Hyrule Warriors is like a love song to us Zelda fans, with all of its references from titles throughout the years all in one game. In my last article, we covered some of the Easter eggs from Ocarina of Time, and so today we move on to the Twilight Realm as we explore Hyrule Warriors‘ references to Twilight Princess.
Twilight Princess, as well as Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword, was one of the main three Zelda titles used in the original plot in Legend Mode. It eventually got a DLC pack which then merged into the plot upon the release of Legends and the Definitive Edition. With all of this content comes many, many Easter eggs, so while I may not be able to cover them all, I would love to hear your favorites!
Link has the largest variety of weapons in Hyrule Warriors (as to be expected). In all that inventory, three of them pay homage to the Hero of Twilight. The first would be the Silver Gauntlets.
While the gauntlets themselves are more of a reference to the ones seen in Ocarina of Time, there’s no denying that the ball and chain is a reference to, well, the Ball and Chain! This oversized wrecking ball is found in the Snowpeak Ruins in Twilight Princess and is used to break down blockades of ice. The first form of this weapon is an exact replica of the one received in the original game.
Next, we have the Spinner. The Spinner is another Twilight Princess-exclusive weapon that’s mainly used in the Arbiter’s Grounds to travel across the dungeon at top speeds and launch into enemies. I find that most fans really enjoyed this weapon in game, but it didn’t have much use outside of the Grounds. I suppose the creators of Hyrule Warriors noticed that too and gave us another use for this awesome tool! You can even see Link spiral up a track noticeably similar to the one in the Mirror Chamber in his victory animation and Focus Spirit special.
Lastly, there’s Epona. Just as other versatile characters like Link, Zelda, and Impa, an original design for Epona was made for this game. However, her second form specifically references her appearance in Twilight Princess and is even titled Twilight Epona. Slap on the Era of Twilight Tunic and you’ve got the whole set! Now while Epona’s final form and victory animation both reference Ocarina of Time, Link’s Hylian and Master Sword victory pose ends with him riding Epona with his sword hand raised in the air, just as he did after the battle on the Bridge of Eldin.
Link also has a particular costume that references the Twilight Princess series outside of the Era-based tunic. It is possible to unlock (or purchase, if you’re playing the older titles of the game) the Postman’s Uniform from the original game. That’s right. Link wearing short shorts. Your dreams have come true.
Zelda’s Hyrule Warriors appearance, I would say, is most influenced by her Twilight Princess design. Though still drastically different, you can see her more mature look and the similar styling of her hair is a callback to Twilight Princess. However, if you want the exact look, similarly to Link being able to have the Era of Twilight Tunic, Zelda too can wear the Era of Twilight Robes — and even Ilia’s clothes! Though the mayor’s daughter doesn’t make an appearance herself, it’s still nice to see that she’s somehow included in this fantastic series.
Then there’s the matter of her third weapon, the Dominion Rod. In Twilight Princess, the Dominion Rod is a tool acquired in the Temple of Time and has the power to possess and command statues. The two statues Zelda directs in Hyrule Warriors are direct references: The first is the hammer-wielding guardian statue Link must guide throughout the Temple of Time to its rightful spot, and the other is one of the many owl statues, hiding pieces of the ancient texts to find the Sky Cannon.
Even her rapier is designed similarly to the one she owns in Twilight Princess. Additionally, in her combos and special attacks with this weapon she can summon the very same Light Arrows (and bow) that she does in her and Link’s horseback battle with Ganondorf.
Agitha is one of the three original characters chosen to represent Twilight Princess. She is the self-proclaimed princess of the insect kingdom, and sends Link on a quest to find the golden bugs she’s invited to her ball.
She has a few of these bugs in her attack combos in Hyrule Warriors, notably the golden butterfly and stag beetle, which have been dramatically scaled up in size. Her melee attacks consist of batting around her foes with the parasol she carries around with her.
Midna & Twili Midna
Of course, we must talk about the Twilight Princess herself — in both her imp and true forms. Um, spoilers?
As an imp, Midna rides atop of a wolf, much like how she rode on Link’s back when in wolf form in Twilight Princess. Many of her combos are based around her magic hair or her wolf’s bites. She also summons the Fused Shadow in one of the Focus Spirit special attacks, transforming into the monstrous form she uses in-game to break the barrier surrounding Hyrule Castle and challenge Ganondorf.
In her entrance animation, she appears from a warp portal which she uses in-game to teleport objects, as well as herself and Link. If you listen towards the end, she also hums a piece of her theme song (as does Twili Midna in her victory screen). In her victory animation, her wolf jumps around the screen, referencing the enhanced jumping ability Link performs as a wolf in Twilight Princess. When it leans back to howl, Midna nearly loses her balance, mimicking the scene where Link first meets Princess Zelda.
As an extra fun tidbit about her Imp form, in the Majora’s Mask DLC, instead of getting a mask included from that title, Midna instead wears the Ordon Shield on her face, just as she did when she attempted to use the sword and shield for herself. Luckily for Link, she doesn’t have the sword this time around.
Twili Midna has some of my favorite references to Twilight Princess, as all of her moves make callbacks to her time as an imp traveling alongside the hero of that time. Her weapon itself is a reference to the Mirror of Twilight, which is the gate to the Twilight Realm. Most of her weak attack moves sweep the area with Zant’s Hand, which in the original game was used to eerily follow you through the Palace of Twilight when recovering the Sols.
As fun as that one is, her strong attack combos are far more interesting. While her first combo is the Zant Hand once again, the next is her actually using that same Sol you had to defend to attack her foes. Third, she’ll summon the Sky Cannon you use in-game to launch Link into the City in the Sky. The fourth brings in the Bridge you find in the Faron Region. While in-game you bring it back to the Eldin province, it seems like Midna kept it for herself and is finding other uses for it. Lastly, she summons three wolves, once again referencing her time accompanying the transformed hero of Twilight.
But the references don’t stop there — go into Focus Spirit mode and use either special to get a pleasant surprise. If you hit the special attack button, Twili Midna sheds a tear and reenacts the final scene of the game where she breaks the Mirror of Twilight. If you continue on without hitting the special attack, she’ll end the focus spirit with the same attack she uses in her imp form to free Wolf Link from his chambers.
Zant is one of the primary antagonists of Twilight Princess, as well as Hyrule Warriors once the other realms open up. His chaotic moveset is heavily influenced by his boss battle in his debut game and includes many callbacks, such as his spinning fits, the totem pole from the Forest Temple phase, and his gigantic size from the Snowpeak Ruins phase. He also rightfully uses Zant’s Hand to smack around his opponents, as well as Zant’s Mask to shoot energy bolts in spastic patterns.
His mannerisms are also direct from Twilight Princess and apparent in all of his cutscenes. In his entry onto the field, the way he bizarrely twists his arms around his body then stamps his feet in a fit of rage imitates the scene where we, the player, learn Zant’s backstory and that he is undoubtedly insane. The way he bends backward in his victory screen is also part of his traitorous history. He does the same pose when he meets the spirit of Ganondorf for the very first time.
Throughout the Palace of Twilight from the original game, Zant makes duplicates of himself that are referred to as “Phantom Zants”. He summons these copies in his special attack to create a ball of energy to smash down on his foes. He also has a costume from the Twilight Princess DLC map that is the same bright, turquoise color as his transparent clones.
Bosses and Enemies
There is only one boss that is straight from Twilight Princess and that is Argorok, the dragon that terrorizes the City in the Sky. Like the source game, you defeat it with a Hookshot (since the Clawshot is essentially the same thing), and the weak point on it’s back is exposed once it hits the ground.
Bulblins also appear in Hyrule Warriors as fodder enemies and the captains are King Bulblins (although there is only one King Bulblin in the original game). Darknuts, though seen in many various Zelda titles, take on their Twilight Princess appearance in this game as well. Then there are the Aeralfos who also bring over their Hookshot-target shields, which makes KO’s much easier.
There are two stages influenced by Twilight Princess in Hyrule Warriors: Twilight Field and the Palace of Twilight. While the Palace of Twilight is a pretty spot-on reference to its source material, there are some more interesting details in the Twilight Field to point out. The bottom-west corner of the stage is based on Kakariko Village, featuring all the decrepit buildings we see in-game. Venture on north of the village to discover the epic Bridge of Eldin, and if you head out northeast you can even stumble upon the Hidden Village. And you can do all of this while rocking out to an epic cover of the Hyrule Field theme!
Twillight Princess is my personal favorite Zelda game and to see all of these nods to the series absolutely thrilled me, which may be why I went a little overboard in this article. There are so many references to this wonderful game that I tried to squeeze in as many as I could, but the best thing I could really do is tell you to play the game and discover these Easter eggs for yourself!
If there’s a reference I left out (because I know I definitely did), kindly let me know what your favorite Twilight Princess reference in Hyrule Warriors is!