The bridge in Saria connecting Death Mountain to the rest of the world can only be deployed if you’ve talked to Bagu. He’s located in the upper forest just to the east of the swamp. Talk to him, then go back to Saria. Talk to the river guard, and he’ll let you cross.
Many players get stuck after the first palace, simply because they rush through the game and don’t take the time to build levels. If you’re hitting a speed bump around this area, try getting some experience and building levels. That’ll help quite a bit.
Position yourself in the middle of the rock formation in Southeast Hyrule and blow the Whistle. Be at the same level as the two southern rocks, aligned with the northern one. The Palace will appear to the South. Now, you’ve remembered to get the Magic Key first, right? (note: if you hit an enemy before you enter the palace, it’ll disappear).
No! Leave it alone! There are only 5 Link Dolls in the entire game! One is in the west swamp, one square down and to the left of the rock that blocks the cave to the medicine. Another is in the desert near Maze Island, in a small dead end just north of the ocean. A third doll is in the swamp of southeast Hyrule. The other two are in the sixth and seventh palaces. If you find a Link Doll early in the game, don’t take it! Like most other items, dolls do not reappear when you reset the game. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. It is much better to save them up for the last palace, when you’ll really need them!
Early in the game, fight the weak enemies of the swamp in West Hyrule. Mid-game, go for the strong enemies in the desert south of Mido. Late game, do the weak enemies in the forests of southeast Hyrule. The first will rack up about 50 points a screen, the second yields 66 points a screen (with high potential for P-bags), and the third one gives you around 310 points a screen.
Shield Spell, hands down. By using Shield, you’re effectively doubling the amount of life you have. This is very important to know. (However, you should be using the Shield Spell when fighting ANY boss).
No. Not yet, at least. Never use magic until you see a reason to. Imagine that you used Shield in that unexplored area only to find it was completely empty. Not a good thought, huh?
I follow the 2-accomplishment rule. If you did two or more things in your game that added to your progress (Getting a Heart or Magic Container, Clearing a palace, going up a level, etc.), then go ahead and save your game. If you didn’t, don’t bother. Reset and keep your play count low.