The Lost Zelda Villains

Do you know your Dairas from your Doomraddles? Katharine does…

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 10/28/2011 14:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

Link standing masthead (Legend of Zelda)

It’s a well known fact that Zelda games like to remind us of their roots every now and then. If the recurring appearances of Link, Zelda and Ganon weren’t enough, every game is also populated by a very similar set of beasties each time we embark on a new adventure, be it in Hyrule or further afield. While stalfos are the only enemy to appear in every single Zelda game, we all know that moblins are Ganon’s piggish-bull-dog minions that roam the overworld, and we all know that those bats flying around and burning our shields are called keese.

But occasionally we come across some bad guys who just seem to have outright gate-crashed the Zelda villains party. They’re the ones making a fuss outside the door, begging to be let in because they had that one appearance in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, but the moblin bouncer on the door isn’t quite so convinced. Fokka? Three-of-a-Kind? Who are these guys? Well, while their fame and fortune as Zelda stars may not have lasted very long, here’s a look at some of those unsung heroes (…or villains), because even the little guys deserve some love every now and again.


Aquamentus

Game: The Legend of Zelda

The first boss of the first Zelda game, Aquamentus did his very best to guard the first shard of the Triforce. He spat fireballs at our hero in green while he shuffled back and forth by the wall. Although he made a brief reappearance in Oracle of Seasons (complete with the room’s original block configuration), this poor guy has never been seen again. He was one of the only enemies in the original game not to be brought forward like the rest of his compatriots, boss or otherwise, and despite being the first in a long line of Zelda dragons, it was Barba from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link who went on to become the basis for Volvagia. Sadly, it seems as though Aquamentus has been relegated to the bottom of the dragon template bin.


Doomraddle

Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

One of the more challenging monsters you meet in Zelda II, Doomraddles do their very best to intimidate would-be heroes. They are very much an “approach with caution” enemy, right up there alongside ironknuckles and darknuts, but unlike their knightly rivals, Doomraddles have fallen by the wayside. While relatively defenceless once you penetrate their tight guard, the tough part is breaking through their fearsome onslaught of airborne maces. Your timing has to be very precise in order to get underneath the rain of pain, but for all their potential, Doomraddles have unfortunately faded into obscurity.


Daira

Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The bane of Death Mountain, these mohawked-rhinos showed no mercy. Whether you experienced the trauma on NES or have only just felt the fear on 3DS, Dairas were out to get you. Their orange form wasn’t so bad– you still had to watch out for the powerful swing of their axe, but they were manageable. Their red forms, however, were a different story. Instead of simply swinging their axe, they threw them at you, and only the most timely series of jumps could avoid them. Dairas would have made excellent enemies in the 3D Zelda games, providing a refreshing alternative from the overused dark nuts and iron knuckles we face so often.


Fokka

Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Following in the long Zelda tradition of pitting you against armoured anthropomorphic creatures (or undead anthropomorphic creatures), Fokka were among the most difficult of Zelda II enemies. Found only in the Great Palace, they took the ferocity of an iron knuckle to a new level. Not only were they able to shoot sword beams like Link, but they could also leap into the air while they attacked you. As much as I love a good iron knuckle fight, they’ve grown slow in their old age. Fokka, on the other hand, were quick and less predictable. Had these armoured birds made the transition into 3D, they could have been a truly formidable opponent.


Snap Dragon

Game: A Link to the Past

Found only in the Dark World in A Link to the Past, it’s perhaps understandable why Snap Dragons haven’t made the leap forward in subsequent Zelda titles. Not only are they constrained by their location in the corrupted Sacred Realm, but they’re also not the sharpest tool in the shed. Their only form of attack was to run around diagonally like directionally-challenged crabs in the hope of bumping into Link and knocking a few slices of heart off his life meter. But if we didn’t have at least a few entries at the opposite end of the enemy-intelligence-spectrum, then where would we be? Plus they look pretty awesome.


Three-of-a-Kind

Game: Link’s Awakening

Not so much enemies per se, the Three-of-a-Kind was used as a unique method of puzzle-solving in Link’s Awakening. Always found in threes, hence the name, Link had to make sure each of them showed the same symbol in order to progress. Eagle’s Tower, the penultimate dungeon, put them to particularly good use with its deceptive layout. Early on in the game, Link only had access to certain parts of a Three-Of-A-Kind room, meaning that unsuspecting players would sometimes have to give up on their careful efforts to match up two of these critters and start all over again when they realised that the third little blighter was too clever to come anywhere near them. Definitely a missed opportunity for shaking up Zelda’s traditional puzzle formula.


These are by no means the only lost Zelda villains out there though. There are many more besides this hand-picked selection, although it’s perhaps unsurprising that the game with the most unrecycled enemies is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, it being somewhat a black sheep in the Zelda series and all. Personally, I have a huge soft spot for that game, and would probably have listed many more enemies from there had there been space permitting. But I think I’ll leave it here for now. Do you have a particular favourite Zelda enemy that has never seen the light of day again? Let us know in the comments! It’s always fun to reminisce about old times…

2 Responses to “The Lost Zelda Villains”

  • 1329 points
    Andrew Hsieh says...

    Some time ago, I found a certain Krystofer Goldensword (yep) and his website, which featured a self-made pen-and-paper RPG based on Zelda titled Legends of Hyrule. At the time, I wasn’t too familiar with the earlier Zelda games, having not particularly enjoyed them (sorry guys), and so looking through Goldensword’s bestiary was my first introduction to creatures like Daira and Fokka. Suffice to say that I imagined them a lot crazier than these sprites could do, but then again, I think these sprites were supposed to evoke just the kind of imagination that sparked Goldensword to make a pen-and-paper RPG :) Great list! Aquamentus still rules.

    Thumb up 0
  • 150 points
    Lewis Hampson says...

    Nice list Katharine! If I remember correctly (highly unlikely) I think those Snap Dragons used to use their tongues to snatch items off Link. I have never played Zelda II, but that little Fokka looks to be a handful :D (sorry).

    Thumb up 0

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