Tips for completing Master Quest, if you've already been through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
- The only things different about the game are the dungeons and sub-dungeons. A dungeon is one of the "levels" you have to complete in order to get one of the McGuffins (here, Spiritual Stones and Medallions) needed to access Ganon's Castle. A sub-dungeon is one of those little dungeon-like places that has no McGuffin, but some other important item to collect. They are: Ice Cavern, Bottom of the Well and Gerudo Training Ground. In particular, the Ice Cavern has some nasty tricks. I've not made it to Ganon's Castle yet, but it's probably changed around as well.
- Dungeon bosses, and almost all sub-bosses, are completely unchanged.
- The layouts of the dungeon rooms are unchanged. When you collect the map in the dungeon, you'll see that it perfectly matches the map from Ocarina of Time. The actual level geometry is exactly the same. What's changed is the contents of the dungeons.
- The order in which you explore dungeon rooms has been greatly changed. Usually, you now have to take a completely different path through the rooms in order to proceed. Sometimes this is minor (Inside the Deku Tree has almost the same exploration order), sometimes it's seriously messed up (Dodongo's Cavern is almost backwards now, and you find the Bomb Bag much later, so the level becomes much trickier). Often there will be a place in a dungeon that cannot be explored until the item is obtained from a later dungeon, but these are never required in order to collect its item or defeat the boss.
- All dungeons still have a Map, Compass, Boss Key and Special Item inside them, and the special items are the same ones in each dungeon that were in OoT, but they are often found in different places than before.
- Special dungeon features, such as the weird wobbly "tongue blocks" in Level 3 (Jabu-Jabu's Belly), are sometimes used in more places. Also, once in a while you'll encounter a new feature. The weirdest of these, by far, are the "Cow Switches" in Jabu-Jabu's Belly. They look a little like a bug in the game, but rest assured, they're supposed to be there, and you're going to be making heavy use of them. They give milk, too! Oh, and switches are very often in different places, as are Hookshot blocks.
- More on that note: the dungeons look a bit less polished, but they tend to be much more devious in terms of blocking you off from certain places. Most dungeons have at least one non-essential room that can't be entered without equipment from a later dungeon.
- There are more treasure chests in Master Quest. Some of them are red herrings now, in that you complete a puzzle and your reward turns out to be some arrows, a heart (not a Heart Container or a piece of one, just a heart!), or even a blue rupee.
- Understand that the enemies in each dungeon are not necessarily harder. The Water Temple, for example, has many fewer monsters to fight, and those evil oysters seem to be gone entirely. There are still places with hard monsters, however: many of the dungeons have extra Lizalfos and Stalfos scattered around, and in places I've had to fight four lizards at once, or three skeletons. There are now monsters from different dungeons in unusual places, too: there are a few holdout Gohma Larvae in Dodongo's Cavern.
- A few traps and puzzles are easier as well. The area in the Water Temple, with the rushing water and the vortices, after the (unchanged) fight with Dark Link is easier. Most of the invisible holes in the Bottom of the Well sub-dungeon are now simply uncovered and open, and that entire area is considerably less difficult than before (with a couple of notable exceptions). Indeed, considering that the Lens of Truth can be obtained fairly early (after getting the Bow), I was surprised that more dungeons didn't require it; it's used here in much the same ways as in the first quest, a lot in the Shadow Temple, a little in Spirit, though there's one optional room earlier with invisible enemies.
- There are many more places where the Song of Time must be used to make blocks appear and disappear, and a couple of puzzles make use of some of the more arcane rules regarding this feature. (What these are is described here, but since it's a spoiler, I'll save it for the end of the writeup.) However, the places where you use the Scarecrow Song to create a Hookshot target seem to be entirely gone, which I consider a good thing.
- Collectable supply items, which were great in number in Ocarina of Time to the extent that you rarely had to buy anything from stores, appear with the same frequency, but because you find them less in chests in the middle dungeons, and because they're all used a bit more, you tend to run out of them in the mid-to-late game. Din's Fire is needed a lot more often now, so magic shortages are to be expected. (This, in turn, makes Green Potion more useful, and by extension the extra Bottle from catching all the Big Poes.)
- Now we come to the puzzles. These take advantage of every weird, yet then unnecessary, trick in Ocarina of Time. There are switches that look like scenery, and one particular switch in
the Ice Cavern in a very, very hard-to-see spot (described in the spoilers below). Ocarina of Time had one switch that could only be hit with the spin attack – you needed it in order to get one Skulltula. Now there's one dungeon where you have to use it to proceed with the game. Din's Fire, which was required in only one place in OoT, is now used extensively throughout the game leading up to the Fire Arrows, and is still very useful later on. Any ability that can work through walls will more than likely be called upon to do just that at some point in the game. In one place an arrow must be used through a grate. In a couple of places you'll need to use the Hookshot to travel through a flaming barrier. And beware, especially, of things that look just a little "funny." Lots of places are scattered about where you have to use bombs, and finally Bombchus seem useful for more than just taking out Iron Knuckles (which are more numerous now).
The Song of Time never makes blocks appear or disappear, but merely moves them around, though sometimes the places they're moved in from or to are "outside" the dungeon. So sometimes making a block appear somewhere will make it disappear from a place you may have wanted it. Navi always homes in on a spot where a block may appear. And the Song of Time never removes a block you're standing on.
Where there are two or three switches in the Ice Cavern that are cleverly placed in order to look like scenery, by far the trickiest switch is in the room where, originally, you first got Blue Fire. The Heart Piece trapped inside the ice blocks won't melt easily. To open it up, you have to look for a switch *buried in the floor*. The ground in this room has a transparent surface, and opaque ice a couple of inches below that. The switch is barely sticking up out of the opaque layer, but beneath the transparent one. The only way to hit it is by placing a bomb directly above the switch. The explosion will penetrate the transparent layer and activate it.