Enemy Profile: Octorok
Enemy Type: Rock-Spitting Octopus
History: Every game except Twilight Princess
Attacks: Spit Rocks
Varieties: Deku Octo
Octoroks first appeared in the original Legend of Zelda as basic grunt enemies that roamed the fields, forests, and mountains of Hyrule. It was in 1986 that they first used their trademark move – shooting rocks at passerby. They made a reappearance in the first sequel, Adventure of Link, where they behaved in a somewhat similar manner. In A Link to the Past for SNES, they took on a new behavior – they would run around wildly, then stop for a moment and spin, shooting rocks in all directions. The Game Boy entries returned them to the traditional style of the original game.
Normally Octoroks appeared on land, but when Ocarina of Time introduced the peaceful Zora tribe in place of the wicked Zora monsters of the classic games, circumstances called for a new water-bound projectile enemy, and the Octorok was put in the evil Zoras’ place. Replacing the Octoroks on land were the Deku Scrubs, little wooden sprites that shoot Deku Nuts from similar snouts. The aquatic Octoroks became a mainstay in 3D Zelda titles, making return appearances in Majora’s Mask and The Wind Waker. It wasn’t until Phantom Hourglass that we saw both the land and water-based Octoroks in the same game.
So far, there’s been one official title that Octoroks have been absent from: Twilight Princess. No one really knows why this is, especially given that a similar enemy known as the Toadpoli appeared instead, but nonetheless, the Octorok was nowhere to be found. Some have speculated that the Mini-Freezards, which first appeared in Twilight Princess but when melted in Spirit Tracks reveal Octoroks inside, may have actually been an attempt to retroactively add Octoroks back into the one game where they were missing.
Skyward Sword is set to be the first Zelda game to feature land Octoroks. As it turns out, these Octos seem to be a combination of sorts of the Deku Scrubs of Ocarina of Time and traditional Octoroks, since they wear shrubs on their heads to camouflage themselves and hide in small burrows in the ground. To defeat them, use a Shield Bash to knock their projectiles right back at them. You have to exercise careful timing if you are to properly repel the rocks.
Land Octoroks may be just one of a long list of returning classic enemies in Skyward Sword. A couple weeks back we introduced the Gel & Zol, another traditional baddie given new life in its first 3D Zelda title. Who knows what other oldies Nintendo has in store! Could we see the return of the Lynels, which haven’t appeared since the Oracles games? What about the Goriya? The Pols Voice? Hopefully we’ll find out soon!