Get ready to get wet! Throw on your Zora Tunic and Iron Boots and explore the depths of this sunken temple to try to find a way to reach the monster that’s caused the curse on Zora’s Domain.
The Water Temple is notorious for being one of the toughest and most confusing dungeons in Zelda history, so you’ll have to pay close attention if you want to succeed. Start off by orienting yourself in this main chamber. The dungeon entrance, through which you just entered, is south according to the Dungeon Map (forget that if you consider the geography of the world outside this is not true; focus on the in-game map!). If you can remember this you can easily follow the instructions for the first part of the dungeon - if not, fortunately the Map and Compass can be picked up pretty early on.
As a matter of fact, you can go ahead and bypass this first objective for now and head straight for the Compass. The floor of the dungeon where you start is Floor 3, the highest floor. Head over to the east side of the room and sink down using your Iron Boots so that you can reach the passage on Floor 2. You may need to remove your Iron Boots while you’re sinking so you can swim over and position yourself above the ledge, then reequip the boots to land on it.
Enter the passage, using your Hookshot to deal with the Stingers, and grapple into the target at the end of the hall to get past the spikes. From there, point your Hookshot at one of the targets on the ceiling to pull yourself out of the water, hit the crystal switch from afar either by planting a Bomb nearby or hitting it with a projectile at a distance and open up the chest it reveals. You have to hurry before the timer runs out or else a column of water will block off the chest. Inside is the Compass - now you won’t have to worry about remembering which cardinal direction you’re facing, since the mini-map in the corner of your screen will show you.
Return to the central chamber and sink down to Floor 1 and enter the east door. At the end of the passage you’ll meet Ruto. She’s come here to deal with the monster that’s caused the Zora’s Domain curse. Remove your boots to follow her up to the third floor and climb out of the water. Look at the Triforce icon on the wall here. If you stand next to the icon and play Zelda’s Lullaby, you’ll drain the water completely out of the temple. Remember this spot well, since you may need to revisit it to manipulate the water level.
Step inside the door here and fight off four Spikes to cause a chest containing the Dungeon Map to appear. With the Compass and Map together, you have everything you need to successfully navigate the temple! If you’re ever stuck and can’t figure out where to go, use this guide in conjunction with your Compass and Map to narrow down all the rooms you haven’t been to and chests you haven’t opened.
Take the map and drop down to the fully-drained first floor. The sealed door here will open if you light the two torches on either side of it by shooting arrows through the already-lit brazier or by casting Din’s Fire. Inside you’ll meet another new enemy: the Shell Blade. These guys can be pretty tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing - check the Enemy Hint for battle strategies. Defeat them all to earn a Small Key, then head out the door and return to the central chamber.
While the water level is drained, head through the south passage on the first floor and bomb the floor at the end of the hallway. This will reveal a hidden passage to a secret room where you’ll find Skulltula Token 70. Once you’ve nabbed it, return to the central chamber and head down the west passage. Push the block here so that it falls into the hole, then jump down after it and sink to the bottom with your Iron Boots. Follow the passage to its end and remove the boots to float back to the surface.
In the next room, hit the crystal switch to raise up water jet that you can use as a platform to jump across to the other side of the room. Look out for the Blue Tektite so as not to get knocked into the pit here and proceed through the door ahead. Here the water swirls around the room in a whirlpool, so you’ll have to use the Iron Boots to avoid getting pushed around.
Stand in the northeast corner of the room and point your Hookshot at the crystal switch in the dragon’s mouth. This will open a gate in the alcove up above - but only temporarily. Remove your boots and swim like crazy so you can make it into the alcove, then pass by the open gate and rise up to the surface to grab a Small Key from the chest here. Hit the corresponding switch here and sink down with your Iron Boots to escape, then head back to the central chamber.
Use a Small Key to open the door in the large structure in the center of the room. Here you’ll find the Triforce crest that will trigger the water to rise to its middle height. Walk across the platforms here to the north side of the building, then point your Hookshot up and to the southwest and latch onto the Hookshot target there to get up to the higher ledge. Play Zelda’s Lullaby by the Triforce crest to raise the water level.
Notice that one of the platforms below rose up with the water. Sink down to the Floor 1 walkway with your Iron Boots and drop down into the hole left behind by the floating platform to access a hidden passage. Hit the crystal switch in the corner to release a pack of Shell Blades, then defeat them all to reveal another passage leading up to a Small Key. Key in hand, return to the building where you raised the water level, remove your Iron Boots, and float up to a door leading back outside.
From here, drop down into the water and sink to Floor 1, then proceed through the east corridor again. No, you’re not going to lower the water level again - float up to Floor 2 and blast through the cracked wall here with a Bomb to reveal a secret room containing another Small Key. Now return to the central chamber and go through the locked west door on Floor 2.
You’ll emerge in a room with a crystal switch on your right and a water jet on your left. Stand on the water jet and a Blue Tektite will jump down to ambush you. Once you’ve dealt with it, stand again on the jet and launch a projectile at the crystal switch so that it lifts you up to the third floor. Head through the door here to find the final Triforce mark, which raises the water level to its highest.
Jump down into the water and swim over to the east door on Floor 3. Sink into the watery passage at the end of the hall and approach the block directly in front of you. Tug back on it until it clicks into place, then backtrack to the central chamber.
Now that the water level is raised, you can reach the west door on the third floor. Inside is a waterfall with a series of platforms moving down it. There’s a similar pair of platforms right below the entrance to the room, so hop down onto the lower of the two and let it sink down to its lowest point. From there, Hookshot onto the nearest platform on the opposite side of the room and quickly target the other, higher grapple points to ascend the room and reach the west door. (Make note of the Gold Skulltula on the wall here; come back with the Longshot later to collect Skulltula Token 74.)
Inside, pick off the Tektites with your Fairy Bow and take note of the crystal switch here. It’s colored red when you enter, but if you strike it it’ll turn blue and the water level in this room will rise. The statue heads will rise with it, revealing Hookshot targets you can use to cross the chamber. Hookshot over to the west, then hit the blue switch to lower the water level and point your weapon over at the target on the wall to the north. Climb over the lowered statue head to the other side of the ledge, then hit the switch again to raise the water level so you can use the last statue in this room to get up onto the center-north ledge.
Lower the water one more time, then climb on the statue’s head and raise the water again to have the statue give you a boost to the alcove in the wall above. Fight your way past the Tektites, then take out the Like Like with your Fairy Bow to clear the way to the room’s exit. Point your Hookshot at the target on the ceiling to get past the spikes and enter the room ahead.
Inside is what appears to be an outdoor chamber with an island in the middle adorned only by a lonely dead tree. Run past the tree to the sealed door on the opposite end of the room, then backtrack towards the tree and you’ll run into a shadowy version of yourself called Dark Link. He’s one of the toughest bosses in the game, so be ready for a rough fight.
Once you’ve felled Dark Link, the room’s illusion will fade away can you can enter the door to find a treasure room containing the Longshot, the dungeon’s secret item!
Look behind the Longshot’s chest for a Time Block that you can remove with the Song of Time. Drop down into the cave below - it’s an underwater river! If you fall in you’ll be swept downstream, but you can use the Iron Boots to sink to the bottom. Look out for the many vortexes that dot the stream, since if you get too close they’ll try to pull you in, even if you’re wearing the boots! You can try to use the rolling attack to escape, but it’s tricky.
Generally it’s easiest to just hop in without the boots and swim with the flow until you round the very first bend. Pass by the vortex on your right, then sink down to the riverbed and point your Longshot at Skulltula 71. Remove the boots and then swim with all your might past the vortexes ahead until you reach a small ledge with two jars on it that you can pull yourself up onto. Swim from there to another, smaller ledge directly northeast of you.
Point your Fairy Bow at the golden eye switch nearby and hit it with an arrow to open the gate on your left. Then turn to face the small chest and stick it with your Longshot to grapple across before the gate times out and slams shut. Inside the chest is a Small Key that you can take with you as a memento. Head south and drop down into the whirlpool room you visited earlier, then go from there back to the central chamber.
Restore the water level to its middle height by first lowering it completely and then entering the middle structure to raise it halfway, then use your Longshot to nab the Gold Skulltula Token from the very top of the room.
Return to the main chamber and head around so that you’re facing the south passage on Floor 2. There’s a gate blocking the way, but if you hit the gold eye switch with an arrow it will open temporarily. Point your Longshot at the target on the back wall quickly and pull yourself across before it slams shut. Follow the passage here until you run into that block you pulled out earlier. Shove it forward into a nook in the wall and head through the newly-opened path to the right to grab a Small Key from the chest there.
Back in the central room, sink to the bottom floor and proceed through the passage to the north. Remove your boots to climb onto the ledge opposite the wall of spikes, then use your Longshot to pull yourself over the spikes to the north door. Inside is a room where the water currents run like crazy. They’ll push you into one of the two vortexes here if you let them, but if you swim at breakneck speeds across the room you should be able to make it to the opposite door just fine - watch out for Tektites!
In the next room, defeat all of the Stingers with your Hookshot or your sword if they rise up to attack you, then jump down onto one of the ledges on either the east or west side of the room. Bomb the cracked wall nearby to reveal a hidden passageway containing a block you can push onto the blue pressure switch on the east end of the chamber. Blow your way through the cracked wall on the opposite side of the room to complete the circuit so you can push the block. Once it’s pressed, you can float up to the room’s west exit.
Step on the floor switch here to cause a series of water jets to rise up from the pit that you can use as stepping stones to cross. The next room opens up at the top of one of the waterways that feeds into the current-filled room you entered earlier.
Avoid the massive rocks and pick off the Gold Skulltula behind the waterfall before slapping on your Iron Boots and sinking down into the hidden passage right at the foot of the falls. Take out the Shell Blade blocking the way, then float up at the end of the passage to reach a locked door - inside is the Boss Key.
Return with the Boss Key to the central chamber and raise the water level to its highest point, then aim your Longshot at the Hookshot targets flanking the northern door on Floor 3 to reach the way to the boss’s lair. Climb carefully up the steep incline, avoiding the blade traps, and use the Boss Key to open the door.
Jump onto one of the platforms in the pool in the center of the room to begin the battle. Morpha itself doesn’t attack you directly, but it summons tentacles of water that attack you on its behalf. They’ll form out of the pool and attempt to grab you. If successful, they’ll toss you about, dealing quite a bit of damage, but otherwise they’ll lay lifeless on the ground and the nucleus will drift back and forth across the length of the tentacle.
When this happens, target it with your Longshot and try to yank it out of the water. If you score a hit with the Longshot, proceed to hack away with your sword to hit it as many times as possible before it can get back into the pool. Eventually it will start sending two tentacles your way - dodge both, but watch the one with the nucleus more carefully so you can get in a hit or two.
After several rounds of punishment, Morpha will absorb all of the water from the pool and evaporate, leaving behind a Heart Container and a portal to the Sacred Realm. Enter it to receive the Water Medallion from Ruto, thus purging the temple of its curse.
Ocarina of Time screenshots courtesy of AceofSuns. Screenshots will eventually be replaced with 3DS version images, which are not presently available for hopefully obvious reasons.