The Ganon, the Link, and the Wisdom

We’ve seen lists before of generic ways Skyward Sword references various aspects of the many titles in the Zelda franchise. But more to the point, it would seem the developers made a concerted effort to pay homage to the very first game in the Legend of Zelda series.

From the general to the specific, come along with us as we examine some of the ways in which it would appear Skyward Sword is paying homage to the original The Legend of Zelda.

10. “It’s a secret to everybody.”

Beginning with one of the most oft quoted lines from Zelda history, one which has made its way into several other entries in the series, this line was first uttered by a Moblin who gives you a handful of Rupees after bombing a hole into his secret cave. In Skyward Sword this line is repeated by not one but two characters. In one instance a proto-Zora-esque Parella says this line while giving you a handful of Rupees after you bomb your way into his/her secret cave.

It's a secret to everybody

Which brings us to…

9. Bombing walls for secrets

But wait, I can hear you argue, we bomb walls for secrets in every Zelda game. Ah, but not like we do in the first game. Since then every dungeon wall or sheer cliff side which hides a secret is marked in some painfully obvious way. In the original The Legend of Zelda there was no indication whatsoever, except by deduction: you’ve explored every part of the dungeon but your map shows that there is clearly a room which you have not yet entered, so you place a bomb… and sure enough… a secret entrance. The same thing occurs for the first time in a long time in Skyward Sword. 

8. Ghirahim’s sword seen in the title screen to the original game?

Ghirihim's sword

This one is fairly debatable as we never quite get a good look at Ghirahim’s rapier, but it does bear a striking resemblence to the sword seen on the first game’s title screen (yet never seen anywhere in the game).


The Legend of Zelda title screen

Which reminds us…

7. The title screens

As seen above, the original Zelda game had a horizontal sword (with the hilt to the right) underneath the title of the game on the title screen. In the trailers for Skyward Sword, we see a familiar layout. Also notice the vines covering the Triforce and such in each screen.

Skyward Sword title image

6. Walking downstairs into dungeons

In the original The Legend of Zelda, each dungeon was accessed by walking down a set of stairs. The limited technology at the time tried to make this as dramatic as possible by fading out all sound but footsteps going down the stairs and a fade out. Almost every dungeon in Skyward Sword is also accessed by going down a set of stairs, with a more modern dramatic cutscene in each instance.

5. Sky Keep is an homage to the dungeons of the first game

TLoZ dungeon layout

TLoZ dungeon layout

Speaking of dungeons, the dungeons in the first game were comprised of uniformly rectangular rooms with doors only exactly in the center of each of the four sides. As a clear homage, the final dungeon in Skyward Sword features a similarly simplified construction.


Skyward Sword dungeon layout

Skyward Sword dungeon layout


4. Getting Triforce pieces in a dungeon

Gathering Triforce pieces

One of the most memorable aspects of the original game was finally getting that golden triangle at the end of each dungeon in its special room. Not only was it the whole reason you were there in the first place, but it also refilled your hearts, which was especially nice right after a tough boss battle. In Skyward Sword we collect pieces of the Triforce in the final dungeon, each houses in their own special room, and this really felt like it was hearkening back to the first game since in so few Zelda games since do we ever actually gather pieces of the Triforce again.

3. Potions have two servings

In most Zelda games you can buy potions to restore your life, and in the first Zelda game if you spent just a little more, you’d get an extra potent potion that allowed for two servings. This makes a comeback in Skyward Sword where if you upgrade your Heart Potion you get two servings per bottle. Nice!

2. Sword beams

One of the first things announced about “Zelda Wii” that caught my attention was the fact that “sword beams” would be making a comeback. In the first Zelda game (and second and third) Links sword strangely could shoot a projectile. We haven’t had this reappear in any major console games for ages. Well, in the final battle in Majora’s Mask if happened to have the Fierce Deity Mask, but that hardly counts. Having the ability to shoot a beam of energy from the Goddess Sword certainly feels like a look back to the Zelda games of yore.

1. 25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary of...And, finally, probably the most obvious. Skyward Sword was released twenty five years after the first Zelda game. So it was no surprise to see the designers give a coy wink to that fact by having a character mention the 25th anniversary within the game.

Did you happen to notice these homages? Or any that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

  • Link and Cuccos

    I think I only noticed #1, #2, and #10 while playing Skyward Sword.

    I didn't notice the rest as it has been a very, very, very long time since I played the first LOZ game as a kid! And getting the Triforce pieces was one of my favorite parts in SS.

    Now when I replay SS for the second time, I'm going to remember this article. 😀

  • Hyrule Castle Resident

    I noticed 1,2,4 and another one but… It’s a secret to everyone

    • Craig

      So many say that in the game, I've found 4 characters – 2 of them are Kikwi, 1 is a robot and the other is a parella. Also, I've been playing the Minish Cap and seeing it in a whole new light after the timeline reveal… It's clear though, that the Four Sword and Master Sword are definitely two different swords and they are both intertwined with the fate of Link's bloodline/Spirit of the Hero. It wouldn't surprise me, given the importance of swordplay emphasised this past year – If a new sword is brought into the equation with the 3DS or Wii U game… I'm interested in seeing a game that comes between Skyward Sword and the Minish Cap, that sets up Hyrule proper and the monarchy and the beginning of The Force Era. I've also noticed the Light Force IS The Triforce… But nobody knows it's true nature after the events of Skyward Sword, as it's so long afterwards and it's purposely been hidden after what happened. So it's only heard of as the Force or Light Force by very few… I love the games so much more now I know the Timeline, makes so much sense.

      • I have a hypothesis that new Zelda games will be a whole new timeline, hence the big reveal we just got. I see it as them closing this story and beginning another.

  • cruzazulini

    I noticed 10, 6, and 1, which is fairly good for a 15 year old that has only played the original the legend of Zelda in a website for 5 minutes.

  • Clayzee

    You Could also shoot sword beams in LOZ: Minish Cap after learning the skills.

    • OllieRaiden

      That wasn't a console game though.

  • I actually noticed most of these, apart from Ghirahim's sword and I didn't pay too much thought to walking downstairs into the dungeons. But it was wonderful to see so many references or things that reminded me of the first Zelda game.

  • I noticed number 1 right off. That was an amazing mention of the 25th Anniversary which is sadly just about over.

  • Shadao

    Erla also gives the phrase "it's a secret to everybody". If you come back to Faron Woods after it was de-flooded, Erla is hiding at the same hiding spot in the beginning. After cutting the grass and speaking to him, Erla comments of you seeking skills and gives you a goddess plume. Then he says, "Remember, it's a secret to everybody."

    • Hyruleansoldier

      I didn't know that! I sent Erla to the sky when Faron was flooded. I'll have to check that next time.

  • EraZ3712

    How about the massive Hylian Royal Family Crest // Triforce Symbol in Lanayru Desert?

    Assuming that the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess has the intended map layout, it’s safe to assume that the original Temple of Time (SS) eventually came to be known as Arbitor’s Grounds, as well as the location of the Mirror of Twilight (which makes sense, as a Gate of Time previously resided in the same place).

    Hint Hint which led me to this conclusion was the name of the Gerudo Dragonflies (was it dragonflies?). “Gerudo” dragonflies, in Lanayru Desert?

    Also, the climate may have shifted back into it’s original, favorable conditions, which allowed for a part of the desert to be capable of holding water (hence Lake Hylia).

    …Long message, sorry. But am I the only one who’s making this link? (no pun intended)

    • DominionBlade

      Lake Hylia could be the reflooded sand sea or (sea of sand) Where the sand ship was located.

    • Devoid

      I believe that these are all very reasonable conlusions, thank you for pointing that out!

    • Darkstar

      Also if you've noticed the Sealed Temple's location is quite similiar to the temple of time in TP. they both have the side entrance leading into a big round area of the forest and the main entrance which is somewhat blocked off (ecept SS has the sealed grounds area. Both temples are covered in vines as ruins and their interiors are look very similar.

      • SpaGheTTi

        To be honest, I don't think the major part of the game is a prequel to OoT. I think when they go back in time to seal Demise and put the Master Sword where it belongs, THAT's the part of the game that lies before OoT. The rest of the game, I think, lies between OoT/Twilight Princess and Wind Waker.

        Why, you ask? Well, for starters, the Zora seem to have evolved into this new species that will eventually disappear. Skyward Sword features all these Loftwings which could very well be what will evolve into the Rito race (along with the Mogma, but I'll talk about that later). The Kikwi look an afwul lot like what would be the transition between Kokiri and Koroks (if you have a look at their human arms). Civilization has already ceased to exist on the surface, which made it easy for the Water Dragon to flood Faron Woods (which are only called Faron Woods since TP). Three Gorons and all male? Don't think they will give birth to an entire race. No, these guys are pretty much the last of their kind.

        But what gave it all away to me was Lanayru Desert. First of all you have these Timeshift Stones and Orbs, which show you what the desert was like in the past. All this technology we've never seen, in a game prior to OoT? I didn't think so. To me, this looks like the last and best technology Hyrule/the surface has seen before the flood. Also, when you look at what the desert looked like in the past, it looks an awful lot like Lanayru in Twilight Princess. The Sea of Sand/Water reminded me of Lake Hylia, too.

        Also, keep in mind that in the sidequests, you bring (thus save) a Mogma and a Kikwi to the skies, but no Goron. Which means they would go extinct after the flood, and that maybe the Mogma could be the Rito's predecessors (I don't know whether it's them or the Rito).

        And then we have small winks, such as the art style (which is literally the transition between TP and WW), and the fact that if you would flood the surface up to the level of the sky islands, you would have an overworld similar to WW's.. So as I have said before, I think the final battle and final scenes (ergo, when you cross the Gate of Time) take place before OoT, and possibly as the first things to happen in the timeline, but the major part of the story doesn't. It's a prequel to Wind Waker.

        Please discuss this with me.

        • well, it has already been confirmed that the Zora's evolved into the Rito, so I don't really know how you make such a connection. It's not a prequel to The Wind Waker, the creators also already stated that. And with the recent timeline in the Hyrule Historia book, edited by Aonuma, it also clearly states Skyward Sword is the first in the timeline for now, followed by Ocarina Of Time (Not counting the handheld games). So there is almost nothing to hold your prequel to The Wind Waker theory together.

          • SpaGheTTi

            I would like to see this confirmation of both "it has already been confirmed that the Zora's evolved into the Rito" and "It's not a prequel to The Wind Waker, the creators also already stated that."

            Also, the Zora may have evolved into the Rito, but that still doesn't mean this can't be in between. And note that what I'm saying is that they didn't lie when they said this is the prequel to OoT. But it's just not the whole game that lies before OoT, only the ending, the part in the past when they go through the Gate of Time. They put the Master Sword there, and it stays there (in the past).

            But the rest, I'm almost sure, is prior to Wind Waker. "Almost nothing to hold my theory together" is a bit exaggerated after reading all I had to say before, no?

          • DominionBlade

            I agree with the theory too. And I think we shouldn't be so harsh as to say he is lying. Because if the timeline was never announced , this easily could have been accepted as one of the plausible theories. Though there are a few things that don't make sense.

            For instance. The Parella looks more primitive than that of the Zoras, They had no legs and were not physically capable to inhabit land unlike the zoras can in future games. which is why I first thought of them being the precursor of the Zoras, instead of the next evolution.

            And if the Gorons did go extinct, how do they show up in Phantom hourglass, and the later Spirit tracks?

            Second, when link goes back in time via a timeshift stone. The machinery reminded me alot of the tower of gods from WW and Temple of time from TP. And since link goes back in time in that game as well to access that dungeon, whose to say that both the mining facility and the temple of time are not from the same era. It was stated in game that the time shift stones sent you back 1,000 years. Maybe link journeyed about that much to confront the Armogohma. I surmise the gate of time sent SS link back to upwards of 10,000 years. So if the sealed grounds becomes the temple of time, wouldn't it be difficult to construct Castle town when the Goddess statue is in the way. Did it move else where? Was it destroyed? or did it simply decay into nothing like all ruins do. And what of the actual Temple of time in the Lanayru Province. Does that become the Spirit temple? Or is that something entirely different. Maybe its the Arbiter's Grounds. The construction and locations makes much more sense. These are things to think about. But hold on a second though. we were following the released time line, so there is a huge blank between SS and OoT. So obviously another game, or games will occur to help bridge the gap and explain some inconsistencies. (we hope) But if we jump back into the above theory where the Present of SS is not the "origin" and is instead the bridge between TP and WW, then you have more questions like: is the City in the sky the soon to be skyloft? What happened to the castle towns? Thats when the theory starts to fall apart. And the primary stake in the coffin is the master sword was created during the present of SS so it couldn't have already existed in TP. Unless an event that takes place in a future game reverts the master sword into the goddess sword which would be worse then breaking it like in the Minish Cap. It might be something Demise's incarnate would do. The theory is ok but more things are implausible than plausible. this ratio explains the excellent theories as opposed to the mediocre ones. I'm not criticizing the creator of the theory, because we are all free to theorize, We are those who, already knowing the time line, have rejected it and substituted our own. We are also free to debate and deboggle about it, bouncing it off people adding their insight and deciding if it makes sense or not. In a way, it's a science.

            Before I forget, something worth discussing also is that in almost every zelda title, excluding the first two and OoT, is that there is an ancient temple with technology that exceeds their own at that time. (also I'm not sure if thats true for LttP, The four Swords games, and the oracle games since I haven't played them yet.) But for WW, Tower of the Gods, MM, has the Great Bay temple, Minish Cap, the Cave of the winds, TP, Temple of Time. So on and so forth. So for the games I haven't played, can you tell me if the pattern continues? As well as your thoughts.

          • SpaGheTTi

            I've cleared SS twice and can't remember anyone saying the Timeshift Stones send someone back 1000 years? What you say about the Parella is something I did consider myself, though I just can't let go of the theory because of that. Because what you say about the Goron is true, but they weren't there in WW either. So okay, maybe they didn't go extinct after SS, but they sure weren't around in WW.

            "if the sealed grounds becomes the temple of time, wouldn't it be difficult to construct Castle town when the Goddess statue is in the way"
            Sure, but needless to say the Goddess statue would be destroyed, because somehow the people believe in three goddesses in OoT (Din, Nayru and Farore), as opposed to the one Goddess Hylia in SS.

            I don't know what the hell the Temple of Time was doing in Lanayru Desert, but my guess is they wanted to keep some mystery to be explained in future games, as they were already about to release the time line..

            "City in the sky the soon to be skyloft? What happened to the castle towns? Thats when the theory starts to fall apart."
            Well, for starters, the castle towns would obviously have been in that middle part of the surface, which we didn't get to explore (and should be right underneath Skyloft).

            The City in the Sky was too small to be Skyloft if I remember correctly, and I doubt it's linked to Skyloft. It may be an other island entirely (Minish Cap also featured stuff in the Sky, didn't it? It's just possible in LoZ-games for things to be in the sky, I think). Remember: in TP, they were already talking about the City in the Sky coming from an "ancient civilisation".

            Your final remark is definitely something to look into. I have completed LttP about a hundred times but I never really payed close attention to this. It's also kind of hard to see technology in this game, since it was 2D. I would say all temples had a kind of 'technologically advanced'-feel with none really standing out. And there was definitely no 'ancient temple' in it. Also, how do you know Great Bay Temple was ancient? As with all theories, I'm sure there are probably some huge flaws to this one (since the first 2 games and OoT are already being left out).

          • Hyruleansoldier

            There's 3 Goron Merchants in TWW. There's Gorons in PH and ST and the Oracles, and FSA.. basically most games after OoT had Gorons. They're the most resilient race, and loved, of course.

          • SpaGheTTi

            Right, I totally forgot about those merchants, because their appearance was quite different.

            Okay, so I forgot about that, and clearly they didn't go extinct :p but that fact is not in conflict with my theory 🙂

        • MOTOVRES

          I agree with this – was thinking the same thing – the past seems more a prequel to Ocarina, while the "present" or "future" that we play most of the game n seems to be much later. I mean, that should be obvious – unless everyone is accepting that the "past" in this game just goes that much farther into the past. But I think that is a false assumption and short-sighted.

    • Hyruleansoldier

      Well Zora's Domain provides the water for Lake Hylia, so that's why eventually part of Lanayru becomes a lush green place with water, and the other half comes to be known as the barren Gerudo Desert.

      I agree on the Arbiter's Grounds. A different Temple of Time was then made, most like instead of the Sealed Grounds since that's where Link leaves the MS. It's also in the woods, like the Sacred Grove in TP, where we find the MS.

      Not sure about the Gerudo Dragonflies. I like the idea of Groose being an early Gerudo ancestor, since he would likely settle in Lanayru. But the name of the dragonflies would suggest the term Gerudo already exists. Mostly I think they just wanted to create some familiar names, like with the Deku Hornets even though there's no Deku Tree, nuts, sticks, scrubs or forest yet.

  • the_voice

    When you find Kukiel in Batreaux's house, she says, "Anyway, he said it was dangerous to go out alone at night, so I'll just hang out here for a while."

    Close enough for me.

  • Soeroah

    One of the things I noticed was the way the Goddess's songs had the same symbols as the Harp of Ages song icons (which in turn were on the Pearls in Wind Waker) but that's not a reference to the first Zelda game.

    Made me wonder if the Harp is somehow related to the Harp of Ages, though.

  • "its a secret to everybody" also appears when you obtain a 300 ruppee (i think its 300)

  • I think the rapier is a big stretch. The design of the guard is completely different. and it's black and red opposed to white and blue. I think if Nintendo really wanted to base it off of the rapier in the title screen, they'd at least make it look moresimilar. The rapier looks like it'd be covered in a more rounded approach with what looks like blue bands of metal when Ghirahim's blade has none. I think people who theorize like to pull out for whatever they can. I wouldn't be surprised if they started to theorize Oni was Demise's Uncle. Different games, but I make my point. I can see the rapier being the main inspiration behind Ghirahim's blade, but I don't believe it's the same blade.

    • SpaGheTTi

      It can't be the same blade as any blade, since it never existed in earlier games. The fact that they took inspiration from the first game's logo to make it the new villain's (now that they finally have one) primary weapon is enough, to me.

  • Given that SS is an acknowledged direct prequel to OoT… I think it’s safe to say that all the different areas in SS are the “precursors” to all the areas in OoT. To name the obvious examples: Faron Woods = Lost Woods, Lanayru Desert = Gerudo Desert, and Eldin Volcano = Death Mountain. It seems some of the other areas are still under debate, like if Lake Floria isn’t the ancestor of Lake Hylia then it’s at least the ancestor of the home of the Zoras. I haven’t completed the game, so maybe I just don’t know about the reasons everyone isn’t taking it all as direct 1:1 mentions. It’s a long game! I’m at 30hrs and I haven’t completed the quest for the first sacred flame (the one in the ancient cistern).

    • I finished in ~68 hours. I didn't rush and I have almost all the sidequests done, so it could be done quicker probably.

    • somecrazyguy

      i thought that lanayru desert was possibly a pre hyrule feild, and then when the triforce came to hyrule, it gave the desert the same prosperity it once had. the sand sea though, i still think would be desert. to me, eldin volcano and faron woods arent the same as the lost woods or death mountain. i thought maybe they were the farther reaches of hyrule, and thats why we dont see a kokiri village or goron village (altho, if minish cap is to come before OoT, i would say that the gorons havn't made death mountian their home yet)

  • bluh

    Dang spoilers man.

  • #8 is so cool


    Pretty good observations.

  • Agentbarto

    Glad I'm not the only one who noticed the sword beams! We still don't know how the Goddess Sword came to possess that ability but now we know why the Master Sword has that ability.

  • anon

    I feel like Link's coloring was reverted back to match the origional LoZ. IT might juat be me

  • Austin

    The ones that I noticed was the 1,10, 6, and 4. I didnt know about the rest.

  • Hyruleansoldier

    LD-Link-16 should be added to this list. The designation the Thunder Dragon wants to give Link is a wink to Skyward Sword being the 16th Zelda game, and thus 16th time you get to play as Link.

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