Today I want to take a moment to appreciate some of my favorite enemies and monsters within the Zelda series. Because, what would be of the games without them? They either pose a challenge, a test, or simply an annoyance, but they’re always there for us, ready to greet us with arms (or wings, leaves, tentacles, jaws. etc.) wide open. They’re so loyal, too, as even after Link kills them they’ll kindly reappear when he re-enters a room. Anyway, these are in no particular order, and it’s just my personal opinion.
The first one I want to get out of the way, because they’re fairly new, are the Guardians from Breath of the Wild — especially the walking, nightmare-inducing kind. I don’t know what it is exactly but there’s something frightening about what basically is an upside-down pot with legs, that shoots lasers and won’t stop chasing you until you’re reduced to ash.
What I find really satisfying about them is how your first encounters are so terrifying (I had mini heart attacks when I heard that cursed piano melody), only for you to become stronger later in the game and finally gather the courage to defy them. That rush of adrenaline when defeating your first Guardian by deflecting its beam right back at it is beyond words. Then, when you’re even more confident, you mock them by running towards them and cutting their legs, at which point they can no longer chase you, and may even get flipped around sometimes. Who’s scared now, huh?
And there would not be Guardians if we didn’t have the iconic and classic Octoroks from the original Legend of Zelda (thanks, Octoroks), since Producer Eiji Aonuma based Guardians on Octoroks. Octoroks are the first enemy you ever encounter in the first game of the series, and they’re all over the place, so it’s no doubt they became so memorable despite their simplicity.
Moving on to The Adventure of Link, this is a game I actually haven’t played much of, but I’ve played enough to encounter the despised Bubbles. Now don’t let the name fool you; they say there is no way possible to say the word “bubbles” while being angry, but these baddies will prove it wrong.
Still, this is definitely the least annoying incarnation of the enemy. Its counterparts in other games will not only hurt you on contact, but drain your magic meter or inflict you with a curse keeping you from using your sword. Bubbles in Zelda II are actually useful, as they yield a huge amount of experience points (especially in the beginning of the game, which makes them perfect for grinding). That is, if you don’t mind the soreness in your finger after the thousand hits they take before they are defeated. Considering the rest of the enemies in the game, I think they’re not that bad.
Going back to nightmare fuel territory, we have the always-creepy ReDeads. Either in Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, or The Wind Waker, they’re basically a walking corpse with hollow, soul-absorbing eyes (or rather, eye sockets), that let out a bone-chilling shriek every time you approach them. To make it all worse, they’ll paralyze you for a moment while they keep moving towards you, and if they get close enough, they’ll jump at you, grab you, and… well, it’s simply terrifying. Luckily, in Majora’s Mask, you can fool them into thinking you’re one of them by wearing the Gibdo’s Mask, or even make them dance, making them slightly less creepy.
To wrap things up today, here’s my favorite enemy from my favorite Zelda game, A Link to the Past: the Snap Dragon! I’ve liked this creature since I first saw it in the instruction booklet for the game. There was something about that cool name and those sharp menacing fangs that made me impatient to find them within the game. Of course, that didn’t happen until I got to the Dark World, and when I finally saw them, I was disappointed. They look much less menacing in-game than they do in the booklet, and they’re not much of a challenge, but still, I really like their design and it’s a very cool enemy that I’d love to see in more games of the series.
That’s all from me. Perhaps I’ll revisit the topic in the future, since there are so many fascinating enemies to talk about!