Undoubtedly, one of the most exciting experiences when playing any Zelda game for the first time is reaching the boss of a dungeon. In fact, I intentionally avoid looking ahead when new game news surfaces regarding bosses and strategies to defeat them. I like to be completely surprised, and analyze the beast, briefly admire the scope of imagination poured into its creation, and quickly change gears by figuring out how to take the sucker down. However, it is not uncommon for the series to recycle bosses from previous games. This can be both disappointing and exciting. Seeing an old boss can make players lose faith in the Zelda team’s ingenuity, and make for an underwhelming battle, as you already know the monsters’ moves and weaknesses (Oracle of Seasons, anyone?). On the other hand, seeing an old boss recreated can leave players feeling pleasantly nostalgic, and impressed with how the Zelda team has managed to breathe new life into a familiar foe, and set up an entirely new and unfamiliar battle requiring intriguing methods of strategy to overcome (My personal favorite being Gleeok from Phantom Hourglass).
The release of Hyrule Historia has further encouraged fans to speculate the inner workings of the Zelda stories, including character development. Too often are bosses labeled as simple, mindless monsters, simply standing (usually on four legs) as a barrier between you and the prize of the dungeon. Occasionally, a boss will be given a brief backstory to build anticipation and further develop the game’s story, but nothing more is divulged after the monster’s defeat. I know I am not the only Zelda fan out there that would love to see old bosses again not only for the simultaneous experience of new and old gameplay, but also for further development into their backstory. With that, I give you the six bosses that I would personally love to battle again, given they create a little more hype provided by in-game exposition. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)
Hit the jump to see the list!
#6: Facade (Link’s Awakening)
Okay… this one’s a bit of a cop-out, but I promise, it’s the only one. I don’t want to see this boss again so much for a backstory, but more for his potential on the 3DS or Wii U. This boss fits perfectly as an enemy in a 2D, overhead view Zelda game. He would be quite difficult to spot in a 3D, camera-controllable game (ex: Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, etc.), as the entire floor of a room is not as easy to see from the lower level view. But that’s what would make him a fun and challenging boss! You never know where he’s gonna pop up. In Link’s Awakening, it was too obvious. Not to mention, how cool would he look on the 3DS? His face could pop right out, seemingly separated from the floor. I think he is one of the view Zelda bosses that would look significantly cooler in 3D, as he seems to be nothing more than a flat, two-dimensional being.
To clarify, this does not mean I do not care for a backstory on the character. I would love to know how such a unique being came into existence. Is he confined to this one particular room? Can he haunt others? Was he born/created this way, or was he once a solid, three-dimensional being that is being punished for a crime, or rewarded with limited omniscience of a dungeon? What’s that? That’s a contradiction? Oh, well you know what I meant. You don’t? Fine, we’ll just move on then.
#5: Byrne (Spirit Tracks)
Byrne was arguably the most dynamic character in Spirit Tracks. Characters transitioning from evil to good or good to evil is not a new idea in storytelling, but for minor characters in video games, it’s really not all that common. I never expected Byrne to turn out the way he did. Initially, he just seemed like a mindless henchman, serving no real purpose other than that of a muscle-bound errand boy. He didn’t strike me as someone who would aid Link and Zelda, let alone give his life for them. Now after the introduction of this article and my desire to see more developed bosses, you may be wondering why I placed one of the most developed bosses of the series in this list at all. Good observation. But when Nintendo leaves the window open for the reincarnation of a character as dynamic as Byrne in a future game, I cannot deny that that is something I’d love to see.
#4: Blind (A Link to the Past)
Blind needs more lovin’ for sure. With the exception of the game’s major bosses (Agahnim and Ganon), Blind is given the most backstory. He was the leader of a band of thieves in Kakariko before playing warden to one of the seven maidens. As one of the few characters in the franchise to possess the ability to morph, Blind is full of untapped potential. Imagine the shock and sheer awesomeness of playing a new Zelda game, getting to know and trust a new character, and finding out that it’s actually Blind! It’s not so awesome because of the probable predicability that someone would betray Link (depending on how such a situation would be handled), but more because, well… we’ve seen this guy before in a different game, and you probably never thought you’d see him again. I’m getting all teary-eyed… no, not because I looked at a bright light and am turning into a multiple-headed, red-skinned demon, but because I’m getting all nostalgic. Furthermore, he is the only one of the seven dark world bosses (again, excluding the major ones) who is revealed to have had a life outside of the dark world. Don’t lie and say that exploring his past doesn’t intrigue you in the slightest!
#3: Volvagia (Ocarina of Time)
Not only was Volvagia the Death Mountain dragon teased to players by Darunia and his son, but fans that read the manga know that Volvagia was once a pet of Link’s. Yep. That fire-breathing, Goron-eating monstrosity was once a companion of our hero. Arguing whether or not the manga is canonical with the game is irrelevant, as it’s sparked an intriguing concept into our minds. Personally, I love the idea of a character transforming as a direct result of Link’s abandonment. Sure, many things changed in the seven years Link was sleeping (a tad), but most Hyrule citizens weren’t affected by Link’s absence on a personal level. Volvagia was left unprotected, and his monstrous instincts were exploited by Ganondorf to fulfill evil deeds. I absolutely love the idea of Link being forced to kill something for which he once cared. It shows growth, sacrifice, and responsibility, which of course are always themes in Zelda games, but never in such a dark and gripping way.
If Nintendo were to ever bring Volvagia back, I would like to see either his origin (which may be tricky unless they abandon the story set by the manga, if it’s canonical), his earliest, most feral ancestor, or an evolved form of the same being, wings and all. The Volvagia battle is the most epic dragon fight Link has encountered (sorry, Argorok fans), but with the improved graphics of the Wii U, a more terrorizing, fearsome dragon is definitely conceivable, along with a more beautifully eerie setting; perhaps an ash-filled, red sky on a mountain-top after an eruption. Such a battle would surely be Link’s most epic and memorable (or at least tied with the Wind Waker Ganon fight).
#2: Twinrova (Ocarina of Time)
These charming young ladies are somehow… both Ganondorf’s mother… mothers… whatever. I hear they’re actually his foster parents, but the biology of all this is unimportant. What is important, however, is that they raised Ganondorf. Does this mean they’re directly responsible for Ganondorf’s, um… questionable moral values? I think the very idea of seeing Ganondorf’s upbringing as a young, arrogant tyrant would make most Zelda fans everywhere drool all over their “May the Triforce be with you” shirts. I think seeing Twinrova facilitating Ganondorf’s crummy, evil upbringing firsthand would mature the Zelda franchise by leaps and bounds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Zelda games are immature (though I know several Playstation and Xbox junkies that will argue that anything associated with Nintendo nowadays is for children), but the series would certainly go to a dark, personal place I don’t think we’ve seen before. Or, at least not since Majora’s Mask. How Twinrova condition and mold the greatest antagonist in the series would make for a fascinating story, and what would surely be an exceptional game.
#1: Dark Link (Multiple Games)
I’ve heard arguments that Dark Link is simply an evil copycat of Link conjured by dark magic. So, essentially they’re saying there’s little depth in his character. Fair enough, but there’s still room for exploration here. I want to get to know this guy. How opposite to Link is he exactly? I mean, he looks like him, fights like him, so they clearly have things in common. Any writer will tell you that villains think, from their point of view, that they’re the good guys. While most will no doubt admit consequence to their actions, villains believe that in the end, the world will be a better place (at least for them) due to their actions. So here’s some food for thought: if Link does good simply because it’s the right thing to do, does Dark Link do bad simply because it’s the wrong thing to do? But don’t villains think they’re doing the right thing? I cannot express enough how much I adore the notion of a human doppleganger villain acting evil based simply on instinct. Nothing to gain, no personal feelings inspiring the actions, but doing bad because… well, just ’cause. No conscience, no remorse, not even for getting a jolly out of it. No reason whatsoever.
The thing that would be most fascinating about exploring the character of Dark Link would be examining the relationship between himself and Link, Zelda, or anyone else in Link’s world. He is in every way a perfect foil to Link, and seeing how he could cause Link to reflect upon himself and his destiny, I think, would provide the greatest and most spiritual journey Link has faced yet. Link could see his shadow twin as the result of his own failings or precursor to what he will become if he doesn’t embrace his fate. Link must overcome a manifestation of his darkest feelings and potential. He must conquer himself. He must defeat Dark Link. Not to mention, he’s just downright cool. Like Boba Fett.
What do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree with the list? Who would you put in your own list? Comment below and let’s talk about it.