Master quest is still the best version.....
Ya know, I beg to differ. I found the Master Quest not very exciting. A lot of the puzzles in MQ are easier, just weirder. Instead of expending effort to swing yourself up waterfall platforms, you have to just find one hidden target that the designers just put in a strange place, or hookshot a key out of a mirror. I didn't find these kinds of things particularly interesting or exciting. It felt more self-referential than anything, as if the developers had a field "breaking" the level editor. It's sort of the Lost Levels of the Zelda series, except that I found the original OoT more challenging. It would be cool if they put BOTH on the cartridge though, for shits and giggles.
You left out the part where they made a bunch of switches into cows' asses.
That said, it was kinda like that in the Original's 2nd Quest as well. It starts out much harder due to facing Glerocs and Darknuts by level 2 but level 9 is a breeze compared to 1st Quest's version.