Chapter 10: Catfish’s Maw
  1. 10.1 Find the Compass and Stone Beak
  2. 10.2 Chase down Master Stalfos
  3. 10.3 Get the Map and the Hookshot
  4. 10.4 Get the Nightmare Key
  5. 10.5 Grab the final two keys
  6. 10.6 Defeat the Gohmas
  7. 10.7 Kill the Slime Eel

10.1 Find the Compass and Stone Beak

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Iron Masks are a nuisance in this dungeon as they can only be attacked from behind.

Iron Masks are a nuisance in this dungeon as they can only be attacked from behind.

Begin the dungeon by proceeding west. The first two screens will deal with a host or minor enemies and an Iron Mask each. The Iron Masks, again, you’ll have to attack from behind to eliminate them. The first of these screens you won’t have to bother with, especially useful because of the added Spark. However, the doors will close in the second room, meaning you will need to defeat the enemies there.

Once done, you can proceed westward. You’ll come face to face with a Spark and two more Iron Masks. Don’t worry about them for now; instead, just grab the chest, which contains the Compass, and then make your way to the staircase in the upper left.

This underground area introduces a new mechanic: weights. It all boils down to a jumping puzzle. Standing on the right weight will cause the left weight to rise while the right weight falls and vice versa. Jump onto the first weight, tarry for a moment, and then hop to the next weight once it’s high enough to make the leap over to the far platform. If you go too far, simply climb up the stairs and descend again to reset the puzzle. The second screen is more of the same; the first weight is tied to the third and the second weight is tied to the fourth. Hop along the first two weights, pulling each down slightly, and then use the last two weights to reach the other side.

la10-1eYou’ll need to deal with the four Stalfos—two green and two yellow—on the other side. Kill them all, ordering the ones that flee while luring the ones that pursue. Once the enemies are clear, hack away at all of the wooden stakes until you free the two upper blocks in the room’s center. Push the rightmost block left and the leftmost block right so that you form a 2×2 square in the center. Doing so will cause a key to drop from the ceiling, and you’ll need that key for the locked door you passed.

Descend the steps and head back through the underground; this time you don’t need to deal with the weights at all. Once you reach the other side, kill the two Iron Masks to open the sealed door east. And then finally, you can unlock the door heading to the north.

The next two rooms are slightly chaotic ones. You’ll enter a room with wooden stakes, two Stalfos, and another Iron Mask. You can ignore these; simply head west, but be careful when entering the next room as Traps sit at the corners of the room. Two more Iron Masks will reside here amongst the random blocks in the room’s center; if you kill both of them, the sealed doors to the north and west will open. You’ll want to choose the western door.

To get the Stone Beak, you’ll need to deal with the two Iron Masks in this cramped room whilst avoiding the Spark randomly circling the central structure. If you lift up some of the clay pots, you can reduce the Spark’s range drastically, but focus on the Iron Masks. Defeat both of them to unveil a treasure chest with the Stone Beak.

Retconned Dungeon Layout
The DX version of the game switched the placement of the Stone Beak and the dungeon Map. As a result, in the original version of the game, defeating the Iron Masks will net you the Map instead.

10.2 Chase down Master Stalfos

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Defeating the Stalfos Knight requires Bombs once you've sent it to pieces.

Defeating the Stalfos Knight requires Bombs once you’ve sent it to pieces.

Once you have the Stone Beak, head back east past the room with Traps to return to the room with the Stalfos. From there, head north. You’ll encounter three more Stalfos along the way, and these three will need to be defeated to unseal the door leading northward.

Once inside, you will encounter your first mini-boss Master Stalfos. Master Stalfos is pretty much a pushover. Every now and again, provided you let Master Stalfos do it, it will hop around the room and occasionally swipe its sword at you. However, if you’re sufficiently quick, you can circumvent most of that. Instead, simply waltz straight up the Master Stalfos and Slash at it with your sword. It will then crumble into a pile of bones.

If you do nothing while Master Stalfos is in this state, it will simply reanimate and no damage will be done. What you will need to do is to very quickly drop a Bomb near the collapsed pile of bones. You will not get much time to do this as, even when placing a Bomb as soon as possible, Master Stalfos will be reassembling himself when it explodes. (However, this will still count as a successful hit.) The fight will continue onward until you manage to explode three or so Bombs next to it; once you manage that, Master Stalfos will run away like a coward, leaving you to give it chase.

“I’ve got what was inside this box. Come and get it, if you can!”

And there’s a good reason he’s running. Head east, and you’ll discover that the chest therein is empty save for a friendly note from your mini-boss, claiming he’s stolen the item within it. To get it back, you’ll need to defeat him three more times.

Head north, and you’ll immediately find a very clever device. From each entry, you can only head two ways. Furthermore, the eastern passage is controlled by the switch, so you don’t have much choice. However, technically, you want to head east. Push the center block up one square and exit to the west. Then immediately return to this room, push the center block right, and proceed north. Then return once more, step on the switch, push the center block down, and head east.

You’ll come face to face with Master Stalfos again. There’s no extra strategy this time; you’ll defeat him the same way as when you faced him earlier before. Hit him with your sword and then, when he collapses, drop a Bomb. After a handful of Bombs, he’ll retreat once more.

Head back to the west, and then head north for real this time. There are two Shrouded Stalfos here and, if you continue northward, a Sword Stalfos. Both rooms also have a new enemy called a Star; Stars are extremely weak enemies, but they bounce around the room, moving in diagonal fashion, very quickly. Keep following the path north and then west, ignoring all the chests you’ll pass along the way.

You’ll reach a dead end as you enter a room that’s divided in half by a diagonal line of blocks. A Spark circles the upper-right triangle of the room. You’ll also find Zols in the ground. Defeat all the Zols you can unearth in the upper half of the room; then clear away some of the pottery and push the single blocks left to access the lower half of the room to find the remaining Zols. Once you’ve defeated them all, the door north will open, so proceed through it.

You’re now ready for your third encounter with Master Stalfos. This should be old hat by now. Once you’ve bested him, you’re most of the way there.

Third time isn't the charm; you've got one more battle to go.

Third time isn’t the charm; you’ve got one more battle to go.

10.3 Get the Map and the Hookshot

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la10-3aYou haven’t killed Master Stalfos yet, but this is a good halfway point really, even though you still have a lot of work to do. Head to the west, and you’ll find three regular Stalfos guarding a treasure chest. Defeat the three Stalfos and open the chest to finally get the dungeon Map.

At this juncture, you really can do nothing else until you have acquired the item that Master Stalfos stole. Unfortunately for you, his final hiding location is back near the entrance to the dungeon. You can travel all that way the manual way if you’d like; however, the easy way is to play Manbo’s Manbo on your Ocarina. It will bring you to the first room of the dungeon, making your life so much simpler.

Head back two rooms to the west. The Keese and Iron Mask will have respawned, so drop them in order to open the door to the west. Then just ignore the Iron Masks here to enter the staircase leading down.

This room will look familiar, but you didn't have a need to go further... until now.

This room will look familiar, but you didn’t have a need to go further… until now.

Again, you should be familiar with this basement area with the balancing platforms. Make your way carefully across until you reach the far side. You’ll emerge in the room with Stalfos and wooden stakes where you acquired the first small key. Continue heading westward from here and you’ll find your final encounter with Master Stalfos. Again, there’s nothing different this time with the exception that he won’t run from this fight. It might take a Bomb or two more than the last time, but defeat him you finally will.

Once he’s defeated, he’ll leave you with the Hookshot. The Hookshot is an item that will emit a chained hook across the room. You can stun and possibly defeat enemies from afar with this item, but the more useful purpose is that, if you latch the hook onto some sort of sturdy object, it will drag you across the distance, even if that distance contains a pit. As a bonus, hitting an Iron Mask from any side but their backside with the Hookshot will grab their mask, meaning you can now hit them from anywhere.

10.4 Get the Nightmare Key

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la10-4aThe next part of the dungeon sees you going, yes, back to the part of the dungeon where you had your prior encounters with the Master Stalfos. It is slightly faster to use Manbo’s Mambo and walk the two screens west to the first T-junction; however, it’s not that much extra effort to head through the basement you took to get here.

Once you get to the T-junction, there is an incredibly rich chest off to the east. Head through the one-square gap in the northeast corner of the room. You can use the Hookshot to grapple onto the treasure chest and acquire 200 Rupees; all you need to do is grapple the block on the left of the room to return.

Head north three rooms back to where you faced the Master Stalfos, continue east and then north, and then duck out of the X-shaped block turnstile by heading west. Be wary of the Traps near the edges of the rooms. There are a few enemies that haunt the Pegasus Boot-crystal objects, but you can avoid them all if you wish; simply head off through the exit to the north.

You’ll now have to deal with a small swarm of Water Tektites. They’re nothing too special, and they don’t do anything but get in the way. What you’ll really want to do is, when it’s safe, swim out into the deep water and then dive down. You’ll discover a secret side-scrolling section beneath. The enemies here are Bloopers, and they more or less act like the Bloopers you’re familiar with from Mario. However, you’re better offensively than Mario in the water, so use your sword to kill them. The next screen offers more Bloopers and a bonus Goomba to get a heart from to boot. Head up the ladder to the left.

Oddly enough, this room isn’t on the map. It exists in the same “space” as the room with the deep water. Nevertheless, now that you have the Hookshot, you can deal with this puzzle. You’ll see a small accordion-looking device with a hook on the south wall. Use your Hookshot and grapple it. It will grab the hook and pull the device back to you, which will stretch out to a rope bridge. Cross it and make your way to the chest for the Nightmare Key.

10.5 Grab the final two keys

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You’ve almost got everything you need to reach the boss. However, you’re still shy two small Keys that will block your path. Make your way back through the underwater passageway and then head back south and east to the turnstile room. Push the center block east and then head north.

You might remember these uncollected treasure chests from before. Now is the time to acquire them. Using Roc’s Feather, hop over to the small 1×1 island to the right, face north, and use the Hookshot to grab onto the chest. It won’t contain the key you need, but it will contain 50 Rupees. You can also grab another chest containing 50 Rupees in the room to the north. What you’re really looking for is the chest in the room to the east. Use the Hookshot against the block on the right side to pull yourself over to the chest. It will give you the first of two keys you need.

From here, you’ll need to go back towards the beginning of the dungeon again. And once more, the fastest way is to use Manbo’s Mambo to head back to the beginning of the dungeon. Head west to the T-junction and then head north once more. The upper half of the dungeon is complete, so now you’ll want to head west. Again, defeat the two Iron Masks in this room to open the doors.

Now you’re ready to head northward.

Retrieving the final key

Step One Kill the two red Zols (and their accompanying Gels) in this room to stop the statue from shooting fireballs at you. Then head west.

Step One Kill the two red Zols (and their accompanying Gels) in this room to stop the statue from shooting fireballs at you. Then head west.

Step Two Use the Hookshot to fly over the gaps and avoid the Traps. Don't try to use the Feather here; you will have a bad time. Then head through the northwest exit.

Step Two Use the Hookshot to fly over the gaps and avoid the Traps. Don’t try to use the Feather here; you will have a bad time. Then head through the northwest exit.

Step Three Use the Hookshot once again by hooking the chest containing the last key.

Step Three Use the Hookshot once again by hooking the chest containing the last key.

 

10.6 Defeat the Gohmas

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It’s now time to beat the second mini-boss of the dungeon. This is the first dungeon (obviously) to have multiple mini-bosses, and each dungeon from here forward will feature multiple of them. (This is why you haven’t encountered the warp that goes between the mini-boss room and the entrance when encountering Master Stalfos. It would have been so nice to have had a warp point in the back half of the dungeon, but oh well. Better late than never.)

Defeat the Iron Masks and head east; then use the Hookshot to fly over the gaps and past the Traps. You’ll return to the room that had the fireball-emitting statue. The door leading northward will never unseal; however, you can cleverly skirt around that problem using the extendable bridge off to the right. Grab the bridge with your Hookshot and then cross it to the north.

A red Zol and an Anti-fairy are the last two obstacles you’ll have to face, not counting the locked block protecting the door west. Unlock the block and proceed through.

la10-6cYou’ll now come face to face with the twin mini-bosses: the Gohmas. Gohmas are spider-like creatures that will move side to side across the room. As mentioned, there are two of them in this room, one at the top of the room and the other in the middle. So long as you stay near the bottom of the room, only the one in the middle will attack with the top one idly wandering back and forth.

The Gohmas are completely invincible with one sole exception: their eye. So the majority of this fight is literally just hurrying up and waiting for their weak point to be exposed. Occasionally as the Gohmas wander, they will halt in their tracks. When they do, they will do one of two things. More commonly, they will jitter a bit vertically when they halt their horizontal movement. When they do this, they’re getting ready to charge. Gohmas will either charge directly forward towards the wall, but they can also charge diagonally, at which point they will make a beeline for the spot you stand in. Always make sure you’ve got a place to run to, being very wary of the corners of the room.

However, the sign you’re looking for is when the Gohmas completely stop and remain still; this is the moment they’re getting ready to open their eyes. Stand directly in front of them and pause a moment or two. The eye will open, and a moment later the Gohma will emit a fireball. Getting hit is the least of your concerns to be honest; you’ll need to take advantage of this extremely small window to inflict damage.

If you have the Bow and a sizeable quiver, that by far is the best way to beat the Gohmas. Arrows do a lot more damage, and you can fire up to three arrows into their eyes each cycle, which kills them much faster. Failing that, you can use the Hookshot and spike them in the eye with it. This method will still work; it’s significantly slower as you won’t get as many shots off, and it also means you’re a sitting duck whilst waiting for the hook to come back to you.

Once you’ve defeated the Gohma in the middle of the room, the upper Gohma will naturally activate. However, it has no new tricks; it behaves just as the old one did, so defeat it the same way.

Once both are dead, the warp point will activate (thanks?), and you’ll be given a fairy for the effort.

10.7 Kill the Slime Eel

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Head through the now open door in the upper-right, and you’ll be led straight to another red Zol and a staircase. Head into the staircase for the final side-scrolling session.

This bit is haunted by a fair number of Goombas to get you prepared for the upcoming fight. If you want to hop on them in the first room, you’ll need to use your Hookshot on the image of Bowser’s head, and it will cause you to Hookshot up to the upper platforms. This is exactly what you’re going to have to do in the second section as well to reach the upper platforms. Dispatch the Goomba first, and then pull yourself up. Ascend the ladder, and you’re home free.

All you have to do now is unlock the block near where you emerge and follow the path around. Use the Hookshot to pull yourself over the gap in the floor. Continue onward to find the boss door.

“Tsssk, tsssk! You don’t seem to know what kind of island this iss… keee-hee-heee! What a fool… kee-hee-heh!!”

When you get in, the boss won’t be there, but it will certainly make its presence known. In short order, the boss will create a giant pit in the center as well as four holes in the wall—two in the north wall and two in the south. A tail will emerge from the central hole and begin to spin around the room, either clockwise or counterclockwise. Follow the procession of the tail always by staying ahead of it as you walk around the exterior rectangle of the room.

la10-7cEventually the Slime Eel will start to emerge its head from one of the four openings in the wall. This sequence is chosen randomly, so unfortunately you may be extremely unlucky and always be where the head isn’t, and, since it will only remain there for a moment, you may end up missing your opportunity.

However eventually the timings will sync up. When you are vertically aligned with the head of the Slime Eel, fire your Hookshot into its mouth. That will naturally yank the Slime Eel’s body outside of the wall (as well as pull its tail deeper into the central pit). When you do this, you will see that the Eel’s body is contained of glowing heart segments. Quickly walk around the head and start slashing your sword into its body. The further you pull the Slime Eel out from the wall, the longer it will take it to slide back in.

Once it does slide back into the wall, generally the tail will start rotating the opposite direction. Switch directions accordingly and wait for your next opportunity. Occasionally when you pull a head out from the wall, you will yank out a decoy. This decoy will explode, so back away quickly. However, you might be lucky or fast enough to never once have to deal with such decoy eels.

Slash its heart-tattooed body enough times, and the Slime Eel will soon be no more. Head north into the next room to claim the Wind Marimba.

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