I was going to vote in the middle, but I remember hating it forever, so that must be the correct feeling. I haven't played through it in a long time, so I have no reason to shift my feelings. Twilight Princess Water Temple, on the other hand, I HAVE played that semi-recently, and I remember feeling SUPER PISSED at it and proclaiming "what is it with Water Temples?!" Really..what is it with Water Temples? They ALL have to be crappo?
It's good. The water puzzles are a little mind-bending, but you can keep track of them with a little work on the old memory banks. I think for the most part, OoT's puzzles were a little too easy so this was refreshing.
I do dock it for hiding a small key behind a temple of time block ingrained into the FLOOR behind the Longshot chest. That was a poor decision and had me stuck for days.
Take it or leave it. I do think it's the hardest dungeon in the game, but even back when I first played it I never felt it was overly difficult.
I feel like with Zelda games I enjoy most dungeons, but very, very few of them stand out to me as something special that I really enjoyed going through or that I want to replay the entire game in order to specifically re-experience that particular dungeon. The Water Temple falls in line with the majority of Zelda dungeons: something I enjoyed, but not something that blew my mind and makes me want to go back to that specific dungeon for any reason.
Stuck? Look at the map, find out where you haven't been yet, go there. It isn't rocket science.
I didn't even know this place was a problem until I started hanging around the internet years later.
The problem is that the map doesn't clue you in on how to reach the area that leads to the small key accessed from falling through the floor behind the Longshot. It's possible it'd be more obvious to me now, but when I was 13, I could not figure it out for the life of me.
Love it! Every time I replay the game, I always get stuck there for a bit. I never learn. I always feel confused and disoriented, and the music perfectly reflects that confusion and disorientation. It's a great dungeon.
Love it. Probably my favorite in the game. Admittedly, though, I loathed it when I first started, but soon into it, it clicked and was amazing. It provided a sense magic and mystery, something other temples (and other Zelda games *cough* Skyward Sword *cough*) lacked entirely. It had puzzles that made the player feel challenged, and proud, to a point, to have solved; with oodles of moments of, how do I get there - knowing you could, somehow, and definitely wanted to. Also, leading up to the Water Temple, was the even more magical Ice Cavern, finding the items needed to traverse the Water Temple. It was just an amazing combination of events that just felt 100% Zelda through and through.
I voted down the middle. It has great atmosphere, some great individual moments and puzzles, and some neat mechanics. Unfortunately, it's also deeply flawed. I'm not talking about the boot issues (fixed on 3DS), but the actual layout. The doorways and such leading you to the water-level adjustments were a nice help on 3DS, but that simply points out the flawed design. The dungeon requires frequent water level changes, but also requires boring, nonsensical backtracking to do it. Not to mention so many hallways look far too similar, the vertical nature of the dungeon (not a flaw) makes the in-game map largely a failure (flaw), and the square nature of the hub increases the disorientation even more. The whirlpools that suck you down were a pretty bad gameplay idea too.
That said, it had some of the coolest moments too. The first time you move the water level was cool. Meeting Ruto was cool. Shadow Link was awesome. The underwater longshot stuff was a neat change of pace. The boss was neat (despite being a blob). Once you get the longshot, some of the best Ocarina of Time puzzles and sections come out. It's a shame the rest of the dungeon design was so tedious and just poor.
I think it get undue derision because it's the most difficult dungeon in the game. It was partly justified due to the tedium of having to constantly take your iron boots on and off and having to play the ocarina to raise and lower the water level. Overall, I still enjoy it as a giant puzzle. Yeah, it gets disorienting, but I liked it wasn't a cakewalk and you really had to think your way through. And I loved the overall atmosphere of the temple. It's one of the most memorable dungeons in any Zelda game and I would take it over the Twilight Princess water dungeon any day.