Artwork of Link drawing a map from
The Adventure of Link
and Tri Force Heroes
Maps are recurring items in The Legend of Zelda series. They often show detailed representations of places Link can explore. There are mainly World and Dungeon Maps used for exploring their respective areas, but certain maps exist that serve other purposes.
Maps are obviously used for navigation, but their uses have become increasingly elaborate as the Legend of Zelda series has progressed. They have been used in every game with exception of The Adventure of Link. Maps detail the layout of the Overworld or a Dungeon and often show Link's current location. As with Dungeon Maps, World Maps are often blank until an area is explored or a full Map of an area is obtained. In many Legend of Zelda titles, maps can only be viewed on a subscreen, but in The Legend of Zelda, a very simplistic mini-map could be viewed in the HUD. This is similar to the Map used during gameplay of Four Swords. The mini-map mechanic did not return until Ocarina of Time, in which it only shows the area Link is currently traveling and his position in accordance to the map, as well as where he entered from. The mini-map returned in every console title until Skyward Sword. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks displayed Maps on the top screen of the Nintendo DS with the ability to move them to the touchscreen to write notes and draw paths. Despite their similarities, World Maps and Dungeon Maps often have distinct differences.
The Legend of Zelda only displayed a plain gray square on screen, which represented the Overworld. A flashing red rectangle indicated Link's location. Full World Maps have been available during gameplay since A Link to the Past. Oftentimes, key locations will be marked on World Maps, such as towns and Link’s next destination. In A Link to the Past and every game since The Wind Waker, it often possible to magnify an area of the World Map to get a keener look at the layout. When warping is possible, some of the titles in the series would display the World Map to show where Link can warp to. The World Map is not always used only for navigation; in Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures, the World Map is used for selection different stages. The World Map of Skyward Sword allowed Link to place light Beacons to guide the way to a chosen destination. There are diverse methods of obtaining and using World Maps throughout the series.
Sometimes, Link begins an adventure with a full World Map. In A Link to the Past, the World Maps are available in their entirety from the start. Link's Awakening's World Map starts out blank, but an atlas in the Mabe Village library, accessible early on, reveals every location on Koholint. Though only a level select screen, Four Swords' map can also be wholly viewed from the start, with a few minor additions as the game progresses.
Most commonly, the areas of the World Map must be filled in. Link’s Awakening includes a World Map with a grid, and is the first game in the series where each location on the World Map is labeled. Each section of the grid is obscured until explored. Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages use the same mapping system. Similarly, the World Map of Ocarina of Time shows only places that have been visited, though a grid is not in place. Similarly, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword also mark new regions on the map when Link first enters them. New Islands and Train Stations in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks can also be viewed through the World Map only after they are discovered.
Sometimes, parts of the World Map can only be viewed by buying or otherwise earning them first. Maps for each region in Majora's Mask must be purchased from Tingle, even if a region has already been explored. The Sea Chart in The Wind Waker can only be updated with images of islands by tossing Fishmen All-Purpose Bait. Smith gives Link a World Map early in The Minish Cap, though its regions on the Map must be uncovered as described earlier.
While useful, the World Map was not necessary to move forward in most Zelda games. However, Maps were crucial for exploration in both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. No region of the Overworld in Phantom Hourglass could be explored until Link had a Sea Chart for that area, each of which could be found in the Temple of the Ocean King. Together, the World Map was separated into quadrants. This is much like the Rail Map in Spirit Tracks, which had also had four parts, one for each of the four realms. A part of the Rail Map must be attained from the Spirit Tower to visit the Realm detailed on it. To travel across either of these Overworlds, a course must be charted on the Maps themselves.
Dungeon Maps have been used in nearly every game of the Legend of Zelda series aside from The Adventure of Link, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, and A Link Between Worlds. They are usually found in Treasure Chests. Once obtained, a Dungeon Map will allow Link to see every room of every floor in the dungeon it was found in, with the illuminated rooms showing where he has already visited and blank ones to show where he has not been. This gives clues on where Link should go next and where hidden rooms might be found. For a Map to show all of a Dungeon's contents, it should often be used in conjunction with a Compass, which will reveal locations of a Dungeon's Boss; since Link's Awakening, it has also revealed the location of Treasure Chests. Before the Dungeon Map is obtained, a makeshift Map can be used to show rooms Link has already seen. This is the only way to receive Dungeon Maps in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. The Dungeon Map was not an item in these titles, but the Map of an entire floor is available upon entering it, so each floor had to be explored to view the full Map. These games also lacked the Compass, so Treasure Chests could not be found by using one; Link instead had to pay Gossip Stones to reveal the treasures on each floor of Dungeon for the cost of twenty Rupees. In Skyward Sword, as there was no Compass in its Dungeons either, finding a Dungeon Map would reveal the location of all Treasure Chests and the Boss.
- In Ocarina of Time, the Dungeon Map shows a map of Dodongo's Cavern.
|Names in Other Regions|
|Japanese||チズ (Chizu) (TLoZ)||Map|
|SpanishLA||Mapa de la mazmorra (LA, OoX, OoT3D, MM3D, SS)||Dungeon map|
|French||Carte du Donjon||Map of the Dungeon|
|FrenchCA||Carte du donjon (MM3D)||Map of the Dungeon|
|Italian|| Mappa del labirinto (TP, TWW)
Mappa del dungeon (OoT3D, MM3D)
|ChineseSI||迷宫地图 (Mígōng Dìtú)||Dungeon Map|
- "You got the Map! You can use it to see your current position and the rest of the dungeon (Press X)." — N/A (A Link to the Past)
- "Using the Map Screen, you can view the entire overworld of Koholint Island and check your current location." (Link's Awakening manual, pg. 11)
- "These maps show you a general overview of your current location, such as a dungeon floor or a quadrant of the sea." (Phantom Hourglass Official Game Guide (Prima Games), pg. 9)
- "The tiny Link head on the map indicates your current position." (Phantom Hourglass Official Game Guide (Prima Games), pg. 9)
- "Once Link steps inside the underground labyrinths the above ground radar at the top left of the screen turns into the radar of the labyrinths. What's more, if Link has the map of the labyrinths, then the map also will be displayed on the radar." (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 32)
- "There is a map displayed at the bottom right of the screen. The yellow arrow shows your current position and direction you are facing. The red mark shows where you entered the area from." — Know-It-All Brother (Ocarina of Time)
- "How about we write it on our map? To do that, tap the Map icon, then scribble to your heart's content!" — Ciela (Phantom Hourglass)
- "When you want to make notes on the map, tap the Menu tab and choose Map. This moves the map to the bottom screen on the Nintendo DS. You can now draw directly on the map." (Phantom Hourglass Official Game Guide (Prima Games), pg. 9)
- "...Look at the top left of the main screen. You see a little map there. This is Link's radar. You can use it to check roughly where he is." (The Legend of Zelda manual, pg. 27)
- "That mark on your map must be your destination." — CastleGuard (A Link to the Past)
- "On the Map Subscreen, you will also see a flashing dot showing you which way you should go next." — Kaepora Gaebora (Ocarina of Time)
- "I see you brought a map so you don’t get lost. (Press the X Button to see your map)." — Guard (A Link to the Past)
- "'Atlas Of Koholint Island' / You can move the cursor and look up the name of a place..." — Library Book (Link's Awakening)
- "The dark parts of the map are places you have not yet visited. Move the cursor and press the A Button to get more information about an area, or to replay the message you got there..." — Library Book (Link's Awakening)
- "Press SELECT to view the map. Move the cursor and press A to see place names. Dark regions are ones you have not yet visited." — Know-It-All Bird (Oracle of Seasons)
- "If you are lost and don't know which way to go, look at the Map. The areas you have explored will be shown on the Map." — Kaepora Gaebora (Ocarina of Time)
- "Look there! That island isn't marked on our charts, Link! And it looks like we can dock there! There! I've just added the isle to your chart! Why not set a course for it?" — Ciela (Phantom Hourglass)
- "Initially, the entire map will be covered in clouds, but as you purchase maps of areas, the clouds covering these areas will lift, revealing that area on the world map." (Majora's Mask manual, pg. 36)
- "Will you buy one of Tingle's maps?" — Tingle (Majora's Mask)
- "I don't know where you got your mitts on that Sea Chart you got there... But it looks to me like it's pretty much got nothing but seas drawn on it!" — Fishman (The Wind Waker)
- "If you see a fish leaping out of the water when you sail near an island, sail up to it and spread bait out on the water's surface. Trust me, this is good advice, fry. See, the baiting process allows you to get a chart of the island, along with any info that might be of use to you." — Fishman (The Wind Waker)
- "You got a map of Hyrule! Now, you'll never get lost!" — N/A (The Minish Cap)
- "You got the Northwestern Sea chart! Now you can explore a new area of the sea!" — N/A (Phantom Hourglass)
- "You got the Forest rail map! Some of the lost Spirit Tracks on it are reappearing!" — N/A (Spirit Tracks)
- "Tap the Feather Pen icon to access your navigation chart. Just draw a line and the ship will follow that exact path." — Linebeck (Phantom Hourglass)
- "There's something strangely powerful about the rail map you recovered. If you trace your stylus over the tracks, it will set a path to your destination! Go on and try it, Link!" — Anjean (Spirit Tracks)
- "You found the Dungeon Map! [..] Blue chambers are places you have already visited. Your current location is the flashing room. Move [the control stick] up and down to select a floor to view." — N/A (Ocarina of Time)
- "You've got the Compass! Now, you can see where the chests and Nightmare are hidden!" — N/A (Link's Awakening)
- "You can only look at maps of the floors you have visited. After you visit a floor for the first time, you can always view the map." (Phantom Hourglass Official Game Guide (Prima Games), pg. 9)
- "The number of treasure chests left here...is... [var]! It'll cost you 20 Rupees to see where treasure lies." — Gossip Stone (Phantom Hourglass)