshots and gifs weren’t recorded by the author and are solely meant for illustrative purposes. Credit goes to the respective owners.

Hi all. Frostwraith here. You may know me from the articles about clones and Ganondorf. This time, I will step away from such controversial subjects and start focusing on other elements of the Smash Bros. series, namely stages. How are they designed? How are elements from the source games implemented? Several stages may have wacky elements, but they’re mostly founded on the many games that Smash Bros. takes from.

Since I followed my clone article with a Ganondorf article, I decided to do something similar this time again, so the stage I’ll first talk about is Gerudo Valley from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.

The stage’s origin

This stage dates all the way back to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, first released on the N64 in 1998. Gerudo Valley is the area that separates the Kingdom of Hyrule and the Gerudo Desert. The area is arid and the soil is dry, making this location very distinct from the lush green landscapes of Hyrule.

The main landmark of this area is the chasm that divides the area in two, with a bridge to cross it. This is where the Smash Bros. stage is mainly based on.

When Link visits the area as a child, Gerudo guards stop his progress at the bridge. 7 years later, the bridge is broken and Link’s only way to pass is by jumping over it riding his horse, Epona. A tent can be found on the other side where, by the time Link is an adult, carpenters are settled to fix the bridge. Their boss can’t get the job done since they went to the Gerudo Fortress to become thieves, but were caught by the Gerudo. After Link rescues them, the bridge is fixed, allowing easier passage.

In Super Smash Bros.

The stage takes place in the main landmark, described on the previous section. A chasm that divides two areas that can be crossed through a bridge. This defines the stage’s layout as a walk-off stage, with the bridge at the center.

The area isn’t changed much from the original game, though the lighting and textures better resemble the 3DS remake. There are, however, differences on the landscape and scaling: the scaling is smaller compared to the original game and the surrounding rock formations have been tweaked so it’s possible to see the Gerudo’s Fortress in the background and the area behind the waterfall is less covered, with another waterfall added to the side.

In addition, two platforms were added to each side of the bridge. Both bear the symbol of the Gerudo, a recurring element of the Zelda series since the debut of the Gerudo race. This symbol can also be seen in Ganondorf’s cloak.

It’s worth mentioning that the Gerudo symbol in earlier versions of Ocarina of Time was actually a moon and a star, similar to the Islamic symbol. It was changed to the current symbol in later versions of the game and all Zelda games released afterwards, likely to avoid references to real-life religions and possible controversies.

Stage elements

Though the stage is Gerudo Valley, there are elements that don’t entirely relate to that area, but to the other desert areas or throughout the world of Ocarina of Time.

The element that best relates to Gerudo Valley is the bridge itself. After a certain amount of time, the bridge may break, opening the chasm and allowing KOs by falling into it. Of course, the bridge can also be broken by attacks. Essentially, attacking the bridge will lower the amount of time necessary for it to break. This is an allusion to the broken bridge in Ocarina of Time, turning it into an interactive stage element.

When the bridge is broken, the witches Koume and Kotake may appear. Collectively known as Twinrova, they are Ganondorf’s surrogate mothers. They are the boss of the Spirit Temple that lies deep into the desert and are, of course, Gerudo, so it makes sense to include them as cameos in the stage. As in their boss battle, they will show off their fire and ice powers.

Koume, who controls fire, will cast her spell on the left area of the stage, while Kotake casts ice on the right area. They fire a beam of the element at the floor, which covers an area of said element, damaging anyone who steps on it.

In the boss battle against the witches in Ocarina of Time, their attacks consist in attacking Link in the same fashion: they will target him and the area around the spot in which the spell was cast is covered in fire or ice that inflicts damage.

Smash Stage Analysis: Gerudo Valley (12)

In Smash Bros., the effects are more pronounced, the area of effect is larger and the spells last for longer. The platforms in the respective areas are also destroyed by the spell.

An interesting detail about how the witches enter into the stage is by going around in a circular motion. This is a carry-over from Ocarina of Time where they tend to travel in circular motions, notably in the boss battle’s introduction in which they circle around Link. The sound effects and voice clips heard when the enter are also taken directly from the game. Likewise, the animation they use when casting a spell is also identical to Ocarina of Time, probably due to their models being imported from the 3DS remake.

Sometime after the bridge is broken, the Song of Time is heard and the bridge reverts back to normal. Should one of the platforms be destroyed by the witches’ magic, they’re also restored. The Song of Time is a recurring song in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask which mainly possesses the power to control time. In Majora’s Mask, it’s used by Link to go back in time to avert the three-day limit, in which the Moon crashes into the earth and destroys Termina. It can be easily inferred that the bridge and platforms go back in time during matches on this stage.

Omega form

The omega form replaces the main ground with a simple landmass. The floor bears the symbol of the Gerudo, just like the platforms on the normal form of the stage.

Music selection

In Smash 3DS, all stages have two songs available for them: a main song which is selected by normally selecting the stage and an alternate song that may play when selecting the stage normally that can also be selected by holding down R while picking the stage.

The main music track is a remix of the Gerudo Valley theme from Ocarina of Time (arranged by Rio Hamamoto). It’s a new remix done for this game and likely was made with this stage in mind, though it is also available on the Wii U version as a selectable track for Skyloft and the DLC returning stage Pirate Ship.

The alternate song is the Ocarina of Time Medley from Super Smash Bros. Brawl (arranged by Michiko Naruke). Given this is a collection of songs from Ocarina of Time, it’s a suitable choice for this stage, given it shares the same game of origin. In the Wii U version, it plays on the returning Bridge of Eldin stage from Brawl, where it originally played, as well as Pirate Ship.

Closing thoughts

That’s it for my first stage analysis article. Gerudo Valley is one of my favorite Smash stages because it’s a great representation of a memorable area from Ocarina of Time. I think the set-up with the breakable bridge, Koume and Kotake’s role as an hazard and the Song of Time playing to turn things back to normal make up a fun stage to play as and a great callback to the original game. What is your stance on this stage in Super Smash Bros.? Post your thoughts on the comments below!

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