Key Cavern starting room

In part three of our guide to Zelda: Link’s Awakening, we saw Link continue his decades-long vendetta against all forms of pottery (thanks to a fabulous new power bracelet), though not before he’d taken a chain chomp for a pleasant walk. In part four, we’ll be venturing to Ukuku Prairie and then Kanalet Castle to collect five golden leaves, before acquiring the Slime Key necessary to access the game’s third dungeon.

Kanalet Castle, Richard’s Golden Leaves and Slime Key Walkthrough

Returning Bow-Wow to Mabe Village

Madame MeowMeow smooches Link

With his lunging attacks and the ability to precisely detect Secret Seashells, BowWow is a precious ally you were probably hoping to keep around for some time. Unfortunately, some of the characters on Koholint island are justifiably scared of him.

So, assuming that your business in the Bottle Cavern is completely concluded, and that you are happy to wait a little longer to track down more secret seashells (you will get an item to help track them down later), you should take BowWow to Madam MeowMeow’s house in Mabe Village for a steamy reward:

Ho ho ho! I really appreciate what you did for my poor, precious BowWow!
You are such a nice boy! How can I ever repay you? I know…
SMOOOOOOOCH!
(You got a reward from Madam MeowMeow!
L-l-lucky!)

While you’re in Mabe Village, you should ensure:

  • You have followed part one of the trading quest and have the bananas in your possession
  • You have purchased the shovel from the tool shop
  • You have a good number of your bombs in your inventory (again, from the tool shop)

Heading to Ukuku Prairie

Options for accessing Ukuku Prairie in Mabe and near Witch's house

The mysterious voice that you heard after felling the Genie mentioned a prairie – with your newly acquired Power Bracelet, you will find that you have access to a new area meeting that description – Ukuku Prairie.

The entrance to Ukuku Prairie can be found behind some liftable rocks in the North East of Mabe Village – alternatively, you can approach the same area by jumping the pits outside of the Witch’s house on Koholint Prairie and heading south.

Keyhole for Slime Key

The large open area you first emerge into has plenty of enemies and a large pedestal containing a warp point (these are going to be useful as the accessible part of Koholint Island continues to expand). Head south for several screens and you will find the entrance to your next dungeon – in the centre of the lower set of totems, there is a keyhole for the Slime Key. Continue through the narrow paths to the south and you will come across a house. Head inside.

Richard and the Golden Leaves

Richard asks Link to track down his Golden leaves

The house is the villa of Richard, a prince who claims to be a resident of nearby Kanalet Castle:

Salutations! You wouldn’t know by the look of me, but I used to live in the castle!
My servants went berserk and I was forced to flee to my villa…
So you’re looking for something, are you? I may have just what you’re after.
But first, I want you to retrieve the golden leaf I left behind in the castle when I fled.
Smashing! To tell you the truth, there are five leaves, and I want them all!
Ok you’ll need to do some digging, so buy a shovel! Are you off then? Good luck!

With your next quest clear, and heeding his warnings about needing a shovel, leave the villa and head east, then north.

(Trivia fans may know that Richard is actually the star of the Japanese exclusive Game Boy game ‘The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls’ [1992]. He also turns up as an assist trophy in the Smash Bros Series. In both appearances, he wears red rather than blue. Knowing this will not make it easier to locate his leaves).

Taking down a Zirro with a jumping slash

The trek north is relatively lengthy and will bring you into contact with a new formidable foe: a flying, bomb-throwing mushroom enemy called a Zirro. At this point, your best tactic will be to use Roc’s Feather to jump at Zirro in the air, while swinging your sword.

Continue to follow the path north and you will reach Kanalet Castle.

The Link’s Awakening Trading Sequence: Part Two – Step Five: Bananas for Stick (and Kanalet Castle Bridge)

The front gates of Kanalet Castle

Kanalet Castle’s main gates are unsurprisingly shut fast. Instead, you should head east alongside the moat to find an alternative route.

Handing bananas to Kiki the monkey

In the eastern corner you will find Kiki, a friendly monkey who isn’t afraid to uphold stereotypes: if you have followed the trading quest, you should have a bunch of Bananas which Kiki will request (if not, check part one of the trading guide and come back). Kiki and a troop of Monkeys will suddenly set to work building a bridge across the moat for you.

Receiving a stick for your bananas

With the bridge completed, the monkeys leave, and Link acquires a stick for use in part three of the trading quest.

At this point you can head north to gain access to Kanalet Castle, but you may want to circle and climb the hill to the south – at the top is the shell mansion (deposit your secret shells here for a reward), as well as shining patch of dirt which transforms into another warp point.

Five Golden Leaves Inside Kanalet Castle’s Walls

A Mad Bomber pops up from a hole in the grounds of Kanalet Castle

Head east and you will encounter a patch of lawn with six pits. As you approach, a Mad Bomber will poke his head out of one of the holes and throw a bomb – play a game of whack-a-mole with him by anticipating where he may emerge and dodging the bombs.

The first of the five golden leaves

Get enough hits in, and you’ll get the first of the five golden leaves as your reward.

Throwing a rock at a crow for the second golden leaf

Continue exploring the castle grounds in a clockwise direction until you come to a Crow in a tree. Throw a nearby rock at the tree he’s in, and he will take flight and attack you. Dispatch him for your second Golden Leaf.

Third golden leaf in the first room of Kanalet Castle

Return to the south of the castle grounds and enter the keep. In the first room you will encounter two Darknuts and a Bubble (the flaming black skull). Kill the Darknuts and avoid the Bubble (use your shield) and the third Golden Leaf will be your reward.

Opening the front gates to Kanalet Castle

Head up and then right to find a conspicuous switch. This will play a short cutscene in which the main gates to the castle swing open, accompanied by the following text:

Hunh? It sounds like the castle gate opened! You can easily leave the castle now!

Head up the next two sets of stairs to the next area.

Fighting a Darknut for the fourth golden feather

In the sunken area in the next room you will see a pair of cracked Darknut reliefs on the wall. Bomb either one and a Darknut enemy will jump out – dispatch the one on the left for the fourth Golden Leaf. Follow the upper walkway south until you’re out on the battlements of the keep.

Smashing a pot against a door with a suspicious pot symbol on it

Head inside the central door on the battlements and enter a room with a collection of pots and a door that quickly closes as you approach. The pot shape on the door is a clue on what to do next: lift one of the pots and throw it directly at the door. The door will shatter allowing you to step through.

The aftermath of the fight for your fifth leaf

In the final room you will have to fight a ball and chain soldier. Avoid/shield against the ball as he swings it and wait for an opening to get your sword swings in. Pick up the fifth and final Gold leaf.

At last! You got the final golden leaf!
Now go and see Richard about that reward…

Obtaining the Slime Key and Accessing the Key Cavern

Richard thanks you for returning his leaves

Return south to Richard’s Villa as prompted and he’ll be happy to see his precious leaves:

Ahh! Trés bien! I see you have recovered all of the leaves!
Now, move this statue and you will find your reward!

After speaking to him, he will move aside. Move the statue and climb down the stairs to a short cave area – the lefthand path leads to a Secret Seashell. Follow the right path up, climb the stairs, and head down and out of the cave.

Avoiding pot-holes in the field behind Richard's Villa

You emerge into the overgrown field behind Richard’s Villa. This place is full of pits – swing your sword to uncover the safe path forward while avoiding them. Head to the upper right of the area and you should be able to get a Heart Piece (if you can’t quite make it, mark the location on your map and return after the upcoming dungeon).

Discovering a key buried in front of the Owl Statue

Eventually, the path in the field will lead you to the upper left corner with an Owl Statue. Clear the weeds in front of the statue and speak to it for a clue:

IN SOIL SLEEPS SECRETS, BENEATH YOUR SOLES…

Equip your shovel and dig directly in front of the Owl Statue to receive the Slime Key

Inserting the Slime Key into the lock to open the dungeon

Head south and you can finally place the Slime Key in the keyhole and open the dungeon gate. You cannot actually access the gateway here though – head south and loop anti-clockwise around Richard’s Villa and field until you find a break in the trees.

Accessing the lake near the Key Cavern entrance

Head south along the lake’s shore and you will find a succession of small islands to the west that you can hop across with Roc’s Feather.

Key Cavern entrance

Consider heading up the steps to dig for a Secret Seashell, or head through the gate and into your third dungeon, the Key Cavern.

Key Cavern Walkthrough

Key Cavern: Acquiring the Stone Beak and Dungeon Map

Throwing a pot at another door in the Key Cavern

Step inside the Key Cavern and you’ll see two routes – one forward, one to the right. The righthand route includes an obstacle you won’t be able to do much about for now, so throw a pot at the door at the top of the screen and step through.

Split corridor in Key Cavern

As tempting as the narrow pathway to the left is, this is another route you’ll have to come back for later – clear out the shrouded Stalfos and the Bombites for the first small key in the dungeon, and head through the doorway on the right.

The next few rooms continue to hold a lack of interest for you:

  • Head north in the first room – the righthand doorway has a series of raised blue barriers you won’t be able to get past right now
  • The second room also has nothing of interest for now, head north again
  • The third room has a chest blocked by barriers and a set of stairs – head down the stairs
Choosing the correct (top) door in the Key Cavern

Down the stairs is a small hub with four doors for your one key. The correct choice at this point is the top door – those on the left and bottom of the room are essentially pointless (you must clear each one of enemies to be rewarded with a replacement key).

You may want to go in these rooms just for the sake of going into every room, of course. If you do, you will encounter the Pairodd enemy for the first time – these large-nosed oddities will teleport to the other side of the room when you approach – you will have to hurl a bomb at them to do damage.

Dispatching enemies for a small key and hitting the gem switch

Step into the top room and defeat the enemies – a Small Key will drop to the left of the beakless Owl Statue. Strike the gem switch once – this will raise orange barriers and lower blue barriers in the earlier rooms. Return to the room with the four doors and climb back up the stairs

Acquiring the Key Cavern Stone Beak

With the blue barriers down, you can open the chest, which contains this dungeon’s Stone Beak. Don’t return down the stairs just yet though, as the barriers are now in the right position for another room you passed. Head south two screens and enter the side-room on the right.

Acquiring the Key Cavern Stone Beak

The blue barriers have now fallen in the side-room, giving you access to the chest in the raised area. The chest contains the dungeon’s Map – a good haul for having solved a single puzzle!

Key Cavern: Locating the Compass

Proceeding to the next section of the dungeon through the righthand door

Return to the stairs at the north of the passage and head back down a floor to the four-door room. This time, you’ll want to go through the door on the right. The next room features a route with conveyors, a Kesse and a Pairodd (as mentioned above, throw bombs from a distance to do damage – get too close and it will teleport away). Climb the stairs at the end of the route.

Circling the pedestal and killing Zol

Circle the raised area in the next room and a number of Zol (green blobs) will appear. Kill them all for a Small Key and head north.

The major dungeon hub and some Shrouded Stalfos

The next room is the major hub that you’ll be solving for the rest of the dungeon. A series of four lock blocks in the centre of the room lead to the dungeon’s nightmare, but at this point you will only have the one key. Let’s take the top-right route first.

Subtle Game Design 101

The next area contains game design’s subtlest tile design and an Owl Statue with a related message:

Poke suspicious parts of the wall with your sword and listen to the sounds it makes.

Face the lower wall, hold your sword button and walk forwards. Note how there’s a different sound at the section of wall indicated by the gigantic arrow-shaped arrangement of tiles? This indicates a bombable wall. Stick a bomb by the wall and have a peek through.

A wall begging for a bomb

The next room features a currently unjumpable chasm and a crumbling wall – bomb the lefthand wall to give yourself another entrance to the major hub, and then turn back to the giant arrow room. Go through the doorway in the upper right.

Picking up the Key Cavern Compass

Follow the pathway around until the dead-end. Deal with the enemies and open the chest to receive this dungeon’s Compass.

Bombing a suspicious wall in the compass room

You’re not done yet – if you tap the wall in the compass room with your sword you will find there is a secret weakness for you to bomb – do so, and head through the newly opened gap.

Killing Bombites for another Small Key

Deal with the Bombites in the hidden room and a small key will drop from the ceiling.

Key Cavern: Fighting the Dodongo Snakes Miniboss

Locked entrances in the lefthand side of the major hub

Return to the major hub and head left. You will need to kill the red gel enemies to open the doors here. Once you have done so, take the left exit.

Throwing bombs at the Pairodds

The first room of this lefthand route has a pair of Pairodds – once again, take them out by keeping your distance and throwing your bombs. Once both are dead, a small key will drop from the ceiling (if you run out of bombs, there is a 10 bomb pick-up two screens north of here – loop back round and have another try)

An owl state offers words of wisdom about the dungeon's sub boss

Defeat the enemies in the next room to spawn a box on the upper walkway (grab it in a moment for 50 rupees). Head north again, kill all enemies, grab the 10 bomb pickup and use the stone beak on the Owl Statue for some wise words about the upcoming miniboss:

To defeat the black monsters with the hard shell, feed them something explosive.

Climb the steps in the lower right and head south to return to the main hub.

Dungeon sub boss entrance

Take the top door this time, and ready yourself for a miniboss

Synchronised bomb gobbling from the Dodongo Snakes

The Dodongo Snakes move with slow, synchronised lunges of their mouths. The Owl Statue’s words suggest feeding them ‘something explosive’ – and what’s more explosive than a bomb? Lay a bomb in front of each snake and they will eat it and take damage. Retreat and wait for them to move a couple of times (they will refuse to eat initially) and then lay another bomb. Rinse and repeat.

If you manage to run out of bombs, exit via the stairs in the lower left and return to the area with the owl statue for the 10 bomb pickup and try the boss again.

Once defeated you’ll be rewarded with a fairy and a blue portal back to the dungeon entrance. Exit via the door that has opened to the right.

Key Cavern: Pursuing the Pegasus Boots (and the areas they unlock)

Pushing blocks to access the chest

Follow the short path to the end in the next room. Push the lower block left, then push the upper block upwards, opening the path to the chest.

Link grabs the Pegasus Boots

Inside the chest are the hugely useful Pegasus Boots. Hold L for a short while and you’ll run forward brandishing your sword, poking enemies and obstacles. You can also clear longer jumps while dashing (in the Game Boy versions you will need to equip the Pegasus Boots to A or B to use them).

Dash attacking the inflatable barriers

Below the chest are a couple of inflatable barriers – unsurprisingly these can be dealt with a dash. Once they’re burst, push the block at the end of the path to the right to escape.

Returning via the Miniboss' blue portal

At this point you should have three small keys – still one short of the four needed for the room’s central area. You’ll need to backtrack to find new areas that the Pegasus Boots open up. Return to the miniboss room and take the blue portal to the start of the dungeon.

Dash attacking the Vacuum Mouth

From the start of the dungeon, head right. On the other side of a narrow walkway you’ll find a Vacuum Mouth which immediately starts to repel you. Execute a dash and you’ll be able to make slow progress from one side of the room to the other – steer up and down to avoid falling off of the walkway and get close enough to stick the Vacuum Mouth with your sword. Open the chest and claim your fourth small key.

Killing all enemies on the screen for 300 Rupees

Before you head back to the major hub area and spend your four small keys, head north and take the narrow passageway on the left. You can now dash past the inflatable barriers and defeat the red gel one screen north. Loop back round to this screen from the other side to kill the Stalfos – a Chest will appear containing 300 Rupees.

Key Cavern: Finding the Nightmare Key

Dash jumping across the chasm

Return to the major hub (the easiest way is to return to the blue portal at the dungeon’s start). Head to the room indicated by the giant tile arrow from earlier and execute a dash and jump to take you clear over the chasm. Head north.

Acquiring the Nightmare Key

Jump another gap with your dash jump and open the chest on this upper walkway for the nightmare key. (You can step off of the ledge rather than following the route back round)

Key Cavern: Defeating the Nightmare/Dungeon Boss – Slime Eye

Unlocking the fourth lock block

Head to the lock blocks in the central area and use your four small keys to access the stairs.

Dash attacking a Mega Thwomp

In the sidescrolling area below you’ll find a Mega Thwomp suspended over a spiked pit. Dash towards the Mega Thwomp and it will fall on the spikes, providing a platform to safely step on. Dash jump over the next set of spikes and leave the sidescrolling area. Use dash jumps to clear the next area of inflatable barriers and enemies and leave the room.

Negotiating conveyors in the last room before the boss

You’ve reached the final room before the Nightmare, with a quick maze of conveyors and Keese to kill. You will get a small key for dispatching all the Keese. Head through the Nightmare’s door to face the dungeon’s final boss.

I’ve been in every single room in the Key Cavern, why do I have an extra Small Key?

This is intentional – there is one more key than there are unlockable doors in the dungeon. By skipping technically non-essential doors (specifically, the top, bottom and left-hand doors in the room with four unlockable doors) you could otherwise arrive at the boss having spent all your Small Keys (though without the stone beak or dungeon map). Having one extra key available before the boss ensures that you can still return to visit all rooms in the dungeon later.

Dash attack the dungeon walls to dislodge Slime Eye

As you step into the empty boss room, an unseen voice taunts you:

NEENER NEENER! You can’t find me! NYAH NYAH!

Zol (green blob) enemies will spawn periodically, but other than a tell-tale shadow above the centre of the room, there’s no sign of the Nightmare. Use your dash to run headlong into the wall to force it to appear.

Swinging your sword to take an eye out

Hit the Slime Eye in its single large eye and it will stretch to reveal a second eye. Hit one of the eyes again for a further stretch. If left for too long it will contract again.

Dash attacking the stretchy middle of the Slime Eye

The idea here is to force the Slime Eye into maximum stretchiness. You can then dash at its thin centre, forcing it to divide into two separate, smaller Slime Eyes. Hit both eyes a few more times and the Slime Eye will explode, handing you a heart container and opening the path forward.

Claiming the Sea Lily's Bell

Climb the pedestal in the next room to claim your third instrument, the Sea Lily’s Bell. Once more, your screen will turn white and the mysterious voice hints at your next destination…

...WATERFALL…
It is hidden in the waterfall…

In part five, we take a roundabout route to the game's fourth Dungeon as the island opens significantly.