That's basically the way it is in all of the 3D Zelda games. In the first three 2D games, the last dungeon is this HUGE and complicated experience that trumps the other dungeons. In the 2D games thereafter, and all of the 3D games, the last dungeon is usually very short and straightforward, and it is often times just an amalgam of mini-dungeons modelled after the other dungeons in the game.
There are certainly some cool moments, though. *spoiler alert*....
I really liked the mini boss battle outside the castle with the pig thing that you fought earlier in the game. Really cool little narrative touch there (how he gives up and runs away).
I think the last castle was a little bland, but it made the final boss just that much more amazing by comparison. I think the last boss was probably the best final boss in any Zelda game (although the finishing move in Wind Waker almost puts that one over the edge).
But actually, I want to talk about the Sonic Gems review. You seemed pretty on point about it being one for the fans (like me). However, I'm curious if you found it frustrating to play these old games with the Gamecube controller. Because I can't stand playing fighting games and 2D games with that controller; it doesn't seem well suited (to be fair, though Sonic CD played well with it) and I actually bought a PS2 to GC adapter to play the game.
Oh, and FYI, the woman who can sing so well in Sonic R is named T.J. Davis; just thought you'd like to know...
That Sonic Gems game ought to be good. At least better than a B-. The issue on the time travel idea in Sonic CD is not confusing. If you hit a Past or Future sign and go very fast, you go through time. It reminds me of Back to the Future but it used a car to travel through time and not a hedgehog. Sonic R is not bad but it seems short with good graphics and some good song tracks. The Game Gear games are okay. I played emulated versions of those Sonic games and they are different to the Genesis titles. The Vectorman titles have to be really cool. It should have like a B+.
Sonic CD is the worst 2D Sonic game ever. It does not play like Sonic. It is slow and the level design fights you at every opportunity and prevents you from building up any speed. Even Sonic 1 was faster than this. The levels just feel awkward. And the time travelling series is a mess that does not really add any replayability to the game. Awful soundtrack. I was so disappointed with this.
Sonic R has 2 good tracks and that is it. Awful soundtrack in my opinion.
Sonic The Fighters was actually pretty well known in the Saturn day. They ran a number of features about it in magazines and TV. And characters and levels from it are in Fighters Megamix - Bean and Bark. I thought this would be the worst game here but it's the best and that is not saying much.
The Game Gear games were pointless too.