When a Legend of Zelda dungeon feels like it was inspired by the movie Groundhog Day.

The Temple of the Ocean King is easily one of the largest dungeons ever seen in the Legend of Zelda series. This labyrinth is comprised of more than a dozen floors, all of which eerily rest beneath the surface of Mercay Island. It’s a long and daunting test of your patience, memory, and puzzling-solving skills, and is home to a plethora of unforgiving hazards and enemies. To top it off, every return trip to the dungeon requires you to clear each previously completed section once again.

Can you believe some people actually complain about this dungeon? I thought it was awesome. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite parts of Phantom Hourglass. It is a complex challenge that rewards tenacity.

Tingle’s Maps is a series in which we explore the endless lands of Hyrule in search of our favorite places in The Legend of Zelda. We’ll explore everywhere: the beautiful landscapes that make us put down the controller in awe; the deadly terrain that threatens Link with the harshest of elements; the bustling towns that bring the game to life; and the abandoned grounds that evoke peace and sadness. As well as the grand locales, we’ll also discover all the secret caves and hidden crevices that lie between. Let’s adventure!

The beginning of the temple is simple enough. As you save the abrasive and arrogant Linebeck you are also introduced to the dungeon’s life-draining abilities. Aside from some very vital safe zones, merely standing in the temple will cause Link harm. It is out of the question to explore the dungeon as is. To circumvent this, Link acquires the Phantom Hourglass and uses its magical, albeit time-sensitive abilities to protect him from harm.

So it’s like going to a giant DMV center?

Once you get a handle on how the hourglass and temple work together, the Temple of the Ocean King hits you hard with its second greatest challenge: The Phantoms.

These near-invincible warriors patrol almost every corner of every floor and can defeat Link in a single blow. The further you make your way down, the more complicated the methods of eluding these menaces become, as traps, barriers, and other enemies complicate things. Phantoms are constant threats that must be respected.

“Phantoms” implies non-physical, but that sword is very real and hits very hard.

While the Temple of the Ocean King puts a focus on surviving the Phantoms and not running out of time, its puzzles also make you take full advantage of all the weapons and tools Link has as his disposal. As is par for the course in Zelda games, Link obtains new weapons and items whenever he explores a normal dungeon. In that special video game timing, these newly obtained items often become necessary in order to complete your next trek through the temple. 

Considering all the eyeballs it has, it’s ironic he can’t see this coming.

You have to work your way through each floor and find methods to bypass the Phantoms and reach the goals of the temple. Strategies such as using loud noises or bombs to distract the Phantoms, or temporarily stunning them with arrows, are reliable and effective options.

I like to imagine Link is humming
the Metal Gear theme right here.

To “complete” each section of the temple, you must locate a key item or clue Link requires on the surface. The Sea Charts, which open up access to the game’s overworld, are the most common objectives of each visit. 

If the premise of the temple still seems like a deal breaker, also keep in mind that Nintendo did show a little mercy and added in a few warp portals. Those who bemoan this dungeon always seem to gloss over this part. The portals won’t take you wherever you want to go, but they do help save a lot of time.

The key to beating the temple? Don’t do whatever this guy did.

The Temple of the Ocean King demands a fair amount of dedication and focus, but that’s honestly why it’s fun. Many people say it’s unfair to be forced to do much work over and over again, but my response to this complaint is that Majora’s Mask is a game. The more you play the more you learn, which in turn makes conquering this dungeon incredibly satisfying.