Mummies! Gargoyles! Those are but two enemies you’ll need to worry about while exploring the Desert Palace in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Although this dungeon may seem difficult, one little hint may be all you need to keep pushing forward. For more in-depth strategies, check out Prima’s Collector’s Edition Guide, along with this extremely limited Legend of Zelda Box Set.
For the complete walkthrough, visit Prima's free A Link Between Worlds guide.
The Desert Palace
You're next dungeon will be a breeze with the Sand Rod, and it's located deep within the desert to the southeast of Lorule. Return to Hyrule using a portal and enter the swamp area to the south end section of Hyrule (to enter the area, merge into the wall to get past the large rock). In the swamp area, head through the narrow passage to the west. You discover another crack portal in the wall here. Slip inside to return to Lorule.
Hilda contacts you and states there's no desert in Lorule, but senses a Sage is present. She also mentions you need a tool that can control sand. You already carry it… the Sand Rod! Continue west and ascend the stairs. Access the weather vane up top and save your game.
The Desert Palace
From the weather vane, drop down into the water below and slip through the portal on the pillar. You warp back in the middle of Hyrule's desert. Head to the southeast hilltop and ascend the stairs to find a puddle at the top. Stand on the western edge and use your Sand Rod to create a bridge. Crossover and use the rod once more to reach another cliff to the west. A portal can be seen here to your left; merge into the wall and slip inside.
You're now back in Lorule. Cross the southern bridge and work your way to the southwest corner of the area. Yet another crack portal rests in the wall here. Warp inside to arrive back in Hyrule on top of a cliff. Look to your right to see a set of gray pillars. Form a sand bridge to the western pillar, then continue to use your Sand Rod to reach the next pillar to the right.
From this pillar, fire your rod to the north to reach the northern pillar. Use your Sand Rod again to access the pillar holding a Red Rupee. Then, form another sand bridge leading to the northern wall. Crossover and merge into the wall, then slide over to the western palace. Ascend the stairs and trigger the weather vane. Afterward, create sand blocks to cross the broken bridge to the north, leading inside Desert Palace.
Desert Palace – 1F
Immediately walk straight to the edge of the ledge in front of you. Form some sand blocks to reach the northern ledge ahead. You won't be able to access the western and eastern passages yet, so descend the left-side steps and follow the walkway to the end over the sand. Use your Sand Rod to create a horizontal bridge across the hall. Merge into the sand you created to reach the central ledge. The chest here carries a Blue Rupee, but your goal is to exit from the northern passage. Wrap around the same sand bridge you formed to get there.
Dismiss the enemies roaming the north hall, including the undead mummy. A big chest can be seen in the northeast section of this room, but you cannot reach it yet. Run up the stairs to the east and slip past the eye beams easily by merging into the wall. Then exit the room via the southeast passage.
1F's northeast room is a large corridor with an enormous sand field to the north, while a giant fence blocks the south passage. Stand on the ledge to your right and form a sand bridge to land on the eastern ledge. In the north section, four crystal switches can be seen in the center. Use your Sand Rod and form a horizontal bridge in between the four ledges in crystals. Then, quickly cross the sand blocks and nail all four switches. Doing so opens the southern gate in this room.
Drop down to the southern section of this room and skip past the two eye beams by running on the edge to the right. Head through the path to the south to arrive in 1F's southeast room. Three gargoyle statues are present in this hall. When you enter, grab the statue on the lower level and position it in front of the outer ledges sticking out from above (any will do). Then, head south and ascend the stairs to the upper level.
Three tile switches are on the floor on the second level. Push the statue onto one of the tiles first. Secondly, run to the edge and stand above the lower statue you moved earlier. Raise it up to you using the Sand Rod and place it on another tile. Now, run over to the northern ledge and form a bridge with your Sand Rod to reach the third statue resting on the eastern ledge. Quickly pull it across your sand blocks then place it on the third and final tile to unlock the western door.
You're now back in the dungeon's first room, but on higher ground. Stand on the floor switch to open the eastern wall and to create a shortcut to the lower level. Now stand in front of the floor switch and fire your Sand Rod to create a bridge crossing over to the far west ledge. Use caution when crossing the sand blocks, because wheel spikes are spun past you. At the other side, enter the western passage.
A sand critter lurks beneath the sand in this hall. To defeat it, wait for it to surface out of the ground and then cast the Sand Rod beneath. Doing so will raise the critter out of the ground and give you the opportunity to strike it. It's a tall enemy, but your sword’s hits will cut through its body; just be careful as its parts bounce back at you. Eliminating this foe unlocks the northwest door and reveals a chest on top of the southern ledge. The chest is blocked by large boulders, so you cannot reach it at this time. Take note the western door is locked with a keyhole as well. For now, head through the northwest passage.
The next hall consists of long centipedes that swarm underneath the sand, as well as mummies. Similar to your previous fight, draw them out of the ground with your Sand Rod. Work your way to the northeastern staircase and ascend them. Run to the southeast corner (past the locked door) to find a chest on the central platform west. Form some sand blocks and merge into them to reach the chest containing a monster tail. There's another chest in this room, but ignore it for now and merge into the western wall, then slip north to reach the northwest passage.
You are now in 1F's northwest room. Open the chest to the east to claim the compass. Then, pull the lever nearby to activate a flow of sand. This apparently pours sand in the previous room. Head back there to discover the room is engulfed with sand – you can now get around much better! Hop down and grab the small key from the chest. Now unlock the eastern door and head through.
The Titan's Mitt
Back in the north central hall, pull the lever nearby to cover the room with sand. Use the central ledges and your Sand Rod to reach the ledge to the north with your merging ability. There, step on the floor switch to open up the northeast corner wall where the large chest rests. To get there, form some sand blocks on the west edge, merge into the sand and west wall, and then slip to the north wall to crossover. Open the large chest to obtain the Titan's Mitt. With these, you're capable of lifting larger rocks!
With the Titan's Mitt in your grasps, return to the southwest room by backtracking left one screen and then south. Remember that chest that's blocked by the boulders? Use your Sand Rod and form a bridge to the southern ledge, then pick up the large rocks with your mighty Titan's Mitt. Grab the small key inside the chest and use it to open the western door in this hall. The passage leads you back outside the dungeon. Proceed into the north cave to reach Desert Palace's 2F.
Desert Palace – 2F
Upon entering the second floor, you're greeted by spinning tiles. Block them easily with your shield, then dispose of the centipedes that surface with your sword and Sand Rod. Clearing the room opens up a portal that leads you back to 1F and assembles a bridge to the north. Head through the portal and back to the weather vane if you wish to save, then return to this hall. Cross over the bridge and ascend the central steps. From the steps, form some sand blocks ahead of you and merge into them to reach the western wall and ledge. Proceed through the western passage.
The following chamber is a long and dreadful one. Hop down into the sand and slash your way to the north nook; or more effectively, merge into the wall to get by. A chest is buried in sand underneath the rock; dig it up with your Sand Rod to claim a Silver Rupee. Now, head back to where you entered and ascend the stairs. Fire your Sand Rod to create a large bridge leading north. Cautiously cross over avoiding the spikes because they can knock you off. Use a distant weapon such as your bow to take care of the Baris. Your bridge leads you to the upper ledge to the north. You don't have the key for the west door, so head through the eastern passage instead.
Another eye beam statue guards this small room. Quickly and carefully run around it to reach the other side. Grab the Silver Rupee from the chest, then exit via the eastern path. A chest is noted on your map in this narrow chamber, but you cannot reach it yet. Continue right one screen into the next chamber.
Switches & Statues
Move along to the south section of this room, using your shield to block the arrows and your sword for the statue foes. Approach the crystal switch, stand on the red blocks, and then hit the switch to boost you up. Walk along the western ledge and ascend the stairs. Form some sand blocks at the top to get across to the middle walkway. Now look to the south end of this ledge; there's a gargoyle statue resting on a sand block below. Raise it up to you with your Sand Rod and pull it off the sand.
Afterward, drop back down to the crystal switch. You will notice the arrow booby traps constantly hitting the crystal switch, which raises and lowers the blue and red blocks. Move to the southeast corner and ride the blocks upward to reach the chest above. Inside is a small key. After grabbing the key, use the colored blocks to reach the right-side ledge above you, and exit through the northeast door.
The pathway leads you to 2F's large north corridor. Descend the stairs and lift the rock to the right for another buried chest. Uncover it with the Sand Rod and open it for a Silver Rupee. Move west and dismiss the foes in your way. You stumble across large yellow blocks that are cracked above the stairs. Blow them up with some bombs to clear the path, or use your Sand Rod to lead the rolling balls with sand blocks and cause them to crash into the blocks.
Move to the upper ledge to the north and go east. A large rock rests on the ground; pick it up and toss it out of the way. Then, return to the upper-most staircase. You will notice three platforms hanging above you. In between them are sand spots. You must use your Sand Rod to create blocks and allow the north-most rolling ball to roll across the three platforms so that it can crash into the cracked block to the east. Be quick and follow the ball as you cast from the sand. Doing so will pour sand into the column above you, and bury the previous room.
The Big Key
Return to the previous hall to the south. Now that the room is buried in sand, you can easily reach the large chest on the eastern ledge with your Sand Rod and merging ability. Grab the big key inside the chest. With the big key, it's to explore further in the dungeon. There's a hidden passage to the south of this room to a Fairy Fountain. Head there to replenish your health, then return to the previous room and exit back to the west.
Continue west until you reach the locked door you past earlier. Open it and head through to arrive in 2F's northwest chamber. Defeat the baddies in this hall. You cannot access the northeast door here yet, but you can unlock the south passage. Approach the first eye beam and raise it with your Sand Rod. Doing so will raise the eye critter up, and its laser beams will trigger three crystal switches, thus unlocking the south door.
In the southeastern hall, defeat the enemies best with your Sand Rod to win a small key. With that done, return to the previous room north. Head to the northeast area to discover another eye statue. Like before, raise it up with your Sand Rod, then run over to the colored blocks to your right. When the blue ones lower, stand on – and when the red blocks lower, hop onto them. The laser will hit the crystal switch one last time and raise you one step higher. When it does, merge into the wall to your right and slip over to the locked door in the northeast corner. Unlock it to reach 3F!
Desert Palace – 3F
Want some easy money? Hug the wall covered in pouring sand to your left. A hidden passage leads you to the western room. Inside, open the chest for a Silver Rupee! With that collected, proceed through the southern passage from 3F's first hall.
The Boss Gate
A lever can be seen in this hallway, as well as a locked door and the boss's gate, but it's a shame you can't do much in this section yet. For now, head inside the south chamber of 3F.
One More Key
In 3F's south hall, you must form a sand bridge across the eastern ledge. There's a problem, though – three gargoyle statues come to life and block your path! You have limited time before your sand blocks collapse (unless your rod is upgraded), so work quickly across and vanquish the beasts. If you fall, you'll need to re-enter the room. If you make it across, snag the last small key in the chest then head back up one screen.
Bomb the Blocks
Unlock the door leading to the north chamber of 3F. Those eyeball bomb critters roam this room, and a bunch of cracked blocks are scattered around as well. This puzzle will be easier if you've got bombs; otherwise, you'll need to use the bomb creatures to destroy the cracked blocks.
Look above you and notice three cracked on the upper pillars; they lead to a crystal switch on the upper level to the west. Deploy a bomb next to each pillar, then raise it up with your Sand Rod. When all are destroyed, the arrow trap to the east will nail the crystal switch, triggering the colored blocks to the south. Let the colored blocks raise you up to the balcony above, and then exit via the southwest door.
Access the Boss's Lair
You can now access the lever resting on this patio. Pull it to bury the room with sand, allowing you to reach the boss's gate to the east. Head inside to find a large sandpit. Use your Sand Rod and form a bridge to the southern exit (you'll need to do this twice since there's a rock blocking your path to the center). The exit leads you outside to another crack portal. Slide inside to arrive back in Lorule, where the boss awaits.
The key to winning this battle is your Sand Rod. This plant-like creature shifts around the sand and spawns in one of the many pillars around the area. To reach it, you'll need to form multiple sand bridges. When you're close enough, strike it with your sword as many times as possible before it retreats. To determine its next surface, keep an eye on the sand as it brushes underground.
Shortly in the battle, the monster will change up its game and shoot a beam from its body. It will also spawn some of its offspring that can get in your away. It's helpful to stay a distance while the beast performs this – take your time and work around the pillars. His first set of beams fire in one direction, but later in the fight, it will circle around the pit. Use your Sand Rod and work around it!
The Second Portrait
After the battle, grab the full Heart Container and examine the portrait on the north wall. Hey – that's Irene! The witch turns out to be one of the Sages, and gives our hero some hope. Two down, five more to go!