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The overworld is where you will do much of your journeying. In some ways, it's similar to the original Zelda game. It is an overhead view of the world. There are a few things you should know about the overworld. First of all, there are no enemies and the only items you can use are the flute and hammer (which cannot be used in battle scenes). The overworld is for getting from point A to point B, battle scenes make up the actual fighting. This page has tips for navigating the overworld, as well as a complete map.

Navigating the Overworld

This is what it looks like when you're walking through the overworld. You have no weapons or items to use in this mode, except for the hammer and the flute. When you are walking on a path, everything is just fine. Stay on paths when you can.
This is what happens when you walk off the path. Notice the little black monsters. If you run into one of these, you will be taken to a small battle scene with some enemies. The battle scenes are small, and not very difficult. Notice that there are two types of monsters. The small blobs are the easy battle scenes, and the humanoid ones are difficult battle scenes. The only difference between the two is that the difficult battle secenes have more enemies. 
This is what a battle scene looks like. It is side scrolling. You can jump, use your sword, and use your spells. The scenery and enemies change depending on what portion of the overworld you are in.
Occasionally when you walk off a path, fairies will appear. These are like battle scenes, except they have no enemies. They have a fairy which will fill up your life meter. These appear at random, so you should feel lucky when you see them. 

In addition to the battle scenes, there are other things that will take you into the side-scrolling mode. There are castles, towns, caves, and the dreaded invisible battle scenes.

On the overworld map, castles are easy to spot. They are little white pictures of castles. This particular one is level 4.
This is what it looks like when you enter the castle. All of the levels and battle scenes are in side-scrolling mode.
This is Link about to enter a town. Towns are indicated by a little group of houses on the overworld map. This example is Mido town (name sound familiar?).
This is what it looks like once Link enters the town. It is side-scrolling, but you won't need to fight enemies. Towns are a good place to get info and a little help. You can talk to townspeople, get magical spells, and get your hearts and magic filled up. It's a good idea to go into all the houses you can and talk to as many people as possible. Many of them give useful hints.
This is just one of the many caves. I recommend going into all the caves you can because many of them contain helpful items like magic ocntainers, heart containers, and treasure bags.
This is the inside of a cave. They all look pretty much the same, but they often have different layouts and different enemies in them.
This is one of the many "invisible" battle scenes. Notice where Link is. If he walks one square upwards he will be taken into the battle scene below. There are many of these hidden battle scenes all over Hyrule. They are not indicated at all, they're surprises. You will be taken into these hidden battle scenes regardless of whether or not there are those little black monsters running around. Hidden battle scenes are indicated by red squares with yellow outlines on my overworld map.
This is what it looks like in the hidden battle scenes. They all look just like regular battle scenes, but often have more enemies and more difficult obstacles.

Throughout the overworld, you may encouter some type of roadblock. The hammer and the flute will enable you to pass these roadblocks. There are two kinds of roadblocks: boulders and the "river devil".

This is by far the most common roadblock. The trusty hammer will do away with this easily. If you have the hammer, just walk up to the block and press the B button.
Once you use the hammer, the block disintegrates and turns into a patch of desert terrain.
This is what the villagers of Nabooru call the "River Devil". It's really not a big deal. It is simply a roadblock that prevents you from passing, just like a boulder. There is only one of these in the game. To get past it, you use the flute that you got in level 5. Just press the A button.
Once you use the flute, the monster disappears and turns into a patch of desert terrain, just like a boulder.

Overworld Map
(The maps are large files, so they may take a while to load)

Here is a complete map of the entire overworld. The overworld is divided into three parts: West Hyrule, East Hyrule, and Maze Island. All the major locations you need to know are indicated on the map.

This key will tell you what all the symbols mean.


West Hyrule

Locations and Items in West Hyrule
Hyrule Castle (starting point)
Rauru Town - Shield Spell (east of Hyrule Castle)
Ruto Town - Jump Spell (northwest of Hyrule Castle)
Level 1- Magic Candle (absolute northeast, in desert)
Trophy (in cave due north of Hyrule Castle)
Heart Container (due south of Level 1)
Magic Container (southwest of Hyrule castle in cave blocked by boulder)
Heart Container (in cave southeast of Rauru)
Water of Life (in cave due south of Level 2)
Mido Town - Upthrust, Fairy Spell (on eastern coast)
Level 2 - Power Glove (in western part of swamp, southwest of Hyrule Castle)
Bagu's House (indicated by blue square in forest above the path above Saria river)
Saria Town - Fire Spell
Extra Life (southwest of graveyard, on western coast)
Secret Entrance to Level 3 (directly south of the King's tomb)
Level 3 - Raft (on island southeast of graveyard)
Hammer (cave in far south, far south of Saria and Death Mountain cave maze)
Magic Container (under boulder next to hammer)

Map of West Hyrule (174 KB)

Click here to open the map of West Hryule in a new window


East Hyrule

Locations in East Hyrule
Nabooru Town - Fire Spell (in central grassland)
Level 5 - Magic Flute (due east of Nabooru, in ocean)
Heart Container (in ocean just north of level 5)
Darunia Town - Reflect Spell, Upthrust (absolute northwest)
Bridge to Maze Island (on northeastern coast)
Extra Life (in desert just southwest of bridge to Maze Island)
Level 6 - Cross (in desert near southeastern coast, blow flute in middle of triple-rock formation)
Heart container (east of Level six, on coast)
Old Kasuto - Thunder Spell (west of Level 6, across bridge)
New Kasuto - Magic Container, Master Key, Spell Spell (in small forest on eastern coast, use hammer to reveal town in the second block of trees in the second row from the top)
Level 7, Final Temple (in mountains in northern portion of lava)
Map of East Hyrule (127 KB)

Click here to open the map of East Hyrule in a new window

Maze Island

Locations and Items on Maze Island
Bridge to East Hyrule
Lost Child (indicated by green square, directly underneath river near temple)
Magic Container (on western side of central portion of Island)
Level 4 - Magic Boots (on eastern side of Island)
Map of Maze Island (29 KB)