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Link’s Awakening guide: Key Cavern walkthrough

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Find the compass, map, keys, special items, and instrument in Level 3

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Our Link’s Awakening Key Cavern 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.

Key Cavern takes a bit of work to get to — so much, in fact, that we broke it out into its own guide for navigating Kanalet Castle and finding the Slime Key.

Table of contents

Key Cavern entrance

From Richard’s house, head north to the keyhole you passed (much) earlier. Use the Slime Key you just dug up to open the dungeon.

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Turn around and loop around Richard’s Pothole Field counterclockwise — down, right, and up (it’s a long walk). At the top of the field, turn left. Jump across the tiny islands leftward until you land in front of the entrance.

Before you go in, run up the stairs to the roof. Defeat the Flying Octoroks, and then dig in the center of the plus sign made of grass to find a Secret Seashell.

Key Cavern item and boss locations

Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

The map above shows an overview of the Key Cavern dungeon. We’ve marked the locations of the important items like the compass, Stone Beak, and map, as well as the Pegasus Boots. We’ve also marked the boss fights and the entrance and exit to any sidescrolling tunnels.

Find the Stone Beak and Key Cavern Map

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern path to the Stone Beak
Path to the Stone Beak.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

In the first room, throw a pot at the door to open it — the pot painted on it is your clue. (Smash the rest of the pots to hopefully pick up a few bombs.) Go up.

Defeat the three enemies in the next room to get a Small Key. Go up along the right side.

Defeat four Green Zols. A chest will drop, but it only contains another Green Zol. Go up.

Defeat or ignore the Stalfos (we’ll come back to them later), and go up again. Go down the stairs.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern use the crystal to open a path to the chest containing the Stone Beak
Turn the crystal orange to open a path the the chest at the top of the stairs.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon
Link’s Awakening Key Cavern use the crystal to control the orange and blue tiles above
The crystal downstairs controls the blue and orange tiles up top.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Go north. Defeat two enemies to get a Small Key. Hit the crystal (to open a path to the chest upstairs), and then go back down.

Climb up the steps, and open the chest to find the Stone Beak.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern after hitting the crystal downstairs, you can reach the map
The crystal downstairs also lets you get to the chest with the Map.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From that chest, head down along the right side for two rooms. Take the door on the right. Defeat the Keese, and loop around the room clockwise to fight the Stalfos. Open the chest for the Key Cavern Map.

Go back outside, up two screens, and back down the stairs.

Get to the Dodongo Snakes mini-boss fight

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern path to the Dodongo Snakes mini-boss fight
Path to the Dodongo Snakes mini-boss fight.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Head through the door at the top of the room again, and use the Beak on the Owl Statue to hear Far away … Do not fear — dash and fly! Exit back down.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern using a bomb to fight Pairodds.
Plant a bomb near where a Pairodd will be to take them out.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Head left this time. The enemies here are a pain. Every time you get close, the Pairodd will teleport to a different — but predictable — spot in the room. You have two options: Place a bomb where the Pairodd will be, and then go scare it to make it appear next to the bomb, or sneak close enough that a bomb will hit it, but not so close that it teleports (we had more luck with this option).

When both Pairodds and the Zol are defeated, a Small Key will appear. Grab it and the floating hearts, and head back out to the right.

Go through the bottom door this time.

Defeat another Pairodd, a Stalfos, and three Zols to get another Small Key. Smash the two pots for (hopefully) a couple more bombs.

Head back up and out.

Take the right (and final) door out of this room. Take the steps up.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern clear the Green Zols at the top of the stairs to find another Small Key
Back upstairs, clear the Zols for another Small Key.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Loop around the room and defeat all of the Zols that pop up to find another Small Key.

Go up.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern moving left to fight some Red Zols
Work your way left across the wide room.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Take out the Stalfos and smash some pots, and then head to the left. Defeat the Red Zols to unlock the doors. Head left some more.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern two more Pairodds
Defeat the Pairodds in the first room.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Take out two more Pairodds to find another Small Key.

Go up through the one-way door.

Take out the Zols and the Stalfos, and a chest will appear above you on the right, but you can’t reach it yet. Go up through the one-way door.

Take out the enemies, smash the pots, and pick up the floating bombs. Talk to the Owl Statue to learn To defeat the black monsters with the hard shell, feed them something explosive.

Climb the stairs in the bottom right. Go down and open that chest from a second ago.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern Dodongo Snakes mini-boss fight entrance
Entrance to the Dodongo Snakes mini-boss fight.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Continue down and follow the walkway to the right. Go down the stairs, and shove the block out of your way.

Head through the door a little to the right of the stairs along the top of the room to find the mini-boss fight.

Dodongo Snakes mini-boss fight

Your goal in this fight is to — like the Owl Statue suggested — feed the snakes bombs. It’s not exactly easy though. (If you run out of bombs, backtrack through the dungeon, smashing as many pots as you can — or back all the way out and go buy some from the shop in Mabe Village. You can carry up to 30 bombs.)

The easiest way to handle them is to place a bomb anywhere, and immediately pick it up — bombs won’t go off if you’re carrying them. Position yourself in front of one of the snakes, and toss the bomb (with A) straight at them. They’ll eat the bomb as they move.

Take out both snakes, and a portal will appear.

Find the Pegasus Boots

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern move two blocks to reach the Pegasus Boots
Move these two blocks to reach the chest with the Pegasus Boots.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the Dodongo Snakes boss fight, head right.

Follow the path through the blocks right and then down. When you reach the end of the clear path, shove the block to your left to the left, and then the block above you up. That opens a path to the chest and the floating hearts.

The chest contains the Pegasus Boots item that let you do an adorable dash.

Use your new dash to smash through the two crystals at the bottom of the screen. Shove the next block out of the way and head down.

Go get 300 rupees

Cross to the left again and go back into the mini-boss fight room. Use the portal to warp back to the beginning of the dungeon. Smash some pots to replenish your bombs, and then go to the right.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern Pegasus Boots let you run at the Vacuum Mouth to attack it
Use the Pegasus Boots to attack the Vacuum Mouth.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Line up with the Vacuum Mouth (even though this one pushes instead) directly. Dash straight at it and take it out. Open the chest for another Small Key.

Head back to the left.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern Pegasus Boots give you access to the left hallway near the entrance
Now you can finally reach that Red Zol to drop a chest on the right side.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Go up, and take the left path this time. Dash through the crystals and keep going up one room. Take out the Red Zol in the hallway. Turn around and go back down. Retrace your steps up the right side again, and go up two rooms. Take out the pair of Stalfos to make another chest appear. Open it for 300 rupees.

Head back down to the entrance and use the portal again.

Find the Nightmare Key

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern path to the Nightmare Key from the Dodongo Snakes
Path to the Nightmare Key.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the Dodongo Snake room, exit down — through the door, not the stairs — and head all the way to the right. Go up.

Take out the enemies, and then talk to the Owl. It’ll tell you to Poke suspicious parts of the wall with your sword and listen to the sounds it makes.

The blue tiles on the floor are vaguely arrow-shaped and pointing down. Drop a bomb at the point of that arrow and go through the door you create.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern using the Pegasus Boots to long jump over a three square wide gap
The Pegasus Boots let you do a running jump that clears gap up to three squares wide.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Take out the Stalfoses. Bomb the cracked wall along the left side to open a shortcut back to the left. Stand in this doorway, hold down L to start your adorable dash, and use the Roc’s Feather to long jump over the gap in the middle of the floor.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern jump the gap to find the Nightmare Key
Long jump another gap to find the Nightmare Key.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Go up the stairs. Long jump again to open the chest for this dungeon’s Nightmare Key.

Drop off the walkway to the left.

Find the compass

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern path to the Compass
Path to the Compass.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From the room with the Owl Statue and the arrow on the floor, go up. Take out the three Green Bombites and the Zols, and then head left.

Open the chest for the compass.

Place a bomb in the center of the left wall of this room to block open a new door. Go left.

Take out the Bombites to find one last Small Key.

Get to the Slime Eye boss fight

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern path to the Slime Eyes boss fight
Path to the Slime Eyes boss fight.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

From where you picked up the compass, head all the way to the right, down two rooms, and then left to get back to the large room with the five Red Zols you’ve been through a few times.

In the center of that room, use one of your many Small Keys to unlock the block at the top of the screen.

Head up along the narrow path and unlock the next block. Head right.

Another locked block. Head down.

One more locked block, and then go down the stairs.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern use the Pegasus Boots to dash into the Mega Thwomp and knock it down
Dash into the Mega Thwomp to knock it down.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Work your way right through the sidescrolling area. Use your new longjumps to navigate it. Climb down the ladder on the right side.

Smash your way through this room and exit to the left.

Take out all the Keese here to get one more Small Key (you don’t actually need it), and then use the Nightmare Key to open the door at the top.

Slime Eye boss fight

You won’t see Slime Eye at first, but you will get attacked by an endless stream of Green Zols. Dash at one of the walls to knock down the boss.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern Slime Eyes boss fight separate Slime Eyes into two
Attack Slime Eyes’ eye to make it start to separate.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon
Link’s Awakening Key Cavern Slime Eyes boss fight dash through the thin point to separate Slime Eyes completely
When it won’t separate any more, dash up through the thinnest point.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Run around to the bottom side, and attack the eye in the middle of Slime Eye. It’ll start to separate into two blobs. Keep attacking one eye until the blobs won’t separate any farther. Dash through that last strand in the middle to break the blobs apart.

Link’s Awakening Key Cavern attack each of the two blobs to defeat the Slime Eyes boss fight
Once the two blobs are separated, attack each one to defeat Slime Eyes.
Nintendo EPD, Grezzo/Nintendo via Polygon

Attack the eyes in the center of the two smaller blobs to defeat Slime Eyes.

Pick up your Heart Container, and head up to find the Sea Lily’s Bell instrument.