Games Lists

The 15 Best Zelda Dungeons Of All Time (And The 15 Worst), Officially Ranked

Regardless of Breath of the Wild’s notable lack of conventional dungeons, dungeons are a key staple of The Legend of Zelda’s inherent design. No recreation is full with out Hyperlink trekking by way of no less than 4 dungeons to get particular artifacts that may finally assist him in his quest. Within the post-A Hyperlink to the Previous world, dungeons have their very own distinctive themes, key gadgets, and managers to assist in giving them distinctive identities. Consequently, it’s commonplace for followers to flock away from and in the direction of sure titles particularly due to their dungeon design.

With dozens upon dozens of dungeons to select from, how do all of them examine to at least one one other? The Legend of Zelda has modified quite a bit over the previous three many years. Nintendo’s design philosophy has shifted. The place the collection was as soon as freeform, it turned linear solely to embrace freedom once more. There isn’t any one set approach to design a Zelda dungeon. Some video games prioritize uniformity whereas others go particularly for theming. Some video games are mediocre with nice dungeons whereas others are nice with mediocre ones. What makes a superb dungeon although? Puzzles? Fight? Environment? All of it depends upon the context of the dungeon itself when it comes right down to it. The place does your favourite fall?

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30 BEST: Snowhead Temple (Majora’s Masks)

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Snowhead Temple shouldn’t be a well-liked dungeon inside the fandom by any means. The format is completely large, the stray fairies require you to exit of your strategy to discover them, and it’s pretty straightforward to lose focus and wind up misplaced. This doesn’t imply it’s a nasty dungeon, nevertheless. Somewhat, Snowhead Temple is definitely one of many strongest dungeons in your complete collection.

It probably isn’t anyone’s favourite dungeon, however it’s so intricate which you can’t assist however respect what it’s making an attempt to do once you cease your self in your tracks to look at your environment. Hyperlink is actively altering the panorama of the dungeon from begin to end, opening up new paths and triggering new puzzles. It’s dynamic which is what a Zelda dungeon ought to be.

29 WORST: Forsaken Fortress I (The Wind Waker)

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Whereas individuals rag on Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword for having sluggish begins, neither of these video games start with their worst dungeon. Hyperlink’s first go to to Forsaken Fortress is definitely one of many worst introductions in the whole collection. Stripped of his sword, Hyperlink has to stealth by way of the dungeon whereas systematically avoiding confrontation.

Conceptually, it’s fantastic sufficient, nevertheless it takes all of the worst parts from the stealth sections in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Masks, and elongates them. It’s maybe positive sufficient on a primary playthrough, nevertheless it feels too gimmicky and doesn’t permit gamers to regulate to the core gameplay till Dragon Roost.

28 BEST: Ganon’s Tower (A Hyperlink To The Previous)

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Ganon’s Tower is the quintessential last dungeon so far as 2D Zelda goes. Whereas it is probably not the strongest last dungeon within the collection, it was the primary to really check every thing the participant had discovered as much as that time, providing a dependable mixture of partaking puzzles and fight situations. For its time, it was the height of the collection.

Each recreation ought to finish on a notice as excessive as this. 

Even now, Ganon’s Tower stands out as a excessive level for the collection. It took years earlier than one other recreation within the franchise managed to craft a greater last dungeon and even that could possibly be debated. A Hyperlink to the Previous is a wonderful recreation throughout and it ending so robust is an enormous purpose why so many think about it their favourite.

27 WORST: Ice Palace (A Hyperlink To The Previous)

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Nearly as good as A Hyperlink to the Previous is, although, it’s not at all good. One merely has to take a look at the Ice Palace to know simply how lackluster A Hyperlink to the Previous might be. Granted, it by no means lowers the sport’s high quality so considerably the place it’s in any means lower than a masterpiece, however the Ice Palace is a real mess.

Hyperlink slips and slides in all places; the format is complicated for all of the flawed causes, and its boss battle is hardly something to put in writing house about. Individuals keep in mind this dungeon fondly as a result of it’s the place Hyperlink will get his Blue Armor, however the dungeon itself is extremely weak with no actual puzzles or thrilling fights to masks its many flaws.

26 BEST: Historic Cistern (Skyward Sword)

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A dungeon based mostly closely on Hindu mythology full with mythological depictions of Heaven and Hell, the Historic Cistern sees Hyperlink primarily recreating The Spider’s Thread, a brief story within the Buddha’s private canon. The imagery right here is genuinely fairly putting, straying away from the collection’ extra Abrahamic mythological roots in favor of one thing really distinctive.

Simply one of the crucial artistic dungeons within the collection. 

It definitely helps that the Historic Cistern provides Hyperlink the whip, considered one of Skyward Sword’s greatest gadgets, naturally main into some nice puzzles and fight situations. The boss himself is definitely the spotlight of the whole expertise and may truly be one of the best boss in all the collection. It’s exhausting to not love the Historic Cistern.

25 WORST: Lanayru Mining Facility (Skyward Sword)

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The Lanayru Mining Facility is a special story altogether. One other one among Skyward Sword’s dungeons, this one doesn’t fare almost in addition to the Historic Cistern. Whereas it isn’t offensively dangerous, it’s fairly lengthy and tedious to truly traverse. In a recreation with in any other case nice dungeons, the Lanayru Mining Facility brings the sport to a screeching halt providing little in the best way of considerate degree design. Have been it not for this dungeon, Skyward Sword might truly transfer fairly easily regardless of its different flaws.

24 BEST: Metropolis In The Sky (Twilight Princess)

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Twilight Princess’ final dungeon earlier than the again to again finale towards Zant and Ganondorf, the Metropolis within the Sky makes for a really climactic, and applicable, finish to Hyperlink’s journey. He’s traveled throughout Hyrule, swam to Hylia’s depths, climbed the very best peak, voyaged by means of time, and now sees himself launched to the heavens.

There’s nothing like scaling a whole historic metropolis to battle off a dragon. 

The Metropolis within the Sky is among the largest dungeons within the collection, really labyrinthine in nature. This can be a actual society and Hyperlink is benefiting from its verticality together with his new twin clawshots. The Metropolis within the Sky is simply genuinely thrilling with nice puzzles and battles in a enjoyable set piece. Every thing about it feels conclusive, naturally transitioning into the finale.

23 WORST: Jabu-Jabu’s Stomach (Oracle Of Ages)

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In concept, Oracle of Ages’ interpretation of Jabu-Jabu’s Stomach is just not inherently dangerous. It requires real thought, has loads of partaking puzzles, and gives a problem at some extent the place problem is sensible. The drawback is its core mechanic: swimming. Swimming in Oracle of Ages is a authentic ache.

Swimming is dangerous sufficient in small doses, however Jabu-Jabu’s Stomach is principally all swimming. Hyperlink will spend nearly all of the dungeon swimming which suggests the participant will spend most of their time mashing the “A” button. It isn’t sufficient that this dungeon is mentally draining. Oh no, it needs to be bodily exhausting too.

22 BEST: Woodfall Temple (Majora’s Masks)

By way of Zeldas Palace

Woodfall Temple, like Snowhead Temple, doesn’t get the like it deserves. As the primary dungeon in Majora’s Masks, many followers discover it somewhat straightforward to dismiss it, however they shouldn’t. Woodfall Temple is a genuinely well-crafted dungeon with an amazing aesthetic that makes implausible use of Termina’s lore and distinctive setting.

Opening dungeons might be nice too. 

The puzzles themselves are easy, as that is the primary dungeon, however Woodfall feels extra at house throughout Grownup Hyperlink’s portion of Ocarina of Time than Youngster Hyperlink’s. There are a number of methods to deal with Odwalla; the stray fairies are all positioned appropriately, Deku Hyperlink performs a really fascinating position in how Hyperlink can traverse the dungeon. It makes for a genuinely nice begin to MM.

21 WORST: Backside Of The Properly (Ocarina Of Time)

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Do you know you possibly can depart the Backside of the Nicely mere minutes after getting into it? Truthfully, that seems like a flaw, however it’s truly the mini-dungeon’s largest power. The Backside of the Properly, as appropriately creepy as it’s, simply isn’t all that properly designed. It’s a decent area with minimal puzzles that actively work towards the participant.

It’s all in profit to the aesthetic of the dungeon so it does work in that regard, however exploring it completely presents nothing of actual worth. When you get the Lens of Fact, simply rush out of there and be finished with it. Its solely worth is giving youngsters nightmares with its really horrific environment and mini-boss.

20 BEST: Spirit Temple (Ocarina Of Time)

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A dungeon that exams each Youngster Hyperlink and Grownup Hyperlink, the Spirit Temple is the apex of Ocarina of Time’s degree design. Virtually each single gameplay facet the participant has discovered up thus far is examined in some regard. It isn’t notably troublesome by any means, nevertheless it looks like a pleasant victory lap for the entire recreation.

The greatest dungeons all the time make use of the sport’s core gimmicks and mechanics. 

It additionally has the excellence of happening in Ganondorf’s homeland, giving the dungeon added weight. On prime of that, its Arabic aesthetic goes a great distance in creating a singular id for the complete dungeon. It looks like Hyperlink is genuinely strolling on sacred, Abrahamic floor. Darkish Nuts are additionally in all probability the perfect enemies in all the collection.

19 WORST: Degree 9 (The Legend Of Zelda)

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Degree 9 is every thing mistaken with the unique Legend of Zelda rolled up into one depressing finale of a dungeon. Enemies are thrown at Hyperlink with no regret; bombable partitions block his path with little to no concern for the participant’s stock, and paths department off into seemingly meaningless instructions.

As a finale to an NES recreation, it is sensible why it will be so arduous, and stated problem does make for a satisfying conclusion, however the content material of Degree 9 and the sheer frustration of its design lavatory it down significantly. If nothing else, Degree 9 makes for an unforgettable dungeon. Only for all of the incorrect causes.

18 BEST: Hyrule Fort (Breath Of The Wild)

by way of: ZeldaWiki

In a recreation with usually mediocre dungeons, Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule Citadel is a grasp class in pure freedom. Whereas most of it may be merely ignored because of Hyperlink’s climbing capacity and Revavli’s Gale, the mere reality you’ll be able to skip a lot is superb. Quick gamers can pressure their method by way of how they please whereas extra adventurous gamers can discover.

The solely dungeon in BotW that allows you to experiment to your coronary heart’s content material. 

Exploring pays off in an enormous method, too. Hyrule Fort is house to the good puzzles within the recreation, making use of each single one among Hyperlink’s physics-based talents. The loot discovered inside the fort are likewise nice. Need the Hylian Defend? Higher plunder it from the citadel’s depths! The dungeon itself additionally presents added context on each Zelda and Hyperlink, fleshing out their characters significantly.

17 WORST: Distress Mire (A Hyperlink To The Previous)

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When it comes right down to it, Distress Mine is just not a enjoyable dungeon. It has an unsightly format, unengaging puzzles, and comes proper after the Ice Palace, A Hyperlink to the Previous’s different weakest dungeon. So far as pacing goes, Distress Mire simply makes a sluggish portion of the sport go by even slower. Gamers are so near the top that they may doubtless simply energy via the dungeon itself, however this chunk seems like a critical step down from what comes earlier than and what can be coming quickly after. Distress Mire is distress personified.

16 BEST: Hyrule Citadel (Twilight Princess)


Twilight Princess’ depiction of Hyrule Citadel is definitely the only strongest remaining dungeon in the complete franchise. With a pleasant mixture of linearity and non-linearity, plus a genuinely jaw-dropping set piece, Hyrule Fort ties up all the sport’s unfastened ends whereas additionally throwing enemies at puzzles at Hyperlink with no regret.

A finale in contrast to some other. 

That is to say nothing of the four-part ultimate boss battle towards Ganondorf, ending Twilight Princess on an absolute excessive. Needing to enter and exit the citadel itself, all whereas slowly making as much as Ganon’s lair, makes for an thrilling race to the end. This dungeon additionally has non-compulsory aspect content material tied to hidden keys, a rarity within the franchise.

15 WORST: Forsaken Fortress II (The Wind Waker)

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If it wasn’t dangerous sufficient that gamers needed to undergo the Forsaken Fortress as soon as, The Wind Waker makes Hyperlink return after the midway level so he can lastly rescue his sister. Whereas the narrative occasions that play out listed here are a number of the greatest within the recreation, the dungeon itself is extremely bland.

As Hyperlink has already cleared the Forsaken Fortress, there are not any puzzles left to unravel and this retrek quantities to at least one lengthy backtrack to Aryll. Even the Helmaroc King, who ought to make for a climactic showdown, is taken out somewhat simply, robbing the dungeon of its catharsis. Forsaken Fortress is so dangerous it obtained be on the Worst record twice.

14 BEST: Sandship (Skyward Sword)

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The Sandship is principally the defining dungeon of Skyward Sword. The recreation’s fifth dungeon, the Sandship sees Hyperlink traversing throughout the Sand Sea in an try and shift between previous and current in an effort to uncover the secrets and techniques of the Sandship. Whereas Skyward Sword will get plenty of flak, the Sandship is confirmed it might have been an impressive recreation.

If solely the entire recreation have been this good. 

The puzzles listed here are a few of the best possible within the collection, requiring gamers to legitimately assume critically of the area round them. The Sandship breaks free from the simple puzzles the collection had fallen into whereas persevering with the stellar theming present in Twilight Princess. The Sandship isn’t only a excessive level for Skyward Sword, it’s one for the entire collection.

13 WORST: Nice Bay Temple (Majora’s Masks 3D)

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Have been it not for Majora’s Masks 3D, it’s very doubtless that each single dungeon within the base recreation would have wound up on the “BEST” aspect of this listing. Sadly, MM 3D makes some unsavory modifications to the core mechanics that finally come again to hang-out Nice Bay Temple particularly.

For starters, the swim controls have modified for the more severe. Not solely does Zora Hyperlink management terribly, swimming quick now makes use of magic, making motion troublesome in a dungeon that’s 70% swimming. On prime of that, Gyorg has been modified making a mediocre boss completely horrible. MM 3D ruined an in any other case nice dungeon with pointless “fixes.”

12 BEST: Tower Of The Gods (The Wind Waker)

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On an entire, The Wind Waker doesn’t have a variety of robust dungeons. Maybe it’s due to how a lot content material was finally minimize from it, however most are simply “okay” at greatest. Fortuitously, Tower of the Gods just isn’t a part of that “most.” Happening on the actual center of the sport, Tower of the Gods is the burst of power The Wind Waker wanted.

Fairly probably The Wind Waker’s solely good dungeon. 

Making equal use of the King of Purple Lions and Hyperlink’s common talents, Tower of the Gods is the right mix of TWW’s core mechanics. It’s additionally residence to the sport’s greatest setting. The Tower of the Gods is actually alien in each design and aesthetic, giving it a really divine really feel. Cap it off with one of the crucial memorable bosses within the collection and TotG comes out near the highest.

11 WORST: Water Temple (Ocarina Of Time)

Due to course the Water Temple goes to be on an inventory discussing the worst dungeons in The Legend of Zelda. Whereas its puzzles aren’t dangerous (we’ll contact on that later,) the dungeon itself strikes at an absolute crawl because of hardware limitations and an enormous design oversight on Nintendo’s half: the Iron Boots.

Somewhat than being an merchandise, the Iron Boots are a bit of kit, requiring Hyperlink toggle via the menu to take them on and off, one thing he’ll need to do typically over the course of the dungeon. On prime of that, OoT runs slightly sluggish normally on the N64 with a low body fee and a little bit of slowdown.

10 BEST: Water Temple (Ocarina Of Time 3D)

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Sure, I do know, we simply established that the Water Temple is likely one of the worst dungeons in the complete collection, however now it is advisable to settle for the truth that it’s additionally top-of-the-line. How is that this potential? Easy, the 3DS model of Ocarina of Time has a smoother body price and the boots are precise gadgets.

It is superb how a lot enjoyable this dungeon is once you aren’t stopping each ten seconds. 

This alone permits the dungeon itself to truly breathe and transfer at a pure tempo. The puzzles are arguably the perfect in the complete recreation, providing complicated challenges at each flip, and the nautical environment has a really ominous, but divine, really feel to it. It feels virtually unattainable, however OoT 3D’s Water Temple is a reliable masterpiece.

9 WORST: Vah Naboris (Breath Of The Wild)

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Generally, Breath of the Wild has a dungeon drawback. Vah Medoh and Vah Ruta are barely above common, utilizing their gimmick properly, however right here’s the factor: every dungeon has the very same gimmick. The uniformity of all of it is a pleasant experiment, however Hyperlink having to vary the format in some capability each dungeon will get exhausting.

Vah Naboris has Hyperlink successfully spin cylinders to make new platforms and, whereas that is an fascinating concept, it’s genuinely fairly boring and inconsiderate. Vah Medoh is a minimum of thrilling whereas Vah Ruta is thought-provoking, however Vah Naboris is neither. No less than Thunderblight Ganon is enjoyable.

eight BEST: Arbiter’s Grounds (Twilight Princess)

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The first dungeon after gamers get the Grasp Sword in Twilight Princess, Arbiter’s Grounds is definitely fairly essential within the context of your complete recreation. Not solely does it transfer the story ahead by providing the sport’s largest twist on the finish, Arbiter’s Grounds additionally makes use of each Hyperlink’s human and wolf varieties for puzzle fixing.

The place mild and darkness intertwine. 

This doesn’t appear to be an enormous deal, nevertheless it permits the dungeon to really feel a lot bigger in scope. Hyperlink has to seek out ghosts and defeat them ala OoT’s Forest Temple. You’d assume issues would finish there, however the second half provides Hyperlink the spinner which permits him to principally grind off of partitions, including a brand new factor of verticality to the dungeon. When it comes to pure creativity, this one might have the others beat.

7 WORST: Vah Rudania (Breath Of The Wild)

by way of Zelda Wiki – Gamepedia

Vah Rudania has the very same drawback as Vah Naboris: it’s extra of the identical. The place Vah Medoh and Vah Ruta handle to a minimum of do one thing fascinating with the by-product idea, Vah Rudania comes off even worse than Vah Naboris. A minimum of Naboris has Thunderblight Ganon to supply gamers an actual problem. Vah Rudania drags in circles and ends in a mediocre boss struggle. It definitely doesn’t assist that the build-up to the dungeon is definitely the worst in all the recreation.

6 BEST: Forest Temple (Ocarina Of Time)

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The Forest Temple tends to all the time discover its means on the prime of “best dungeon” lists and for good purpose: it embodies every little thing proper in a Zelda dungeon. The Forest Temple has a singular id of its personal that has but to be paralleled; its puzzles require reputable thought, and it’s always throwing fight situations at Hyperlink that he might simply lose.

It is arduous to not love the Forest Temple. 

The Forest Temple comes off all of the stronger largely because of the truth that it comes proper after Jabu-Jabu’s Stomach in Ocarina of Time. The problem spikes a lot that gamers can’t assist however really feel just like the stakes have risen alongside them. It is a thematically robust dungeon that’s positive to win the hearts of any Zelda followers.

5 WORST: Hinox Mine (Tri-Drive Heroes)

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The second stage in Tri-Drive Heroes’ resident hearth dungeon, Hinox Mine is… a multitude. Its puzzles aren’t partaking within the slightest, its format is irritating at greatest, and it takes method too lengthy earlier than something remotely fascinating occurs. Tri-Pressure Heroes is, on an entire, not a superb recreation, however Hinox Mine takes a nasty state of affairs and easily makes it worse. There’s nearly nothing redeemable about Hinox Mine. It’s barely tolerable with associates, however enjoying it alone is a recipe catastrophe together with being your probably technique of traversal contemplating no one performs this recreation anymore.

four BEST: Snowpeak Ruins (Twilight Princess)

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In as far as simply its puzzles, Snowpeak Ruins is slightly simplistic. Yeta opens the best way for Hyperlink instead of keys; the subsequent goal is all the time marked on the map; and probably the most difficult problem includes pushing some blocks round. Dungeons are greater than their puzzles, nevertheless, and Snowpeak thrives regardless of of its simplicity.

When it comes to sheer environment, Snowpeak Ruins can’t be beat. It’s a real residence for Yeto and Yeta, and it manages to really feel like one. As gamers study the format, they’ll start to immerse themselves within the manor in a grand approach. The snowy aesthetic makes for a pleasant change of tempo as properly and who might overlook that unimaginable boss struggle?

three WORST: Nice Palace (Zelda II)

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The Journey of Hyperlink is already a not so beloved recreation, however the Nice Palace isn’t going to assist win any detractors over. Just about each main flaw in Zelda II could be discovered on this one palace: convoluted “puzzles,” infuriating enemy placement, and an excessively giant format that appears constructed simply to confuse gamers.

The Not-So-Nice Palace. 

Zelda II’s dungeons aren’t good generally, however the Nice Palace is just too a lot. Nobody can be at fault for dropping the sport at this level. Granted, it’s maybe value sticking round if solely to say you beat The Journey of Hyperlink, nevertheless it hardly appears value it in the long term contemplating how unlikely anybody is to truly care.

2 BEST: Stone Tower Temple (Majora’s Masks)

by way of Zeldapedia – Fandom

The Legend of Zelda has so many nice dungeons, however only a few come near reaching the identical heights because the Stone Tower Temple in Majora’s Masks. What’s successfully the ultimate dungeon of the sport not counting the quite brief Moon, the Stone Tower Temple is an extended gauntlet that genuinely challenges Hyperlink’s perspective.

From its many puzzles to its reversal on the midway level, the Stone Tower Temple is a creepy climb to the ultimate boss masks with a number of mini-bosses, a reliance on nearly each main merchandise as much as that time, and the toughest stray fairies to gather in all the recreation. The Stone Tower Temple is a problem for followers of each N64 titles, requiring gamers to make the most of every thing they’ve discovered as much as that time.

1 WORST: Temple Of The Ocean King (Phantom Hourglass)

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The Temple of the Ocean King may probably be the worst factor to ever occur to a Legend of Zelda recreation. Thoughts you, it’s not as if Phantom Hourglass is all that good to start with, relying method an excessive amount of on its many gimmicks to remain afloat, however the Temple of the Ocean King takes an already weak premise and makes all of it the more severe.

Do not design your video games round backtracking. 

Gamers will go to the Temple of the Ocean King roughly half a dozen time earlier than the sport involves an finish and it by no means turns into something remotely fascinating up till the very finish when Hyperlink has already cleared the whole dungeon and may pressure his approach by way of it. The Temple of the Ocean King is an utter catastrophe and Nintendo must be ashamed of it.

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