Spanning three decades, The Legend of Zelda is undoubtedly one of Nintendo's most iconic series of games. Much like Mario's red hat and blue overalls, Link's trademark green tunic and hat set him apart as a memorable, recognizable character in gaming. But whereas Mario games were first conceived as challenging platformers, Zelda offered something new to Nintendo fans: an open-world style of adventure where the path to victory was not always so linear. Armed with a sword and little else, Link set off on his adventures and grew into a great hero, overcoming puzzles, obstacles, difficult terrain, and numerous other challenges to achieve his lofty goals.
Among those challenges, some of the most memorable are the enemies defeated along the way, in particular the bosses. When Zelda first moved to 3D with Ocarina of Time in 1998, opportunities for more striking boss battles were available. Bosses were no longer restricted to the simplistic tactics of a 2D space; they could freely move all around Link, exploit their environment to gain the advantage, and attack from all sides in a multitude of different ways. As a result, bosses became more unique and thus more memorable. This quiz is dedicated to those bosses, but isn't about the tactics used to fight them. Instead, we ask only a simple question: do you remember their names?
What's the name of this armored arachnid?
As the first boss fought in Ocarina of Time, this boss stands out as the very first of the 3D Zelda games. Though in Ocarina of Time she makes her nest at the bottom of The Great Deku Tree, she also makes appearances in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, living in a volcano and the Temple of Time, respectively. She climbs the walls of her chamber and comes after Link from all sides, and it's only through the power of deku nuts that Link is able to defeat her.
What's the name of this monstrous bird?
Fought in Wind Waker, this boss stands out as one of the main antagonists of the game. Though Link tries and fails to reach the boss and rescue his sister at the beginning of the game, it's only after he goes off and gains significant powers that he's able to come back and challenge this regal beast. Fighting his way to the top of the Forsaken Fortress for a second time, Link finally defeats his first nemesis by smashing its helmet with the skull hammer. At this point, how much Link has grown becomes clear, and the stage is set for the rest of the game.
What's the name of this shadowy beast?
Fought in the incredibly grim Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time, this boss would be impossible to see without the magic of the lens of truth. This battle, fought atop the surface of a giant drum in the middle of an abyssal pit, stands out as being warped and otherworldly, even in comparison to the just-seen Shadow Temple. However, it's also somewhat humorous; the boss' disembodied hands repeatedly whack the surface of the drum, providing a solid beat as they thrash Link at the same time.
What's the name of this giant monstrosity?
As the final battle in Ocarina of Time, this boss stands out primarily for its epic setting. After fighting his way to the top of the castle, Link does battle with his nemesis, the antagonist of the game, and defeats him in single combat. The earth quakes, and Link and Zelda must run down the tower and escape as the castle crumbles around them. Though they manage to make it out alive, Link's nemesis rises from the rubble and channels all of his power into a final, bestial form. He knocks the Master Sword out of Link's reach, and the battle begins.
What's the name of this warped creature?
After manipulating time over and over again to be able to collect all the masks and items he needs, Link is finally able to enter the moon and challenge Majora's Mask, which becomes a sentient entity in its own right. The evil mask attacks Link in three different forms of growing violence. In the first, it floats in the air and grows tentacles. In the second, it sprouts legs and arms and runs around the arena at breakneck speeds. And here, in its final form, it gains muscles, a head, and tentacle whips that thrash at Link with abandon. Name the Mask's final form.
What's the name of this giant sand worm?
At the end of the Wind Temple in Wind Waker, Link enters the boss chamber only to find an ominously empty room with a massive sand pit in its center. Upon disturbing the sand, the whole room starts to quake, and a gigantic sand worm emerges from the pit. Able to fly, tunnel through the sand, summon minions, and even swallow Link whole if he gets too close, this boss stands out as one of Wind Waker's most striking, and the iconic music that plays during the fight contributes to that effect.
What's the name of this animated fossil?
Though one might question the spinner as a veritable Zelda item, it's used to maximum effect in the battle with this animated fossil in Twilight Princess. Upon reaching the top of the Arbiter's Grounds, Link finds himself face to face with a long-dead fossil which may have once been the creature that defended the Grounds. For once, Link thinks he's gotten off easy, but then the King of Twilight appears and reanimates the creature with magic, forcing Link to fight it anyway. The result is a grueling battle that requires Link to get every bit of potential out of his newfound spinner.
What's the name of this flamboyant swordsman?
As the main antagonist of Skyward Sword, this strange figure first reveals himself to Link in the Skyview Temple, the game's very first dungeon. Garbed in diamond-themed clothing and brimming with confidence, this figure surprises Link in the temple's final chamber and decides to toy with him in combat. In this first encounter, the mysterious character uses only his bare hands to catch Link's sword, as well as some minor magic. Link manages to inflict some minor damage, and the figure, more amused than impressed, lets him go on his way, only to fight him many more times later on.
What's the name of this fire-breathing dinosaur?
Despite being only the second boss of Ocarina of Time, this massive dinosaur cuts an imposing figure compared to the diminutive child form of Link. Hailing from the forest, Link must figure out how to travel into volcanic conditions to slay this beast. Aided by Princess Zelda and then the Gorons, Link is able to arm himself with bombs and blast his way through the boiling hot caverns. Though Link's sword is initially unable to penetrate the beast's thick hide, it turns out that swallowing a bomb will make anything susceptible to a well-placed strike.
What's the name of this carnivorous plant?
Link was never meant to enter the Forbidden Woods in Wind Waker. Upon sailing to Forest Haven seeking the second pearl, Link meets the Great Deku Tree and his korok children, who are happy to oblige and give Link the pearl. However, before they can perform the ceremony to do so, one of the koroks, Makar, goes missing, and Link is tasked with recovering him from the Woods. Upon reaching the final chamber, Link discovers that Makar was eaten by a plant and must defeat it to free him.
What's the name of this jungle warrior?
Setting out on his quest to stop the moon from destroying Clock Down, Link makes his way to the toxic swamp of Woodfall and enters the first dungeon of Majora's Mask. Seeking the Deku Princess, Link explores the entire temple to no avail, only to come face to face with a giant masked tribal warrior armed with a sword and shield. Though the warrior attacks Link with blade, flame, and swarms of insects, he is able to defeat it by cleverly switching between his human and Deku forms.
What's the name of this ghostly figure?
In Ocarina of Time, this fearsome foe appears as the boss of the Forest Temple, riding a horse and charging at Link by passing through paintings on the walls. In Wind Waker, Link faces him when he first enters the Forsaken Fortress for the second time. Though the two encounters differ, the tennis match with a ball of energy always remains a constant. The boss is depicted here as he's seen in Wind Waker, a design which is significantly less creepy than his skull-headed form in Ocarina of Time.
What's the name of this giant amoeba?
Perhaps memorable for all the wrong reasons, this boss stands out as one of the most notorious in Ocarina of Time. But let's be honest, any boss was going to have a hard time being likable when placed after the grueling test of patience that is the Water Temple. This boss, a giant amoeba that cloaks itself in tentacles of water, requires disciplined patience and aim to draw out. It also loves to toss Link around the room like a rag doll whenever it gets the chance.
What's the name of this mad usurper?
The King of Twilight himself and the main antagonist of Twilight Princess, this character plays a significant role in the game's story, having cursed Midna and taken control of the twilight realm in her absence. He cuts a terrifying figure, especially when he appears to Link and Midna at Lake Hylia, and almost kills Midna when he forces her to be directly exposed to divine light. When Link finally challenges him at the Palace of Twilight, the battle takes on the form of a mad, magic-propelled dash through previous areas in the game, with the King changing his tactics in every new location.
What's the name of this ancient automaton?
Skyward Sword challenged the stigma around water-based Zelda dungeons with its offering of the Ancient Cistern, a serene open temple with beautiful architecture, calm music, lotus-filled pools, and a corrupted basement. This corruption is manifested in the form of the boss, a six-armed, sword-wielding automaton powered by that same dark energy. As his sword isn't strong enough to break through the machine's metal body, Link is forced to use his whip to pull off its arms and, more importantly, the swords they were holding, which he uses to deal some serious damage.
What's the name of this flame-wreathed dragon?
Residing in the very depths of Death Mountain, this dragon became something of a legend among the Gorons, whom it terrorized on a whim until a brave Goron hero managed to defeat it. Darunia briefly tells this story to Link when he first enters the Fire Temple and encourages him to find the megaton hammer, the weapon of choice of the famed Goron hero. Link does just that and, armed with the weapon, is able to crack through the dragon's thick skull and eliminate it once and for all.
What's the name of these paired giant insects?
Well, they would be giant if Link wasn't a giant, too. Thanks to the power of the Giant's Mask, which enables Link to grow to enormous size, this boss fight is made considerably easier. Without the mask, Link can only hope to shoot arrows at the gargantuan, terrifying insects that fly over his head and burrow into the sand. In either case, the fight is instilled with an air of importance thanks to the powerful atmosphere of Stone Tower Temple, one of the most lengthy and complex Zelda dungeons ever created and Link's final test before proceeding to the endgame of Majora's Mask.
What's the name of this rotund ghost?
The boss of Wind Waker's Earth Temple is by far one of the quirkiest in the game. This giant poe does everything from breathe fire from his lantern to possess Link and reverse movement controls, and has no qualms about pushing Link into a spiked wall either. To defeat this spectre, Link uses the strength of the power bracelets to pick him up and toss him into some spikes, blowing him up into many little poes. Link puts his sword to work and, once all the little poes are gone, the boss can no longer regenerate itself.
What's the name of this sky dragon?
When playing a fantasy game like Zelda, there are few things more awesome than fighting a dragon. But fighting a dragon thousands of feet in the air in the middle of a thunderstorm? Now that's atmosphere. Such is the premise here, in the final battle of City in the Sky in Twilight Princess. Armed with dual clawshots, Link must weave his way through the air and wait for an opening to jump on the dragon's back, all the while dodging its flaming breath. Oh, the dragon's also armored, too. You know, just for good measure.
What's the name of this fused witch?
They're iconic. They're loud. They're obnoxious. They're everyone's favorite sassy old sorceress sisters from Ocarina of Time, and they're the bosses of the Spirit Temple. In the first phase of the battle, Koume and Kotake each target Link individually with fire and ice magic, respectively. Once that plan fails, they decide to combine into their final, fused form, which is how they are pictured here. However, despite looking significantly younger, the new form fails to get the job done as Link makes great use of the mirror shield to defeat them.
What's the name of this masked fish?
Majora's Mask, unsurprisingly, is a game that's really fond of masks. So, while the concept of a masked fish might seem silly and out of place in any other game, that's not the case here. Or maybe it still is. In any case, this boss of Great Bay Temple was the first in Zelda to include underwater combat, making full use of Link's Zora form and its powerful abilities. Though the battle initially includes a small platform to stand on, this is quickly taken away, and Link is left vulnerable in the water with a vicious aquatic predator.
What's the name of this animated arbiter?
After all the buildup leading to its rise from the sea, Wind Waker's Tower of the Gods felt monumental, both in terms of its place in the story and its sheer size. Serving as a final test put forth to the chosen hero by the gods, the Tower is more of a cerebral challenge than a test of combat endurance. However, there is still a foe to defeat, and it comes in the form of this divinely powered being who bears a noticeable resemblance to the boss of the Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time.
What's the name of this masked beast?
Nintendo has a sick sense of humor sometimes. Upon reaching the end of Snowhead Temple, Link comes face to face with a large, frozen creature, which it turns out is the boss of the Temple, and he has no choice but to thaw it out himself. The beast wakes up angry and barrels around the circular chamber, forcing Link to roll after it in Goron form. The resulting battle is something akin to the Running of the Bulls, except with a young boy turned into a Goron hero and a giant mechanical monstrosity.
What's the name of this monstrous anemone?
We all give Jabu-Jabu a hard time for swallowing Link and Princess Ruto but, in his defense, he really likes those tiny fish. Plus he has an enormous, parasitic, electrified anemone living inside his stomach, and that would probably make anyone a little cranky. As the last boss of the child Link portion of Ocarina of Time, this boss ramps up the difficulty, blasting Link with bursts of electricity and spinning jellyfish around the room like ferocious whips. To many players' chagrin, Ruto somehow survives her encounter with the boss.
What's the name of this demonic entity?
The end of Skyward Sword is dominated by a massive twist. The faceless creature that Link managed to keep at bay several times is finally released and takes on its true form, which is pictured here. The being reveals itself as the game's true antagonist, replacing the flamboyant swordsman whom Link assumed to be his main enemy. In fact, the swordsman was merely the embodied form of the demon's sword, its sole purpose to ensure its master's release. Its spectacular entrance made, the demon challenges Link to face it in single combat in an arena far above the clouds. Though Link is successful, the demon curses Link, Zelda, and their descendants, promising that its hatred will follow them for eternity. Knowledgeable players can only assume that Ganondorf is the result of this curse, and thus his capacity for infinite resurrection is explained at last.