"You got the Boss Key! Now you can get inside the chamber where the Boss lurks."
— In-game description

Boss Keys, also known as Big Keys, are recurring items in the Legend of Zelda series. These special keys are needed to enter the boss room of a dungeon, and, in some games, are needed to open a dungeon's big chest, in order to obtain the dungeon's item. Contrary to the other big prize of a dungeon guarded by a mini-boss, one must usually solve a puzzle or riddle rather than win a difficult fight to obtain this item. In some games, a Boss Key serves as a dungeon's "master key", and can unlock certain doors other than the door to the boss room. Boss Keys are typically "stored" on a game's Map Screen, but there are exceptions. Some games have other types of keys in place of Boss Keys to open the final area of a dungeon.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

A Big Key from A Link to the Past

Big Keys serve as a dungeon's "master key", allowing Link to unlock the chest containing the dungeon's primary item, as well as certain doors, along with the door to the boss's lair. After retrieving a dungeon's item, the Big Key icon on the Item Screen is subtly changed to reflect that the big chest has been opened.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time & Majora's Mask

Boss Keys are found inside big chests with a yellow and blue design. Their design is identical in both games. Their only purpose is accessing the dungeon's boss room.

In Majora's Mask, the Boss Key is always accessed after defeating the second mini-boss of the dungeon. When Link loops time by playing the Song of Time, he does not retain the Boss Key, and it can once again be found in its chest. However, if Link has already defeated the dungeon's boss and collected their remains, he can warp directly to their chamber on subsequent time loops from the main entrance of the dungeon, bypassing the need for the Boss Key.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons

A Boss Key from Oracle of Ages and Seasons

Boss Keys are found after solving a puzzle, their only purpose being opening the door to the boss's lair.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Big Keys are golden with an eye in the middle. A puzzle must be solved to get it. They are found in blue and gold chests. In the wind and earth temple a special type of Darknut must be defeated to get it.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Big Keys are used to open certain treasure chests. These chests are much larger than other chests and usually contain huge numbers of Force Gems.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

Big Keys have a similar appearance to those seen in The Wind Waker. All Big Keys, with the exception of the key in the Temple of Droplets which is encased in a block of ice, are found in big chests.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

A Boss Key from Twilight Princess

Boss Keys are found in big chests, most having an orange and black design. In the Goron Mines, Link must use Key Shards to assemble the boss key, which was taken apart by the Goron elders to ensure that Fyrus, the dungeon's boss, would not escape his imprisonment. Link convinces them to give the key parts to him, and he successfully reassembles the Boss Key. In the Snowpeak Ruins, the Bedroom Key serves as the key to the boss's lair.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks

Boss Keys are typically found in large chests. Unlike earlier installments, the key must be physically carried rather than kept in the inventory. Picking up a Boss Key usually prompts Key Masters to appear; these disembodied hands will attempt to reclaim the key, forcing Link to return to where he found it and repeat the process. Once a key is inserted into the block placed before the entrance to the boss room, the Keymasters disappear.

In Spirit Tracks, Link occasionally encounters electrified keys that causes damage if he touches them. In order to get these keys, Link requires the aid of a Phantom controlled by Princess Zelda, which is immune to electricity.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

In Skyward Sword, boss keys take the form of statues or sculptures thematically unique to each dungeon, and are never explicitly called boss keys. For example, the Lanayru Mining Facility, a dungeon with a technological theme, holds the Ancient Circuit, which serves as its boss key. In Skyward Sword, the keys must be rotated on a 360-degree axis using the Wii Motion Plus feature of the Wii Remote in order to match their silhouette to the outline of the keyhole on the boss doors.

When obtained, these keys are shown on the heads-up display beneath the Rupee counter, possessing their own icons rather than a general key symbol. When used in the boss door, the key causes the lock to depress and spin, then the lock pulls apart abruptly, and the key breaks and vanishes in a small flash of light. The Blessed Idol is an exception, as it is used on a control panel for a horizontal barrier within a vertical shaft, rather than a boss door.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Big Keys are used to open the door to the boss room of a dungeon.


See also