Boss Key

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The Boss Key, also known as the Big Key, is a recurring dungeon item in The Legend of Zelda series. It usually allows Link to unlock the door to the boss chamber. This Key commonly appears bigger and more ornate than other keys, and it is sometimes customized to fit the dungeon theme. In each Zelda game, the Boss Key has a slightly different use or appearance.

A Link to the Past

Big Key sprite from A Link to the Past

The Big Key in A Link to the Past opens doors with big locks, the door to the boss chamber, and the Big Chest that contains the dungeon item.

Link's Awakening

Nightmare Key sprite from Link's Awakening

Link's Awakening has a different version of the Big Key that is called the Nightmare Key. It has the only function of opening up the door that leads directly to the boss chamber.

Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time is the first game to introduce 3D perspective, and thus we got to see the Boss Key in 3D for the first time. The Boss Key opens the door that leads directly to the boss chamber.

Majora's Mask

The Boss Key in Majora's Mask serves the same purpose as the Boss Key from Ocarina of Time.

Oracle of Seasons & Oracle of Ages

The Boss Key in these games can open the door to the boss chamber.

The Wind Waker

The Big Key in The Wind Waker has the same use as the Boss Key in Ocarina of Time.

The Minish Cap

The Big Key in The Minish Cap opens the door to the boss chamber, except in the Palace of Winds, where it opens the door to the mini-boss as well as the boss.

Twilight Princess

The Big Key featured in Twilight Princess has the exact same use as the Big Key from The Wind Waker.

Phantom Hourglass

The Boss Key from Phantom Hourglass has the one and only use of opening the door to the boss chamber. However, the Boss Key in this game has a little twist; Link cannot store the Key in his tunic, but instead has to carry it from where he found it to the boss door. This means that he cannot use his Sword while walking.

Spirit Tracks

The Boss Key has the same role as it does in Phantom Hourglass. In some dungeons, Key Masters try to steal the Boss Key from Link and return it to its original position. Link also encounters Boss Keys that are electrified, and thus must be carried by Phantom Zelda instead, as they harm Link.

Skyward Sword

In Skyward Sword, the traditional Boss 'Key' has been removed, and in its place is a sculpture. With this sculpture, Link must insert it into the lock, but it only goes in one way, so it can get confusing.

Non-Canon Appearances

This section describes a subject that is or may be outside the core Zelda canon.

Hyrule Warriors

In Hyrule Warriors, some keeps are blocked by doors that cannot be opened. In order to open these keeps, players must find and clear the keep that contains the Boss Key.

Cadence of Hyrule

In Cadence of Hyrule, Boss Keys can be found in each of the four dungeons and Hyrule Castle. The rooms containing them are not part of the world generator, and therefore stay the same in every game. Boss keys serve the same purpose as they do in other titles, and, unlike Small Keys, are not lost if the player dies as long as they are not playing in permadeath mode.