The Cave of Shadows is one of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s new additions, and it’s quite a gauntlet. Think of it as being similar to the Cave of Ordeals, only with fewer benefits within the game itself. While The Cave of Ordeals was a challenge that resulted in the acquisition of additional Poes, added fairies to Spirit Springs, and Great Fairy’s Tears, most of the reward that comes from the Cave of Shadows is tied to a sense of personal accomplishment. Though, if you complete this gauntlet, you do get the Colossal Wallet.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s Cave of Shadows becomes available very early in the adventure. After restoring Faron in Faron Woods, players will gain the ability to scan amiibo after pressing down on the D-pad to enter the menu. This is when the game will acknowledge The Legend of Zelda amiibo figures and the Wolf Link amiibo. It’s because of that reward that I suggest completionists wait to challenge the Cave of Shadows for a two important reasons.
The first is that you aren’t going to get very far if you hop in immediately. The Cave of Shadows adds floors and challenges as you proceed through The Legend of Twilight Princess HD. You need to see certain enemies in the game and pass certain milestones before all 40 floors will be available to you. My “best” record in it the moment the optional dungeon opened up was seven levels, simply because my health was low and I wasn’t accustomed to using Wolf Link again. The number of hearts you have available and progression can cap you at level B20, B30, and so on.
If you’re a completionist, you may also want to wait to challenge the Cave of Shadows until you’ve gotten the Giant Wallet from Agitha. She’s the woman in Hyrule Castle Town who wants all 24 golden bugs. She’ll give you the Giant Wallet for getting all of them, which holds 2,000 Rupees. Reaching the 40th floor of the Cave of Shadows with that wallet gets you the Colossal Wallet, which holds 9,999 Rupees. Given how difficult and time consuming a journey into this optional dungeon is, you might want to wait for a serious run until you’ve caught all the bugs. Which, if you’re diligent, could be by the time you reach the Temple of Time, as that’s where you find the last bug, the golden female snail. By that point, you should also have enough hearts to make a run more manageable.
As difficult as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s Cave of Shadows can be, you can call in the cavalry. The Wolf Link, Ganondorf, and Zelda amiibo all work there. Wolf Link restores hearts, based on how many you had when you completed the challenge. Ganondorf increases the difficulty, as enemies will dish out twice as much damage with each hit. The Zelda amiibo will restore all lost health. To use them, bring up the menu and tap the figures to the GamePad. The game keeps track of which ones you used and when, offering that information in the final report at the end of the challenge, once you’ve reached the current cap or completed all 40 floors.
The record screen that appears at the end of a run also provides a summary of other information, before allowing you to save it to the Wolf Link amiibo. It shows your current health, the damage received, your max combo, and your completion time for that particular run. The more often you challenge the Cave of Shadows, the more progress you’ll see. The enemies will always appear in certain concentrations on each floor, and you’ll develop tactics as you go along.
To be honest, The Cave of Shadows feels most valuable as a means to better appreciate some of the nuances of Wolf Link. It’s an odd transformation that, at some points, is forced on a The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD player. It almost feels like this gauntlet is a way to help formulate tactics and get more comfortable in the form. I know I felt more capable after getting to level 10 of this dungeon for the first time, especially since I’ve always felt like I was weakest when forced to play as Wolf Link.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD will come to the Nintendo Wii U on March 4, 2016. To access The Cave of Shadows, you must have and use the Wolf Link amiibo in-game. Once you’re in The Cave of Shadows, talk to Midna or fall in battle to exit.