As console generations pass by and art styles change with game releases, so too do the appearances of some characters in the Super Smash Bros. franchise.
Some of the biggest evolutions in art style can be seen in The Legend of Zelda characters. We had a look at how each Zelda character changed through the series, from the original Super Smash Bros. on N64 right up to Ultimate on Switch (we are respectfully ignoring the 3DS version this time around).
A lot has changed through the years. So, off we go on a nine-year trot down memory lane.
The Hero of Time had just finished his adventure in Ocarina of Time the year previous to Super Smash Bros. on the N64. He made his debut with 11 other familiar Nintendo characters. Thankfully, he’s been available for every release of Super Smash Bros.
The star of half of Ocarina of Time and the protagonist of the dark and incredible Majora’s Mask, Young Link hit the Smash Bros. scene back on GameCube in the evergreen Melee. Unfortunately, it was the last we saw of the courageous boy until he was announced in Ultimate on Switch.
Everyone’s favorite princess (you would be dramatically wrong if you think it’s Peach or Midna) first appeared alongside Young Link in Melee. She managed to make herself comfortable in every game since. With her trusty wardrobe, she has been seen in a few different styles since her Ocarina of Time design on Melee. It’s exciting to see her character based on A Link Between Worlds for Ultimate.
Having stirred up immense controversy when he was first seen in Wind Waker for his new cel-shaded look, who’d have predicted that he is now a firm favorite with fans or that Wind Waker would be so highly regarded today? Toon Link introduced himself into Super Smash Bros. on the Wii in Brawl.
Sheik is Zelda undercover, and she was delighted to demonstrate to Link that he perhaps wasn’t needed after all when she unearthed herself in Melee as a transformation from Zelda. From then on, Nintendo decided to go the whole hog and separate the two characters. She’s been present as a part of Zelda or alongside her ever since popping up on GameCube in Melee.
Ganondorf has also been available since Melee on the GameCube. From his terrifying bad man look in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf has been a popular character in Super Smash Bros. and the Zelda games themselves.
It is fantastic to see Nintendo pay homage to the Zelda series and to introduce various styles and art direction into their characters to reflect contemporary games. They have developed tremendously in the past nine years, and it is commendable that the developers took the time to work not only on these small and fine details of appearance but an updated moveset in line with more recent games in the series.
We can only hope that new characters from the Zelda series will be introduced and will enjoy a similar treatment in the future. Will Skull Kid, equipped with Majora’s Mask, make his debut in Ultimate? Perhaps Ghirahim can reign as a new character later this year? We can’t wait to hear more on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before its December 7th launch.
Update: Article has been modified to correct editorial errors