Ganon(dorf) has always been thought as Link’s greatest enemy through his evil deeds, conquests, and possession of the Triforce of Power. But there is another more sinister, immortal being that has been betrayed by Link’s trust for many years. Can you guess who it is?
The immortal, helpful but sometimes demonic chicken beasts known as the Cucco, though not listed as an enemy, have been known to injure and kill Link on many occasions. Since the Cucco debuted in A Link to the Past, they have been both helpful and hurtful to Link by giving a helpful wing to the next dungeon and retaliating to one too many sword-slashes. Cuccos have been known to appear throughout the Legend of Zelda universe in such places as Hyrule, Koholint Island, Terminia, Labrynna, and Holodrum. Their purposes have changed throughout the games but one thing is for certain, Link has fun harassing them when he is not using them to aid his quest.
The Helpful Fowl
When not retaliating against abuse, Cuccos have been assistants, mini-game participants, and quest items to Link. Some of the well known assistants are the blue Flying Rooster from Link’s Awakening/A Link to the Past, Rusl’s Golden Cucco from Twilight Princess, and the random Cucco used to wake up the narcoleptic Talon in order to get to Princess Zelda in Ocarina of Time. All of these Cuccos assist Link to progress further in his quest to a new level or for transport.
In Link’s Awakening, the Flying Rooster aids Link in his part of the quest dealing with Eagle’s Tower. Without the Flying Rooster, Link would be unable to get to and complete the level itself. The Flying Rooster also aids Link in crossing bottomless pits or gaps Link could not jump across on his own. A small appearance is also made by the Flying Rooster. In A Link to the Past, the Flying Rooster assists Link traverse quickly across the map. There are also blue Cuccos in Oracle of Seasons that help Link up and around Goron Mountain. These appear to be influenced in design by the Flying Rooster.
Rusl’s Golden Cucco lends some wings to Link in Twilight Princess. Without this Cucco’s help, Link would not be able to gain access to the Sacred Grove and of course, the Temple of Time. This Golden Cucco was able to fly further distances carrying Link. Link was also able to speak to the Golden Cucco while transformed. The Golden Cucco even had his own saying, “Twinkle, twinkle, little Cucco… I am gold and not for you-oo….”
Other normal Cuccos are also known to help Link as an alternative to Hover Boots. They aid him by helping access places he would not normally be able to reach. By letting Link glide down off of taller structures while he holds on to their feet, the Cuccos flail about wildly. Cucco gliding is utilized a lot in Ocarina of Time as a way to grab Pieces of Heart, especially as Young Link.
Cuccos have also been participants in many mini-games that reward Link with some items. The other more well-known mini-games earn Link rupees instead. Child Ocarina of Time Link had to find Talon’s three “Super Cuccos” among all of the Cuccos in the Lon Lon Ranch house. If Link completed the task, he got a bottle of Lon Lon Milk and jokingly, a marriage proposal (to Malon, not Talon you disturbing people). Later in Kakariko Village, Link earned another bottle (this time empty) by capturing Anju’s loose Cuccos and bringing them back to their pen. This type of task was later turned into a mini-game. In The Minish Cap, Link has to capture Anju’s Cuccos and put them back in their pen before time runs out earning some easy rupees. Falbi’s Flight by Fowl is the Cucco related mini-game featured in Twilight Princess. Utilizing Cucco gliding, Link earns prizes that include more rupees, Pieces of Heart, and Poes.
As I mentioned before, Cuccos have also served as Link’s quest items. In Ocarina of Time‘s Biggoron Sword side quest, Link came across two special kinds of Cuccos in the trading sequence. The first one, Link hatched himself from the depths of space-time where he carries all of his items. This is the Pocket Cucco. Anju bred it specifically as a designer Cucco where it was allergy free (because we all know raising animals we are allergic to is a great annoyance) and a convenient travel size (“Is that a Cucco in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”). In order to continue the quest, Link had to make the Pocket Cucco happy (no innuendo meant) by waking up a very sleepy person. Who else but Talon, the lazy narcoleptic former Lon Lon Ranch owner? After Link partakes in the game standard of breaking and entering, the Pocket Cucco becomes happy from waking up the lazy ranch owner. After running across the village again to Anju, she takes her novel Cucco and gives Link another, her brother’s pet Cucco named Cojiro. Cojiro, a blue Cucco, will only crow for his owner which is Grog, Anju’s brother. Link takes Cojiro to Grog in order to complete the next part of the side quest.
Other smaller parts of side quests/obtaining items are found in Majora’s Mask and Minish Cap. In Majora’s Mask, Cuccos play a little part in helping Link gather masks. After receiving the Bremen Mask, Link can march around Grog’s Cucco Shack and help Grog’s dream come true. While wearing the Bremen Mask, Link will march around playing his Ocarina with the Cucco chicks following. After some time, the chicks will magically poof into full grown roosters. As a reward for this, Grog gives Link the Bunny Hood. In Minish Cap, Link can fuse kinstones with certain Cuccos.
The Flock of Doom
“Cluck cluck… What?! You turned me into a human. I can even speak! Aha, it must be you who is always teasing my friends. The Weathercock is always watching you harass them. Well, this human shape is uncomfortable for me. Ahhh, I want to be a chicken again. Cluck cluck…” —Kakariko Cucco Lady, A Link to the Past
When retaliating against abuse, Cuccos have been relentless and immortal beasts. They have been seen dive bombing Link to hurt or kill, trying to eat him, and even have their own Dark World counterpart.
Once Link betrays the trust of the adult Cucco, disastrous results will occur. I remember when I first played A Link to the Past, I went around the towns slashing bushes and noticed that I affected the nearby Cucco. Now knowing I could sword-slash the Cucco, I did it over and over again to see what would happen. I died or should I say Link died. Below is an example of what I saw.
When Link assaults a Cucco enough, whether it is by sword, bomb, slingshot, or by other means, the assaulted will call for backup. This backup is usually referred to as the “Cucco Revenge Squad.” It is basically an immortal swarm of Cuccos that Link has little no defense against. This death swarm appears in most of the Legend of Zelda series with the exceptions being Link’s Awakening, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess. The only time Link can kill these these normal Cuccos is in Link’s Awakening. Link can use the Magic Powder or Magic Rod. In any other game, Cuccos are immortal.
The best defense to not die by this swarm is for Link to run into a building (usual breaking and entering stuff), leaving the area, hopping onto Epona, and use Nayru’s Love depending on the game. Most “Revenge Squads” attack Link until he is dead. This can lead to a prolonged death/resurrection cycle if Link is carrying bottled fairies. However, the ones in Phantom Hourglass only attack for a few seconds before ceasing.
Some variations of this death swarm can be been in the Oracle games with use of the Mystery Seeds. A Cucco will turn into a chick if hit with a Mystery Seed before calling for back up and will harmlessly retaliate against Link. However, if Link hits the Cucco in question after it calls for back up, the Cucco will triple in size and injure Link until the hero leaves the area along with the swarm.
Normal Cuccos have been known to try and kill Link before without any provocation. In The Minish Cap, Minish-sized Link faces certain doom if he goes into Anju’s place. The vicious little Cucco chicks will attack Link on sight. Was hatred for Link taught or was it that he looked like a bug? Probably the latter. If Link is caught in a corner, he is doomed to die by the beaks of these murderous little chickens out for a meal. If he has a bottled fairy, the death and resurrection process will torture Link even further.
There are enemies in A Link to the Past that are Cucco-like monsters. These are sometimes referred to as Bone Cuccos. They are found in the Dark World and look like skeletal versions of the normal Cuccos complete with the same reactions, movements, and sound effects. These Bone Cuccos are not the ones Link should be worried about.
An Eggcellent Future
Considering that Cuccos have been in the Legend of Zelda series for so long, I can only suspect that we will see them in future games. I believe that the “Cucco Revenge Squad” will make their apperance again. They have been in most of the games so far and gives the games a nostalgic feeling to tie into the rest of the series. I would also like to see more. Lately, Nintendo has been playing with the idea of controlling a Cucco (as seen briefly in Twilight Princess). I would like to see Cuccos work like the Sea Gulls in Wind Waker. In Wind Waker, Link was able to control a Sea Gull with a Hyoi Pear to collect items and the sort. Nintendo can use some of this to further incorporate the use of Cuccos in the games. Cuccos are able to do much more than give rides, be used as a parachute, and amusement for Link (and the of course, the player). They can be made a required sidekick for a dungeon like Medli and Makar (Wind Waker). This will make things a bit more interesting since we have seen this element used before and we have heard that Link will utilize a sidekick in Spirit Tracks.
So there you have it. Cuccos are Link’s friends and enemies capable of great help and horrible death. We can only hope to see them in future games with even more dynamic game elements than what we have already seen.