Chasing Master Kohga around the Depths for puzzle-building boss fights in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (TotK) was pure joy fun.

Chasing Kohga Around the Depths in Tears of the Kingdom Was an Utter Joy

This article contains spoilers for the Master Kohga Side Adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (TotK) but features no main story spoilers.

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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has featured a ton of amazing continuations of its incredible characters from the first game, but the best Side Adventure I’ve stumbled upon so far has to be the new series of boss fights against Master Kohga. The Yiga Clan, AKA Link’s eternal haters, are still just as much of a nuisance with roving assassins leaving banana traps and more Yiga bastions around Hyrule than the last game. Despite the Yiga expansion on the surface, Master Kohga has taken residence in the Depths beneath Hyrule, becoming accustomed to it after Link knocked him down there at the end of his Breath of the Wild encounter.

Even though he can teleport like all other Yiga and could leave this harsh, pitch-black environment anytime he wants, Kohga is busy living out a full revenge fantasy in the Depths and forcing his foot soldiers to mine Zonaite to craft weapons. But they’ve been building contraptions much more laboriously, without the convenient powers being the Hero of the Story affords us, leading to some funny scenes where the Yiga master balks at the nifty Autobuild feature you unlock before your first fight, calling it “cheating.”

Master Kohga’s expressive animation as he monologues at Link and poofs around with every other word makes every cutscene delightful. It’s almost criminal that they didn’t give him any voiced scenes when he had some hilarious moments in the spinoff game Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, with a fantastic English dub performance by Erik Braa. But even without the great voiceover, I can’t help but love Kohga’s cheesy dance routine he does every time, as well as the rousing theme that kicks in at the start of every fight.

Kohga Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

None of the boss fights are particularly hard, but they’re all creative and goofy and get the wheels in your head spinning about the possibilities of Autobuild as you see him zipping around in different contraptions. I used a lot of homing Keese Eyeball arrows to knock him off his steering stick, but it was fun coming up with alternative solutions when he eventually threw a shield up in front of him for most of these encounters. As someone who spent actual months unable to beat Malenia in Elden Ring last year — and loved it — I still really appreciated these lighter boss fights that just provided brief puzzles to use the amazing new abilities in TotK and whatever tools I happened to be able to throw together. Fighting Kohga in a decked-out glider is certainly a highlight, as the arena is littered with Zonai devices like Rockets and Springs that can give you a fun boost if you came unprepared.

I did end up frustrated in one of these encounters, in the third fight when you face him in an arena of water, though my fight strategy going in wasn’t my strongest of all the runs. I tried to make a complicated flying death plane with swiveling cannon turrets as revenge for his air attacks on me last fight, but mine did pathetically low damage and I wasn’t able to relaunch in any easy way if I wanted to smack him while he was staggered. In all honesty, my failure was sort of inevitable when I could have put the turrets on some sort of boat just as easily, but I don’t find the steering controls of the boats nearly as satisfying as those of land vehicles or the Wing gliders.

The final fight is an absolute cherry on top of this boss rush, however, and Kohga won my heart again with his sick mech construct that hurled spiked orbs at me. I was first running with my tail between my legs trying to get arrow pot shots in, but I soon realized I could knock the mech back with melee strikes. I loved jockeying for space with the mech and trying to get it all the way to the barbed wire arena edge to slam it for some bonus damage.

Chasing Master Kohga around the Depths for puzzle-building boss fights in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (TotK) was pure joy fun.

In TotK, getting to the new dungeons is half the fun. Yet in that same vein, the loop of beating up Kohga so he turns tail and flies away and then getting to map more of the Depths as you track him down for another fight was so fun that I did all of these quests before even touching one of the main dungeons. Following Kohga to several different Abandoned Mines under Hyrule’s surface is a great primer on navigating the Depths, as you’ll start getting a sense of how its geography mirrors the Hyrule map. Once you actually manage to light up the damn place, this cavernous underground area presents unique combat and traversal challenges with tough enemies and unforgiving environments. It always felt good finding a spot to cobble together a glider or car to zip over a huge field of pulsing red Gloom, or the perfect spot in world geometry to Ascend up somewhere super high.

Some of the Abandoned Mines are tucked into harder-to-reach areas of Hyrule’s Depths, flanked by walls that never flatten out and reach all the way to the ceiling. You may flail around a little if you’re just trying to follow a map marker and go the shortest distance Skyrim-style, but there’s always a path of statues leading to the mines and other key Depths locations. There are even hidden chasms you can find on the surface that lead right to a few of these mines, if you’re particularly averse to this new zone. But even if you’re terrified, the goofy encounters absolutely take the edge off the Depths after you’ve seen them all through, and they still leave a ton of the underground map a mystery after you’re all done as well.

Chasing Master Kohga around the Depths for puzzle-building boss fights in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (TotK) was pure joy fun.

After your epic robot cage match, the ending cutscene really is a cherry on top for this goofy Side Adventure. In Tears of the Kingdom, Kohga tries to get the last word on Link with a massive Rocket attack in the cutscene following the final fight, but in Looney Toons-esque fashion, it’s suddenly directed towards him, causing him to be launched off and unwillingly ejected from the Depths. Go take a vacation, Master Kohga — get a tan or something. But if he’s not in whatever future DLC that drops down the road, even if he’s just soaring with dragons in the background, I swear you’ll see me demonstrating at Nintendo HQ.

The expanded questline for Master Kohga in TotK is a justice to a delightful character who was always tied to a less-than-stellar required story quest in Breath of the Wild. The clunky Yiga Clan stealth segment in the original felt totally out of place, with its only upside being it was at least pretty quick to get through once you’ve done it a couple of times. These ridiculous fights and funny cutscenes have permanently solidified the Yiga Clan as The Legend of Zelda’s Team Rocket in my mind, and I hope there’s a way Kohga can live on if they move on from this incarnation of Hyrule in future releases.

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Jacob Linden
Jacob is a freelance writer for The Escapist and the writer of the column Expedition, which explores compelling side stories in new and classic games. He started writing for The Escapist, and games media in general, in fall of 2022 after a year writing blogs for small brands and news for smaller websites. He plays a ton of different genres but has a soft spot for sprawling RPGs like the Souls series or Skyrim, and he firmly believes that Pokémon Emerald is the best game in the series hands down. He has a degree in Film & Television Production and is also published in Esquire, Polygon, and Popular Mechanics.