A treacherous path
Don't count on the journey to the Great Palace to be uneventful. In addition to the random enemies that spawn throughout the lava flows that you must travel through, there are no less than four required encounters and two mountain tunnels that you must proceed through in order to reach the palace. There are three types of sequences that are very similar to one another. The first takes place south of the cemetery.
- Cemetery: Right after you travel south through the cemetery and just before you reach the lava flows, you will have your first forced encounter. This section is very much like the sections that you were forced to endure right after you blew the whistle to remove the River Demon. Lizardmen will throw rocks at you from atop the cliff ledge, while Moas float through the area trying to slow you down. As soon as you complete this forced encounter, walk south toward the water, then turn due east. There is a secret room (not shown on the map) that contains a red magic jug.
- Lava Flows: You'll have to pass through three of these sequences, two before the first mountain tunnel, and one between the first and second mountain tunnels. These sequences are extremely dangerous. They start with an Orange Lizardman greeting you in a small tunnel (In the third sequence after the first mountain tunnel, this will be a Red Lizardman.) Jump up in the narrow space to strike him in the head on your way down. Around the time you defeat him, you should begin to see the Moas that fly around. Remove them, as well as the Gilbocks that float around before you attempt to jump from ledge to ledge. If they hit you mid-jump, you will be thrown into the lava below. Eventually, you will reach a fight with a second Lizardman. After you defeat him, it's a good idea to cast the Jump spell. The gap beyond can be cleared without its help, but it's extremely risky, and not worth potentially being forced to repeat the entire sequence.
- Mountain Tunnels: The first mountain tunnel is broken up into two parts. The right half contains Moas and Gilbocks. The left half contains a Skettlar and a Blue Lizardman. The second mountain tunnel only contains one part, occupied by a Blue Lizardman and a Red Lizardman. You are advised to bypass as many of the enemies as you can without actually interacting with them as both health and magic are in rare quantities around here.
Once you make it through the second mountain tunnel, you will arrive at the Great Palace. When you arrive, you will find a force field that will prevent anyone from entering. Provided you placed all six crystals in the palace statues, the force field will be lifted for the hero who accomplished such a monumental task. There are so many rooms in the Great Palace, and many of them are not necessary to visit for the sake of beating the game, so the walkthrough will only cover the rooms that lie along the quickest path to the Triforce of Courage.
- A: As soon as you ride the elevator down to this first room, begin moving to the left. There is nothing worth discovering to the right. You will have your first fight against a Fokkel. Fokkels aren't terribly difficult, but you do have to keep an eye out for the flames that they fire up into the air which may bounce back towards you when they land. Carefully defeat the Fokkel and proceed to the left to room B.
- B: Jump up the stairs of blocks and begin walking along the upper platform. After you see a pillar, you may notice some Bots down below. If you do not jump shortly after this pillar, you will false through a false floor and possibly take damage from landing on the Bots. Be sure to jump after you pass the pillar. Proceed to the left and take the elevator down to room C.
- C: From this room on, you will proceed to make a number of right turns until you are closer to the bottom of the palace. No enemy will challenge you on your way to room D.
- D: You might expect to be forced to deal with Bagubagus while walking across this bridge suspended over lava, but the room is surprisingly unoccupied. Cross the bridge to room E.
- E: After walking across the length of this largely empty room, you will encounter a Fokkel just before the elevator that leads down to room F. Defeat the Fokkel and proceed.
- F: Two sets of blocks form barricade through the room which you must break down and move beyond. All the while, Golden Ra statue heads will float through the room. It would be wise to stop and deal with them by bouncing off them with the Downward Thrust technique before moving on. The more you clear, the easier the room will be to traverse. Travel right to room G.
- G: In this room, you will encounter your first armed red Fokker enemy. Fokker fight a bit like Blue Ironknuckles, only they like to hop around the room a lot more. As a result of this hopping, it's not uncommon for them to leap over Link's head, giving him immediate access to the opposite side of the hallway, which Link should take advantage of. There's no point in engaging in a difficult fight unless you are still attempting to reach the highest levels of experience. Instead, bypass the Fokker, climb up the steps (avoiding the Bot as you go) and smash through the column of blocks to the floor below. Ride the elevator down to room H.
- H: Rooms that appear to be nothing more than empty elevator shafts usually contain a secret pathway to the left near the bottom of the shaft. In this case, if you push against the left wall as you travel down, you will eventually find the passage that leads to a seemingly empty room with a Fokker statue on one side. These statues, like the Ironknuckle statues are capable of providing Link with Red Potions if they are struck, or they may come to life. The statue in this room is one such statue. Take the elevator down to room I.
- I: Like room H above it, this room has a secret passage to the left, but this is certainly one you don't want to explore; a yet unseen Degu Bubble haunts an empty room here. Instead, head down to room J.
- J: Once again, head to the right at the bottom of the elevator. If you can defeat the Fokkel that's in your way, great, but more than likely, you will only end up pushing it off the side of the screen and the game will consider it removed. Continue to room K.
- K: Red Arnels dot the floor here, but they really aren't much more of a threat than their blue cousins. Pay closer attention to the Golden Ra heads that float through the room. The statue before the elevator can be struck to see if a red potion can be obtained, but run away if it becomes a Fokkel. Take the elevator down to room L.
- L: This room is very similar to room F. However, in between the two walls of blocks, you will encounter a deadly Blue Fokkel. This beast can be immensely difficult to deal with, especially considering the layout of the room. Your two choices are to fight against it, or to try to run away from it. It can be difficult to outrun, but it's even more difficult to fight and remain healthy. If you try to outrun it and fail, you may find yourself pinned against the second set of blocks. Try to reach higher ground so that it's harder for the Fokkel to follow. Proceed to room M.
- M: A Red Arnel is found along the crumbling bridges. Take it out with a Downward Thrust as you pass it by. The Bubble that follows should stay safely below the platform shelf as you run to the elevator. Take it down to room N.
- N: Don't let the hanging curtains or the giant Degu Bubble scare you. Run right past the Degu Bubble and face off with the Fokker. Defeat it and proceed to room O.
- O: Another Blue Fokkel greets you when you enter this room. This one is a little easier to avoid, however, than the first one. Let it jump over you, and race for the stairs. Don't worry too much about the Degu Bubble, the priority should be on outpacing the Blue Fokkel. Smash through the first column of bricks and drop down the second column to reach the elevator. Ride it down to room P.
- P: In the secret portion of this room, try hitting the statue for a Red Potion. If you get it, do not cast Life after you collect it as there is a fairy to collect very close by. If it becomes a Red Fokkel, leave immediately. Head down to room Q.
- Q: Amazingly, if you get off the elevator and head to the right, you will actually discover a fairy trapped within the blocks. It is definitely worth collecting, even if you are only missing a sliver of health. However, even more amazing is what you'll find if you traverse the Bot covered columns and enter the room to the left: a 1-up doll. By all means, do not miss this extra chance. Return to the elevator and head down to room R.
- R: At this point, you may be so used to taking right turns at the bottom of elevators, that you might wander into room S and discover it's a dead end. Instead, now you want to travel left, defeat the Fokkel, and head to room T.
- S: All you will find here is a deadly Blue Fokker, a Bubble, and a dead end. Avoid this room and turn around to reach room T.
- T: Here, you will discover a low passageway, guarded by a good number of Golden Ra statue heads. Take them out to be on the safe side. At first, this room may appear to be a dead end too, but in fact it is not. Beneath the blocks that line the floor, you will find a small portion that is fake. If you discover this section of the floor, you will fall through it and drop down to room U.
- U: Upon landing here, searching the section to the left will yield nothing, so head to the right. As you pass through this area, you will be set upon by a gigantic Bot Master. As soon as you inflict damage on this Bot, it will break apart into many normal sized Bots. But these Bots are much stronger and take more hits to defeat, so deal with them cautiously. When the Bots are defeated, proceed to room V.
- V: In this room, you will find a crumbling bridge with a Bubble bouncing around underneath. As you cross, you will encounter Myus on the surface of the bridge. When you reach the middle of the room, you will encounter a narrow shaft. This should remind you a bit of previous palaces; allow the bridge to crumble over the shaft so you can drop down to room W below.
- W: This time when you land, the left may remind you of the empty section of room U, but there are actually two Red Potions (or enemies) hidden in the blocks which you'll wish to take advantage of! Cast Life to restore your health and collect them so that you are at full strength. Fortunately, no Bot Master will fall on your head this time as you approach room X.
- X: The fight that you are about to engage in is one of the toughest fights in the whole game, possibly even tougher than the fight to follow. It's not necessarily difficult to defeat the Thunderbird, but due to the strategy required to beat him, you are left with substantially less magic than usual. When you arrive in the center of the platform in the room, the Thunderbird will appear, all red. No matter what you do to it in this form, it is invulnerable. The only way to harm it is to cast Thunder and turn it blue so that you can see its face. Once you do this, its weak point is exposed (actually, the dot in the headdress just above the face). The Thunderbird will hover overhead, spitting fireballs at you at various angles. Casting Reflect will drastically reduce the threat posed by Thunderbird, as it will block the fireballs. Casting Jump and Shield is not required at all, but it is highly recommended. This will not leave you with enough to cast Life, but in this case, the ability to cast Shield is more valuable. You must carefully dodge the fire (which you can lead by moving in various directions) and jump up to strike the weak point above the face. When you have reduced the Thunderbird's health by half, it begins to double the rate at which it spits fireballs into the air. Do your best to avoid as many as possibly while jumping in the air to strike at the Thunderbird. Once it is defeated, if you did not use up both Red Potions found in room W, you may return to that room to collect any remaining potions before returning to room X and proceeding on to the final room of the palace.
- !: When you arrive in this room, a small wizard will taunt you from high atop a platform with the Triforce of Courage before disappearing. The lighting in the room will change, and Link's shadow will become highly visible. It will then leap off and act on its own. Link's final battle for the Triforce is against… himself. The Shadow Link can only use normal attacks, though you can only damage him with your normal attacks, too. He will rapidly swing his sword high and low, and occasionally jump in the air to try and catch you off guard. Your best defense is a good offense; strike just as rapidly back at him to push him away. It is a good idea to cast Shield, and hopefully, you will have enough magic left over to cast Life once, or even twice. One method of damaging Shadow Link is to jump into him and stab him low when you land. He will not have enough time to adjust his defense to your position, and he will take a point of damage. A simpler way to defeat Shadow Link is to knee down in the lower left corner of the screen and keep stabbing towards the right. You will be hit once in a while, but Shadow Link will take considerable more damage. If you cannot afford being hit, knee in the middle of the room and keep stabbing in his direction. There is no need to move - just keep the direction of the stabs towards him. This tactic takes some time, but you will eventually beat him without being hit at all.
Defeating your shadow
Once you have completely emptied Shadow Link's life, you will have successfully beaten the game, and saved Princess Zelda and all of Hyrule from the return of Gannon. Link will return to the North Palace and use the power of all three Triforces to awaken Zelda from her deep slumber.