Storyline text and attempted translations from...

The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods

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ドクロの森 Skull Woods

Surprisingly, while the Hookshot does allow for several shortcuts and alternate pathways, including crossing the broken bridge in the Light World mountains and crossing the river east to west in the northeast Dark World, it doesn't actually unlock any interesting new areas, so Link just heads for the next labyrinth. This one is located in the Skull Woods, the Dark World counterpart to the Light World's Disorienting Forest, and readily accessed from the portal just north of Kakariko.

Accordingly, access to the dungeon requires, in addition to the Moon Pearl, any of the Powerful Gloves (Titan's Mitts), the Power Gloves plus the Hammer, or Dark World access via Agahnim plus the Hookshot and any of the Power Gloves or Hammer or Flippers.

Only two of the four entrances to the woods actually connect to the dungeon proper, and the dungeon itself has numerous entrances, including several holes in the ground. This makes it very confusing to navigate for those not already familiar with the layout. To make things worse, it has mummies that take a long time to kill with just about anything but Bombar, Ether, or the Ice Rod. Many rooms even include a giant hand that periodically drops from the ceiling, tries to grab Link, and dumps him back at the entrance if it succeeds, like an involuntary use of the Mirror. On top of that, this dungeon also introduces Bunny Beams, yellow energy swirls that temporarily turn Link into a helpless pink bunny if they catch him, despite the Moon Pearl.

The big key takes some thinking and statue dragging to reach, and Link has to jump into a pit under a bush and Bomb through a wall to reach the big chest:

Alternately, the big key chest is far easier to reach if you have the Staff of Somaria, and a simple Bomb Jump gets to the big chest more quickly. Also, if you're low on magic, Bomb through the east wall of the big key chest room to find a magic refill under a skull.

ファイアロッドを みつけた!
真紅の炎が ほとばしる        fire rod
I found the Fire Rod!
Crimson flames gush forth.
Pay attention to the magic meter!
You found the Fire Rod!
This rod commands the red fire!
But watch your Magic Meter!

The Fire Rod shoots fireballs, which burn enemies much like the Bombar Magic does, and has a base cost of 16 magic per use (which gives 8 shots on a full meter unless cost is halved). Oddly, the Fire Rod and the Bombar magic do not always have the same effect on the same enemies.

With the Fire Rod, Link can burn open the entrance to the final section of this labyrinth. Adding in the Fire Rod allows for more difficult torch-lighting puzzles, but nothing especially remarkable, though the grabbing hands and the star tiles that move the pits around can get annoying. Helpfully, many of the pots have magic recovery jars under them. One room also includes a curtain that needs to be cut down, similar to the one at the top of the Hyrule Castle tower.

The boss here is a giant moth. Both the sword and the Fire Rod are effective. The moth itself is relatively weak; it's the shifting floor and the moving spikes that are the problem. Regardless, Link wins, moth explodes, heart container appears, crystal drops.

リンク あなたのおかげで
できました。ありがとう…。      crystal
…『オオイナル ワザワイ』の
この『オオイナル ワザワイ』
のね。 ゼルダ姫を必ず救って
Link, I was able to escape
the fiend's clutches because
of you. Thank you... you know of the prophecy
of the Great Catastrophe?
This is how I heard it...
"Should one with an evil heart
claim the Triforce, a Hero shall
surely appear, and will strike
down the one who would cause
this Great Catastrophe.
However, should the Hero fall,
the world will be overrun by
the evil-hearted one..."
Yes, the only ones supposed to
have the potential to be the Hero
are from the Knight Clan that
protected the Hylian royal family...
You carry their blood, you see.
Be sure to rescue Princess Zelda.
May the way the hero travels
be guided unto the Triforce.
Link, because of you, I can
escape from the clutches of
the evil monsters. Thank you!
...Do you know the prophecy of
the Great Cataclysm?
This is the way I heard it...
If a person who has an evil
heart gets the Triforce, a Hero
is destined to appear...
...and he alone must face the
person who began the Great
If the evil one destroys the
Hero, nothing can save the
world from his wicked reign.
Only a person of the Knights Of
Hyrule, who protected the
royalty of Hylia, can become
the Hero... You are of their
blood-line, aren't you? Then
you must rescue
Zelda without fail.
May the way of the Hero lead
to the Triforce.

For Randomizer purposes, the Skull Woods dungeon contains a map, a compass, three small keys, and a big key (if these aren't shuffled beyond their usual dungeons), and two other items. Most of the chests don't strictly require anything except dungeon entry, though getting in and out from some of them will take at least one small key. The big chest requires the big key, and like in the Swamp Temple, that's the only thing that requires it, so the big key might be locked inside. The Fire Rod is required to enter the back of the dungeon and so to reach both the one chest there and the boss (and whatever it drops). Due to the curtain, a sword is also required to reach the boss, except in Swordless mode.

The dungeon also has a small key under a skull in the room with the westermost entrance in the front, and a small key dropped by a mummy just before the boss room; these are not randomized and will always be in their usual locations.

Runners often treat the front of Skull Woods as sort of like overworld checks, grabbing whatever's there in passing even if they have no intention of heading to the back at the time. When going to the back, it's not uncommon to save a key or two from the front to get to the boss more quickly, and hope not to need the chest in the back that has a key in a regular playthrough. And after clearing the dungeon, runners who have the Mirror and Mudora's Writings will often warp over to the Light World for a quick check of what's on the Master Sword pedestal, just in case it turns out to be something important.

Handy as the Fire Rod is, it doesn't get Link get anywhere new, so it's on to the next labyrinth...

When using Entrance Shuffle, most of the Skull Woods entrances are usually only shuffled among themselves. The back section is an exception and is shuffled like an ordinary single-entrance dungeon. Additionally, on the Insanity setting, because holes and their corresponding exits are decoupled, the front section of the dungeon is free to be shuffled in with everything else, too.

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