I was doing very well in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild until the time came to infiltrate the Yiga Clan's mountain hideout. In my travels across Hyrule I had run into members of the Yiga Clan a few times out on the trails. They are the game's ninjas; secretive folks trained in sword combat who have turned against goodness and light with a pledge to serve Calamity Ganon which means that they are gunning for Link and are eager to take him down. As part of my quest to find the Divine Beast of the desert, I had to recover the stolen Thunder Helm for the leader of the Gerudo tribe, and since the Yiga had stolen it, that meant I had to storm their base. That's when everything went to hell for me and I had to take a three week break from the game because, Hylia help me, I just couldn't do it.
I'm not a fan of stealth sequences. I didn't like them in past Zelda games like Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker, and they are a big part of why I know that games like Metal Gear Solid just aren't for me. While there are stealth elements in Breath of the Wild, at over seventy-five hours into the game, the Yiga sequence is the only 100% stealth section I've come across. Link must sneak through their hideout inside a mountain to reach the clan's boss, Master Kohga, who has the Thunder Helm. The clan will go on high alert if they see Link, sealing all exits and summoning reinforcements that will kill Link in one hit. No healing items or fairies or Lady Mipha's special automatic recovery magic can help here. Take one hit, just one hit, and it's Game Over. The only way to distract clan members is to throw some bananas in their path. Now this sounds ridiculous, but the Yiga love bananas. They are absolutely crazy for them. So the way to clear the hideout is to sneak around corners and toss bananas near clan members, then slip by while they are devouring them.
I couldn't do it. Absolutely could not do it. The Yiga would catch me each and every time I tried. I couldn't even get through the first room of the hideout. I researched online to see what aspect of this sidequest I was missing, but the general tip sections for this area stated the obvious - "throw bananas, run by" - and many of them were insulting beyond that, suggesting the only other advice was the poorly spelled motto of the gaming community these days, "get gud"; that it, become better at the game. Yes, I want to be better at this which is why I'm looking for help!
I turned to Twitter and asked for advice and I want to thank everyone out there who responded, particularly @JohnPR who sent me step by step directions for each part of the hideout. Thanks to his advice, I was able to clear the hideout in about an hour's worth of attempts. In case you are also stuck in Yiga banana hell, here's what he had to say to me:
I was wearing the Sheikah stealth gear. The very first Yiga guard you can stealth strike from behind. The second guard further ahead is guarding the door, I shot the arm of the shelf to his right with an arrow, which dropped down the bananas on the floor. I flew to the left of him (still unnoticed) and shot an arrow next to the bananas so he’d notice them. I didn’t kill him, just snuck right past him while he was admiring the bananas via duck walking (you have to be fast because he loses interest in the bananas fast) and entered that giant room where there is a maze of them roaming around.
There is another guard in the far end of the next room guarding another doorway. You can walk along wooden rafter over the room. I ended up dropping a banana slightly in front of him and when he walked up to look at it I jumped off of the rafters above and flew through the doorway while he was distracted.
That whole run took me about 2 minutes, but it took me almost an hour to figure it out. My son brute forced his way through and just killed everyone in the room. Once you are caught all of the guards try to go after you at once so he just shoot them up with bomb arrows.
With the hideout cleared and the Thunder Helm back where it belongs, I'm on my way to the final Divine Beast I need to conquer and then, after that, it's on to Hyrule Castle to settle this Ganon matter once and for all. I love what Nintendo has accomplished with Breath of the Wild, but this Yiga section is the only truly frustrating part of the game I've encountered. I hope that it's the last.