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Link’s Awakening guide: Tail Cave walkthrough

Find the compass, map, keys, special items, and instrument

Link’s Awakening Level 1 - Tail Cave walkthrough and maps Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Our Link’s Awakening Tail Cave walkthrough shows you how to find the dungeon entrance, navigate every room, solve every puzzle, and beat every boss. We’ll also direct you to any useful items — like the compass, map, keys, chests, special items, and the instrument — along the way.

The first dungeon, Tail Cave, takes a bit of work to get to. And since it’s your first dungeon, you’ll find a walkthrough for every step of the process below, beginning with finding the key to get inside.

Table of contents

Find the Tail Cave Key in the Mysterious Forest

Go the the northwest corner of Mabe Village, and head up. Inside the forest, you’ll have to fight off some Moblins as you explore. Just keep your shield up when they throw their spears.

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest path to the first tunnel.
Path into the Mysterious Forest to find the first tunnel.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

As soon as the path opens up, head to the right. There’s a narrow path that will lead you to another clearing with a tunnel you can enter. Head inside.

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest tunnel
First room inside the tunnel in the Mysterious Forest.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

In the first room, loop around it and take out the Keese and destroy the purple crystals. When you reach the rock blocking your path, shove it to the left into the hole in the ground. Move one square up, and shove the second rock to the side as well. Open the chest for 50 rupees.

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest tunnel path through the rock-filled room
Shove the stones to create a path through the rock-filled room.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Continue up and out of the room. You can’t reach the Heart Piece yet, so ignore it. Just shove the two rocks in the bottom right down and out of your way to open your path through. Exit the room through the bottom.

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest Toadstool
After the tunnel, fight the Moblin, and pick up the Toadstool.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Outside, you’ll have to fight a Moblin with a sword and shield. Raise your shield and let it hit you. It’ll bounce back with its guard dropped, and you can step in to hit it. Just to the left of the exit, pick up the Toadstool.

Visit the Witch

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest tunnel path back through the rock-filled room
The path back through the rock-filled room is slightly different.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Go back through into the tunnel. You’ll have to shove the rocks around a different way this time — use the image above to help you. Get back outside.

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the entrance to the cave, head up. You’ll run into some more Moblins and Zols along the way. Take the next right and continue out to the Ukuku Prairie.

Link’s Awakening Witch’s house in Ukuku Prairie
Witch’s house in Ukuku Prairie
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Head down past the pool and a little right to the Witch’s house — it’s the one with the spooky trees that totally looks like a witch’s house.

Inside, give her the Toadstool in exchange for some Magic Powder.

Move the raccoon

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest path to the raccoon
Path from the Witch’s house to the raccoon in the Mysterious Forest.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Backtrack through the Mysterious Forest to almost the beginning. In the top right of the forest’s first clearing, there’s a path up to an area with a tree surrounded by plants and a raccoon.

Link’s Awakening Mysterious Forest move the raccoon with Magic Powder
Throw Magic Powder at the raccoon to get him to move.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Use the Magic Powder on the raccoon to get him to move. Head up to find a chest and the Tail Key.

Tail Cave

Link’s Awakening path to the Tail Cave entrance
Path from Mabe Village to the Tail Cave entrance.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Once you have the Tail Key, head back to Mabe Village. In the southwest, start down toward Toronbo Shores. When you drop off the first ledge, head to the right (instead of continuing down to the water). Keep heading right past the holes in the ground, and then zigzag down to the dungeon entrance.

Tail Cave item and boss locations

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave map showing important items and boss fight locations.
Tail Cave map with important items and boss fight locations marked.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

The map above shows an overview of the Tail Cave dungeon. We’ve marked the locations of the important items like the Compass, Stone Beak, and Map, as well as the Roc’s Feather. We’ve also marked the boss fight location.

Get the Compass

From the first room, head left. There are two Hardhat Beetles here. Keep your shield up and attack them to knock them off the platform. Once they’re gone, a Small Key will drop. Pick it up and continue left.

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave Compass location
Tail Cave Compass location
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

When you walk into the next room, four Green Zols will spawn and the statues will shoot fireballs at you. Dodge the fireballs and take out all four Zols, and then open the chest to find the Compass.

Return to the entrance.

Get the Tail Cave map

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the dungeon entrance, head up one room and defeat the Red Zol and Hardhat Beetle there. Stand on the switch in the middle to make a chest appear. Open it up for another Small Key.

Go to the right. Take out the Stalfos and Keese waiting for you to make another chest appear. This one contains the Tail Cave Map.

Get the Stone Beak

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the room where you picked up the Map, go through the one-way door at the top of the room. Use one of your Small Keys on the door to your right, and then go up one room.

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave Three-of-a-Kind Stone Beak location
Hit the Three-of-a-Kind so they display the same symbol to get the Stone Beak
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

These alarm clock-looking enemies are called Three-of-a-Kind. Hit them with your sword or shield to freeze them. Your goal is to freeze them all when they’re showing the same suit. (Just make sure to not bump into them while they’re running around or you’ll accidentally freeze them on a probably wrong suit.)

Once you match them up, a chest will appear with a Stone Beak inside. Take the beak to the beakless owl statue at the top of the room. Insert it to get a bit of wisdom: Turn aside the spined ones with a shield …

Fight two Mini-Moldorms

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave path past the Mini-Moldorms
Path past the Mini-Moldroms.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the Three-of-a-Kind room, head down one room and one room left. Continue left to a chest protected by a Mini-Moldorm and some Sparks. Take out the worm and avoid the Sparks while you open the chest. Inside, you’ll find another Small Key.

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave Sparks and Mini-Moldorm protecting a chest
The Sparks and the Mini-Moldroms are protecting a Small Key.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

A little to the left of that, there’s another Mini-Moldorm. Take that one out to find a chest with 20 rupees inside

There’s a cracked wall on the left side of this room that we can’t do anything about yet — you’ll need bombs to get inside.

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave Blade Trap
Approach the Blade Trap to trigger it, and run past while it’s resetting.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

On the left side of the room, above the second Mini-Moldorm, keep heading up. Watch for the Blade Trap on the left side — approach enough to trigger, and then rush past while it’s resetting. Use another of your keys to open the locked door at the top.

Move the block to open the door

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave path to the locked door
Path up to the locked door.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Head right, up, and then left through the room, avoiding the Sparks and taking out the Red Zols. In the upper left corner, you’ll find another owl statue. This one will tell you If there is a door that you can’t open, move a square block.

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave locked door block puzzle
Shove the left block one square to the right to open the door.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Interestingly, the door on the left won’t open, but there’s a square (pyramid-shaped, really) block right behind you. Give it a shove to the right and the door will open.

Head through to meet a couple of Spiked Beetles. Line up with them and block their rush attack to knock them onto their backs. Attack them while they’re helpless (you monster) to take them out.

Some stairs will appear after both beetles are defeated. There’s also an owl statue that will remind you to Turn aside the spined ones with a shield …

Get the Roc’s Feather

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave path to the Roc’s Feather
The Roc’s Feather is in the detached area on the left side of the map
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

After defeating the Spiked Beetles, go down the stairs to enter a side-scrolling area full of Goombas. Make your way left, and then climb the ladder up. This will put you in that detached area on the left side of the map.

From that room, head up along that hallway to the northmost room. You’ll pass an item that you can’t get yet, so don’t worry about it. There’s a pair of Blade Traps as you enter the room with the chest. Handle them the same way — approach until they trigger, and then pass while they’re resetting.

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Open the chest for a Roc’s Feather. Assign it to one of your buttons and you’ll be able to jump. On your way back down the hall, pick up the flying hearts if you need them.

Get the Nightmare Key

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave path to the Nightmare Key.
Path to the Nightmare Key.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the Roc’s Feather, backtrack through the Goomba hall and the wide room with the Sparks. When you get back to the room with the Mini-Moldorms, head right along the top of the room, and then go up. Watch for another Hardhat Beetle, and then use your Roc’s Feather to jump the gap to the left.

Use another Small Key to unblock the stairs, and head left to the chest. This one gives you the Nightmare Key.

Get to the Rolling Bones mini-boss fight

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave path to the mini-boss fight
Path to the Rolling Bones mini-boss fight.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Make your way back to the bottom right of the room and continue one room to the right. Dodge the Sparks and jump the gap to the right.

Rolling Bones mini-boss

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Welcome to your first mini-boss fight — Rolling Bones.

It’ll shove the spiked log at you when you arrive, so get ready to jump. Jump over the log as it rolls at you, and then attack the Rolling Bones. If you’re quick, you can keep it from getting back to the log. Don’t worry about it if you don’t, though. You just have to jump over the log again. After a few (six, we think) hits, you’ll defeat the Rolling Bones and the doors will open.

This will also make a Warp Portal appear in the middle of the room. Stand in it for a few seconds to warp back to the very first room of Tails Cove (and vice versa).

Moldorm boss fight

From the Rolling Bones boss fight, head up one room. Dodge the Blade Traps as soon as you walk in. There are stairs that head down to another sidescrolling tunnel. The only thing in there is a floating set of three hearts — if you don’t need them, you can skip the stairs.

Head north again through the Nightmare Door, being careful to dodge the other pair of Blade Traps.

Link’s Awakening Tail Cave Moldorm boss fight
Tail Cave dungeon boss fight against the Moldorm.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Now it’s time to fight Moldorm. It’s a pretty simple fight, so don’t panic.

Stay near the bottom of the screen where the ground won’t give way. Keep your shield up while Moldorm storms around. As long as your shield is up, it won’t damage you or shove you around too much. Watch for its tail to glow red, and attack just the tip of the tail.

It’ll rampage around for a few seconds — just keep your shield up — and it’s tail will be covered up (it’ll look like a flower). Wait until it’s exposed again, and repeat the process. And that’s it.

Instrument of the Sirens — Full Moon Cello

After the fight, pick up the Heart Container, and then continue up to retrieve the Full Moon Cello.

Back outside, Owl will return to give you a hint about where to go next — north to Goponga Swamp. Hoot, indeed.