First released in 1986 for the NES, The Legend of Zelda has gone on to become one of the most iconic video game franchises of all time. This high-fantasy series was created by Nintendo icon Shigeru Miyamoto, who based the adventures of Link on his real-life childhood experience of exploring rural Japan. To date, there have been nineteen games released in the series, as well as a number of spin-offs, which have gone on to sell nearly 80 million copies worldwide. The latest game in the series, Breath of the Wild, was released earlier this year and has gone on to not only be one of the best-reviewed video games in the franchise, but also one of the best-reviewed video games of all time.
While Link was intentionally created to be a bit of a blank slate to better allow the player to envision themselves as the hero, the games have no shortage of character development, especially when it comes to the villains. After all, what fun would it be to rescue Princess Zelda if you weren’t up against a formidable foe? The series is known for its intricate dungeons and impressive boss battles, which are the perfect mix of fun and frustration that are bound to keep you coming back for more!
So let’s see if you can match these Zelda bosses with their corresponding games.
More often than not, Ganondorf is the final boss battle in any Zelda game. But do you remember which particular game this variation of Ganondorf appears? To give you a hint, this boss fight is proceeded by a battle with Puppet Ganon, and the final fight takes place atop Ganon’s Tower surrounded by flowing water -- as if the very ocean is about to come crashing down on the player’s head. Like most fight against the Dark Lord of Evil, the Master Sword and Light Arrows are an effective combo to bring Ganondorf to defeat.
Zant, also known as the Usurper King, is one of the primary antagonists of this Zelda game. Zant is a member of the Twili race, who steals the throne from Midna and rules over the entire Twilight Realm in her absence. Though Zant comes off as a calm, cool, and collected boss for the majority of the game, he’s revealed to be totally insane by the game’s end, throwing a temper tantrum when he is unable to please Ganondorf, who he dearly idolizes.
One of the latest bosses in the Zelda franchise, this antagonist is yet another incarnation of the Dark Lord Ganondorf who has only appeared in one game in the series thus far. The story goes that Calamity Ganon was previously defeated by the Sheikah and the Hylians and was laid to rest underneath Hyrule Castle, but it has long been expected that the beast will return. Therefore, Zelda chooses Link as her protector while she prepares for another go around with Calamity Ganon in this Zelda installment.
Unlike Ganondorf, who is pure evil and brute force, Ghirahim is a rather flamboyant antagonist, who remains calm for the most part of the game, believing that Link couldn’t possibly interfere with his plans of capturing Princess Zelda. But, of course, Ghirahim’s over confidence is his undoing, and despite the boss threatening Link’s life on several occasions, the Demon Lord is never able to actually best the Hylian Hero during combat. The character hails from the world of Skyloft, where he dreams of using Zelda’s power to awaken the Demon King Demise.
You only need to do some simple word association to match this Zelda boss with the correct game! Majora’s Wrath is the final form of this creature from the 1999 game, where it assumes a more humanoid form along with a pair of tentacles that eject from its hands. To defeat this baddie, Link must shoot a projectile at Majora’s Wrath before striking it was his Master Sword or a Light Arrow. But this boss is far from easy, as it has impressive agility and wide-ranging attacks that can result in Link getting snatched up by the creature's tentacles.
Dark Link has appeared in a number of Zelda games, but do you remember the first game that the boss reared his shadowy face? These fights largely represent the hero’s struggle against himself and are an incarnation of Link needing to overcome his own fears if he ever has a chance of wielding the Master Sword or rescuing Princess Zelda. He has appeared in six games to date, and it's likely that we haven’t seen the last of this boss in the Zelda franchise.
Located in the Palace of Darkness, this giant boss guards the first Crystal in the Dark World and must be defeated before Link can rescue the game’s first Maiden. Before you can even deliver any damage to this boss, the player must first destroy its mask, which can be accomplished with the Bombs or the Magic Hammer, which is acquired earlier in the dungeon. After the mask is shattered a large emerald will appear on the beast's forehead — which any casual Zelda player will quickly realize is the boss’s weak spot.
This boss is often ranked as one of the most enjoyable fights in the entire Zelda series, and for good reason. In order to defeat this beastly skeleton, Link must use his Spinner to shatter the spine of Stallord piece by piece during the first stage of the fight. But just when you think you’ve finished off the skeleton for good, the skull takes flight and the Spinner must be used once again during an epic aerial battle in this particular Zelda game.
After appearing in his human form throughout the entire game, Ganondorf transforms into the gigantic beast Ganon for the final fight of this iconic Zelda game. Just when you think you’ve defeated the Dark Lord and successfully escaped the collapsing tower with Princess Zelda, you have to face off against this revived beast which gains its strength straight from the Triforce of Power. However, the Master Sword coupled with the power of the Seven Sages prove to be more than enough to take this incarnation of Ganon down.
This boss is one of the few in the entire series that is not actually evil. Instead, this giant stone statue was actually created by the gods Hyrule to guard and protect the Master Sword. Gohdan, the Great Arbiter, appears in the Tower of the Gods, the third dungeon in this particular Zelda game, and consists of a floating head and hands. Gohdan can be defeated by firing two arrows into the eye of each hand, which will allow Link to face off against the giant stone head during the last stage of the battle.
This boss appears in the second dungeon of this Zelda game, which is located in the Goron Mines. Upon entering the boss room, Fyrus is chained to the ceiling and the floor before the monster awakens, sets himself ablaze, and breaks free of his restraints. In order to beat Fyrus, Link must first use the Hero’s Bow to shoot the crystal in the monster's forehead, then grab the chains at Fyrus’ feet and pulling the monster to the ground with some additional help from Link’s Iron Boots.
Stalblind is the leader of the Thieves and can be located in Thieves’ Hideout in the land of Lorule. The boss wields a sword and shield, which he uses to block many of Link’s attacks. However, after enough damage is done to Stalblind, the boss reverts into a spirit form, temporarily making him impervious to the player's attacks. Since this boss has a fairly wide range spin attack, the Bow and the Fire Rod can come in handy during the final stage of this boss battle.
This Subterranean Lava Dragon, simply known as Volvagia, appears in the fifth overall dungeon of this Zelda game and yields Link the Fire Medallion upon victory. The history of Volvagia extends far beyond the gameplay, as the dragon was once known to terrorize the inhabitants of Hyrule by flying through the air often around the areas surrounding Death Mountain while totally engulfed in fire. To defeat the dragon easily, Link must use his bow for ranged attacks and the Megaton Hammer when Volvagia is up close.
This Zelda game isn’t just the creepiest in the series, it’s also downright weird. Which means there’s plenty of creative boss battles throughout the gameplay. This particular boss appears in the game’s Snowhead Temple and is a giant mechanical bull that just so happens to be wearing an old man mask. Pretty bizarre stuff even for a Zelda game. Upon defeating Goht, Link is able to restore spring to Snowhead Mountain and lift the curse from Biggoron, much to the satisfaction of the neighboring Gorons.
Appearing in the Ancient Cistern, the fourth dungeon in this Zelda game, Koloktos at first appears to be an inanimate robot. That is, until Ghirahim brings the machine to life using his black magic and leaves Link and the six-armed robot to duke it out. Though this game was met with its fair share of backlash, this is still one of the more enjoyable series boss fights in recent memory, especially when Link gets to wield Koloktos' giant sword and deliver the coup de grace.
Though at first Agahnim is thought to be another pawn in Ganon’s scheme, this wizard was actually revealed to be the Dark Lord himself in disguise, though this particular incarnation has only appeared in a couple of Zelda games to date. In this game, Agahnim is the secondary antagonist in the story who comes to Hyrule and uses his magic to “save” the townspeople, earning him a promotion to serve as the King of Hyrule’s chief advisor, where he ultimately ends up controlling all of the king’s soldiers to do his bidding for him.
This Sorceress of Shadows is the main antagonist of this 2001 one game, where she seeks to resurrect the Dark Lord Ganon from the dead. Vera is being used by Kotake and Koume to destroy the land of Labrynna, and at the start of the game, Veran comes to possess the body of Impa, where she tricks Link into aiding her on her evil mission. She also inhabits the bodies of Nayru and Queen Ambi throughout the game until she is ultimately defeated by the Hylian Hero.
Ganondorf has appeared in many forms, including Phantom Ganon who shows up in the first adult temple of this Zelda classic. Here, this Evil Spirit from Beyond appears in a painting that comes to life and charges at Link. However, there is more than one painting, which keeps the player guessing which Phantom Ganon will ultimately burst forth from the picture and launch a lighting blast at Link. The character is the final boss of the Forest Temple of this particular game.
This Zelda boss takes on a number of forms throughout the Four Swords series of the franchise, though he only appears in his human form in one of the games, which is pictured here. Vaati becomes obsessed with acquiring the Light Force, an ancient relic that was once used by the Hero of Men to rid all evil from the lands of Hyrule. Vaati believes that the Light Force would give him unlimited power to corrupt the hearts of men and seize the land of Hyrule for himself.
Gleeok has appeared as a boss in numerous Zelda games, beginning with the very first installment of the series. This boss can always be defeated in a similar sequence, by cutting off each head one by one, which will cause the heads to fly around and continue to fight separately from its body. In this particular installment, Gleeok appears in the Temple of Ice where it is defending the Azurine steel by shooting both ice and fire from each of its heads.
This Zelda boss appears in the sixth dungeon of this particular game, which is aptly named the Face Shrine. Facade isn't just an other boss inside a dungeon room, Facade IS the room itself, as the boss is able to actually manipulate its surrounding by throwing pots and floor tiles at the player. So how do you defeat a boss that has only a face? Attack the face of course! Killing Facade is as easy as dropping a bomb on his face whenever it appears in the room. Just so long as you can successfully dodge flying objects during the process.
This primary antagonist is the result of both Ganon and Yuga morphing into one, which results in a conjoined appearance and a boss that’s twice as powerful. The final battle in the game is over the Triforce of Courage, which Yuga Ganon is desperately trying to obtain from Link. The boss battle takes place in two phases, the second of which involves a game of Dead Man’s Volley, which has appeared in numerous Zelda games before and since, including A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time.
This primary antagonist from the 2001 Zelda game throws the seasons into disarray in order to reek havoc across the land of Holodrum. General Onox first appears as a tornado which swoops in and snatches up the Oracle of Seasons, also known as Din, and imprisons him in the subterranean land of Subrosia. In order for Link to face off against General Onox and rescue Din, he must first acquire the eight Essences of Nature from Holodrum before there’s any chance of putting the world back in order.
This creepy duo who join as one is a pair of centuries old witches who act as the surrogate mothers of the Dark Lord Ganon. Much like Ganondorf, they are members of the Gerudo tribe who go by the names of Koume and Kotake when separated and are sometimes referred to as the Sorceresses of Ice and Fire. Link faces off against Twinrova in the Spirit Temple of this particular game, where the Mirror Shield must be used to defeat the evil witches by deflecting one into the other during the first phase of the fight.
This leader of the Bulbins has only appeared in one Zelda game to date, where he is shown to ride atop a horned beast that goes by the name of Lord Bulbo. King Bulbin is unique in that he’s the only boss to be challenged multiple times within the game, and he’s also one of one a few bosses who survives being beaten by Link, showing up in the end credits as a more peaceful creature than he was throughout the game.