In a series like Zelda, with so many foes of every variety — villains, bosses, and regular enemies — it’s no surprise that not all of them are that well fleshed-out. The vast majority of bosses are never elaborated upon, though even as early as A Link to the Past you had a boss with an actual backstory in Blind. The villains, while they often have plenty of story details to their name, can also tend to be very simplistic and lack much depth. And, while nobody really expects a big story out of the regular foes (complex motivations for Chuchus, anyone?), you do occasionally see enemies that feel like they could merit their own story.
These are my top 10 foes of any sort that I feel could use expansion in the future, or at least could have been expanded more in their original game. So, without further ado:
10 – Volvagia
Perhaps the most obvious thing to put on the list and certainly a fan-favorite, it’s constantly suggested that Volvagia have some kind of reappearance. Particularly during the Skyward Sword pre-release hype, many people took the dragon statues in the Earth Temple, as well as the fact that the videos would not show the boss of the Fire Sanctuary, as evidence for the return of Volvagia, because Volvagia was the only dragon seen in the series by that point. There is good reason to want the dragon with the glorious mane to return though:
Let me just bold that male pronoun up there to avoid comments about the gender I’ve been referring to Volvagia by. Volvagia’s low on the list because he’s honestly already elaborated upon pretty well, as you can see. Volvagia is an ancient dragon that used to live on Death Mountain, perhaps also being the one to give it that name in the first place since it doesn’t seem like the goofy ol’ Gorons could have given it that title. Volvagia ate the silly rock people until a Goron with a big hammer hammer that looks to be the same size as other hammers defeated it. The interesting part is that Volvagia is described as being a threat to all of Hyrule. It really does seem like there’s some event between Skyward Sword and the rest of the series — hell, perhaps even after The Minish Cap — where the rock finally does take that name: Death Mountain. With Volvagia putting all of Hyrule at risk, it even seems like something you could build a game’s villain out of. A Zelda game about evil dragons, perhaps? There’s certainly room for it.
Just don’t forget: Volvagia is pretty much the only dragon that could appear!
9 – Phantoms
These special foes from Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are kind of interesting being enemies whose name doesn’t really make much sense until you know their backstory; “Ooooo, an obviously ghostly knight! I’m so scared!” Initially created as offshoots of the life-sucking monstrosity, Bellum (which right there gives them good presence on the Evil Monster Checklist), these nigh-invulnerable monsters watch over the corrupted Temple of the Ocean King. With literally no means of killing them without the dungeon’s own traps until the end of the game, they provide some interesting stealth and chase gameplay, but otherwise don’t really seem like they open up for some interesting expansion. Their role in Spirit Tracks would appear to be the same… Until you think about it.
In Spirit Tracks, these invincible monster children have been relegated to guardians of the sacred Tower of Spirits, though they get corrupted. In all probability, Nintendo probably only reused them just to preserve that stealth gameplay, and didn’t really have any particular intent for there being a story there; the Phantoms of Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are probably unrelated.
That said, what if there was a story there? What if, in creating these offshoots of himself, Bellum in fact created autonomous entities who could choose between good and evil for themselves, and chose the former after the events of Phantom Hourglass? What if the ones in Spirit Tracks are simply the normal world’s parallel, as opposed to the evil Phantoms in the World of the Ocean King? Or perhaps Tetra and the Lokomo simply made new guardians in the image of the Phantoms seen in that other world. Whatever explanation was used, it would be interesting to say the least, at least in the sense of adding some serious worldbuilding to the series, and it would give Nintendo a good opportunity to explain why exactly the Phantoms in Spirit Tracks talk about a break room and quitting their job!
8 – Palace Guardians
Not so much a specific foe this time as it is an overall concept. By “Palace Guardians” I’m referring to pretty much every enemy, or at least every boss, from The Adventure of Link, otherwise known as “Zelda 2”, “The Platforming One”, or “Argh, Death Mountain!”
While I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of these foes were still evil, or at least feral, and were simply co-opted or imprisoned for the King’s use, the fact remains that the Palace Guardians were placed there by the King of Hyrule to protect the Great Palace, and as such these were all effectively enemies set against you by the forces of good.
Don’t you think we could use a little more of that? As it is now, the Zelda series seems to have become a little black and white in terms of what you’re going to be fighting in any given game. Djinn touched on this a bit in an article, talking about how a race is always either all good or all bad in most cases, but what I mean here is more about having conflicts against something other than uttermost evil. It would be interesting for Link to have more battles against good or neutral characters. More bandits and thieves, sure, maybe some drunken bar brawls, but in particular it would be cool to see these royal guardians again. We’ve haven’t seen this concept since The Adventure of Link; that the King of Hyrule will also make use of strange monsters, entities, and constructs to challenge heroes. It’s something that Nintendo could do a lot more with. Not to mention there are still plenty of specific bosses and enemies from that game that we’ve yet to see again. Horsehead in Zelda Wii U, anyone?
7 – Poes
Poes are basically just dead people, and we’ve already seen a number of Poes as enemies in various capacities: As plotless minibosses with the Poe Sisters in Ocarina of Time, as a major area antagonist with Sharp in Majora’s Mask, and as regular enemies throughout those and other games. So right off the bat it’s worth noting that “dead guy” is a pretty good concept to start with when designing detailed villains, and perhaps Nintendo should keep that in mind for future villain concepts.
But I also think there’s some hidden implications regarding Poe-kind. Or… perhaps not hidden so much as undiscovered and unintended. Let’s talk about Jalhalla and the Imp Poes.
In The Wind Waker, Jalhalla is a massive ghost made out of many Poes, and he has the same concept under the name Big Poe in Four Swords Adventures. A simple servant of Ganon, this boss has no backstory. But the concept of a host of spirits taking the form of a greater phantom is just such a great concept that Nintendo could do so much with. Hordes of spirits or undead fusing together isn’t uncommon in myth and fantasy, and doing something of a story or event in a Zelda game surrounding this would be fascinating. At the very least it seems like it could paint a pretty nice picture of how Poes work and what they can do.
There’s another game that lays out some pretty disturbing implications of the Poes, and that’s Twilight Princess, where they would seem to be servants of a demon — excuse me, “dark creature” — and hold pieces of Jovani’s soul after he sells it to said creature.
To be fair, someone needs to go to hell for this.
These demonic ghosts look creepy as hell but otherwise would appear to be the same lantern toting buggers we’ve seen in the other games. So let’s recap: Poes are dangerous enemies who are the spirits of dead people, serve demons, and can fuse together into bigger and more dangerous entities? At least give us a more epic boss out of this, Nintendo!
6 – Bongo Bongo
Like Volvagia’s popularity and beautiful hair, Bongo Bongo comes from Ocarina of Time, and also like the dragon, he is a constant subject of discussion about potential backstory expansion. All that’s known about Bongo Bongo is he was sealed in a well, has a love of percussion instruments, and is described as both an “evil shadow spirit” and a “phantom shadow beast”… Let’s just say there’s not a lot of clarity when it comes to this guy.
Fan theories have formed around this freaky boss, bringing up the fact that his place of sealing, the well, contains the Lens of Truth, and that there’s a dude who describes a man who’s house used to stand where the well is who had said object. Since the Lens of Truth bears the Sheikah eye and in fact the same man describes the Sheikah as well at a different time, some people speculate that this man was a Sheikah, and that he and Bongo Bongo are one and the same; perhaps Bongo Bongo was a criminal who was beheaded, giving his ghostly form its morbid appearance.
Of course this is all fan speculation, but it shows that there’s a lot of room for expansion with this boss. Bongo Bongo was a particularly mysterious boss, and impossible to write off as just a simple monster that Ganondorf pit against you or that was simply chilling all on its own in whatever dungeon you fought it in. Similarly, and like Volvagia, it’s another ancient evil that got unleashed. It’s a generally romantic concept that people in general always seem to love and want to hear more about. With so little information known about Bongo Bongo, Nintendo could put basically anything here — be it close to the fan speculations or entirely different — and it would work. It would be interesting to hear more about the Phantom Shadow Beast.
5 – ‘blins
Along the same lines as what was said in that article by Djinn that I mentioned earlier about Zelda races, the various ‘blin races — Moblins, Bulblins, Bokoblins, you name it — only ever appear as “the badguys”. That’s it. No backstory. No history. No motivations and very, very rarely any dialogue. They’re just the badguys and you’re supposed to accept that. Zelda racism? Probably not, since they do try to kill you. But again, does the series need to be so black and white?
The original Zelda game had a few passive Moblins found in caves, and I think this is something that would be neat to see in future games. Regardless of a game’s ‘blin of choice, it goes without saying that they are an entire race and not necessarily every single member is going to follow the same leader. Having good ‘blins, or at least a few passive ones in certain areas that don’t try to stab or gore you as soon as they see you, would be a great addition to the series and would add a lot of depth to the world and races while also creating some pretty darn memorable characters. Can you just imagine if The Wind Waker had something like say a Miniblin that gives hints for a price? King Bulblin in Twilight Princess was a solid step in the right direction for this, but more could be done.
LEAVE YOUR LIFE OR MONEY
4 – Onox and Veran
These two are the villains of the Oracle games and as such you’d think that they have plenty of story to them. And certainly, they were enjoyable villains with a fair amount done with them. But they are also another example of some serious implications that could be epic if expanded upon. Two, in fact.
The first implication is their status as followers of Twinrova and Ganon. Aside from mindless monsters and very confusing Phantom Shadow Beasts which have no known backstory, Ganon rarely has any notable followers. He had some discussed in The Adventure of Link, but the first one to be named was Twinrova in Ocarina of Time. (No, Agahnim doesn’t count because according to Ganon that was just him in a costume. Or his… spirit… in a costume… Don’t ask me how that works.)
Of course it’s no surprise that Ganon does indeed have more followers who have a will of their own, and they may be members of the Dark Tribe or simply agents of Ganon’s (or perhaps those are one and the same). Regardless, it’s still one of the only times we’ve actually seen such followers in a game, and that’s pretty awesome. We could use more of that; villains who are not the big, bad, final villain, but who simply serve him while having their own presence as characters. If there were ever a reason to revive them, we could see Onox and Veran again, sure, but more importantly I’d simply like to see their status again in new characters. It’s not entirely uncommon in the series, but villains like Vaati and Zant are usually quickly usurped by Ganon at the very end, whereas that only happened with Onox and Veran during a linked game that was detached from the individual game’s events; Onox and Veran both remained the primary villains of their games. It would also be nice to see more than one of these types of villains per game, though I suppose Onox and Veran perform that role together as part of the linked story.
The second implication is their supposed origin, based on their true forms. Onox is not in fact a big armored dude, but actually an evil Dark Dragon from the “Dark Realm”. Veran likewise shows her “true form” to be something inhuman, in her case a multitude of monstrous fairy and bug forms. She’s never stated to be from this “Dark Realm”, but I think that can be inferred given her being the counterpart to Onox, sharing this true form nonsense with him, and her title, “Sorceress of Shadows“. Maybe her and Bongo Bongo should date. It wouldn’t be weird; she’s a freaky monster too!
Perhaps this revelation just makes Onox and Veran demons, like many other monsters in the series. But either way it’s interesting that there are intelligent beasts who come from another realm and serve Ganon. It would be cool to have more villains of that sort.
3 – Ghirahim
Zelda’s first bona fide fruitcake villain — though it was a long time coming considering the archetype’s popularity in Japan — and he seems to have made quite a splash. Perhaps taking a bit after the lunatic Zant but certain establishing his own identity, Ghirahim seems to have become a bit of a fan favorite at least for some, and has spawned many jokes and memes. Being the main if not final villain of Skyward Sword, a frankly dialogue-heavy game, it might seem odd to say that he could use expansion when he has so much screentime and emphasis within his game.
But the room, nay, the NEED for expansion, comes in the form of Ghirahim’s status as Demise’s sword. Ghirahim, like Fi, is a sword spirit of sorts. Taking physical form to free his master, he later reverts into a black sword with a red jewel. The weapon of choice of the Demon King, Ghirahim appears to be destroyed along with Demise. However their death animations differ, and in fact Ghirahim appears to only fade away. Could he still live?
I think he does. I’ve discussed this before, but Ghirahim’s resemblance to another black weapon with a red jewel is uncanny. Taken up by the new Ganon in Four Swords Adventures, the Trident belonged to the “King of Darkness” and bestows the power of that king to its wielder. It all sounds very similar to the succession of incarnations that Demise speaks of, and that among other reasons I’ve discussed in the past leads me to believe that this King of Darkness and the Demon King are one and the same. I believe Ghirahim is the Trident. Sure, if that’s that case he’s a pokey weapon now instead of a slicey weapon, but Ghirahim generated weapons of various forms other than his own when he took on a humanoid form (not to mention he took humanoid form), so can’t he have the ability to change what kind of weapon he is?
It probably ought to happen a while from now considering Skyward Sword is the most recent Zelda title as of this writing, but sometime in the future it would be epic to have a game where the story centers around the Trident or at least involves it in a major capacity, and reveals the consciousness of Ghirahim within. If Nintendo chose to expand on this theory and indeed make it canon, it would make for a cool storyline and allow a now-beloved character some more screentime, which I’m sure would bring a spring to his step.
2 – Demon Tribe
I feel the Demon Tribe as a whole was underrepresented in Skyward Sword. This was the first game to feature this race in a major way, and given the game’s status as a prequel and the story it contained, it was all set to establish the Demons and their King across the rest of the timeline. The curse of Demise sets the stage for Ganon and perhaps other villains to take over. But what about the other Demons?
Skyward Sword definitely managed to provide some context for the term “Demon” appearing in other games — particularly Spirit Tracks — but we don’t care about mere context! We want Demons fighting, talking, getting some friggin’ backstory!
Before Skyward Sword came out, I honestly expected more in this area. I thought we’d see one or two more Demon characters, that Ghirahim would have peers rather than just be a loner. At the very least the bosses throughout the games that likely held status as Demons — Scaldera and Bilocyte come to mind — could have spoken before and after their battle like the Nightmares in Link’s Awakening did. You’d expect the game that more or less tells the origin of this evil race would have expanded on them and given us some details as to their nature. Their fruitcake boss got his story explained, so why not the rest of the Demons?
Let’s have some more Demon-oriented games in the future, eh? Now that Skyward Sword established this race as a race, there’s no excuse for them to not add more Demon characters. Perhaps Onox and Veran fall under this? Maybe. But if so, that’s more reason to include more of them, as they fall under two… no, three entries on this list!
1 – Facade
I’m just kidding. He does look suspicious though, showing up in a second game for some reason. No, but the actual #1 entry is…
1 – The Triforce
“Axle, it’s not as funny the second time…”
No, actually, I’m serious. A Link Between Worlds may already be expanding on this with its reintroduction of the Dark World, but the bottom line here is that the Triforce has been shown to be a possible force or at least instigator of destruction on a number of occasions.
The obvious example is the Dark World. When a good dude touches the Triforce, everything’s a-okay, but when a bad dude touches the Triforce, stuff goes down and the Sacred Realm becomes an evil place where people are turned into “what’s in their heart”, which apparently is usually monsters. I think I would find a lot of kindred spirits among Hyrule’s bandit community since they apparently have monsters in their heart too.
Now, of course the dual-world mechanic is used often in the series. However that doesn’t mean it can’t be used again, especially since it’s rarely a full-blown new world as it was in A Link to the Past. On a similar note, another concern would be how similar it would be to the Dark World we’ve seen, but that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. What if the Dark World takes on a different form depending on the specific evil person who wishes on the Triforce? Ganon’s Dark World might not be the same as Voldemort’s Dark World. Beyond that you can build new Dark Worlds off vastly different terrain; seeing Dark World versions of areas we didn’t see in A Link to the Past, with different themes, could be very interesting. Of course a return of the Dark World would mean another villain who wished on the Triforce as well as new monster enemies and bosses, all of which would have used to be people who then were transformed by their own evil. Lots of room for new stories here.
Beyond that example, there’s also the fact that the Triforce is simply fought over a lot. The object isn’t evil but it is powerful, and as such it is coveted and fought over in wars throughout Hyrule’s history. Many people have called for games surrounding these wars, and while I don’t think a war storyline would be conducive to the adventure gameplay we’ve come to expect from the series, that doesn’t rule it out entirely and you don’t need to have an all-out war to have a simple jealous conflict. I don’t bust out the tanks whenever I want something!
Although when Hyrulians want something — in this case triangles — all-out war.
And lastly, as of late, the Goddesses seem to have made a habit of laying out some pretty harrowing tests for the heroes to prove themselves with. Gohdan in The Wind Waker was nice enough, but the Silent Realm Guardians in Skyward Sword were terrifying! Neither of these relate to the Triforce, but they’re holy trials and the Triforce is a holy object, so do the math; there’s a lot of potential for creepy stuff surrounding the Triforce if Nintendo wants to build on it.
So there you have it! On this list there were some enemies, some bosses and villains, and even a few general concepts and an object! These are all the foes and challenges I feel could use expansion the most. A few of them probably could have used it in the games they’ve already been in — namely the Demon Tribe — but others simply have a lot of potential for future games. Many of these will likely never see that expansion, and their stories are likely done. Just the same, we can always hope.
Do you have any foes you’d like expanded on, whether they be enemy, boss, or villain? What did you think about the ones on this list? What would YOUR top 10 be?