Majora’s Mask Dungeons: Snowhead Temple

Axle the BeastOctober 30th, 2012 by Axle the Beast

Moving on from Woodfall Temple, it’s time to review the Snowhead Temple. This is the game’s second dungeon, located in the northern mountain region. While I think Woodfall Temple is the most straightforward dungeon in Majora’s Mask, I think Snowhead Temple is the most forgettable, though not necessarily due to any real faults.

Going into the dungeon, the player probably doesn’t know what to expect; I know I didn’t. The last full dungeon to have an ice theme throughout it was the Ice Palace in A Link to the Past; we had yet to see the theme fully realized in a 3D Zelda game before Majora’s Mask. There was the Ice Cavern in Ocarina of Time, but it was just a mini-dungeon. Although I doubt any specific elements from it carried over to Snowhead Temple, it’s hard not to compare the dungeon to the Ice Temple that never made it into Ocarina of Time.

When I first visited this region, I returned to Snowhead multiple times while trying to figure out how to get inside. The dungeon is constantly discussed and completely visible each time you go up to Snowhead, and its spiky appearance looks fairly foreboding. With that buildup, and the promise of a dungeon themed off the goron form, it’s hard not to speculate on what the dungeon will contain. So what does it contain?

Ice. It contains a lot of ice.

The dungeon’s basically built up as an icy cave and tower. The actual dungeon structure is clearly a tower of sorts when viewing it from the outside, and this is immediately noticeable in its level design as well; the dungeon is very vertical, with a large, open central shaft that spans every floor of the dungeon. Every other room branches off from this shaft. Plenty of the dungeon’s rooms are covered in ornate stone walls, but others are simply rock or ice, giving the dungeon a mix of the civilized and the primitive; a perfect fit for the civilized goron brutes. The dungeon’s music is mostly quiet and ambient, with odd high-pitched sounds interspersed that somehow remind me of the Goron City theme with its equally strange sounds. Fittingly, they’re sharper and more unsettling than those of the Goron City theme, if only marginally. These sounds contrast with the more ambient background of the song and give it a bit more energy, while injecting a little oddness and goron-ness to the song so it doesn’t feel like it’s nothing more than a cave.

In terms of design, the dungeon is solid, yet forgettable and occasionally frustrating. This is the first dungeon of the game that, on my first run through the game, I was unable to complete without a guide. Similarly, it was the first dungeon of the game in which I had no idea where to find the remaining Stray Fairies. Of course I can do them both on my own now (I never remember the puzzles that well), but it’s still the point where Majora’s Mask turns into a very, very challenging game. Every dungeon from here on out is brutal. Woodfall Temple was the easy one.

The worst part about the design is the tower structure. I complained about this with the Fire Temple in Ocarina of Time, too: It’s too easy to fall, especially when using the Goron Mask to roll across ledges or ramps, and when you do there’s no easy way back up (unless you cheat and jump into the lava with the deku form to respawn at the door you entered from). It’s not a terribly long way back up, but it can get annoying.

Aside from that, the dungeon is pretty straightforward. Different rooms make use of different challenges, from icy stalactites, to block-sliding puzzles, to smashing things with the goron form, to lighting torches and melting ice. You progress steadily up the tower and through its rooms while solving these kinds of puzzles. While there are optional rooms, there’s only once or twice that you truly need to backtrack (primarily when you raise the central pillar; this is the part that stumped me when I first played). Decent puzzle design, but nothing flashy. The same goes for the dungeon’s enemy selection. The most involving aspect of this dungeon is collecting the Stray Fairies, which are well-hidden, yet their locations are clear enough. It’s a good balance and a good challenge, for which you are rewarded with a doubled magic meter, a much better upgrade than that of the last dungeon.

Finally, there’s the dungeon’s boss battles.

Like the Woodfall Temple and all the other dungeons of the game, you fight more than one mini-boss, but in this one alone, both mini-boss battles are against the same foe who gets stronger the second time. Wizrobe isn’t really an inventive battle, but it’s the first time we’ve seen this guy since the 2D games, and the whack-a-mole style battle can be pretty fun.

The dungeon boss, Goht, on the other hand, is often a fan favorite. I don’t prefer him over Odolwa because there’s only have two methods of defeating him as opposed to Odolwa’s countless options, but it’s a thrilling fight nonetheless. The battle can be spent either rolling after and bashing into him as he runs with the goron form, or by shooting him with the Bow or Fire Arrows. If you do the latter, in my opinion the fight is a lot less fun, but it can still be thrilling trying to wait for him to come, predict which direction he’ll approach from, and try to fire at him with enough time left afterwards to dodge. Or you can hide in the safe area and make it boring. But either way, the best way to fight him is with the Goron Mask, and doing so turns the battle into an epic chase sequence unlike any other boss battle in the series.

All in all, the dungeon is well-made, if a bit frustrating at points, but nothing about it particularly stands out to me except for the dungeon boss. Yeah, it’s the first full dungeon in a 3D Zelda game with an ice theme, but the theme isn’t capitalized on in any particularly striking or unique way. The dungeon might be forgettable, but it’s not bad and if anything the fact that I never remember it that much means it stays fresh every time I play it.

So what did you think of Snowhead Temple? How do you think it stacks up to the other dungeons in the game? Did you feel it was forgettable, or memorable? Original or straightforward? Did you think it was frustrating? Did you like the boss? Tell me in the comments! Next week we’ll cover the even more frustrating Great Bay Temple!

Share this post



  • Ttimmoo

    The first time I used a guide I couldn’t even complete it! The boss of the dungeon was the least fun in my opinion, but I just don’t like to roll in goron form.

    • LinkIV

      You can just camp in the start, i find it fun either way, with the bow/arrow and shoot him when he paces.

  • Ike

    I think that reason it’s “forgettable” is that it’s neither the first, nor the last. Nor is it the hardest or the easiest. So when you think back, you think back on the first one (and usually the easiest) with fondness as being what started the adventure, and the last one as the end. Then you think of the hardest with a mixture of pride for being hard and hatred for being SO hard. Snowhead was none of these, but it was still agreat temple.

  • LinkonthRink

    Screw this temple. Getting the fairies was a pain and if you werent stead with the goron roll, you are screwed. This temple set me back years in this game! Such a miserable time I had!

    • LinkonthRink

      I remember going ahead further in the game getting things like the hookshot and mirror shield before completing this temple. Tons of masks too. I basically did everything I could do that came after it, until I had no choice but to beat it to move forward. About 6 years later…………………

      • LinkIV

        This is a really fun, and easy temple, you just know how to do it correctly (no offense of course). in all zelda games, in most puzzles, theres an easy way and a hard wey to do things, you just have to know which is which…

      • H37I

        i don’t think you can even get the mirror shield or the hookshot without epona… which you can only get back after destroying the boulder in the way of romani ranch…which you can only destroy with a powder keg…which can only be approved by a specific goron after the climate change in the mountain…which can only be done by completing the temple.

        honestly, show us how you did that. i would praise you for it.

        • BluesMX90

          You can if you like using glitches.

  • Shadow

    I just completed Snowhead yesterday. I found it more frustrating than excitable, especially the stray fairies. However I found the puzzles quite fun. Right now I need to complete Romani Ranch and “them” … loving the dungeon reflections Axle, maybe Wind Waker after Majora’s mask??? Keep it up!

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      I’ll be doing Twilight Princess after Majora’s Mask since they almost tied on the last poll I did. But after that it’ll be more open again. ;)

      • Ganon

        Lol i hope you give Arbiter’s Grounds a good review i loved that place it’s perfectly horrendous to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/syd.self Syd Self

    Ironically, it was the dungeon I remember most from that game, mostly because it was the one that utilized the tower structure you mentioned. It was a bit easier for me than woodfall, because of the lack of poison water which tended to kill me constantly, And the skulltulas. It was a less dangerous dungeon to be sure. The time taken to solve it was the main challenge, and the ice chunks in the central pillar had me stumped for weeks. Though, part of my enjoyment of it is my personal like of towers, so it wasn’t all on quality. The boss was awesome, and one of the many fun bosses in MM, though definitely the simplest.

    • LinkIV

      I agree that the hardest part of this dungeon was the pillar and i keep hearing these zelda games taking months, and im just like “without the guide, i did these solo in weeks…. sometimes days… now i wasnt going for perfection but just completeness. like i never got any of the fairies in any of the dungeons the first playthrough i did…

      • http://www.facebook.com/syd.self Syd Self

        I got some, but I usually used them as heals… XD… Yeah, I don’t really spend months on a Dungeon, I just sorta eh when I can’t finish it in a reasonable time, and come back to it a few months later and finish it, after I reach a similar stump point in a different game I’m playing simultaneously. Personality quirck.

  • frgovo

    Really, the stray fairies were in the most improbable places, it was too easy to miss the ones behind the fake walls. Or roofs (man, that one!).

    I remember this dungeon as the one that gave you few hints. The small number of times you would need the Lens of Truth didn’t help remembering that you could use it, and probably placing *anything* that could be punched away like the stones in the central pillar would have helped me understand what I had to do with those.

    I don’t think it’s bad, it’s only that I’ve had a tough time with it.

  • Jam9t3

    I loved Snowhead because of how the climate actually changes afterwards (unlike zora’s domain) but still, after you go back in time its back to a blizzard. The level was unique because it’s element was snow, which wasn’t to be expected after a forest element temple (Because usually its always forest –> Fire –> Water etc.) even though it had a few fire parts. When I got found the Fire arrow I felt as if I could conquer anything inside this temple because its all snow and now I just got FIRE!!!

    • LinkIV

      LOl i usually have this feeling too, but i never considered how weird it was that it was a snow temple…

    • The Dark Lord Demise

      Isn’t it weird that EVERY dungeon item in this game was an arrow!?

      • GSusanj

        It’s my opinion that the arrow thing works when you think about how many uses they each have. Even the light arrow is pretty useful.

      • Draco

        SPOILERS.

  • Amber Evans

    Well, to be honest, I haven’t play MM in so long that the whole game is “fresh” to me every time I play it…

    I remember reading about the whole “other dimension” article earlier on – the one about how you get lost in the Lost Woods (in Oot) and end up in another dimension (which is Termina in MM). It made sense to me, but it didn’t actually click until I watched a video on another article (can’t remember which one) from here that had the opening from MM where Link first gets transported to Termina and gets tricked by the skull kid.
    THAT is when I finally saw the whole transporting to another dimension and I KNOW that I would have never notice it before – until that article.
    Even though I got off track, what I’m basically saying is “Thank you Zeldadungeon.net!!”, with all your awesomeness in Zelda news and informative articles, I was able to understand The Legend of Zelda on a far more deeper level than I could have ever realized.
    You made my childhood memoriies that much more fonder to me (and to the me now).
    PS. I actually just got three hearts (like the ones from WW) on my wrist to symbolize my love for Zelda and what it means to me :) *I’m getting the triforce underneath it soon enough*

    • LinkIV

      What do you mean the hearts and triforce on the wrists? ive never heard of this, but id like to get it done, is it a tattoo?

      • Amber Evans

        Ah, yes sorry about that, it seems I forgot to mention that lol
        Yes it is a tattoo, and pretty freakin amazing too
        I have three hearts (in the WW style, with the last one bigger like I’m full of life and they are dark red on the bottom fading to medium red on the top)
        They are on my right wrist and eventually I will get the triforce in black
        Although I’m debating if I should get it underneath the hearts or on my other wrist…

  • Mike

    I actually never needed a guide for this one. I needed one for Great Bay though. Not for Stone Tower Temple for some reason. This is my third favorite one from MM. First is Stone Tower Temple, then Woodfall. Good article.

    • LinkIV

      Everyone loved stone tower, unless you didnt like it upside down, and almost everyone hates the water temples. this is one of my favs outta the water temples. btw, my names Mike too! XD

  • Legend of Zelda

    What I disliked about the Snowhead most of all was getting to the temple. I swear I fell off that ramp over 9000 times!!!!

    • LinkIV

      lol, that was fun, taking a lot of balance for a 9 yr old (i think that was it) i did that for my family playthrough (i go thru first then join my families cuz im done faster then they are) lol

    • The Dark Lord Demise

      Me too :)
      I thought I had to go across the breeze with a Goron roll because I did not use the lens of truth!

      • Legend of Zelda

        ME TOO!!!

  • LinkIV

    This was one of my least fav dungeons (just a bad vibe i guess) but most one of most fav bosses…

    • LinkIV

      However, i did like it. kinda hard to explain. the part or the stone/ice column was the bad part i think.

      • LinkIV

        yes this is the same LinkIV XD

  • Blu_Lizalfos

    I really love the idea behind this dungeon. It is all ice but then you find those fire arrows and you get the classic cold vs. hot. I loved that. Also, the idea of a more vertical dungeon in a mountain rather than the 1 or 2 floored classic dungeon is very appealing. What happens after you beat the dungeon is really awesome too (even though it can’t last forever :( ).
    Great article Axle!

  • Joe Forster

    I HATED THIS DUNGEON SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

  • Mister Pom

    I don’t agree at all with this review. I think this is one of the most brilliant dungeons ever created for a Zelda dungeon. The only reason it doesn’t stand out so much in the game is that The Great Bay Temple and Stone Tower Temple are even better. I don’t think it is that difficult or frustrating. It’s just challenging.

    With all due respect, the problem is that people nowadays don’t want to think at all when it comes to playing a dungeon anymore. They don’t want a real challenge. They expect puzzles to be simple and things to telegraphed to their brains, otherwise they lose interest and blame the game designers for their own lack of effort in trying to solve the puzzles. Then they beat the game, go to a forum and say that “the game was too easy” and that “maybe Nintendo should up the difficulty”. That’s why Majora’s Mask is so interesting: it doesn’t hold your hand.

    Snowhead Temple is better than any Ocarina of Time dungeon with the exception of the Forest and the Water Temple. The Stray Faries were very challenging and the boss was great. I think the pillar was one of the first dungeons with a genuine “central puzzle”, something that for some reason gets a mediocre dungeon like Sandship a lot of credit and doesn’t do any good for Snowhead Temple.

    • Mister Pom

      I think this is one of the most brilliant dungeons ever created for a Zelda GAME.

      Sorry, my bad.

    • Yamacto

      I totally agree with your opinion, Mister POM.

      Snowhead is one of the most memorable Zelda Dungeons ever. Many people may say it is very difficult, but i think Snowhead stands as one of the best Zelda Dungeons, as well as all others Majora’s Mask dungeons, which are unforgettable.

      • Aaron hill

        it was so different from other dongeons that it is great.

  • Luigicheesecake

    This temple always gave me trouble with its stray fairies!

    • The Dark Lord Demise

      yeah they were pretty hard to find

  • The Dark Lord Demise

    Goht is my favorite boss of this game :)

  • Pingback: Axle the Beast | Majora’s Mask Dungeons: Snowhead Temple

  • Sir Quaffler

    Actually, when you say there never was any other chase boss in the series, that’s technically not true. I’ve done that with Twinmold (with Chateau Romani) and it makes for a much more dynamic (and long) fight. You have to time it juuuuust right, but it can be done. Try it out sometime, it’s pretty fun!

    • JuicieJ

      That’s not a chase. That’s just you being in the right moment at the right time.

      • Roth

        Oh, have you ever fought it without the Giant’s Mask? THEN it becomes a chase!

        • JuicieJ

          Again, that’s not a chase. That’s just you being at the right moment at the right time. It’s absolutely impossible to legitimately chase them down.

          • Roth

            I disagree. It may not be a chase in the purest sense, because you have to be in the right place at the right time rather than going after them until you catch up; but even if you happen to be in range, it still takes quick thinking and great effort to get where you can strike them as their ends go past. The work of following and intercepting them once you are find yourself in the practical vicinity to do so bears a strong chase ethic. If you don’t want to just stand around until you happen to meet up, you’re going to find yourself racing to reach the spots they cross in time to snag their tails; and since this race is defined by the ever-moving monsters you’re trying to catch, it qualifies as a form of chase.

      • Zachary Morris

        Stallord and Levias are chases though.

        • Roth

          Levias is a chase; Stallord is just timing dodges.

  • drnedaj

    I’m sorry you ruined the fun on this dungeon by using a guide. Then again that’s just my personal opinion. I think a guide should never be used on first play through. Using a guide to find some extra heart pieces, sure that’s fine but for the first play through it makes me feel that I never beat the game myself. That’s why the original Zelda I’ve felt I’ve never beat myself because since I grew up playing it and older cousins told me where to go I never found it as rewarding to beat it.

  • Jono

    My favorite dungeon in the game. I rage quit because of it on my first playthrough, but on my second try it was amazing; I noticed the genius design a lot more.

  • ilovezelda

    Are you telling us that you had to use a GUIDE to finish the dungeon?!! Shame on you! No self-respecting Zelda player would ever resort to those means. Using a guide to complete necessary game tasks is just not acceptable. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t need a guide to play it again, it’s the first time that counts. ZeldaDungeon, please get someone else to review dungeons!

  • BlackRaven6695

    Rolling along the ramps as a goron always stuck in my mind. It’s not something I expect a dungeon to have and it’s not something the series has done elsewhere, except for Arbiter’s Grounds (sort of).

  • Fang_Ariatus

    ALL OF MY HATE!!!

  • DMAN27

    This was my second favorite dungeon in MM, and like all the dungeons in MM, it was entirely memorable.

  • Roth

    Apparently “brutal” dungeons are my favorite.

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was okay. I can’t wait for your review of the stone tower!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003298020387 Alan Da Cruz Nascimento

    I simply love everything related to Gorons. ♥

  • Mseevers95

    Goron Form = Chuck Norris

  • GSusanj

    This is my 2nd favorite dungeon in the Zelda series, following Stone Tower and just before the Woodfall Temple (yes, my top three are MM dungeons, but afterwards comes a generous mix of TP and SS dungeons, so no I haven’t forgotten the rest). For one, I personally enjoyed the challenge of getting the Goron roll just right on those upper floors.

  • catatemybow

    I’m afraid I’ll never be able to forget Snowhead. My game was particularly glitchy at that point and I had to go through the temple three times on my first playthrough of Majora’s Mask because the game kept crashing. :/ But I did love the boss battle!

  • Zachary Morris

    Jumping down to the boss door is so hard!

  • Neutopia

    Snowhead temple drove me nuts when I got this game as a kid, so much so I stopped playing the game until a few years ago, and I flew past everything and realized how amazing the game way, I think it’s a great addition to the game, and it was definitely memorable for me. :P
    And yeah the boss was awesome, very unique indeed! :D

  • Pingback: Majora’s Mask Dungeons: Great Bay Temple

  • The Wanderer

    I remember Snowhead Temple being pretty difficult to solve in terms of puzzles; the central pillar was a killer (that rhymes), and it was kind of frustrating missing a jump and having to work my way back up again. In a game like Majora’s Mask that revolves so heavily around time, it can be a bit of a headache. I don’t recall disliking the dungeon, but parts of it felt a little unnecessarily gimmicky.

    I only beat Majora’s Mask once, but on my second attempted playthrough, I got aaaall the way to the end of the Snowhead Temple…and then my game froze. Had to do the whole thing over. I wasn’t mad, just…incredibly disappointed. I wasn’t able to complete the second playthrough before selling my 64 to help pay for a Wii, but this hopefully means the game will feel fresher for me when I next obtain it in some format (Virtual Console, Majora’s Mask 3D, whatever).

    Goht was a fun boss when I stopped pansying out and shooting him with Fire Arrows from the side. It took me years to realize he actually had a human face. During his opening animation where he thaws out of the ice, I noticed some sort of flap on his forehead was moving. It took me a second to realize, “That’s a mouth! Oh my gosh, GOHT HAS A HUMAN FACE!! ON HIS FOREHEAD!!” Blew my mind.