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Haunted Wasteland

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"If you chase a mirage, the desert will swallow you. Only one path is true!"
Sign

The Haunted Wasteland is a location from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Located to the west of Gerudo Valley, it is only accessible through a gate protected by the Gerudo.

In a certain area of the wasteland, by straying from the Phantom Guide's path a bit, one can see what appears to be a pyramid structure. Playing the "Song of Storms" while in the wasteland summons a storm, and the resulting flashes of lightning highlight the odd shape against the skyline. During the extensive hunt for the rumored obtainable in-game Triforce, this pyramid was one of many points of interest. It soon became apparent, though, that this "pyramid" is actually just part of the level's boundary, given a triangular shape because of occlusion by the dust in the air.

According to the official Legend of Zelda series website, the Haunted Wasteland would later come to be known as the Desert of Mystery in the story of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. However, the accuracy of this website is often disputed by fans.

Story

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The area is very dangerous and in order to reach the Spirit Temple, Link must complete a set of trials. The first trial is crossing the River of Sand. If Link tries to walk over the river, he will sink through the flowing quicksand. There are two solutions to completing this puzzle. Link must either use his Longshot to get to the other side or use the Hover Boots to run across. After crossing the River of Sand, Link must follow the flag posts that lead him to the second challenge.

The flag posts lead to a stone monument that houses a Gold Skulltula and a Treasure Chest that contains 50 Rupees, but the real challenge is found atop the monument. If Link climbs the structure, he will find a plaque that reads "One with the eye of truth shall be guided to the Spirit Temple by an inviting ghost". There Link must equip the Lens of Truth in order to see and follow the Phantom Guide through the remainder of the desert. Failing to adhere to this path results in getting "lost", and Link returns to the entrance of the Haunted Wasteland. Once Link completes the trials set for him, he reaches the Desert Colossus, a secluded area of the desert that is home to the Spirit Temple.

The Haunted Wasteland is also the home of the Carpet Merchant. After completing the River of Sand trial, when Link is following the flag posts, he stumbles across a sign that advertises a desert shop. If he strays from the path set up by the flag posts, and follows the direction in which the sign points, he will find the merchant hovering over the ground on a flying carpet, selling Bombchus. The Carpet Merchant is difficult to reach, however, unless Link equips the Hover Boots.

The "Song of Storms" can be used to see the flag posts more easily; whenever lightning strikes during the brief rainstorm that occurs after the song has been played, the outlines of the flags become clearer.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

Retracing

It is possible to memorize the Phantom Guide's path, and travel it without ever receiving help from the ghost; however, this requires intense powers of concentration and memory on the part of the player. If done successfully, it will allow Link to travel through the desert as a child. However, progress will halt near the River of Sand for players utilizing conventional methods. Additionally, the entrance into the grounds of the Gerudo's Fortress is locked when Link is a child.

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