- 16.1 Obtain the Compass
- 16.2 Get the Map and the Stone Beak
- 16.3 Return to the dungeon entrance
- 16.4 Spend your two keys
- 16.5 Collect three more keys
- 16.6 Retrieve the key from the Dodongo Snakes
- 16.7 Flip the Crystal Switch
- 16.8 Collect the Magic Rod
- 16.9 Find the last key
- 16.10 Get the Nightmare Key
- 16.11 Find the pathway to the boss
- 16.12 Defeat Hot Head
16.1 Obtain the Compass
Turtle Rock is a large, expansive, imposing dungeon. It also requires a lot of backtracking and keeping track of where you’ve been and what you need to come back to. As a result, it’s best to familiarize yourself with these opening rooms and pathways.
Head north. This room is the dungeon’s hub, and you will revisit it more times than you’d like during this dungeon. You’ll immediately see a new creature called Vire. Vire will fly around the perimeter of the room, shooting fireballs at you. After you block several of them (or slash through with your sword), Vire will dive at you. If you hit it several times, it will split into two Keese that will also rush at you. Killing this Vire will open the western and eastern sealed doors, and you’ll need to do that to access the southwestern wing of the dungeon. Once you kill the Vire, head west.
You’ll find yourself face to face with a Beamos. Actually, thankfully, you’ll come into the room under cover, making it so the Beamos can’t get you until you move. There are also three snakelike Ropes in the room, and to unseal the door, you’ll need to kill them all. Carefully go from cover point to cover point to get far-reaching Ropes, but know that, should a Rope see you, it will beeline towards you, so you don’t necessarily need to chase them down. Once they’re dead, head north.
You’ll immediately be thrown into a miniboss battle. This dungeon essentially serves as a miniature miniboss rush as nearly every miniboss in the game (the ones from Catfish’s Maw and Eagle’s Tower are omitted) shows up in this dungeon. This time it’s Hinox, a miniboss that has certainly overstayed its welcome. However, this time its appearance is exactly like its original appearance in Bottle Grotto; no tricks or traps appear here. Just beat it down with your sword to open the western door.
You’ll then see a rather curious blinking machine here. This unnamed mechanism can be pushed, and once pushed you will take control over it using the standard movement controls. You can cause it to move up, left, right, and down. As it travels, it will create floor beneath it provided there was a pit there before. Once it runs into land, however, the machine will disappear. If you manage to fill all of the floor tiles in the room, a chest will appear. The puzzle is very easy to solve: Just head follow along the “right-hand wall” by going left, up, left, and then down. The reward is 20 Rupees, but at least it’s a reward.
Immediately to the south of this room is another chest, guarded by two Sparks. It’s another optional chest, containing Rupees, so obtain it only if you want to check it off of the list. From there, head west.
This dungeon wing has one more miniboss to defeat, and that’s the Rolling Bones, something that hasn’t been seen since the first dungeon. Again, the strategy is simple; hop over the rolling spiked log when it’s pushed, and then waylay into the enemy with your sword until defeated. Once the boss is done for, head off to the north first.
You’ve seen Vire before, but now it’s remixed with a Spark in the room. Patiently wait for the Vire to swoop you (unless you want to take care of it with ranged weaponry) whilst standing in the room’s center to avoid the Spark. Once the Vire is dead, you’ll pick up your first small key. Once you have it, you can head south twice into the corner room of the dungeon.
A Vacuum Mouth will try to draw you in from the lower-right corner of the room. Resist it with all your might as you struggle to reach the chest in the center of the room. Along the way, you’ll encounter a few Zol; you can practically let Vacuum Mouth take care of them as you focus on resisting its gravitational pull. Do pass by Vacuum Mouth when it’s not sucking you in, however; once you reach the chest, you’ll obtain the dungeon’s Compass.
16.2 Get the Map and the Stone Beak
There’s nothing left for you to do in this expansive wing of the dungeon. The easiest way to resume the correct trek is to return back to the beginning via Manbo’s Mambo.
Head north back to the dungeon’s hub. This time you won’t need to kill the Vire; instead, just jump over the lava pit with Roc’s Feather and continue north.
The path will lead you east, and there you’ll find another machine that creates floor… except this one will create floor on top of the lava. Push it, and, for this pass, you’ll want to create a path so that the created pathway leads you between the two blocks along the western edge of the room. Once the pathway is created, follow it back west.
First, snag the treasure chest by pushing the top and bottom of the three blocks to the west of you left one space and then the middle block up or down. This will grant you the Map, which shows you the entire dungeon. Then, you’ll see a cracked wall along the northern edge along the pathway between the blocks. Place a Bomb along that wall to blast your way through. (If you don’t have any, you can escape by pushing the block that was southeast of the lowest block of the block wall you moved into the lava and using the path-creation machine to reach the northwest corner of the lava pit room.
Either path you take will lead you to a stairwell. Head down into a fire-ridden side-scrolling section filled with Podoboos from Mario. Carefully use Roc’s Feather to hop along the narrow ledges while the Podoboos are hiding in the lava. Then use the ladders to carefully sidle along, avoiding the Podoboos that pop out of the fire.
Once you reach the other side, you’ll be dropped in a room with many Ropes, and they are guarding a treasure chest on the right side. You can use the clay pots in the room to destroy most of them rather easily, but of course there’s always your trusty sword. Once you’ve dispatched them all, you can head over to the chest to collect the Stone Beak inside.
16.3 Return to the dungeon entrance
The only way out is north, so head that way. Immediately, you’ll be beset by a familiar foe: Smasher. Unlike many of the miniboss repeats, there’s no remix with Smasher this time; it’s literally the same fight you’re familiar with. Dodge Smasher’s ball, and then once it settles beat Smasher to it. Hurl the ball into Smasher, and hopefully you can retain control of it once you do so. Hitting it on the noggin several times will defeat it and open up the doors leading out. You’re heading toward the dungeon entrance, so west is the way to go.
You’ll find another machine that creates land, but ignore it for the time being. At the furthest point on the northern wall, drop a Bomb. This will blow through and expose a secret room that contains a vitally important Crystal Switch. There’s also another cracked wall on the west side that you should Bomb through as well to create a shortcut back to this room. However, important as this Crystal Switch is, it doesn’t do any good to hit it for the time being.
You actually can hit the Crystal Switch now, but doing so means you have to make a few sacrifices. That sacrifice is that you cannot reset the dungeon either by playing Manbo’s Mambo or leaving the dungeon. This means two things: First, you will need to go out of your way later to obtain the last Piece of Heart midway through this dungeon. Secondly, doing this requires making a major modification to your strategy:
You have to skip obtaining one of the dungeon’s small keys (at least temporarily—it is possible to get it later). It’s actually a perfectly viable strategy to run the dungeon this way as one of the locked doors can be completely circumvented. Going this route allows you to skip one dungeon reset (of which there are many), which means you won’t have to come back for this Crystal Switch. However, because this guide outlines the path for showing every important item’s location, we won’t be explicitly describing this path. We will, however, tell you where this diversion point is should you wish to follow that path.
Either way, return south to the room with the machine. There’s a small key in this room, and to obtain it you will need to guide the machine along a route that fills in all of the floor tiles. To do that, you will want the machine to hug the upper edge of the floor, guiding it alternatingly left and up, until it reaches the corner where it will then need to alternate going down and right until near the end, where it need to take a small diversion to fill in the leftover two tiles before it reaches the end of the pit. Successfully filling the holes will net you your key. Once you have it, head east.
There’s a treasure chest in this room as well just on the other side of a narrow river of lava. Unfortunately, this treasure chest is booby trapped with a Zol. Thankfully, it’s no seriously powerful enemy, but it’s still unfortunate in the least. Keep heading west.
This room is also benign and safe so long as you don’t pick up any of the clay pots. Doing so will likely cause one of the Sparks in the room to jump out into the main portion of the room. Once you head west once more, you’ll be back in the dungeon hub.
16.4 Spend your two keys
Ignore Vire in the hub and continue north over the river of lava. Continue until you find the floor-creation machine once again. This time, you’ll want to guide the machine to create a path so that it leads you between the two blocks along the north end of the screen. Follow the pathway, and then push the block to your right into the lava to access the northern passageway.
Proceed north, and eventually you’ll find a locked block in your way. Use the first of your keys to unlock it, and then continue to the east, where you’ll see another locked door. There aren’t any enemies in your way; just unlock it and continue.
You’ll have to deal with Traps and a Stalfos in this room, so do beware. Ignore the staircase in this room… unless you want to stock up on some Arrows, Bombs, Magic Powder, and hearts, at which point go ahead and take the diversion. Your real destination is that one-way door heading north. Head through it, and now you’ll officially be in the back half of the dungeon.
16.5 Collect three more keys
The next room will be filled with cracked blocks, and this should be a sign to you that something in this room is able to be bombed. However, you don’t need to concern yourself with that right away. The real obstacle for now is the four green Zols in this room that keep the sealed door locked shut. Two are in the bottom half of the room with the other two in the top half. Defeat all four, and the door will open up.
You’ll find two Gibdo in this next room, and they will be quite the challenge. Not only are Gibdo relatively hardy enemies, able to withstand quite a beating, nearly the entire floor is full of crumbling tile. You’ll have to always be on the move to defeat them. It’s best to have Roc’s Feather and be jumping at every opportunity. When you defeat the two Gibdo, a key will drop down from above for you to take.
This key is “meant” to be spent in the door to the west of here. However, if you return to the room you came from and bomb the western wall, you can put this key into the locked block in the following room, and this will lead to what otherwise looks like a dead end since you need two more keys to proceed, thus “trapping” you in since you have no more keys.
There is a way out, and that’s by bombing the westmost wall in this new section. This wall can only be bombed by this side, and it will lead into the section of the dungeon that the other locked door will lead to, meaning that the locked door never needs to be unlocked as the two other keys you have to get are at your fingertips.
This means that you will be skipping the small key that the Dodongo Snakes provide you seeing as (a) it’s the most annoying key to get and (b) getting that key will require you to go outside, meaning that the Crystal Switch will be reset.
From here, head west. You’ll run into the other miniboss that will no doubt be an unfortunate sight: the Dodongo Snakes. Don’t bother with killing them though; they will provide you a small key, but you can’t get it now. Just pass them by and continue west twice, unlocking the locked door as you go.
After the Dodongo Snakes but before the locked door, you can head north if you want and use the Hookshot to get over the gap. This will lead you to another Secret Medicine. Get it only if you don’t have one and think you might need one; after all, it’s a one-way trip to the Medicine, and getting back to this point requires some backtracking. In the original version of the game, this chest contains Rupees instead.
From here, head south, ignoring the enemies in the room unless you’d like to get some bonus Rupees in a chest. You’ll find two Sparks hovering around sets of blocks and a statue in the lava. You can defeat the Sparks using the Boomerang if you have it, but what you really want to do is to shoot the eye of the statue with an arrow from your Bow. Doing this will reveal the first of the three keys you will need to obtain this dungeon’s special item.
The second key is in the room immediately to your west. It’s tucked away in a chest with a block in front of it, but it’s also guarded by a Beamos. To get the chest, you’ll need to carefully sneak past the Beamos to the left side of the chest. You’ll then need to push the block below you down one square. You then have the choice of either pushing the block directly in front of the chest to the right or the left, though, if you push it to the right, you’ll need to either reset the room or execute a tricky jump to head back east. Collect your key, giving you two of the three keys you need.
16.6 Retrieve the key from the Dodongo Snakes
Return east, and then go north back to the room with the Vire and the Ropes. You’ll notice that there’s a stairwell here. Following that stairwell will bring you outside of the dungeon and allow you to explore the otherwise inaccessible northwestern squares of Koholint’s world map.
Going outside the dungeon will also give you the 12th and last Piece of Heart in the game on a silver platter.
There are a couple of Crows, a Mini-moldorm, and a Shrouded Stalfos high atop this outside ledge. Defeat them as you travel east. You’ll also find an overworld warp location up here should you need to leave the area in order to stock up on hearts or anything else. Do make sure you have a good number of Bombs in your inventory as you’re going to need them for this upcoming encounter. Once you’re ready, head east again, and then descend back into the cave to resume the dungeon.
You’ll find yourself in the room with the Dodongo Snakes; however, this time you’re high upon the ledge overlooking them. The advantage here is that, for this miniboss fight, it’s impossible for you to take damage. The downside is that, to damage the Snakes, you’ll have to toss Bombs into their path so that they’ll eat them. As if the Dodongo Snakes weren’t annoying enough, right!?
To succeed at this encounter, you will have to be patient. If you get lucky and the Dodongo Snakes visit the bottom-right area of the room, then they’re going to be much easier to deal with as it’ll both be easier for you to aim and more difficult for them to escape the trap. Otherwise, take a moment to figure out your aiming and where you need the Snakes to be to target their mouth. Remember, they don’t travel too far before taking a quick 90° turn, so you’ll have to anticipate their turns and move quickly when opportunities arise.
Once you manage to defeat both Dodongo Snakes, a chest will appear next to you. Open it to retrieve the third key you need.
16.7 Flip the Crystal Switch
You could go to the real dungeon miniboss right now in order to collect the dungeon’s item. However, doing so would leave you stuck because of some raised Crystal Switch blocks (provided you haven’t taken the alternate “speedrun” path). As a result, the shortest path between you and that lone Crystal Switch is resetting the dungeon back to beginning. So pull out your Ocarina and play Manbo’s Mambo to return to the beginning.
The pathway to the secret entrance you created to the Crystal Switch is easy to get to. Head north, bypass Vire, and head north and east to reach the floor-creating machine yet again. This time through this room, you’ll want to extend the pathway all the way to the east by running it to the free floor tile on the right side of the room. Follow it east, and then you’ll see the bombed wall along the right-hand wall. Head on through and trigger the Crystal Switch.
From here on, you won’t be allowed to reset the dungeon manually until beating the dungeon’s miniboss.
To return to the hub room, head back west. Climb the stairs up to the raised platform, which will allow you to proceed southward to the room where you found the monster in a chest. You can then head west two more rooms to return to the hub room where Vire lives.
16.8 Collect the Magic Rod
Once again, head north and east to the floor-creating machine. Create the same pathway needed to head north out of the room towards the back half of the dungeon. Push the right block along the northern edge of the lava into the fire, and then proceed north. At the T junction, head east twice followed by a north through the one-way door.
Defeat any Zols that get in your way, but your real destination is just below the cracked block along the left-hand wall. Place a Bomb along the wall, and it will expose the secret entrance into the dungeon’s middle section.
These rooms in the dungeon’s middle are completely dark, but you can light the torches there if you need to get some light. The first room contains two Sparks to harass you. Head to the upper half of the room, jump over the pit, and then unlock the locked block near the western doorway to proceed.
Kill the Rope in this next room to unseal the door, and then you can continue west. The last of the three rooms will have two Ropes and a Peahat, but there’s no real point in defeating any of them. Simply head up the stairs, use your second key to crack open the locked block, and proceed back east.
From there, it’s a simple matter of using your Hookshot to fly to the bottom raised platform and unlocking the third block to access the stairwell.
This underground section will still have you deal with Podoboos just as before, but now you have to deal with moving platforms over the fire. In the first room, you’ll need to jump over the stationary platform in the middle and then wait for a safe jump afterward. The second room is much more straightforward as the two platforms simply bob up and down. Exit using the ladder on the far side.
Once you head south, Turtle Rock’s true miniboss battle begins. This miniboss, unlike all the others, you’ve never faced before. His name is Blaino, and he’s a boxer of a certain sort. You might think that your shield would come in handy against this creature, but honestly a good offense is a perfectly good defense. Move your battle to the center of the screen, and use your sword to bat away Blaino’s jabs and punches. In general, you’re not going to score any hits this way; you’re just trying to keep him from doing damage to you.
However, Blaino does have two different types of punches, both of which requires a bit of time to charge, but you will want to physically dodge both; using your sword to parry them is not advisable. The first punch, which only requires a short charge, will—if it strikes you—knock you senseless and render you dizzy and unable to move. If Blaino is successful, he will almost certainly follow it up with his second punch, which takes significantly longer to charge. However, this one is so powerful that it will send you all the way back to the beginning of Turtle Rock. Being hit is, obviously, not ideal.
To dodge these, simply move vertically on the screen; preferably you’ll want to head up instead of down as his punch always travels slightly southward. During these charged punches, Blaino is relatively exposed and able to be struck from above, below, or behind (though good luck with the last). Quickly close the distance after you’re out of the line of fire and strike with your sword to do damage. Optionally, you can also charge up your sword and use Roc’s Feather to jump over him to double your damage.
Once you’ve hit Blaino enough times without being knocked out of the ring yourself, he’ll collapse, opening up a portal back to the beginning of the dungeon. Head north in order to claim the Magic Rod, a fire-emitting ranged weapon that will perform one-hit KOs to most enemies.
16.9 Find the last key
There’s one last key that you need in this dungeon, and only now with the Magic Rod are you able to get it. Unfortunately, the quickest path is, you guessed it, back from the start of the dungeon. (In fairness, it’s not that much longer traveling back through the basement area, but it is still technically longer.) Either use Manbo’s Mambo or use the teleportation tile Blaino left to return to the dungeon entrance.
Head north, defeat the Vire with the Magic Rod (and yes, all it takes is one shot to defeat Vire now—finally!), and head west as if you were going for the Compass. Defeat the three Ropes while avoiding the Beamos again to open the door. And once again, you’ll probably have to defeat Hinox, but it should be ridiculously easy with the Magic Rod.
Once Hinox is down, head west, and use the machine to create a pathway around the blocks so you can reach the door leading north. In there, you will find two torches that are several squares away from a fence that prevents you from lighting them. Well, you were prevented from lighting them. Now you have a Magic Rod that will reach. Light them both, and a chest will appear containing the last key that you need.
16.10 Get the Nightmare Key
Which means, yup, it’s time to reset the dungeon once again. Head north twice and then east to return to the machine that creates floor over the lake of lava. Your destination this time around is the staircase on this screen in the lower-right corner of the room. Follow the path you created, and descend the steps once you reach them.
The reason you couldn’t get through this section before should be obvious: it’s covered in ice. These ice-ridden sections serve as miniature puzzles that you’ll need to solve just to traverse them. For this first room, the answer is easy: just send a flame from the Magic Rod to the left to clear a passageway for you. The Goombas will drop down into the flame, stopping it from taking out the entire row, but just repeat the process to clear the ice.
In the second screen, you’ll need to use the lowest row of ice blocks as a ledge to jump up to the stairs. Thus, you’ll need to equip the Magic Rod and Roc’s Feather together, jump, and then fire the Magic Rod left whilst you’re in the air. This will hopefully clear out the second row of ice blocks instead of the bottom row. (In case you miss, simply heading right and then left again will reset the room.) Jump onto the ice blocks, and then hop up to the ladder heading down.
You’ll use the key you acquired to unlock this last door, and then you’ll face one last miniboss for the dungeon. This time it’s Cue Ball, and the encounter is a little different from last time. The center of the room will be a lake of lava, and there are a few gaps in the floor along the outer edge. However, the strategy is still the same as always. Charge up your sword, wait for Cue Ball to approach, and then jump over it and unleash your Spin Attack. Of course, be ready to hop back over it as it changes direction immediately afterwards.
Once Cue Ball is destroyed, head north, and you’ll now have to face the most difficult floor machine puzzle thus far. There are a few valid ways of solving it. We’ll show you one method below:
Filling in the floor will cause a chest to emerge. Open it up to get the Nightmare Key.
16.11 Find the pathway to the boss
Okay, this is the last time we’re going to ask you to reset the dungeon with Manbo’s Mambo. (Seriously, if there were a faster way to get through this dungeon, we’d have told you, we promise.)
Head north twice and then east to the floor-creating machine. Aim it eastward towards the lone exposed tile of floor. Follow the pathway east, and then ascend the stairs you find in the next room.
These two rooms will be the trickiest ice block puzzles in the game.
Navigating the final icy chambers
This staircase will drop you off right in front of the boss’ lair. Open the door with the Nightmare Key, and prepare to face Hot Head.
16.12 Defeat Hot Head
Hot Head is a creature of fire and serves as the last obstacle between you and the Wind Fish’s egg. It is probably one of the most dangerous bosses as each hit it inflicts against you will cause you to sustain four hearts of damage. As a result, take extra caution with this boss as he can wreck you quickly.
“Crackle-frooowsh! You’re finished! I will never let you play the instruments of the sirens!”
Hot Head doesn’t really have a complicated attack pattern. In general, Hot Head will just randomly hop out of the lava and splash back down into it. The lava splashes, should it get close enough to you, will do considerable damage as well, so beware when it gets close to you.
You mightn’t think that, being a creature of fire, Hot Head would be susceptible to the fire from the Magic Rod. But, oddly enough, even Hot Head can’t take the heat of the Magic Rod. When it leaps out, nail it with a healthy dose of fire. Hot Head will freeze momentarily, so take advantage of this time to nail it as often as you can. After those few frames, Hot Head will start bouncing around the room in diagonal lines, running into anything it can. Avoid it whenever it comes close, but continue hitting it with the Magic Rod whenever you can. Eventually Hot Head will splash back into the lava. Thankfully, this won’t restore any life to it though.
Once you do enough damage, Hot Head will shrink in size as its outer shell cracks, revealing a smaller head within. However, this does nothing except make it harder to hit. Otherwise, its attack pattern is the same. Continue hitting Hot Head with the Magic Rod, and eventually it will be destroyed.
You can then hop along the outer edge of the room (very carefully, of course) to head north and receive the Thunder Drum, the last of the Instruments of the Sirens!